Enjoying Summer Fireflies

Capture lighting in a bottle and on film with these tips on enjoying the Southern summer show of fireflies.

Fill a Firefly Jar
This summer, go old-school with a good ole firefly roundup. Be bug-friendly: Keep a damp paper towel inside the jar to prevent fireflies from drying out, and use a piece of breathable fabric to cover the jar so you won’t smother the sparkling lovelies. Enjoy the glow, but be sure to release them back into the wild by the next day. Download our cute fireflies label for your next gathering.

Take a Picture
Mark Sandlin, Southern Living Director of Photography Operations, shares the following tips for catching a firefly’s luminescence. “Just be patient. It will be like trying to photograph lightning,” Mark says.

With a point-and-shoot camera: Program your camera’s ISO to 1600 or its highest possible setting. Turn off your flash, and hold the camera steady with a tripod or brace against a tree to avoid blurry shots. Shoot rapidly.

With a digital SLR: Same as with a point- and-shoot, but set your shutter speed to 125 or above (check your owner’s manual for how to do this) to stop the action. To get a streak-of-light effect, set the shutter at 30 or below (also great for shooting fireworks). Play around to get the look you want.

If you prefer film: Same as for digital SLR, but use the fastest film available—preferably 1600 ISO. Shoot lots of images to make sure you capture the one you want.