Interesting Photo of the Day: Light Painting with Fireflies

Fireflies are one of the finest examples of how nature can surprise you. The little insects with lights coming off of their backs are sure to leave anyone fascinated. To take this to the next level, photographer Tim Reaves managed to take a long exposure image of fireflies in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains, and it truly looks magical:

fireflies long exposure

“Fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park” by Tim Reaves (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

The image is a stacked composite of 13 images taken at the same location with a Canon 800D and 50mm f/1.8 lens. The base was two images taken at f/1.8, ISO 400, and a 15-second exposure. Reaves then took the firefly images at f/1.8, ISO 1600, and 15 seconds and stacked and masked them to bring out the sharpest bits in each of them.

What’s interesting about this image is the length of the trails that the fireflies have left behind. Typical fireflies light up for a second or two and don’t leave such trails when photographed. However, since these fireflies were of a different kind, Reaves definitely got lucky with the shot.

“This is a particular kind of firefly (blue ghost) that stays lit for up to 30 seconds. I don’t think you’re going to get this exact kind of look without shooting blue ghosts or something similar.”

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