Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Firefly Season

I was amazed by the number of fireflies flashing in the HuiSun Forest Station about 10 years ago. It was nothing like being occasionally visited by a lost lighting bug in a suburban area; hundreds of thousands of little fluorescent lights shimmering in bushes at the same time making the scene a festival like a Xmas lighting show. A few years ago, I visited the DongShi Forest Area and was touched by these fallen stars dancing around in the forest and the craving for a firefly trip tickles me whenever the temperature raises. Last week, I took a vacation and paid a visit to these long-lost friends in DongShi and HuiSun Forest Areas.

There is a good bargain to be had if you reserve a room on the DongShi Forest Area's website. A cabin with 2 king-sized beds, breakfast, entrence fee and parking, Spa, tour and coupons for a meal and tea are all included in the package of an overnight trip for only NT$2,999 for 2 persons (NT$3,999 for 4 persons). The firefly tour starts at 19:00 and 20:00 daily in front of the registration building. There are 4 trails for firefly seeing in DongShi Forest Area and are well indicated with direction signs. (Map of DongShi Forest Area)

There are two trails for firefly seeing in Huisun Forest station. With red LED lights along the trails, it's easy to find your way back without a guide. Group tour is given daily at 18:50 in the parking area across the shop. Light polution from cars driving by makes Huisun forest a less enjoyable venue for firefly seeing but the beautiful formosan blue magpie makes it worth it.

The Luciola cerata Olivier is the most common species that can be seen all over Taiwan from the begining of April to the middle of May. The peak of firefly courtship is from 19:00 to 21:00. I tried to catch these horny fairies with my camera by long time exposure, luckily the moon light helped to present the depth of view by lighting up the forest a bit. Here are some tips for firefly shooting: ISO 400 or above; aperture: as big as possible; exposure: 2mins to 10mins depending on ambient lighting and ISO/aperture combination; focal length in 35mm film: 50mm or above (fluorescent lights are indistinguishable from the background when the focal length is too short (example); too much zoom-in limits the number of fireflies on screen); focus: Manual (set to infinite); flash light: off.

Venues for firefly sighting in Taiwan

View Firefly Sighting in a larger map


Robert Scott Kelly said...

Great stuff. Thanks for the useful tips.

Fotozon said...

Thanks for the inspirational post. I'm excited to go out in the hills now and look for some fireflies in the evening.

Secure Car Parking Luton said...

I have never photographed fireflies before, but its seems like a good change.

honnie said...

Are there fireflies in dongshih in december too?