The Beautiful Flight Paths of Fireflies

By Jesse Rhodes

Images by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu

For nearly a decade, amateur photographer Tsuneaki Hiramatsu spent his summer evenings in the forests outside Niimi, in Japan’s Okayama prefecture. He was intent on capturing the spectacle of firefly mating season, when the males and females vie for attention through blinking codes.

Read more about Tsuneaki’s work and see more of his photos in the February issue of Smithsonian Magazine or online at