How to Use Fireflies to Light Paint the Landscape Fantastic

Photo ©Nomiyama Kei

Photographing fireflies is a “thing” in Japan, where every summer photographers venture out in the early evening to capture these winged insects painting the landscape fantastic. These “lightnin’ bugs” also do their illuminating dance in the Southern United States, so you may want to try photographing their bioluminescence yourself.

Photo ©Yume Cyan

Fireflies hibernate during the winter and emerge in the spring, turning into adults several weeks later. Their lightshows vary in timing from year to year, so the best bet is to do some research to learn the best times to shoot in your specific location.

Photo ©hm777

The light bursts emitted by fireflies are brief in duration, so the best bet is to use a high ISO and experiment with different exposure settings to get the effect you desire. Another approach is to use the bulb setting on your camera like is common when photographing fireworks.

Photo ©fumial

It’s also important to shoot with the smallest aperture possible to maximize depth of field and position yourself as close as possible to the fireflies. And, naturally, make sure you use a tripod. If it’s not totally dark, make sure your background is as dim as possible.

Photo ©zabby

If you decide to give this a try, be sure to share your results in our online Galleries so we can take a look.

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