Well, I finally made it over to the Smokies for the annual viewing of the synchronous fire flies.. It has been several years and I had ideas of how I wanted to shoot it. Loaded with gear and some idea of where we wanted to go, my step son Daniel and I headed out after supper. My goal was to shoot one of the first images of Nature Photography Day.. Since we started out on the 14th of June and Nature Photography Day wasn’t until the 15th (today), we would have to shoot until after midnight for me to achieve my goal. We ended up just above the Chimney’s Picnic area in a spot I have shot many times for wildflowers in the spring. It looked promising, but with few lightning bugs by 9pm, I was starting to get dubious about our chances. But by 10 pm the fire flies were in full display. It looked like the most awesome Christmas light display you have ever seen, but no electricity and controller by Mother Nature. I tried numerous shots, including some 5-6 minute images and tried some video (on the Nikon D3S). I found that an eight (8) second exposure at f 2.8 at ISO 25600 was the best. Had a little noise, but that cleaned up well in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I chose images with lights from fire flies in different spots and then layered them in Adobe Photoshop CS5 using Difference blending and the resulting image comes closest to the real live experience.. I did shoot a Timelapse of 180 RAW images that then got cleaned up in Lightroom and made into a movie. I would like to go back and run some different time lapse rates to see if I can get a true representation of the synchronous lighting going on among the trees. I half expected to hear a soundtrack from a Trans Siberean Orchestra playing out of the trees to accompany the spectacular light show.
If you are interested in attending workshops with me, go to http://www.billcampbelldigital.com and go to the Schedule/ Multi Day Workshops for the Oregon or Great Smoky Mountains workshops in October and keep a watch for the workshop with Jamie Davidson at Chincoteague in November. Info coming soon