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  • Writer's pictureOat Vaiyaboon

Fireflies and Glowworms

Long story short - we found some fireflies and glowworms, it was EPIC!* Please feel free to share it via FB function. Please contact me for media use.

Quick 360 video here:

*All done in camera with minimal adjustment. Thanks to Lume Cube Air and Samyang Lens Global new 14mm AF. Shot on my trusty Canon Australia 5DIII and a Benro Australia Carbon Fiber tripod.

On Monday night, a mate and myself went deep into the woods of the Blue Mountains, 3hrs away from the the CBD, we were on the hunt for the mysterious Sydney fireflies. With tips from others and researches on the world wide web. We settled for this camp ground near Kurrajong Heights. There was a light misty rain and thick fog coming in as we descend on the fire trail. The sign says 4WDs dry condition access only, the ground wasn't that damp and slope was manageable in our 4WDs.

We popped out in this valley floor camp site, roughly the size of two football fields. The only other people were two couples camping nearby.

Camp site in the mist
Camp ground in the middle of the valley

With daylight fading away fast, we knew it would be pitch black by the time we got back to the car. I had my phone out with a GPS tracking app running, mapping the path in so that I could find my way out again. I also marked the trail in my phone with arrows at almost every intersection, pointing in the direction of the campground/car. It was 85% humidity, 22ºc, low cloud calm dark night, not quite ideal conditions for fireflies, but we pushed on.

About 20min into the trek, we found a clearing in the middle of the bush, with ferns carpeting the forrest floor, this would have to be the spot for fireflies. I marked it on the GPS, then we push on to the waterfalls. At the end of the path lay a tiny waterfall in the middle of a tall canyon. There wasn't much water and for a good reason, it wouldn't be fun with lots of water inside a confined space. At this point, the last light was fading fast. Having seen glow worms in various other places, and judging by the conditions in the area, wet, damp, dark, I knew that they might be here. I didn't think too much about it as I was more interest in seeing fire flies and being inside this canyon was awe-inspiring enough.

About 5-10min passed, tiny blue dots started to appear on the canyon wall, there wasn't many....then all of a sudden, a mate called out "FIREFLY HERE!" I turn around to see a single blinking light high above the canyon. It was time for us to head back to the clearing.

fireflies glowing into the night
Fireflies among the ferns

glowworm silk hanging from the ceiling
Glow worm silk with faint blue dot on the ceiling

As we walked back, we could see a few blinking lights here and there. We settled on a spot just under a large gum tree to get out of the rain, more and more tiny blinking lights started to appear, then all of the sudden, we were surrounded by these tiny flying bioluminescent insects! They were flying around us, our cameras and even landing on it. There were sworm of them flying around. I think the light rain do lessen to number of them flying around, we decided to see if more glow worms were about.

It was pitch black, we headed back to the waterfalls, as we entered back into the canyon, the torches were turned off and when our eyes adjusted, I experienced the most breathtaking sight I have ever witnessed of the natural wonders of the world (well, besides my wife in her wedding dress). Tiny blue dots littered the whole canyon, in almost 360º, we were awed!!! This is by far one of the most dense clusters of glow worms anywhere that I have seen. I've seen them at a Lithgow glowworm tunnel, Helensberge tunnel, Mulba Gully in VIC, Natural Arch in QLD, etc.

Glowworms and waterfalls in the background
Glowworms littered the canyon

I kept my light to a minimum as some reports say that glowworms can turn off their lights for up to 15min if disturbed with bright light. The light I used was on the lower power setting, a full moon would have been brighter. After reviewing all the images, the light from the worms stayed in the same spots, but more and more came on as the night darkened.

Light at the end was a Lume Cube Air with a leaf placed on top to give it a warm glow showing the canyon and the waterfall. Special thank you to Samyang Lens Global for the lens that I was only possible to capture it all in with the new Auto focus 14mm f/2.8

Shot with:

Canon 5D MKIII

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 AF

30" f/2.8 ISO3200

Lume Cube Air

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