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A Murmuration in the Shape of a Bird

In the movie Finding Nemo, a school of fish snap into a formation that resembles a much larger fish. Photographer James Crombie caught that sort of thing happening in real life, with a flock of starlings over Lough Ennell in County Westmeath, Ireland. Crombie, who was recently named photographer of the year by the Press Photographers Association of Ireland, usually covers sports, but with extra time over the past year, has turned his attention to nature.

“A friend of mine, Colin Hogg, lives near the lake, and he said to me last year that the starlings would make a great picture,” says Crombie, who works for the Inpho photo agency. “They nest in the reeds around the lake, and they move every four or five days, towards sunset, and when they move they make shapes.”

Crombie made, he thinks, about 50 trips to Lough Ennell in the past few months. “I’m usually a sports photographer, so for a while I’ve had a bit of time to think about other things. I had an image in my head,” he explains. “I could see they were making shapes. I kept going back, to get the image I had in my head.”

Tuesday night, Crombie shot hundreds of frames and captured the amazing image he had been seeking: a murmuration of starlings in the shape of a starling. Colin Hogg caught the moment on video.

Read more on how it happened at the Irish Times. -via Kottke

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