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Skilled Photographers Capture Japan’s Gorgeous Summer Firefly Phenomenon

Japan is a beautiful country full of breathtaking buildings, landscapes, and scenery any time of year. In the height of summer, however, something particularly magical happens. Throughout the countryside, twinkling fireflies take to the evening skies in search of a mate. This natural phenomenon creates a beautifully ethereal glow through trees and leaves that is nothing short of breathtaking.

Dense fireflies by Daisuke Aochi Skilled Photographers Capture Japans Gorgeous Summer Firefly Phenomenon
Dense fireflies by Daisuke Aochi
Fireflies across a landscape by Yume Cyan Skilled Photographers Capture Japans Gorgeous Summer Firefly Phenomenon
Fireflies across a landscape by Yume Cyan

Fireflies are sensitive

Of course, in this phenomenon, Japanese and visiting photographers have found a gorgeous source of inspiration. Capturing the lights of the fireflies, however, can be extremely difficult. Fireflies are very sensitive to other sources of light besides themselves, meaning that camera flashes, cell phones, flashlights, and other things that photographers often need to get their equipment set up can drive the little creatures away.

Fireflies along a nature path by Asuka I
Fireflies along a nature path by Asuka I
Fireflies around a monument by Hiroyuki Shinohara
Fireflies around a monument by Hiroyuki Shinohara

Photographing fireflies – hard task, great rewards

The difficulty of capturing photos of the fireflies, however, hasn’t deterred the most dedicated photographers. They’ve simply adapted their strategy to account for the habits of the fireflies. Photographers often scout an area out days in advance to see where the fireflies congregate and then return very early on the day they want to shoot, setting up in daylight before the twinkling lights begin and lying in still, silent wait for hours.

Fireflies around bamboo plants by hm777
Fireflies around bamboo plants by hm777
Fireflies close to the lens by hm777
Fireflies close to the lens by hm777
Fireflies from across a field by zabby
Fireflies from across a field by zabby

In order to maximize their chances of getting gorgeous photos, the photographers also often adapt their techniques and the equipment they use. For example, most photographers set their cameras up on tripods to ensure that the lens stays very still during shooting, mitigating the risk of having the tiny blinking lights look blurred in the photographs. They also take long exposure shots to account for how quickly the fireflies’ intermittent lights blink on and off.

FIreflies in cold light by fumial
FIreflies in cold light by fumial
Fireflies in trees by Yu Hashimoto
Fireflies in trees by Yu Hashimoto

We’re in love with the glowing, almost unearthly images this firefly photography results in. Talk about a romantic night!

Fireflies just above the ground by Nomiyama Kei
Fireflies just above the ground by Nomiyama Kei

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