Crombie, who is normally a sports photographer, sought out creating this image for several months.
“For a while, I’ve had a bit of time to think about other things,” Crombie told the Irish times. “I could see they were making shapes. I kept going back, to get the image I had in my head.”
Crombie says that a friend of his, Colin Hogg, lives near the lake and was the one who told him about the starling murmurations that take place there and how they would make for a great photo. The birds nest in the reeds around the lake and move every four or five days around sunset and it is at this time that the best photos can be taken, Hogg told him.
Crombie says that he believes he made something close to 50 trips to Lough Ennell over a period of several months. Unfortunately, the photo-taking opportunities aren’t forever. Near the end of the time the starlings occupied the area — just days before the birds would leave the lake — Crombie finally got the shot he envisioned. The birds were particularly active in this period as they move in the murmurations to protect themselves from predators like birds of prey. It was during this time that Crombie captured the perfect photo around 6 PM in the evening on Tuesday.
The video below, uploaded by Hogg, shows just how active the starlings were on the evening the photo was made.
The photo was taken with a Canon 1DX Mark III and was one of between 400 and 500 frames he shot that evening. When asked about the time and effort he spent trying to make this happen, Crombie said it was all worth it.
“It paid off,” he says.
Crombie had just been named the press photographer of the year at the Press Photographers Association of Ireland awards for his photo of a fan on a ladder watching a semi-final between St. Brigid’s and Boyle from the edge of a graveyard.
To follow-up that honor by capturing an image he dreamed of making for months is quite a testament to Crombie’s skill. To see more of his work, make sure you follow him on Instagram.
Image credits: Photo licensed for use by ©INPHO/James Crombie