The pictures were taken at night by Trevor Williams and Jonathan Galione of Tdub Photo, a company that specialises in commercial and editorial photography in Japan. The unique collection of images shows Vargula Hilgendorfii, more commonly known as sea fireflies or “umihotaru”, lighting up an area of the Seto Inland Sea, the body of water that separates the Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu islands of Japan.
The tiny crustaceans are only three millimetres long and live in the sand in shallow water. Although they can wash up on the shoreline, in order to photograph such a large collection at the same time the, pair had to get inventive.
“We bought several big glass jars from a hardware store, the kind Japanese people often use for making sake at home. We drilled a few holes in the lid before covering them with heavy duty tape and rope. Next, we added bait in the form of raw bacon, putting a few pieces into each jar and securing the lids before setting them into the water,” Jonathan explained.
“It’s important to spread the jars out and not to just drop them all in one area. That way you can maximise your catch. This is where the rope comes in handy. By running the top back to the beach and tying it a rock or stick, you can ensure that you don’t lose track of your jars and prevent them from getting washed out with the tide,” Trevor said.
After that, Jon and Trevor let the jars sit for an hour before pulling them out to reveal a catch of hundreds of sea fireflies that were then let loose on the shore and photographed.
Jonathan and Trevor have been living and working in Japan for several years, shooting a wide range of subjects. “A big part of what we do is working as a team. Our subjects are often difficult to photograph alone but we enjoy getting the opportunity to shoot dynamic things that are not common in photography. It’s also very nice to be outdoors working with creative friends”, said Trevor.