Fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

photo of the week for Monday, 2012, May 14
Photographer: Kevin Adams

The upcoming June 2 through June 10 firefly event in the Great Smokies is full—all the parking passes have been reserved in advance except for 25 per night for those who've driven in unaware of the registration system.

Nevertheless, this photo by noted North Carolina photographer and author Kevin Adams conveys what you'll miss if you're not attending the event (or can't find them flashing in one of the many other places they can be seen). Below, Adams describes how he got the shot—actually many shots.

"Watching fireflies or lightning bugs is popular in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This image depicts five minutes of the insects flashing at West Prong Little Pigeon River. Several species of firefly are shown, including Photinus carolinus, known locally as the Synchronous Firefly.

The image is a composite of 15 separate frames, all shot at the same location with the camera mounted on a solid tripod. I shot the first frame at dusk to capture some detail in the forest. The second frame was after it got fully dark and I light painted the cascade using an LED flashlight with a blue gel. After that, I shot continuous 15 second exposures at f/4 and ISO 3200 to capture the fireflies. Out of dozens of shots, I chose the 12 that had the most flashes. I stacked all of the shots as layers in Photoshop, using the “Lighten” blend mode.

To see my current schedule of photo tours and workshops, please visit my workshops site. To learn all about photography after dark and to sign up for my free Night Photography Newsletter, please visit my Digital after Dark blog."


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Comments

I miss fireflies .... non existent here in Texas