29 Butterflies?

Jeff photographing Georgia's Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton GA

Just miles from picturesque Lake Oconee, where the successful enjoy their comfortable second homes, this man is in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in sweet Eatonton, Georgia. He’s there to find and photograph butterflies, especially butterflies native to the southeastern United States. It’s about 10:10 A.M. and those tiny Swallowtail caterpillars are his instant targets.

His film camera is this Canon Elan 7e with a Cannon Macro- 100mm/2.8 lens. The hat boosts Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. The headband, now having travelled more than 28,000 miles is from Dicks. The green shirt is worn to reduce the perceived threat as I approach butterflies, and from LL Bean. The jeans from Wrangler. The boots from Merrell (they did just great! in ’15 and ’16 on Israel’s uber-rocky terrain). The wool socks from . . . Goldtoe ( and a connection to . . .). Now, the enthusiasm? That’s from just being able to do this, having survived all of those precarious parts of my life, the sheer joy of meeting exquisite beauty, the real desire to be an esthete and a great appreciation for the Almighty, for allowing me to experience all of the above.

There are very few places in the 50 states of the United States that have this potential. What potential? I have seen 29 different species of butterfly at this Habitat in 2017, in a single morning. Virginia’s regulars and irregulars have pushed, pulled & planted a butterfly destination unlike almost any other . . . in America, right here in Eatonton. I’m trying to remember who to credit this photo to. I think to that very same Virginia C Linch.

Jeff

Agree or Disagree?

Years and years into photographing butterflies now, and you would think that I would be steadily approaching, well, saturation. If that makes sense to you, surprise! The challenges, opportunities and thinking continues, unabated, and not diminished. Here’s an example of a present new idea of mine.

I shot this exposure of an American Copper some years ago. When I light boxed the dozen or more images of it, I was very Happy with this one. Very. Some of you may think: I see things here that Jeff likes. Others of you may think: Why does this image stand out from the nearly 800 in wingedbeauty’s Media Library?

Me? I have always liked this share of the head. Michal has 2 Shih Tzus, and they used to refer to them as ‘pookies.’ Small, and very cute. Munchkin and Shnookie were, and are, even at 12 and 13 years. This head struck me at first sight as a ‘pookie.’ Eyes, palps and sweet antennae. The left wings, ventral sides, are clear, colorful and dramatically colored. Those wings are fresh and not bird-struck. The legs are nicely shared, and set in a way that pleases the eye. The plant stem that this Copper is standing on boasts those fascinating fibers over its length, and that stalk is set at a slight angle, adding personality to the image. The leaves toward the right of the image bear red borders/veins, further jazzing up the shot. Bonus to all is the background, a comely green, minty and persuasive to the eye.

Digging further, a Georgia friend recently shared that she had never yet seen an American Copper butterfly. As soon as she wrote that, my mind shot to this look, and that was the ‘seed’ that led to this very post. Thanks Nancy.

Sometime soon we will add a new Feature to wingedbeauty.com, Jeff’s 8 (10?) Favorite Images. This should be amongst those 8 or 10, for how many times I’ve scrolled down the Library, and stopped to smile at this one.

Do you Agree or Disagree that this photo deserves broad exposure?

Jeff

Eastern Black Beauty

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton, GA

Early. Its was nice and early when I arrived at the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch. Good things happen when I arrive at prime habitat early. This was just that kind of a day.

I scrutinized the perennial beds for cooping butterflies, still in their night sleep poses. Things were going well, the morning was just right, and the Briar Patch Habitat was delivering nicely.

Then I saw this Eastern Black Swallowtail. Nice, very nice. The oranges shot orange, the blue was eye-soothing, the black was jet black, the white spots on the body beamed white and so much more.

I shot away, and am fond of this image of Papilio polyxenes. More than that, this may be one of the butterflies in the soon to be published Jeff’s Earring series. You are going to want to see that 1 in 1,000,000 share.

The shocker for me, when I got this slide back from Dwayne’s Photo, was . . . this chrysalis. I do not know if this butterfly emerged from it, or if it is still active, TBT I didn’t even notice it as I bombed this beau with many, many exposures.

Jeff just never knows what he’ll find in the field. And that folks, makes the anticipation exponential.

Jeff

Summoning the Little Boy

Monarch caterpillar on Asclepias leaf, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Just as quickly as I just opened this image of a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, the Little Boy in me showed up, summoned by the Mystery of this phenomenon. At the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in Eatonton, Georgia.

We have photos in my archival photo albums, of Jeff as a boy, in Brooklyn, at the beach at Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York and at the other side of that Peninsula, at the water’s edge of the bay. I have photos of Jeff on Grand Bahama Island, turning over rocks, searching for living things. That has long been a family giggle, Jeff, Dad, examine, searching, following, studying living things, usually bent over, crouching.

This Danaus plexippus caterpillar just mesmerizes me. The color, the body plan, those true and false legs, its slow, plodding movement, that slower, carefree feeding. How it’s goes through instars, how it seemed too big to exit from its tiny egg. I grew up in Brooklyn, on the streets, and it took several years, when I moved to Pittsburgh, for me to lessen the need to always know who was behind me . . . and this larva packs its own defenses, without need to carry cold steel just in case. How with so many predators in its neighborhood, it has reached this level of success?

I’m telling you, this image just summons the Little Boy in me. Forget the image of me you’ve seen, that Little Boy is just . . . .

Jeff

Oaky Woods Darner

Dragonfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

Mike brought me to the Zebra Heliconian butterflies. We watch their in-air ballet moves, and I shot them as I could. I was so pleased, knowing that I would long remember this extraordinary day, the day that the Zebra long wings (their other commonly used name) came on stage for me. Appreciative I was to meet Mike, who led me to a butterfly that is commonly seen in Florida, but unexpected, unless you knew Mike, in Kathleen, Georgia. Virginia enabled this field work, and I thank you Virginia, once again.

Mike and I shot out the area surrounding these Passionflower habitat. That done, we headed out in my Tundra for Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area. Oaky Woods was off road from a HuGe Lays potato chip plant, huge being an understatement. Oaky Woods was a fine destination for wildflowers, and there we met this good-looking dragonfly. I’ve been known to write that when a fine darner allows my close approach, I shoot away.

Darners attract, and this one is attractive. You like?

Jeff