Watch a Gorgeous Time-lapse Video of Fireflies

Slate’s animal blog.
March 27 2014 4:00 PM

Gorgeous Time-lapse Video of Fireflies


Photographer Vincent Brady’s most recent project uses an unusual light source: the mesmerizing glow of the firefly. His time-lapse photographs and videos are nothing short of stunning. The artist spent the summer of 2013 chasing the insects around Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and his hometown of Grand Ledge, Mich. He exercised a diverse set of skills including long-exposure image stacking, meticulous editing, and steering a pontoon boat through narrow creeks on moonless nights.

The fireflies fill the frames with a frenzied movement that enables Brady to express a sense of transience against still ponds and starry skies. This romantic nod to non-permanence may recall a lost childhood pastime, but for the artist, the insects’ unpredictability sometimes created more practical challenges. The exact time and place of the firefly “disco,” he told me, often depended upon heat, humidity, and even the phase of the moon—they prefer to “throw down” in relative darkness, he says.


But it is in this erratic behavior that the artist most admires the insects. As he writes on his website, “Fireflies just bless you with their presence, light up, make love, and call it a life.” Brady captures the whole cycle in his frames.

Audrey Wilson is a Slate intern in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
Sept. 19 2014 3:24 PM Why Innovators Hate MBAs
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.