In spring, firefly squid (hotaru ika) rise 2000 feet to the surface of the water and offer a fleeting glimpse of their magical lights
Genji botaru fireflies around a small bridge over the Shimanto River (Kochi Prefecture)
The moon lights up a waterfall against geometric rock formations / A close-up of the red-hot cinders erupting from the Showa crater on Sakurajima
Volcanic lightning during the eruption of the Sakurajima volcano
Scores of fishing rafts floating in the Uchino-umi highlighted by the light from the full moon Japanese photographer Takehito Miyatake is known for his accomplished long-exposure photographs of fireflies, volcanic eruptions, and beaches awash in bioluminescencnt firefly squid. His exposures, which he refers to as “the light of Japan,” can last anywhere between 15 seconds and 30 minutes and are rooted in an almost meditative approach to photography that he likens to a form of poetry in an interview with TIME. His time spent waiting for each exposure hasn’t been in vain, Miyatake recently won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Awards. You can see more of his photography on his website and over on Spoon & Tamago.