catching fireflies


We drove down to my in-laws’ yesterday evening, arriving a bit after 8, with the light just barely fading. After we unloaded the car and spent a little time with Grammy and Grampa, we headed to the back yard, lured by the twinkling flashes of light. In the the deep twilight, the lawn was sparkling with the light of dozens of fireflies. John grabbed a few empty jars (my mother-in-law is always one to have a good supply of empty containers handy), and I grabbed my camera.

The fireflies were remarkably easy to catch. One had to do little more than reach out a cupped hand towards a low-flying nearby flash. When I did this, more often than not, the firefly would land on my hand. The kids enjoyed running around catching and collecting them in the jars.

I tried to catch the sparkling with my camera.

The little buggers turned out to be remarkably hard to catch flashing. I aimed my camera at one of the rapidly populated jars. Click. Click. (Nada.) Click. Click. (Zilch.) I’d take a dozen shots, with nary a flash. Then stop, look up. (Flash!) Click! (Too late.) Using manual focus, and the setting for rapid-fire shooting, I squatted low to the grass. Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click. (Score!) Several hundred shots later caught me fewer than 2 dozen moments of flash. (But it was fun.)

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Here’s a little slideshow of some of my shots of one of the jars, where I’ve edited out some of the flash-less photos. If you click on the forward button, you can get a bit of an animation effect seeing the fireflies crawl around the jar.

10 responses to “catching fireflies

  1. Wow! One of those photos even has TWO fireflies flashing at once! :) But I have to admit to feeling pretty creeped out by them. I am fascinated by fireflies flying free, not too close to me–I think I’ve only seen them once or twice in my whole life. But in a jar, looking like the many-legged creatures they are? Big trigger for my arthropod phobia.

  2. Congrats on your lit firefly shots. I’m sure there was a real sense of achievement upon getting them. And my, you’re persistent! :)

  3. nice!

  4. Maybe some of them are dazzled lady fireflys?
    I have tried to take photos of them in flight but I never thought of a jar. Brilliant fireflys and brilliant you.

  5. Oh you’re the clever one. Love this. Perhaps if you’d turned on your flash, the fireflies would have been impressed and flashed in return. ; )

  6. my favorite is the shot that lights up the bottom (lid) of the jar. beautiful!

  7. Oh this is so beautiful, I’ve tried to hard to photograph fireflies and never seemed to get anything. Brilliant work.

  8. Pingback: Fairy impersonator? (friday foto finder: insect) | collecting tokens

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