The assignment here was to photograph a crowd in motion. Here in North Cornwall a crowd is a bit hard to find. I live in a village of 800 and if we all gathered in one place, we still wouldn’t make a proper crowd. So I chose to photograph a crowd of starlings taking off from their roost. This is a daily event performed about 10 minutes before sunrise. The area is absolutely silent until one massive group departs followed, a few minutes later, by a second. Its easy enough to find the place – right out by Rough Tor, but hard to get out of bed and get out there. Once there, the problem is where to set up. For these photos I went on 3 separate mornings.
The photo at the right is a closer shot of the patterns formed by the birds as they fly. I’ve photographed this several times and the pattern is consistent with this species, Starlings. En masse, they look like an almost solid group, but a closer look reveals the fractal patterns of their flight. This was taken at 200m, ISO2000, F/6.3, S250.
This final photo was taken this morning. I wanted to try a slightly different lens, so I used my Nikon 24-120 lens, 24mm, f/3.5, S250. I moved my location somewhat so I could catch Rough Tor in the background. I had thought I might be shooting into the light; however, the first rays were not enough to require a filter.
Although these crowed are not human, they are crowds and they do have patterns. Their moment is brief and you have to catch it while you can. If you don’t get it right there is always another day, but it may be one without sun. It is wise for these shoots to have a clear plan where you will be and what you will be using. Its cold out on the Moor so you don’t want to stand around for too long. As for the birds, when they’e gone, they’re gone.