Firefly Photography on the Trail

As part of its 2021 series of summer and fall activities for members and residents, the Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail ("FOCHT") summer program includes the forthcoming Cynwyd Trail Night Walk on July 16.


Included with that is an opportunity to do some night photography for those who are interested, including photographing fireflies.


Not even all experienced photographers have photographed fireflies, so this is a brief inventory of things to bring and things to know if you plan to try it.


The first and foremost requisite is familiarity with manual photography, that is, the basics of manual camera operation - aperture, focusing, shutter speed, and ISO settings. If you plan to shoot fireflies, then you will need a camera and a remote release, manual shooting mode, a tripod, a desktop computer, image-stacking software, and a photo printer (printer is obviously optional unless you want to make prints). The above image, for example, is a stack of nine test images ranging from 1 minute to (+/-) 4 minutes, f/3.2, 24mm, ISO 100. Click here for a link to the full size photograph. Zoom in to see the detail. So if you plan to shoot fireflies, be ready to stand in one place for 45 minutes to an hour, from around 9:00 PM to around 10:00 PM. Bring insect repellent. The above image was stacked using StarStax. In case you do not have image stacking software, StarStax is an open source, free, image stacking application good primarily for astronomy but also good for this.


I'll be on hand for a question and answer session before the walk starts, and will accompany and stay with any photographer(s) who wants to shoot some firefly pictures.

There is more information about fireflies that we are likely to see elsewhere on this site.