Photographer captures incredible starling murmurations as they darken the sky

Nov 22, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer captures incredible starling murmurations as they darken the sky

Nov 22, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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starling murmurations black sun

Starling murmurations are one of the most hypnotizing events in the natural world. Danish photographer Søren Solkær finds them absolutely captivating, and he has devoted years to photographing this remarkable phenomenon. Søren has shared some of his photos with DIYP so that you can enjoy this nature’s wonder, at least from afar.

Søren’s journey to photographing starling murmurations

Observing and photographing starlings is a passion Søren first encountered as a child. He grew up in southern Denmark, where he experienced these captivating formations near the Wadden Sea. After photographing this fascinating phenomenon for three years in the marshlands of Denmark, Søren went further. Since 2017, the photographer has traced the starlings along their migration routes through Europe, from Ireland and England to the Netherlands and Italy.

Søren is greatly inspired by classical landscape painting, calligraphy, and Japanese woodcuts. Leaning on these, he has created a series of graphic images featuring landscapes with great flocks of starlings as they perform their dance. These incredible birds move as one unified organism that vigorously opposes any outside threat. As Solkær himself notes:

“A strong visual expression is created – like that of an ink drawing or a calligraphic brush stroke – asserting itself against the sky. Shapes and black lines of condensation form within the swarm, resembling waves of interference or mathematical abstractions written across the horizon. The graphic and organic shapes of the starling murmurations range from meditative to highly dramatic as they perform their incredible ballet of life and death.”

starling murmurations landscape sunset

Starling feathers

In addition to capturing starling murmurations in the sky, Søren has also created two new series of photos featuring starling feathers. He captured these at the Panum Institute in Copenhagen using light and electron microscopes. He moved from the outdoor and the “bigger picture” to an indoor exploration on the cellular level. With this project, Søren wants to determine whether there is a certain universality at the cellular level. Just as Søren tries to identify universal patterns in flocks of hundreds of thousands of starlings, he also wants to closely examine the beauty and magic within a feather fragment.

Starling: The book and exhibition on murmurations

On December 26, 2023, Søren will release his ninth photographic monograph, Starling. This is the sequel to his book Black Sun, named after the murmurations term in Denmark. Starling contains exclusively new material, featuring a total of 138 images. You can order from the artist’s website, and it will arrive to you anywhere in the world.

For the folks in the US, you can see these remarkable images in person, too. From December 9, 2023, to March 10, 2024, Søren Solkær: Black Sun will be on display at The National Nordic Museum. You’ll find more information on the museum’s website.

About Søren Solkær

Søren Solkær is a Danish photographer born in 1969. After completing his degree in Nordic Literature, he graduated from FAMU, the Photography and Film Academy in Prague in 1995. For the past three decades, Søren has traveled extensively to undertake artistic projects and portraits of artists from the world of music, film, literature, and the visual arts. Besides murmurations, he is best known for his iconic portraits of artists, including Björk, Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse, Patti Smith, Pharrell Williams, Samuel L. Jackson, and David Lynch.

Enjoy more of Søren’s photos below, and make sure to follow his work on his website, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “Photographer captures incredible starling murmurations as they darken the sky”

  1. Stephen Jenner Avatar
    Stephen Jenner

    Some of these pictures reminded me of a lovely book that I have somewhere by a Japanese photographer named Masahisa Fukase. It is called “Ravens” but is in fact filled with pictures of starlings and rooks as they swarm together before roosting for the night.

    The same effect occurs nightly in the city of London, as the human workers leave for their own roosts each evening, the starlings and rooks gather, making one hell of a din, before they settle on the various cills of the office windows that were common when city buildings were built from brick or concrete, rather than the glass which is common these days.

    In the city of London, these old buildings are still the norm, but further east where much of the city financial activity migrated to in the 1990’s, the buildings are glass, and the place is like a silent desert.