Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chasing the Blue Ghost: Act One

Sorry Gamers: the title of this post does not refer to a Pac-Man villian, but rather a very special species of firefly, Phausis reticulata –aka, 'The Blue Ghost.' This diminutive beetle is primarily only found in relatively untouched woodlands in the Appalachians although this is just the general rule. What is a constant is that they are dreadfully hard to photograph and I've somehow gotten it in my head that I can make it happen. I spent the better part of last winter daydreaming about this undertaking and now it is time to put my theories to the test.

Tonight was my first attempt in the field, and due to heavy rains, no photos were made. However, I can happily report that I saw three individuals trying to their best to look photogenic. I spent the better part of the day exploring a property owned by renowned potter Don Lewis, which also happens to be a safe-haven for the P. reticulata and several other species of fireflies. Mr. Lewis, who is arguably the world's expert on the Blue Ghost, pointed out several possible locations where the may appear over the next few weeks. All of these sites look very promising from a photographic standpoint.

During the next several weeks, I'll be reporting on my progress. It should be a very exciting couple of months.



Anonymous said...

Are you trying to get a wild, unbaited firefly lit up and in flight at night? You must love a challenge. I've failed at capturing even one in a night landscape time exposure. Good luck. I'm looking forward to the results!

Clay Bolt said...


You've got it! What else am I going to do with my time?


Maria said...

They are out in force in the DuPont National Forest area close to Brevard, NC. I have also observed some tiny white ones on the Maze trail around Bass Lake in Blowing Rock, NC. I'm fascinated with these tiny, wonderful creatures.

Allyanne said...

Were you able to photograph any? I was at the Ash Grove Campsite in Brevard, NC and they were everywhere all night long. Photographing them sounds like it could be a challenge.