Saturday, 26 February 2011

Runcorn Bridge

I managed to get out this week do a set of pictures I have had in mind now for some time. I needed to add some images of Runcorn or Silver Jubilee Bridge to our stock collection and wanted to try to capture the massive flock of Starling which come to roost on the bridge in the evening at this time of year. Great chance to do some combined urban landscape and some wildlife images in one go.

Firstly I wanted to do some long exposure images using the Lee 10 Stop ND filter. This is a tool which is very much in fashion at the moment and so long exposure images are in demand with the photographic press. Despite a very clear sky I did manage to get a few images I am pleased with.


The long exposure in this case about 20 seconds produces a lovely velvet like texture to moving water and cloud. I would have liked more cloud to add to the atmosphere but I will try and get back on a more suitable day.

My second objective for the day was to capture a dusk image of the bridge with plenty of colour in the sky, and this second image was pretty much what I had in mind.

Runcorn Bridge

The third and possibly most important objective for me a a keen birdwatcher was to try and capture the Starling roost or "Murmation" to give it its correct name. This in my opinion is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles you can witness. It really is amazing to watch the Murmation develop from a few single birds to a massive swarm of tens of thousands of birds all performing the most fantastic aerobatics as the settle upon their roost for the night.

The Starlings are practicing pure survival as they congregate in massive numbers to evade potential predators and share warmth for the cold winter nights.

Not easy images to capture but well worth the effort. The combination of very low light and amazingly fast moving birds present a tricky subject but if you do get the chance to visit a location were the Starlings are roosting it really is a sight not to be missed.

Here are a couple of images which show my interpretation of the spectacle. The first is a shot in which I tried to capture the speed and movement of the birds as they started to gather. The second Black and White image is the shot I wanted to capture for myself.

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I had the idea of showing the stunning natural shape of the Starling Flock against the fantastic man made structure of the bridge. This image I saw in Black and White.


I was pleased with the results from the day, and in particular I love the way the shape of the flock reflects the curve of the bridge in the final image.

Whilst capturing these images I also let the Nikon D3s run shooting video which looks superb. I will post the finished video file when I finish editing the footage.


  1. Lovely images...the only thing with the starlings though is not to be under their flight path...been caught out a few time in Preston where the congregate near the Harrington Building at UCLan and you could do with a brollie!

  2. The starlings do it for me Steve. I love a murmuration.