Today’s very unusual tripod challenge:  photograph fireflies.  My friend and I have discovered a spot where fireflies are plentiful… if you get there at just the right hour.  We got there with our equipment at the wrong hour.  There were only a handful of fireflies available.  Not having a clue how to photograph fireflies, I was pretty discouraged.  Imagine taking a photo in darkness.  What do you focus on and how do you focus?  What camera settings do you use?  Those are all very good questions and I didn’t know the answer to any when I began.  It was a shot in the dark… pun intended.

I took 10 photos (which is normally far less than I normally do) but I had zero confidence anything would turn out.  When I looked at the photos on my camera I saw nothing.

But then I downloaded them.  Take a look at the photo below.


The sparkly light in the top right corner is a light post.. and while pretty and sparkly … that’s not the excitement in the photo.

The bottom left portion of the photo has a streak.  That is not Photoshop.  That is a firefly!  You might ask why it’s a streak.  The shutter on the camera was left open for a very long time.  Because of that, the movement of the firefly is tracked by the camera.. resulting in a streak effect.

Camera settings:
f-stop:  32
Exposure time:  30 sec
ISO:  1000

Camera:  Canon EOS 5D Mark II (Big Bertha)
Lens:  My beloved 100 mm macro lens (Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L macro IS)
Equipment:  Manfrotto MK190XPRO3-BHQ2 Tripod

Notes:  For each of my attempts I tried to get a lamp post, trees or the horizon to give some perspective.

Today’s blog has bonus content.  For your viewing “entertainment” I have uploaded a video, I have aptly named:  Firefly.  The video shows multiple fireflies near the trees and in the background you can hear a frog concert.  Enjoy!