On Friday afternoon I went down to RSPB Ham Wall in Somerset with the intention of photographing a starling murmuration. When I went last year, I had built it up in my head and the reality was not as impressive as I’d imagined, but this year I was blown away. One of the RSPB staff said they had been seeing around 600,000 starlings each night. Seeing as I sold my 100-400mm lens last year, I had to use my 500mm f/4 to photograph the murmuration, which wasn’t ideal. I would have preferred a wide angle lens to capture the whole scene but we work with what we have, so I decided to do my best to capture the sense of movement. The challenge was knowing how to capture the movement without just creating a blur of birds. I decided to find a group of birds that were sat still, then slow the shutter speed to contrast the birds that were flying around.
Once the majority of the birds had arrived, I noticed there were a group of birds sort of hovering and flying around a spot that was closer to me, so I focused on that area and managed to get this image with the starlings’ wings all back-lit, in front of a black blur of starlings in the background.
There were so many starlings in such a relatively small area of reeds that it looked as though the reeds were diseased and covered in a black plague.
This image was interesting to me because the shape of the ducks flying overhead mirrored the shape of the starlings below.