FireWorks and FireFlies
of 2004 July 4th in Frederick MD

      On July 4th evening, I went to Frederick downtown to see the annual fireworks dedicated to US Independence Day.
      What features the celebration of the Independence Day in Frederick MD is the combination of traditional fireworks and traditional swarms of fireflies which appear in the end of June and reach their peak just in the beginning of July accompanying Independence Day ceremonies.
      The fireflies are the flying beetles that make light. They are pretty big: up to 1.0-1.5cm in length. Their light has bright light-blue or light-green color and lasts 1.0-1.5sec. After that a 30-60sec "dark" pause follows that ends with a new flash. The fireflies live on the trees, in the bush or just in the grass, and sometimes the site inhabited with fireflies looks like a "sparking forest" or "sparking meadow": so many bright but tiny lights are simultaneously appearing and disappearing in each moment. One day, such "sparking meadow" seemed to me as the surface of lake or pond ruffling by the wind under the Moon or stars light.
      Usually the July 4th fireworks start in Frederick around 9:00PM-9:15PM and last about 30 minutes while the fireflies come out around 8PM and last till the middle of night. Some years we have the real swarms of them ( when they even get into the houses ), but other years we have just some fireflies, not a lot. Anyway, they prefer hot and wet weather and like to stay next to the sources of water or just in wet places. So, if the summer is hot and wet, and if there is a source of water next to your place, you will have a lot of fireflies around you and may be even in your home...
      There is about half of hour walking from my home to the place where they make the fireworks, so I left home a quarter past eight to have enough time to occupy a convenient place and to try to catch images of fireflies by my way there. I have never succeeded to catch the fireflies with my camera, but this time the success was waiting for me. First time in my life I managed to make the images of fireflies hanging above the meadow ( see three first images ): the red arrows point the fireflies' sparks. Note: Don't confuse the orange light of the window at the top-right part of the images with the bright cyan light of the fireflies.
      Regarding the fireworks itself, it was a nice show that lasted about half of hour. There were so many people in the city part adjoining to the place where from the shots were being made, that I even failed to get close enough to see how the firework machine works. Everybody was sitting in the folding chairs or sitting just on the grass or just standing and waiting for the show to begin. In spite of I failed to get as close as I want, I enjoyed the show and made a lot of images ( see below ) regardless the slight rain began in the end of the ceremony.
      The last two images are the refreshment area ( cold drinks, hotdogs, etc... ) as well as the Bell Tower that performed a nice music after the show was over.
      Walking back I hoped to make more images of fireflies, but the rain was turning stronger and stronger and by the time I was passing the meadow where I made the first successful images of the fireflies I revealed that all the insects had hid.
      So... More fireflies images next time...
See the images ( each image can be increased by double-click )