Murmurations

February 12, 2018

Every evening around sunset I hear a cacophony of birds as they dart from tree branches to tree branches in the woodland near to my house.  It's an amazing sight to see all the birds swaying, climbing through the air, and then diving down again - and all in harmony.  A swooping network of synchronised behaviour.

And each day, the numbers are greater than the day before.

On Sunday 4th February, I wanted to capture some photos of this phenomenon - I heard the loud sounds they were making, and dashed to my kitchen, where I have a great view of the birds sitting atop the tree branches.  I needed to be quick!  I grabbed my trusty compact camera as it was to hand, and used the full zoom of the lens (1000mm equivalent).  As the light was fading, and the Nikon Coolpix isn't great in low light, I set the focus to manual on infinity and the ISO (light sensitivity) to 1600.  Unfortunately, this meant that the quality of the images weren't great.  So I decided to reduce the ISO back to 100 and my shutter speed much slower to about half a second, to ensure the exposure would be OK.  Now this means you need to keep the camera completely still, and any movement in the birds would show as a blur. 

This is what I got:

Birds in the trees

And you know what?  I kinda liked it!

So I decided to add a bit of intentional camera movement too - and I really love the results.

These give quite an ethereal feel to them, don't you think?

The only editing I've done on these is in Lightroom, to increase the exposure slightly, adjust the white balance, increased the sharpness, and the noise luminance, and then converted to black and white.

 


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