Fireflies - An Opinion




Ganesh H Shankar
Fireflies - An Opinion
I was away for couple of days photographing fireflies at a remote jungle in Western Ghats. It was indeed a fascinating world to watch them. I spent two days photographing them, thanks to a few friends who helped me witness and photograph this magic.
Lot to write about the experience, however I am traveling again for next 4-5 days. Will share some thoughts after I return. Till then, here is an 'opinion' about fireflies, a multiple exposure image.
Sat Apr 22, 2023 6:48 am
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Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Fine Art Nature Photography

Ganesh H Shankar  Joined CNP On 24 Apr 2008    Total Image posts 905    -   Total Image Comments 7740    -   Image Post to Comment Ratio 1:9    -   Image Comment Density 38     -     Total Forum Posts 956

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Commentby Adithya Biloor on Sat Apr 22, 2023 12:30 pm

I remember you talking about your idea of depicting them in this way long back ( similar to Jackson Pollock's paintings) .
Where did you shoot these?
They haven't come here in good numbers here.

Adithya Biloor

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Apr 24, 2023 11:59 am

Dear Friends, sorry for the delayed response. I was traveling and will be away again for a few days till end of this week. My replies may be delayed.

Adithya, I made this at a remote place in Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamilnadu.

Back to the image I have learnt a few things about making firefly images. An important revelation is about the conditions of making images and its final appearance. Interestingly, any meaningful photo will require a long exposure. Even when the exposure is single, the image invariably will be a multiple exposure image! This is because the fireflies may flash many times during that single exposure. I roughly measured time interval between synchronous flashes. It was approximately about 3-4 seconds. An important consequence of this is if you expose the image for about 20 seconds then fireflies (depending up on sub species) may flash about 5 times. This will result in highly bloated numbers and visually very exaggerated rendering! If there were 1000 fireflies you may see about 5000 registrations since these fireflies may move a few centimeters during the exposure and flashing multiple times. That said, watching thousands of them all around you, flashing in a synchronous manner is itself an amazing experience. I don't know what mechanism these fireflies use for this synchronous display. I am sure Nature knows even if fireflies don't.

Surrounded by thousands of twinkling fireflies I was lost. I was not sure what to and how to photograph. As Adithya mentioned I just wanted to capture these twinkling trails and movements and fill them in a frame. While I kind of liked these abstract strokes filling the frame as desired, I also feel guilty of rendering those rhythmic dances and flashes into frame filling lifeless strokes. I do think Pollock's paintings, though they appear as random strokes, are greatly controlled to express his feeling. There is an inexplicable order in his random strokes. Here, such a control is impossible. Only a video could have done some justice to those rhythmic flashes amidst myriads of songs of the forest. That said, I still kind of like this final rendering, of course I take this with a pinch of salt.

Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Fine Art Nature Photography

» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Tue Apr 25, 2023 6:41 am; edited 1 time in total

Commentby jayesh joshi on Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:52 pm

One of the best Abstract art i have seen. Great idea & execution...A great wall hanger for sure.

Thanks for the details on firefly behaviour & photography.

Commentby Anders Wahlund on Wed May 03, 2023 1:09 am

Very effectful. A good idea and a fantastic result!

Commentby Sarthak Agrawal on Wed May 03, 2023 6:29 pm

I can look at this for long. Superb idea and brilliantly executed.

Commentby Tapan Sheth on Mon Jun 05, 2023 12:06 pm

I am totally amazed. still to witness this magic yet.

Tapan Sheth

Commentby Aniket R Thopate on Fri Sep 15, 2023 1:31 pm

When I saw this image for first time, till this comment I couldnt decide how to spell my words. I would say an amazing start for a great upcoming thought on fireflies, nature etc. Loved the fillup. And I would also like to see the print or your views about print this image @ Ganesh sir.

Aniket Thopate
Nature is a religion of an artist