We spend so much time these days looking down at our phones that we rarely see the life in the sky. Catalan photographer Xavi Bou seeks to change that with his photo series, “Ornitographies,” which reveals the invisible patterns created by flocks of birds in flight.
Bou has always had an interest in the natural sciences, a passion that stemmed from the long walks he used to take with his grandfather when he was younger. In fact, this interest in the natural world led him to earn a degree in geology from the University of Barcelona. And though he then went on to study photography, he’s since found ways to meld the two subjects.
“One of the topics that interests me is to make visible that in our near environment, we have more variety of fauna than most people imagine — we just have to pay attention,” Bou told Insider. “It is not necessary to travel to distant places to enjoy nature.”
And indeed, many of his photographs in the series have been taken in Catalonia, Spain, where he lives. Like this one taken in Emporda, a region of Catalonia, which looks almost like a wriggling, writhing tornado:
Or this gorgeous, gentle wave, taken in the skies of Delta de l’Ebre:
And this streak of birds through the sky above Montgai:
But Bou has also traveled elsewhere for the express purpose of photographing specific flight patterns. For example, he has made his way to the nesting cliffs of seabirds in Iceland, where he has captured some exceptionally striking photographs.
“Dragons exist!” he writes as the caption to this photo, which does, indeed, look like a dragon twisting its way across the sky:
But my favorite was taken at Estany d’Ibars Vilaseca, and captures a flock of starlings taking off after a brief respite in a tree:
Why does Bou think we should be paying more attention to the sky above us?
“[W]hat I would like them to take away is to arouse curiosity for nature again,” Bou tells Insider. “[W]e love those we know and protect what we love.”