Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fireflies 2011 night #1

Well one of my favorite seasons has arrived.  It is firefly season here in Japan and as a night shooter it is definitely something to look forward to.  See and read more after the jump...
Shot off a bridge.  170 seconds @ f/4 and ISO 1600.  Shot at 17mm

So here are two shots from the first night out.  I was not expecting much as it is still a little early and there was absolutely no moon.  The top shot could have definitely used some moonlight and I was forced to shoot at ISO1600 to get any sign of light on the landscape.  No moon can be a great thing but when I am shooting fireflies I think the location they are in is important and needs some light.  I could add the light myself with a flashlight but it just is not the same as some good ol' moonlight.  Another reason I did not use a flashlight was because of some fog which is great at revealing your flashlight beams to your camera which is actually a good technique(and here too) in the right situation but for this particular shot beams  cutting through the frame were unwanted.  I would not have been disappointed at all if there was a sky full of stars instead of a moon but it was clouded over.  So no moon, no stars, and few fireflies.  It was intended to be a short scouting trip from the beginning and it did end primarily as a scouting trip but a short scouting trip it definitely was not.  We checked out the places we are familiar with and scoped out a few new ones and arrived home 3 hours past our planned return time.  I am sure any night shooter knows this situation very well.  I checked back in at this same location 2 nights later with my kids and was surprised by how many more fireflies had come out in just 2 days.  I was also lucky to meet a local farmer.  I asked him if there was way to get down to the river but he warned us that the grass is full of poisonous snakes called Mamushi so we scratched that idea.  A solid reminder that some gum boots are probably a good idea for next Saturday because I am thinking mosquitoes bites are bad enough, let alone venomous snake bites, while I am out in the middle of nowhere in the dark.

Shot off a bridge.  149 seconds @ f/4 and ISO1600.  Shot at 17mm
I did not expect much from this side of the bridge due to the street light.  I tried to hide it behind the tree to at least minimize its affect on the scene which resulted in some brilliant beams as a result of the light fog.  Like I mentioned above about the flashlight beams but in this case it really added the shot.  I always have felt that street lights are generally a night shooters enemy but that is not always the case I guess.  If carefully placed in the right shot maybe you will get a surprisingly nice result.

Stay tuned for night #2 this coming Saturday.

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