Every June, the largest gathering of fireflies illuminates Elkmont Ghost Town in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a mating ritual in which the males fireflies flash their beacons, then shut off their lights to await a feminine reply.
They require total darkness to mate. Thus the Nation Park Service has limited the use of lights and the number of people who can be in the region during the firefly mating season.
Filmmaker Harun Mehmedinovic filmed the dance of lights as part of the SKYGLOW project, a crowdfunded quest to raise awareness about urban light pollution. His time-lapse film, “Elkmont Symphony,” premiered on BBC Earth.
An idyllic day settles into a night for flying romance. At dusk, lights streak across the sky like shooting stars grazing the Earth. The cool shadows of the forest floor deepen. The mating dance flashes and flickers like fireworks.
After a night of magic, a dreamlike misty morning spreads over the mountains.