There are few things more enchanting than the sight of a tiny firefly, lighting up the night sky with its luminescent glow. Imagine that multiplied by hundreds and thousands, and the effect is almost overwhelming. At the height of hotaru (firefly) season in Japan—around June and July—the rare opportunity to experience such an incredible spectacle is proffered to the lucky wanderer. Daniel Kordan, a Russian landscape photographer who has long been fascinated by the beauty of nature, had the rare opportunity to see the breathtaking performance for himself. And even better than that, he managed to capture the mystical beauty of the display and transmit its awe-inspiring nature in spectacular photographic detail.
“I felt like a kid looking for the first time in my life at a Christmas tree!” Kordan tells My Modern Met. “It was so exciting and enchanting, like magic. At a certain moment, the fireflies synchronize and start blinking synchronously. Yellow-green flashes light up the forest with dim light, and for a few milliseconds you can see mysterious shrines and the dreamy bamboo forest.”
Of course, capturing this magical sight was no easy feat. In fact, it takes a lot of planning and preparation to catch these remarkable creatures at the peak of their extraordinary light show. Luckily, Kordan offers a bit of sage advice for anyone who hopes to capture the captivating production for themselves.
“Fireflies are very sensitive to ecological conditions,” the photographer reveals. “Unfortunately, they are not the best in the last few years, so it's starting to be very challenging to find fireflies. Sometimes it's just two or three days when they light up. And you can find this information only among local photographers. So try to establish relations with local photographers to have insight on when and where to see the fireflies.”