Posted on June 17, 2017 Posted by John Scalzi 15 Comments
Every year we have fireflies in our yard, and every year I intend to go out with a camera and take a picture of them, and then I always forget. Not this year! Last night and went and made a first attempt. It turned out… adequate! I need to take a longer exposure, I think, and put the camera on a tripod. But as a proof of concept, this will do for now. Also, now I know how to take a long exposure on my camera. Go me.
great! can see them!
There are an insane number of fireflies in a nearby park this year. In certain areas the trees light up like Christmas lights. I don’t know how to get a picture of it though. My cell phone isn’t good at taking pictures in low light.
Nice proof of concept. :-) Looks as if you’ve found the right sort of exposure. But tripods are good for night time long exposure, says the person who had regular arguments with the photolabs about the meaning of “astronomy photos, print all frames” back in the day.
In the deep woods where we live, the fireflies are quite rare. I think they are more of a grassland critter. Out west, though, like Washington state and places like that, people grow up not knowing about fireflies at all.
Missing all that wonder when the whole landscape is filled with tiny fairy lights!
I try to remember back when I was a tiny child, like 60 years ago, and to recall if there were more fireflies back then, really. I can’t say, for sure. There were a lot. But I don’t live where I grew up, and the place where I grew up has changed a lot, too, so , really, no telling.
Best of luck with the photography project, keep track, and spread how you do it around.
Tripod, bulb setting, medium f-stop so you get some depth of field, cable release, manual focus. Start at 30 seconds.
Didn’t Whedon crack the how-to-shoot-firefly problem?
@Occasional Correspondent: Not until he found true serenity.
[I’ll show myself out now…]
You should join firefly watch! Citizen science in your back yard. It’s easy. Start with https://legacy.mos.org/fireflywatch/
I love the first signs of summer. Here in Britain we don’t get fireflies but it’s the smell of freshly cut grass that signifies summer is here.
We have been out catching fireflies in the past week in our front yard. Rosie caught the first one and made the sad discovery that fireflies are both smaller and less sturdy here in South central PA than in MI.
“It’s only slightly smooshed,” she said hopefully, as I gently placed the still-moving firefly in the grass.
What’s the mostly blue inverted T? With long exposure, could be something moving — like the horizontal part could be cars moving along the road (if headlights were blue, which they aren’t in this part of the country). Maybe blue-shifted light from *really* fast fireflies approaching at near lightspeed? (Lampyridae cerenkov)
Growing up in California I don’t think I ever saw a firefly, and now that I’m in Kentucky they still seem semi-magical. Everyone from here laughs at my love of them since they’re common as dirt around here an just part of the scenery. I’m the same way about cardinals. “Oh look, a cardinal!” I’ll say, while everyone smiles and rolls their eyes. “You don’t understand! In California there aren’t any bright flaming red songbirds!”
One of my fondest memories of visiting Ohio, as a child. I think I believed Ohio was the magic place because it had the Grans (Grandmothers) and fireflies. Never thought about trying to catch that on film but like your proof of concept.
A remote release and bulb mode works well. You can also use that to take great lightning shots – just set the camera on a tripod, open the shutter, let it stand for up to 15 seconds or whatever the max time is before you get overexposure. If you get a lightning strike, close the shutter and start a new one (or leave it open and try for multiples).
I was thinking last night as I watched fireflies about trying again for a magical firefly photo. I try every year. Some day I’ll figure out the right formula.