a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Glow worm update


Yesterday I was contacted by the Observatoire des Vers Luisants that is the Observatory of glow worms.  I was asked if I would be willing to repeat my “Special Mission” looking for glow worms on the same route any day from yesterday until the weekend.  I happily agreed as I find glow worm searching fun.

glow worm on grass

This time we found 14!  Much more fun than the last negative survey we had made.

Close up glow worm

We had been asked to take photographs if possible.  That is not so easy!  My built in flash is all I have got and so Macro shots have too tight a field of focus.

Male approaches female

Kourosh resorted to his old Canon PowerShot SX210IS which leaves a small black mark on the photos (cut out here).  He managed to capture the winged male edging up the ivy leaf towards the female.

Glow worms Mating

And then mating.

We even found three glowing away in our front garden – but they did not count.  I wonder if it was the 15 mm. of rain that fell during thunderstorms Sunday night/ Monday morning?  Everything feels better now.

Any advice on taking photographs of glow worms would be appreciated.


Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

26 thoughts on “Glow worm update

  1. It’s tough to take photos of a light source.


  2. How exciting to find and photograph several. I’ve no ideas on taking photos – and have never seen any in this part of the world, but maybe we haven’t searched hard enough?


  3. I’ve never seen a glow worm but you could try an LED light source. They’re adjustable and don’t cost much. I use one for mushrooms and other things that grow in dark places.


    • I’ve just been checking that out and the Macro ring flashes are cheaper than I thought they were. Another thing for my “wish list”. (I know you meant torches but that’s the problem of the internet-temptation of things we didn’t know existed.) Amelia


  4. Amelia, I use an LED head torch when on a g-w hunt…
    to avoid falling over objects, etc.
    I have used that before now when photographing night objects…
    and I have also stuck folded layers of greaseproof/tracing paper over the flash to reduce its output and diffuse the light…
    the great joy with that method is… film being free these days…
    is that you can experiment in comfort….
    a handful of vegetation in a beaker and a small object amongst the stems…
    stood on a table….
    that has worked fine for me
    with a glass of vino to assist focus, of course.
    All flashes differ… but, as a guideline, I found 16 layers gave manageable results…
    with my on-camera flash that is.
    If you then stick that to two cut-down plant labels…
    you can use Blu-Tac to mount the filter away from the flash…
    some of the light then bounces off, giving you still better control.
    Hope that helps…


    • My problem was the flash was not strong enough to give me a large enough aperture even at 1000 ISO. If I diffused it further there would be less light? Amelia


      • Yes, much less…
        I forgot that you were using an SLR…
        your problem can be overcome by buying a TTL metered flash that fits in the hot-shoe…
        I have a Vivitar one… it has a clip on diffuser that you open upwards…
        that becomes a weak reflector…
        however, a bit of crumpled, then re-opened tinfoil wrapped around the reflector…
        sends almost all the light back downwards…
        when you angle the flashhead up, this downward reflection can be positioned quite accurately in front of the lens.

        LED Ring flashes are good… but give a very flat image…
        this can be overcome by obliterating… temporarily… some of the LEDs…
        this gives light from two thirds or so of the circle… and, as a result, a shadow!
        Thus lifting the picture…
        Hope that clarifies…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never seen a glow worm in real life, thanks for the pictures, I think they are very good.


    • They are really worth the trouble of going and looking for them if you have any where you live. You need to go just after the sun has set. We often look at the stars then so it is easy to miss them on the ground. I have never seen fireflies, but I’d love to. Amelia


  6. Reminds me of the old song: Glow little glow worm, glimmer glimmer!


    • I don’t know that one. My daughter remembered – I wish I were a glow worm, A glow worm’s never glum, ‘Cause how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum?! No class, our family. Amelia


  7. I haven’t seen glow worms for years (last in Portugal). Nor fireflies, which I guess are even harder to photograph (last in Italy). Now I want to! RH


  8. I don’t think you need any advice about the images, you have captured these brilliantly. You are both very observant and lucky to find the glow-worms mating.


  9. It sounds like a very exciting outing going glow worm spotting, I have never seen one. I do, however, remember the song “Glow little glow worm, glow”


  10. All my photos are taken with an iPhone so I’m not the best photographer but I manage to get some good close ups of bees and the like.


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