Thursday, June 17, 2010

Everything I know about firefly photography

Friend and co-worker Amy Hertel has been bugging me (okay bad pun) for a couple years to take her out photographing fireflies. Tonight we finally got it accomplished.

I have not perfected whatever the best way to take photos of fireflies is, but at least I captured an image, which is of course the goal. First was finding some, which turned out to be easy after Amy had someone point her to the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve near North Sioux City, SD. Lots of bugs doing their thing just at dusk!

So I took a random guess at how to shoot, cranked the ISO to 800, the aperture at 5.6 and let fly with a 30-second exposure. (Sorry for another bad pun. I'm tired.) Here's what we have -

Due to the randomness of nature, it was pretty hard to determine where a batch of the little buggers would appear, so I pointed the camera and crossed my fingers. This is the only frame where I got anywhere near this many bugs.

So knowing that I had something shot for sure, I turned my attention to the night sky and grabbed this of the Adams Nature Preserve landscape.

More information about the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve can be found at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website.


BareFoot Finn said...

I really like the first picture, and your guidance has inspired me to GET OUT THERE!

I have yet to see fireflies out on the western side of the state! Do you know if they even exist out here?

Chad Coppess said...

Glad to hear it! I'm hoping more and more people find that photography is a fun activity no matter where you are or what you point your camera at.

I think I've seen fireflies a few times in the wetter areas of the Black Hills, but not much. They really seem to be more common in the southeastern part of the state. Good luck finding some!

Litsnth said...

The second picture is great. How did you get that nice blue in the sky? F/x? Speed? Post Processing?

Less than a week ago the first firefly has come out. I've noticed they seem to live in an area which is facing sunset (west) but also on a mount/hill/mountain. I have noticed these areas are always warmer than any other areas (forest, valley, east side hill...).

I found this one flying on road i drive on. So i stopped and went wondering to find others.
So i thought to myself, they must hang all together in suitable areas to reproduce, warm, calm, little or no lights, nice field with high grass.

Anyway, so i walk up this small path to find myself in this small field with loads of fireflys!!

Just wish i had my f**cking tripod!

I still know where they are, cross my fingers they will still be there tomorrow.

Hope my advices are usefull.