Something magical happens during summer nights in Japan. Cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima hold firefly festivals where people gather to see the hotaku or fireflies light up the evening skies. Around the country, photographers visit the magical forests in remote areas from the months of May and June; all for an opportunity to photograph these glowing insects in action. Fireflies thrive in damp environment with the ideal time for them to glow being between 7am to 9pm. These shutterbugs have to be very patient to get their desired shots of the fireflies as the insects will hide from other light forms. Another challenge that comes with photographing fireflies is knowing when to take the photo as the nocturnal insect use their lights intermittently. Scientists believe the female emits flashes to communicate with males.There are many species of fireflies in Japan. The two common ones are the genji-botaru and heike-botaru. The little bugs were named after rivalling clans during the Heian period which lasted from 794 to 1185.
Some believed fireflies were the souls of soldiers who lost their lives during battle.
Photographers will use a long exposure shots to catch the intermitten bioluminescence.
Sometimes the female and male will light up in unison.
There are approximately 45 types of fireflies in Japan. Although, only about 14 actually light up.
Aside from shying away from other light forms, fireflies are known to like being around quiet and tranquil areas.
Shutterbugs will wait hours as well as days to get the perfect shot.
This allows people to see the beauty of the fireflies through the naked eye.