Shine Little Glow-worm, Glimmer, Glimmer…

Glow little glow-worm, glow and glimmer
Swim through the sea of night, little swimmer
Thou aeronautical boll weevil
Illuminate yon woods primeval
See how the shadows deep and darken
You and your chick should get to sparkin’
I got a gal that I love so
Glow little glow-worm, glow

(Click Here to sing along with the The Mills Brothers)

For the past year, I’ve been toying around with a relatively new technique in photography called Flouro Photography.  It is based on the bioflourescence of organisms.  Now, many of us are familiar with bioluminescence, but not necessarily with bioflourescence.  So here is the difference:  A glow-worm produces and emits light.  So do several different types of fish, fireflies, bacteria, and well, lots of living organisms.   As interesting as that is, that is not what I’m about today.  Bioflourescence is when light is absorbed by an organism and re-emitted on a different wavelength than is visible to the human eye.  The way this has translated into recreational viewing is simple.  The viewer must shine an intense blue light on an organism, and as it is re-emitted as a different color, the viewer must look through a yellow tinted barrier in order to see it.  Here’s an example:

White Daisy with green center, re-emits purple and yellow.

White Daisy with green center, re-emits purple and yellow.

This daisy was photographed using a blue light, with a yellow filter over the camera so that the camera’s “eye” could see the color that is emitted back by this plant.


Here is another example of a “glowing” flower.  In a weird fun-house sort of way, it is more beautiful than it looks in sunlight.

When bioflourescence is viewed at night and under water, the world comes alive with things that may not have even been visible in sunlight.  This tiny anemone looks like a small volcano erupting on a dark landscape.


This Lizard Fish is interesting because it doesn’t always emit the same color.  This one emits a greenish hue, but I have seen others that bioflouresce red or orange.

Lizard Fish

Lizard Fish

This organism is intricate and beautiful and all its wonderful detail is emphasized when it is viewed under blue light with a yellow barrier filter.


 If you are interested in seeing what bioflourescence looks like, you can redneck it pretty simply:  Put blue cellophane over a bright flashlight, and put yellow cellophane in front of your eyes, and go snipe hunting at night.  You might see something you’ve never seen before.  If you are interested in checking this technique out while diving, ask the local dive shop if they rent the equipment.  Many tropical dive resorts now have bioflourescent dives as an option.  I would highly recommend it!

For those who want a little more technical information:  Light and Motion makes a light called the NightSea that is a blue dive light with a filter that can be attached to make it a regular dive light.  They also make barrier filters that can go over your mask and your camera housing so you can see and take photographs.  The photographs above were taken with a wide open aperture about f/5.6, Shutter speed around 1/50th, with ISO set to around 600-1200.  Some experimenting is in order to get the right effect.

I have always thought I must be part mermaid but I have to hand it to Winston Churchill who said,  “We are all worms, but I do believe I am a Glow worm.”

As always, if you enjoy my images please “like” or “follow” me!  You can also visit my website,, or give me a “like” on Facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.
My photographs are taken with a Nikon D7000 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.