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[Tips] How to take photos of fireflies

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Wayne_ASUS TWN Moderator | All posts
Last edited by Wayne_ASUS on 2018/8/16 15:43

Original article author: doggykoon

In the past, whenever I got a new smartphone I would go straight to Hehuan Mountain to take photos of the starry night sky, but this year I did something different with the Zenfone5.
I’ve always wanted to use a smartphone to take photos of fireflies, but taking photos of fireflies with a smartphone is not like taking photos of the starry sky, where I could just set up the tripod and set the exposure for 32 seconds and be done.
There are two difficulties:

1. No shutter B

Most of the gorgeous photos of fireflies on the internet were captured using the shutter B of SLR cameras with an exposure of over five minutes in order to get photos that truly capture the fireflies, but smartphones do not have this function. However, this can be achieved by merging several photos.

2. No long-focal lens

Fireflies can be shot into dots because of using SLR with long-focal lens; however, lens cannot be changed for smartphones, or the performance of the lens plugin is poor.
We can only give up for this part…

I made a small prop before leaving the house, it was cut out using the package of an ASUS motherboard~

The LCD screen still clearly emits light even under completely dark environments, so this prop is used to cover the light of the screen in order to prevent interfering with the life of the fireflies.
This is how it looks when the prop is mounted on the smartphone.

There’s an opening where the screen is covered,this is for me to see whether the long exposure has ended. The icon to switch between the front and rear camera was white before I started taking photos.

After pressing the shutter and starting the long exposure, it will turn gray.

So how do you press the shutter when the screen is covered?
It's best if you can prepare a Bluetooth camera controller, as this makes it easier so that you don’t have to bend down and stay on the side. This time I used the volume key on the headphones to press the shutter.

Now it's time to head to Namasia; on the map it looks like it's almost in central Taiwan, but it's still considered to be within Kaohsiung City. It's actually closer to get there from Chiayi.

It didn't record the shooting process; it was so dark on-location and had nearly zero visibility. The flashlight on the smartphone or an additional flashlight must be turned on to record, and that will affect the ecosystem of the fireflies,so let's just look at the shooting results.

Basically, these were all shot blindly. I just set up the smartphone on the tripod and placed it there,and tried to adjust the angle according to feelings. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the longer tripod, so I was unable to compose the photos…

The settings of the smartphone are as shown below, I purposely adjusted the focus at that point, so that it might be able to focus on the grass at a certain distance when the phone is placed close to the stacks of grass.

This is how the single shot photo turned out. They were all iso1600, f/1.8, 32s

I took 19 photos at one location, and 33 at another.

The software I used to merge the photos was Startrails
Click the link below to watch its tutorial:

Now let's look at the merged photos after a little post-production.
The merged photo of 19 photos

Merged photo of 33 photos

After merging, it feels like there was a bunch of fireflies; I think that’s the best you can do when taking photos of fireflies with a smartphone.

Finally, I must remind you to wear long pants and shoes when go watching fireflies, unlike me, who went in short pants and slippers, I stepped on a snake and almost pissed myself.  

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Wow! I'm going to try it soon! The smartphone cover made of a box is super creative!
Wayne_ASUS TWN Moderator | All posts
Agree! Zenfans always impressed me.
IDN Level 1 | All posts
Nice article, its inspired me to learn and try it with my zc554kl, but i'm not to sure about my camera
VNM Level 1 | All posts
I can't to perfom on Asus Zenfone 4 Max ZC520KL, it no have shutter 32s
BRA Level 1 | All posts
If I have  Zenfone 3 without rear camera focus because ASUS firmware update damaged my phone??  Asus, we'll ever never forget you about that! Be responsible and assume you responsibility!!
CZE Level 2 | All posts
It is awesome. Good job. Very nice photos. 
BRA Level 1 | All posts
Meu fone não tá pegando com essa nova atualização.
Quando vai sair o Android 8 para zenfone 4 selfie?
BGD Level 1 | All posts
Why my asus zenfone 3 max back camera is not clear...
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