Petrified birds appear as frozen statues in a vast, deathly African swamp.
British photographer Nick Brandt has captured a series of eerie birdlife portraits along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania.
Mr Brandt said he was inspired to photograph the dead creatures after finding them washed up. "I could not help but photograph them," he said.
For his "calcified" series, Mr Brandt arranged the bird life in life-like poses in and around the lake, "bringing them back to 'life'".
Subjects include flamingos, sea eagles and a dove – in a terrifying depiction of the "bird of peace", reminiscent of Picasso's Guernica.
It remains a mystery just how the birds met their end, but it appears the extreme reflective nature of the lake's surface confused them and, like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they flew into the lake, Mr Brandt said.
Temperatures in the lake can reach 60°C, and its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5, making it near impossible to sustain life.
"The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds," Mr Brandt said.
"The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry."
The photographer has a long association with east Africa, including directing a video for Michael Jackson's Earth Song on location in 1995.
Sources: New Scientist, NASA
Author: Chloe Ross, Approving editor: Erin Tennant