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Jeff Zablow

Pittsburgh, PA

Butterflies captured my imagination as a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, New York. At the time, small fields still existed in the city and I would go there to watch and marvel at the bejeweled creatures.

Much later, I was challenged when I arrived to teach high school biology in Pittsburgh, PA only to discover that my city kids could not identify a single bird or butterfly. I launched a wetland study unit that led to inevitable wetland field trips. I made sure to photograph my brick-and-mortar kids in the wild and devised another classroom technique called "Slide Lab". Soon, Slide Lab was featuring my newest photographs of cattail, wetland, city birds and shortly after, butterflies!

I came to realize that my macro photographs of butterflies revealed that they were more exquisite than the finest magnificent jewelry. Soon after, I set upon my own challenge: I would work to produce photographs of butterflies that were superior to those in butterfly field guides. I wanted every photograph to show the eyes in sharp detail, the wings in all their glorious color and make the antennae, limbs and body come alive.

Tens of thousands of slides and more than eleven years of  field trips later, I am proud to present a treasure trove of butterfly images that range from Pittsburgh and Toronto to Savanna, the Mississippi Delta and Phoenix. These are the butterflies that fly through our neighborhoods and I continue to shoot with film, camera hand-held and only photograph wild butterflies.

Enjoy our delicate neighbors and see what we can learn about them. We must ensure that we will always be able to get into our cars and travel to find and enjoy these winged beauties, for they are a barometer of our success in sustaining this extraordinary land.

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