Tag Archives: smoky mountains

Synchronous Fireflies | Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In early June I was able to attend an event I have been hoping to see for quite some time, and that is the Synchronous Fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains. Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.
Fireflies (also called lightning bugs) are beetles. They take from one to two years to mature from larvae, but will live as adults for only about 21 days. While in the larval stage, the insects feed on snails and smaller insects. Once they transform into their adult form, they do not eat.

Their light patterns are part of their mating display. Each species of firefly has a characteristic flash pattern that helps its male and female individuals recognize each other.  Most species produce a greenish-yellow light; one species has a bluish light.  The males fly and flash and the usually stationary females respond with a flash. Peak flashing for synchronous fireflies in the park is normally within a two-week period in late May to mid-June.

No one is sure why the fireflies flash synchronously. Competition between males may be one reason: they all want to be the first to flash. Or perhaps if the males all flash together they have a better chance of being noticed, and the females can make better comparisons.

The fireflies do not always flash in unison. They may flash in waves across hillsides, and at other times will flash randomly. Synchrony occurs in short bursts that end with abrupt periods of darkness.

Here is a pic from the Firefly Event,  the pic doesn’t do it justice. This is truly an event that must be witnessed, even after a few days I still couldn’t convey the words on exactly what happened !!

The lights from the fireflies moved in waves up and down Elkmont Valley where we positioned ourselves, the pattern seemed to start far from us and be in strips of thousands of lights and would then stream across the bottom right toward us and then stop at our feet.

Then continuing on across the road at our backs towards the other side of the valley floor. There would be burst of 5 flashes quickly then it would stop for 10 seconds or so and then repeat in an almost frenzied fashion !!

The human reaction was incredible, when we first arrived hundreds of people were packed along the old roadbed that runs along the valley floor, many with lawn chairs and blankets making you think you were attending a fireworks show.

At first as the light faded you could feel the crowd growing impatient, people were laughing and talking and when one little firefly would appear they would remark is that it…I even began to wonder myself !!

The Park Rangers assured us to be patient and wait for the show, When it started the crowd was amazing, people at fireworks display usually oh and ah thru the whole event, but here there was an incredible silence as if the fear of your voice would scare them off and they would stop the beautiful display they were sharing with us.

Many in the crowd were brought to tears, including my wife, they were overwhelmed with such joy and amazement that the emotion displayed was almost as cool as the fireflies !!

Ok after this way too long post here is the pic, like I said before they are not that good and they don’t really represent what I witnessed but it is something I will have forever to help me remember that warm wonderful summer evening !!

fireflys 2 2014


Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains

Here are a few more images from a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This time I thought I might share a few shots from the Cucumber Gap Trail “love the name” a trail which begins just above the Elkmont campground and makes a wonderful 5 mile loop that travels up thru a lovely hardwood forest and then loops back along a rushing boulder strewn river.

The trail is covered in beautiful wildflowers and here are an example of three that I really liked, Painted Trillium,Foam Flower and Beaked Violet. These are just a few of the indelible number of wildflowers that grow in the Smoky Mountains.  I just wish I had the time to share all of them, I hope you enjoy these and if you ever get to the park in the spring definitely make Cucumber Gap Trail a must for any hike you take !!

 

 

Painted Trillium

 

 

painted trillium great smoky mountain national park 1 2014

 

Foam Flower

 

foam flower 1 2014

 

 

Beaked Violet

 

beaked violet 1 2014

Stream Photography

Here are a couple shots from a recent trip to the Smoky National Park that weren’t wildflowers if you can believe that, really I do shoot things other than wildflowers, you got to shoot a variety of things to keep your photography from getting too stale lol !!

I shot both of these steam images in the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park which is one of my favorite areas to work. I started with a large are a of the stream showing the environment around it and the flow of the water. Then in my next image I captured just a small area of the stream and converted it to black and white to show it in it’s abstract form.

Even though I spent most of that day working around 100 feet of that stream I was able to capture many differing variations of the flow of the water and mood of the scene as well. Hope you enjoy the images and thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                         gsmnp stream 3 2013

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                gsmnp stream 4 2013

 

Madison Indiana Wildflowers

Here is my last post on Spring Wildflowers shot at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana. I photographed many more images from this spring but just so I can get caught on my Smoky Mountain wildflowers and my summer wildflowers from Southern Indiana I think it’s time to move on to other subjects.

I will start with the Wild Columbine and then the Yellow Violet and finally my favorite Blue-Eyed Mary.

I love the vast array of color that the flowers bloom in during the spring season it is always a great time to be able to get out and photograph after a long cold winter. Hopefully you enjoyed these and I can’t wait till next spring to get out and add more to my portfolio.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day !!

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                    wild columbine 3 2013

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                             yellow violet 1 2013

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                             blue-eyed mary 3 2013

“Tremont Gold”

Have been gone all weekend to see family and celebrate my wifes birthday(won’t divulge age for fear of retribution) but I am dying for some fall color. So I thought I might post a shot from the Tremont section of the Smokies from last fall to try and get a fix for some color.

This was a pretty good day in the park I had searched all day for color and it was pretty sparse but when I came upon this section of the park it made it worth my time and effort. The afternoon light was shining down thru the yellow maple leaves and giving off this golden hue, hope you enjoy it as much as I did taking it.

                                                                                                     tremont-cascade-2.jpg