Mass Migration (Starlings), Hoohill

Please do hit "L" to view on black!


Not sure there's any way to view this large enough on Flickr - suffice to say there are *lots* of birds in the frame! It's probably my last posting from my Christmas Day "golden hour" session, which consisted of a mad ten minutes getting one shot of twenty different things.


These are some of the 100,000 starlings which roost under Blackpool's North Pier, returning en masse as the sun surges westward and away. So not really a mass migration, and apologies to any offended zoo- or ornithologists. My lawyers will cite poetic license.


This one is technically SOOC, shot in RAW with just the auto WB setting. I state that mostly because this shot made me realise what a nonsense this concept is nowadays. My in camera settings for this shot included +3 saturation and +1 contrast (I'm to guess by eye that the camera's "+1" is equal to about "+5" in PS, or "+10" in LR). Clearly this is processing - the fact it has been down inside the black box that is my camera, rather than the white box that is my laptop, is, to my mind, utterly irrelevant.


Yet an email I received today from my first university mentions an alumni photography competition which demands submitted images be SOOC. i.e. processed by the "picture style" command, rather than LR/PS. Surely this is madness? Do they really intend the rule to create a situation where people with expensive cameras can, without skill, process images - rather than letting everyone entering apply skillful processing. Am I alone here?


Rant over!


In closing, many thanks to everyone who was kind enough to view, favourite and/or share their thoughts regarding my last photo - Beyond (World Trade Center), NYC [Film Scan]. I am delighted that it made a brief appearance on Explore's Front Page, ten years after it was shot. Thank you everyone. Though I am struggling to catch up with everyone, I love putting people's kind comments in context by seeing their work and enjoy sharing my thoughts in return. Thanks for being patient while I catch up!

  • wesbs PRO 5y

    Wow!! Now these are birds!!! Great image, fab large!! I understand what you mean about viewing large enough on Flickr. I feel that way about a lot of posts, they are disadvantaged into looking like a pile of mud due to the small size. I recently posted an image that looked like the flickr censor static when seen in a group pool, one had to click on it to see that it was an actual image!

    Anyway, I love this!! Great capture!!!
  • H Matthew Howarth PRO 5y

    iM@n Thanks iMan! Much appreciated - some great images in the competition and I'm delighted to be a part of it!

    wesbs Too right! Remember your super series of sports crowds! Thanks!
  • Sudarshan V 5y

    Wow, Really an amazing catch!! Great sight of mass migration on lovely BG!! Love the sky & colors!! Excellent work, Have a great weekend!!!
  • Susana 5y

    WOW genial ! Happy friday !
  • Mahbub Shaheed 5y

    Awesome sky color..
  • Anoop Negi PRO 5y

    I fully share your sentiment on the issue of in camera processing that the processor does.
    Even the standard jpeg that comes without any tweaks of sharpness, color, brightness etc that can be set in camera..... is in essence a sum total of various alogrithms to do with photo manipulation from noise removal, sharpness and standard changes etc. - this is called the ""technician at the Jap Factory's version"" applicable to all users of jpeg.

    I have this rather old school of photography which do include some neophyte photogs as well who think that SOOC is the holy grail of photography. One does tell wherever possible that it is not so. Take the new Canon and Nikon cameras let us say notably d700 - it has such a sweet alogrithm for noise removal and smoothness that high ISO shots are like a cakewalk.... Now how is that compared to a low end camera with no such alogrithm.

    I think wisdom will dawn sooner then later..

    IN this I forgot to mention that the flight of the starlings is a wonderful take
  • Cammino & Vivo Capovolto ☆ PRO 5y

    Beautiful sky, great colors!
  • Peter Ribbeck PRO 5y

    Wonderful light!
    I agree with your rant Ansel adams was a master in the dark room and that is what made his photos special.
    Isn't light room and ps a modern day extenshion of a darkroom?
  • William Braik 5y

    This sky is magic. A wonderful vision my friend.
    Totally agree with you about that SOOC "rule", can't believe how stupid this is !
  • Martin Cauchon PRO 5y

    Terrific shot ! Really nice !

    commented with FlickrComment
  • Ilia Alshanetsky PRO 5y

    superb shot
    Great Shot! Please join us at:
    I Think this is Art !
  • Warm Soft Light 5y

    Perfect in every way!
  • Hasheed Parthan 5y

    Beautifully sky ...
  • Tipu Kibria 5y

    Fabulous !
  • beautythief PRO 5y

    Nice Matt, and I agree, SOOC doesn't mean anything with today's cameras. About the only way it ever did is with slide film photos where there was no post process in printing negatives.
  • Frank 5y

    Cool and great shot! What a colours and what a scenery, amazing nature stuff! Right time, right place :).
  • Einar Søyland PRO 5y

    This one should look really great BIG size, love the background !!
  • Mark 5y

    Nature against the sky ...wonderful capture
  • Gianluca Gallarini 5y

    superb light and tone....very well!!!!
  • Gerald Zinnecker PRO 3y

    A great shot from a cool sky!
61 faves
Taken on December 25, 2010
  • EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
  • ƒ/8.0
  • 90.0 mm
  • 1/200
  • 200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
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