Caron 2

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

‘Jeff’s Earrings’ served as my first pick, responding to Caron, she asking what may be my 5 favorite butterfly images. My first photo was shared here yesterday.

Caron 2? For many years Raccoon Creek State Park was my favorite destination. Doak fields there is a more than 100 acre meadow, where after 3 to 4 hours, I usually saw not a single soul there. Perfect! After those hours in the summer sun, I would hike back to my truck. That 3/4 of a mile hike, went along a moist area, with trees on each side. For many years, I would see Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies fleeing ahead of me. They preferred that short stretch of Nichol Road trail, enjoying the dappled shade, moist forest borders and nearby little stream. I scored few shots of them, ever.

This time, about 4 years ago, my eyes searched the low growth of the trail edges. There it was, a very, very fine Northern Pearly-Eye. It was a good size and . . . it held to its leaf.

I so, so slowly made my approach, decided not to cop ‘insurance’ images. I was going in, robotically. I’m pretty sure I had Fuji Velvia ASA 100 (faster) film in camera. I began talking to this gem telepathically, ‘Don’t go, don’t go, Please.’

Pearly-Eye remained in place. I was no down on my left knee. Good. I slowwwwly raised my Macro-lens. Good. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Perhaps 35 or more exposures.

I waited the 2 weeks or so to get my slides back from Dwayne’s Photo. You must remember that day, Caron, for that day you heard a muffled scream of Joy!! when I louped them on my lightbox. Several were worthy of Caron’s List, Yippee!!!

Jeff

Is Shining Your Shoes Passe?

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 9/5/14
Traffic here from guys under age 40? Light, I would say. So I’ll share the thought. Here in Doak Field, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, on September 5th, this sizable Great Spangled Butterfly was now out from the woods, and she wanted to warm her wings in the early morning sunlight. That quick mental tug-of-war resolved, I decided to work to capture yet another image of these huge Fritillaries, and hopefully . . . best those that I already have in my Neumade slide cabinet.

Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Sill, Oklahoma got me into shining my boots daily, a habit that I have now relaxed into a weekly chore. I have always loved rich chocolate brown leather shoes, and used to love my chocolate brown suits, but they have long slipped into “No one wears them anymore-ville.” Also, I’m guessing that men under 40 don’t shine their shoes and perhaps never did.

Our Speyeria Cybele totally evokes my shoe shining rituals. Could it be that rich brown that triggers that wired thought? Butterflies all evoke thoughts and snippets of memory for me. Do they for you, too?

She’s about the same as you’d see her in Eatonton, Georgia or Crockett, Virginia, as well as up in Maine and usually down to the Western sides of both North and South Carolina. (Cech and Tudor, Butterflies of the East Coast).

Jeff

Little Wood Satyr Posing

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, August 2014
I thought that it was too late in the season to meet up with the Satyr butterfly, but here we are together, on an August 2014 morning. They are sooo predictable, flying just above ground, just where forest meet trail. They almost never fly onto the trail, always moving along the outer tree line.

When you see Megisto Cymela and you’re like me, camera at the ready, there’s that predictable debate = Jeff (to myself), you already have several good images of this satyr, save your film (Fuji slide, ASA 50 or in this case ASA 100). You see the result, the boy in me wants to capture those eye spots, besting any in the slides in my Neumade slide cabinet.

Time to vote? OK, Yes, I love this butterfly. It’s brown reminds me of the delicious hat store I used to frequent on Madison Avenue in NYC, in an earlier life. You know those eye spots transfix me. Thirdly, this is a very comely butterfly. Guilty as charged, magistrate.

Cech and Tudor, in their superb Butterflies of the East Coast, share a happy bit of new, that Little Wood Satyrs are “a successful species.” Good news that, no?

Jeff