Fabulous Fireflies in the Smokies
Weekend Photo Tour & Workshop

June 8-10, 2018
Limit: 8
Location: Based in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Online Registration for Fabulous Fireflies in the Smokies

Click here if you’d prefer registering by mail with a personal check

Be a kid again and make great photos at the same time!

Who didn’t catch fireflies—lighting bugs for us southerners—as a kid and put them in a jar? Well, now you can be a kid again! We won’t be catching fireflies during this photo tour, but we will be capturing them on our camera sensors.

Have you ever wished you could do something truly unique with your photography? Here’s your chance. You won’t find an event like this anywhere else. I’ve spent a great deal of time refining the technique of photographing fireflies in their environment and I’ll share these techniques with you during this firefly photo workshop.

You will be doing things with your camera that you never imagined!

What you will photograph

Fireflies in various settings in the Smokies.
Other potential night-photography subjects, including light streaks, cabins, barns, and cascades.

What you will learn

Basic natural history of fireflies.
How to photograph fireflies in their natural surroundings.
How to capture fireflies and photograph them in jars without harming them. (We will not be capturing fireflies during this photo tour.)
How to process firefly photos.
Various light painting techniques.
General night photography techniques.

General itinerary

We will meet at 4:00pm on Friday, June 8. I will give a program on photographing fireflies and basic post processing. We will have dinner as a group and then spend the rest of the evening in the field photographing. We will stay out as late as the group, or any individual, desires.

Saturday during the day is on your own. You can sleep as late as you like and then photograph as you wish in the park. We will meet again as a group at 4:00pm. We will then have a classroom session where I will process some of the photos that participants shot the night before. We will have dinner as a group and then spend the rest of the evening in the field photographing fireflies and other night subjects. We will stay out as late as the group, or any individual, desires.

We will meet again as a group on Sunday morning at 10:00am for a final hour-long discussion of shooting and processing techniques.

Special considerations

This is a night-photography event. As such, we will be staying out late at night and possibly well into the morning. You should come willing to adjust your normal sleep patterns for the weekend. We do not have any group-related activities planned during the day, so you can use that time to catch up on sleep or as you wish.

This is more important than you might realize. You are paying to learn how to photograph at night, not during the day. If you get sleepy and decide to go back to the hotel at 9:30 pm, that’s certainly not a problem for me. But it sure will be a waste of your money. Please, take advantage of this opportunity!

Important note

We will not photograph lightning bugs at Elkmont in the park. This location has become extremely popular, so much so that you can no longer drive your car there and are restricted to riding park buses. The locations where we will shoot are little known and we will have them mostly to ourselves. Yes, we will photograph “synchronous” fireflies, just like those at Elkmont.

While our shooting locations are not as well known as the Elkmont location and therefore do not suffer from some of the associated problems, they are nonetheless susceptible to careless disregard of the environment. All participants on this photo tour will be expected to conduct themselves appropriately for the well-being of the lightning bugs and their habitat.

Please note that I will not reveal these shooting locations to anyone other than registered participants and I will ask all participants to use discretion with their knowledge.

One more important note

I have chosen this weekend for the best chance of photographing the fireflies during peak flashing activity. However, many factors contribute to the peak period and there is no guarantee that we will be there during the peak. Also, the fireflies are active in most weather conditions, including light rain. However, during a heavy rain they will not be flying. While it is highly unlikely that we will have two nights of continuous downpours in the Smokies during June, the possibility does exist.

Please understand that refunds cannot be provided if nature doesn’t cooperate.

What you must bring

You will receive a detailed packing list when you register. One thing I will mention now is that all participants must bring a flashlight that has a red light. Red light maintains night vision, does not affect the fireflies as much, and is not as disruptive to other people who may be viewing the fireflies.

What is included:

Guiding and photo instruction.
Snacks, soft drinks, and water for the field.

What is not included

Transportation (carpooling is encouraged).


Lodging is not included and you are free to stay where you like. Our host hotel is Bearskin Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. www.thebearskinlodge.com 865-430-4330

Cancellation Policy

We will provide a 100% refund up to 90 days prior to the event, minus a $100 processing fee. Cancellations made between 90 days and 30 days prior to the event will be refunded 50%. No refunds will be given for cancellations made within 30 days of the event. However, if we are able to fill your space, we will provide a full refund, minus a $100 processing fee, regardless of when you cancel.

More information:

Please read the general information regarding all events. There’s some stuff in there that you need to know. When you register for an event, I will send you detailed information, including a packing list and specific info about the location and time at which the event starts. If you need more information before you register, please contact me through email or call 336-870-4283.