Firefly Swarm


Appalachian firefly swarm last summer.

X-T2, 16mm 1.4 @ f/2, ISO 1600, 30 sec x 17 frames, in-camera intervalometer


Hmmm. The uploaded image is way too dark and muddy.


Looking beautiful here! It’s a crazy image, looks like a painting to me. Beautiful work. Do you see them with your eye as well or only after long exposure?


You can see those bugs with bare eyes, too but often they are not so bright and I’ve never seen so many at a time. Really magical capture!


Thanks Sam & Leo. The flashes are pretty bright – they only last a second or so (you can see the one flying in the lower right). The ones in the trees about 10m away look about as bright as Venus, closer ones even brighter. There were always a few hundred lit at once, constantly changing, making flowing patterns of lights.

The shadows are a bit too dark in the uploaded one vs. viewing the source JPEG in the browser. File uploaders sometimes (FB in particular) don’t preserve the appearance. Maybe it’s stripping the sRGB profile?


I love this photo. It looks more like a they were painted, or like you captured pollen in glue on top of a printed photo.


Thanks. The fireflies were just crazy for about two days, in that one small part of one meadow.

I think what makes the picture look like a painting is that it has only three bold colors, and wind blurred the branches and grass. That sort of bugs me about it, but it is what it is. Maybe I keep comparing the photo with my memory of the scene and come up short. I wished I’d had a low-light video camera for it. That could have been really cool! Or maybe frustrating. Maybe I need an easier hobby…