Captivating Long Exposure Shots of Fireflies

flying fireflies in forest

Fireflies are certainly known to all of us, but few are aware that these enchanting insects are really beetles. We see them at night because this nocturnal creature is a member of the Lampyridae family that favors to venture out in the cover of darkness. Fireflies are generally winged, and this sets them apart from other luminescent insects which are commonly called glowworms.

Around 2,000 firefly species are known to exist. They live in a variety of tropical environments, as well as in temperate climates. They usually make an appearance on summer evenings much to our delight. Fireflies take to moist environments and often stay in humid areas of Asia as well as the Americas. In drier regions, fireflies gravitate to wet or damp places that hold on to moisture.

Photographer Yume Cyan took a particular fancy towards this luminous insect, and over the past several months shot the creature while in its element.

millions of fireflies

The Japanese lens man came up with some truly magical looking photographs. Using long exposures combined with low aperture settings, Cyan achieved sharp evening images capturing the bioluminescent flash of each insect, resulting in forest pictures as if teeming with fairies.

fireflies in nagoya

While we all like to gaze at the dance of the delightful firefly, very few of us know how they generate their luminescence. Fireflies have a special light organ that is found under their abdomens. As they take in oxygen, they have dedicated cells that combine the gas with a substance called luciferin to produce light with practically no heat. The light is typically sporadic, flashing in patterns that are exclusive to each firefly species. These patterns are actually an optical signal that aids fireflies locate possible mates. Scientists are unsure how the insects control this process to turn their lights on or off. Besides mating, firefly light also serves as a defense mechanism.

fireflies in forest

The multitude of fireflies on the forest bed area near Nagoya City, Japan is a magical sight to behold. You can see the enchanting images taken by Cyan here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.