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Photo Series-Fireflies

Updated on August 3, 2014
CC BY-ND 3.0
CC BY-ND 3.0 | Source


" are a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles, and commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs for their conspicuous crepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey. Fireflies produce a "cold light", with no infrared or ultravioletfrequencies. This chemically produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red, with wavelengths from 510 to 670 nanometers.

About 2,000 species of firefly are found in temperate and tropical environments. Many are in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where their larvae have abundant sources of food. These larvae emit light and often are called "glowworms", in particular, in Eurasia. In the Americas, "glow worm" also refers to the related Phengodidae. In many species, both male and female fireflies have the ability to fly, but in some species, females are flightless " Wikipedia

Fireflies or lighting bugs, are wonderful little insects that lend themselves well for being photographed, especially at night and when there are lots of them.

Their almost yellow glow gives a scene an almost surreal feeling. Plus they are also fun to catch and observe in jars for a while before you release them into their natural habitat.

Although the same effect can be achieved using a digital program like Photoshop, capturing the real thing is much better and more fun to do.

Another cheating method is to get some glow sticks, paint them black and after the paint dries make some scratches. Hide them in the bushes, tree branches and in the grass.

Their light is very similar to that produced by these insects and you can often add them to enhance the effect if the fireflies are not in abundance where you are shooting.

Firefly (Lampyridae)

 (CC BY-SA 3.0
(CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

When shooting fireflies remember that they move about a lot and this combined with shooting during the night hours requires that you use a long exposure setting and the use of a tripod to stabilize the camera and its lens.

Depending on the position of the model or the central piece, a regular lens will be sufficient.

This technique is very similar as the one used for capturing stars as the Earth revolves around the Sun.

The scene appears better if you use the fireflies's glow to enhance a main point of interest in the set up such as a model.

This is not to say that you should disregard doing close ups of these interesting critters but from a photographic standpoint unless you are doing a study of fireflies, it is best to use them as "highlights" for a more substantial subject.

For example you can set the camera timer for a long exposure and their glow will appear as if you had painted greenish streaks on an empty woodland scene or a scene featuring a model.

However, if you have the patience and you can locate an area where sufficient amount of fireflies are found, then it is worth it to set you camera on a sturdy tripod ,use a long shutter speed, and sit back while your camera captures their flashes of light.

This type of scene is surreal and makes for very interesting photographs.

Catskills Fireflies (99 exposures) (CC BY 2.0
Catskills Fireflies (99 exposures) (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Does this sound like a fun project?

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Do some research into the typical habitat and habits for your area as well as specific times of the year when you are more likely to encounter the fireflies in mass.

Although fireflies live in various habitats the vast majority of the species thrive in forests, fields or the margins between them but they typically follow the rainy season and can be found in most parts of the world.

The vast majority of fireflies flock to areas where there is some sort of standing water. They like to concentrate and live live near ponds, streams, marshes, rivers and lakes, however it seems that they do not really need a lot of water.

You can basically find them in any area that is moisture rich and one technique to ensure their presence is to water the lawn and shrubs as well as flower beds every day when their season is near.

You do not to soak everything, just keep the environment at night moist and let them seek out these moist areas.

CC BY-SA 3.0
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source
CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

The majority of these images can be used for almost any purpose that would feature other types of images but they are specially adept to be used by photographic magazines and nature publications.

Really exceptional photos can also be featured in art magazines, art galleries and as free standing prints for home decor.

The best thing about this project is that it puts the photographer in touch with nature from a seldom viewed perspective and as the photographer will need to sit for a while while the camera does it stuff, it allows for a serene time that can be used to simply relax and just enjoy.

But don't forget to include the kids as they most likely will enjoy the spectacle more than the adults.

CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Mike Robbers: Thank you

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Really beautiful hub and photos, Luis!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      sasanka7: Thank you

    • sasanka7 profile image

      sasanka7 4 years ago from Calcutta, India

      Very interesting hub .Nice photography (video).Voted up