Lilliputian Metalmark

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Nancy and John had a proven spot to find Little Metalmark butterflies. I was very, very excited to finally meet them. When we arrived at the spot, I was amazed. Amazed.

The Little Metalmark butterflies were tinier than tiny! Photograph them? You had to crouch down and constantly move your camera, as they methodically worked the equally tiny flowerhead of these yellow blooms.

Scoring a good image? A Big Challenge. They move, you adjust your camera. They move again, and again and again. My goal was to catch those silver-looking bands as they gloriously reflected the strong Georgia coastline sun.

I’d find an especially fresh Little Metalmark, only to watch it fly to another flower. I’d have to get up once again, from hugging the ground, and reposition myself. I did this over and over and over again.

The late morning sun was merciless, the sweat ran down my forehead, and these Cartier-like gems kept doing there bounce from bloom to bloom hunting.

Here’s one of my more satisfying images. Lilliputian Gems, those Little Metalmarks.


Large Salmon Arab Butterfly

Large Salmon Arab Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

I’m not sure how to explain what happened. Working the agricultural field roads north of Binyamina, Israel, Madais Fausta flew in now and again to eat the nectar on Camphor weed blooms. They appeared in groups of two or three. Within minutes they were gone. Ten minutes later they reappeared. This behavior continued from about 9:45 A.M. until about 11 A.M., but that’s not what continues to puzzle me.

What I cannot fathom is why I methodically photographed these butterflies on three sunny mornings with no wind, good sun and little or no distraction from man, beast or donkey, and yet I scored less than a handful of “keepers.” Keepers are slides that meet my demanding requirements: excellent wing exposure and detail; good positioning of the butterfly (never with the posterior end facing you); vibrant color in both the butterfly and wildflower; as sharp as possible images of eyes, antenna and abdomen. I photographed more than 45 slides and yet I have only two or three keepers? Por que?

Monarchs in the U.S. are superb subjects. I am more than pleased with the many images of them in my library. Hairstreak butterflies photograph quite well. Tiger swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails, eastern black swallowtails, pipevine swallowtails all constantly move their wings violently as they nectar, but even so, I have been able to photograph very satisfying images. Tiny blues and azures also deliver terrific images.

Large Salmon Arabs are very pleasing to the eye. They are a sweet, sweet yellow with nicely contrasting black markings. Somehow, the camera lens does not like them. How can this be?

Photographing children reveals that the camera lens loves some of them and never seems to be so kind to other youngsters. Is that why top models succeed and other aspiring models do not?

Here then is a smallish butterfly that flies much of the year in Israel and the Sinai.  It is like a dab of sunshiny butter on the wing. It is also very serious about eating nectar.