During a trip to Japan, an influential wildlife and landscape photographer named Daniel Kordan captured the magic and beauty of some very unique subjects: fireflies. In order to get pictures of fireflies, Daniel combined his photography with his background in mountain climbing and hiking, and he gathered scouting insight from locals in Japan. We recently caught up with Daniel to get the backstory to these amazing images. Let’s get to it!
Daniel Kordan Interview
What inspired you to create these photos?
I am nature photographer and I’m always looking for very special nature phenomena. I also happen to like watching anime and I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki pictures.
(Find more of portfolio-worthy landscape photos in our collection here.)
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of these photos?
The biggest challenge is to be in the right place at the right time for fireflies. Because of a bad ecology situation, fireflies can disappear. They are very sensitive and need to live in a very clean air environment. Plus, their breeding period depends on a lot of factors like rain (humidity), temperature, etc. That said, capturing pictures of fireflies involves a lot of scouting.
What cameras, lenses and lighting gear were used to create the photos?
Do you have a favorite photo from the series? If so, what is it and why?
From this set of pictures of fireflies, I think I’d have to pick the image with the bamboo forest and path. It was so dark there and the forest is just like from a movie or anime set. I had never seen such an amazing bamboo forest in my life. I was totally alone there, in pure darkness other than the light from the fireflies.
For photographers looking to create impactful images like this, could you share your process of coming up with your concepts and ideas?
In regards to this specific concept, you must have local friends in Japan. It is just impossible without them to find the best places to go. We needed to call so many people to help us locate the best spots for capturing pictures of fireflies. I would also suggest concentrating on Kyushu island. Whatever the occasion and whenever possible, I recommend using local guides. For pictures of fireflies in Japan, I used this guide: https://www.fukuoka-now.com/en/fukuoka-firefly-watching-guide/
What are you currently working on? What’s next?
I am working on my expeditions in Russia as I cannot travel internationally due to Covid. Luckily, Russia has plenty to offer in wild nature.
More About Daniel Kordan
Daniel Kordan is an International award-winning photographer with top-tier clients like Apple, Gazprom Neft’, S7 Airlines, and RedBull. He grew up around Moscow in Russia and started his photography journey in early childhood, focusing mainly on nature and wildlife photography. Through his university studies (Physics and Technology), Daniel also gained experience in mountain climbing and hiking, guiding tourist groups during winter and in the summer, leading photo workshops, and working as the Chief Editor of Continent Expedition Magazine.
With 1.6 million followers on social media, Daniel Kordan has become one of the most influential photographers on the planet. His workshops have enjoyed immense success in the nature and landscape field. Daniel is also a partner in an Iceland photo tours company that offers photography tours to more than 45 countries around the world with more than 3500 clients per year (before the pandemic).
You can find more of Daniel Kordan’s work at the links below: