How much do you know about fireflies (also known as lightning bugs)? Have you seen them up close and personal? One summer in Iowa, a little child named Matthew, he was catching fireflies, and he had one firefly standing on his finger. We were both staring at the glowing bug, quietly, fascinated. ~ Anika
To learn more about fireflies and the art of capturing their beauty, we went to award winning nature photographer, Radim Schreiber
, who has made it his mission to capture their magic unlike anyone else before. Be prepared to be blown away!
"It is important to me that I portray fireflies in their natural beauty and environment. I use most advanced low-light photography equipment because I have chosen not to use a flash or artificial lighting. My approach allows the glow of a firefly to show in its true luminosity. In order to preserve the moment in time exactly as I saw it, I do not manipulate the images in Photoshop." ~ Radim S. Radim Schreiber, who was born in the Czech Republic, is an artist/photographer and cinematographer. His passion for photography began while photographing insects during his college years in Iowa, which led him to achieve an outstanding student award. After completing his BFA at Maharishi University of Management he started working for The Sky Factory as a nature photographer, cinematographer and digital artist. His job has allowed him to travel extensively, work with the latest photographic technologies, and to work alongside his talented artist colleagues. Radim has won multiple national and international photography competitions, including the Smithsonian Magazine Photography contest.
We asked him about his latest photography project: The Bioluminescent Glow of Fireflies and here are some interesting stories. What inspired you to photograph fireflies? R:
When I first moved to Iowa, I was mesmerized by the abundance and brightness of fireflies during summer nights. I had never seen anything like that in Czech Republic, during my childhood. I fell in love of fireflies, and the idea for this project was born. It was in 2003, and I was on the plane when I felt inspired. So, I made a sketch on a paper; it was a glowing firefly on a silhouetted blade of grass, with the moon in the background and the dark blue sky. Since then I had this image in my head, waiting for the right time to materialize.
Viewing all these incredible firefly photos, it's obvious that your dream has come true in a way. When did you start photographing fireflies?R: It wasn't until new advancements of low light capabilities of the latest camera equipment were sufficient enough to photograph fireflies. For last five years, each summer I would photograph and video record fireflies.
What are some of the challenges do you face when you photograph fireflies, it can't be that simple?R: The most challenging aspect of firefly photography is the fleeting nature of fireflies. When they glow, they like to fly or move. They never seem to be still for very long, and so I struggled to quickly compose my shots, focus was sometimes almost complete darkness and took the photo right when the firefly illuminated... and all that when being bitten by other insects. This truly shows my patience sometimes ;-)
For the past four summers, I spent countless evening and night hours photographing fireflies. I crawled in ditches and swamps, getting attacked by mosquitoes and chiggers - all to get the best photos. Eventually the mosquitoes go to sleep and I start to enjoy the real magic, fireflies below and stars above.
How do you feel emotionally while photographing fireflies (besides feeling the hundreds of mosquito bites)?R:
When I photograph fireflies I feel connected to the nature and the whole universe. Fireflies are illuminated beings guiding on my life journey.
What is your ultimate vision for this amazing firefly project?R: I believe that fireflies open doors to joy, magic and deep connection with nature. It is my mission to use the latest technology to represent fireflies in the best light possible and, understand and communicate their message to the world. I believe that fireflies have power to connect with various cultures and bring connection and understanding among them.
Can you tell us a little about your photography technique in capturing these beautiful insects?
R: I do not manipulate any of the firefly photographs. I use standard photography techniques such as basic contrast or color adjustment. The glow is the same glow as camera captured it. I took all the photos of fireflies in their natural environment, without flash or any other artificial lighting. I believe that this is the only way to preserve its true luminosity and bioluminescent glow.
Any interesting facts about fireflies that you would like to share with us?R:
There are a few:
Flashing of a firefly is a mating ritual.
Bioluminescent light of fireflies doesn’t produce heat.
Population of fireflies has been declining around the world.
What are your future goals?R: I would like to photograph fireflies and other bioluminescent forms in various countries, oceans, and display their glowing beauty around the world in galleries, shows, three dimensional displays, books, movies, documentaries and more.
How can we learn more about your work and stay connected, how do we contact you to collaborate?R:
Please visit http://www.fireflyexperience.org for more info. :)
Radim currently resides and works in Fairfield, Iowa with his adorable toddler son and beautiful wife. Fairfield, a small and very special town, is also known for being a bustling hub of Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement, the largest spiritual movement in the world.
2012 - Editor's favorite submissions to the photo contest. National Geographic Photo Contest2011 – National Wildlife Photo Contest – 1st place in Backyard Habitat category2011 – Smithsonian Photo Contest – 1st place in The Natural World category2011 - International Garden Photographer of the Year Photography Contest - 2nd place2010 – Galapagos Conservancy Photo Contest – Winner2009 – The Rainforest Alliance Photo Contest – Grand Prize2008 – The Rainforest Alliance Photo Contest – Grand Prize
For more photos and videos, visit Firefly Experience
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