Alan McFadyen, an enthusiastic wildlife photographer since 2009, has achieved a photographic milestone he relentlessly pursued for six years. He recently captured an impeccably timed shot that required extraordinary dedication and effort. After 4,200 hours and an astounding 720,000 photos taken, McFadyen successfully documented a Kingfisher executing a flawless dive into the water, creating no ripple.
Reflecting on his journey, McFadyen shared with The Herald Scotland, “The image I aimed for, portraying a dive of absolute precision, utterly straight, devoid of any splash, demanded not only my presence in the right moment and a stroke of luck but also the bird itself to execute its move perfectly. Sometimes, I would embark on a photo session, capturing as many as 600 shots, only to find none meeting the mark. However, when I consider the vast collection of photographs I’ve amassed over time to secure this solitary image, I am struck by the magnitude of effort invested.”
The common kingfisher is distinguished by its brilliantly hued plumage, an unusual trait for birds inhabiting colder climates. Typically found near aquatic bodies, the bird relies on its diving prowess to capture prey.
McFadyen, who also manages a sideline in wildlife photography, attributes his passion for nature and wildlife to his grandfather’s influence. Fondly recalling his initial encounter with a kingfisher’s nest under his grandfather’s guidance, McFadyen stated, “The memory of my grandfather taking me to witness the kingfisher’s nest left an indelible impression on me. The sheer magnificence of these birds stayed with me. Thus, when I embraced photography, I returned to the same location to capture the essence of kingfishers.”
This remarkable achievement necessitated an arduous journey for Alan McFadyen: six years of perseverance, 4,200 hours of meticulous effort, and an astonishing compilation of 720,000 photographs. The result embodies his aspiration – an impeccable shot of a kingfisher’s seamless dive, untouched by even a whisper of a splash.
“I never truly paused to contemplate the passage of time during this pursuit as I reveled in the process,” McFadyen reflected. “Yet, as I retrospectively consider this journey, a sense of pride washes over me in recognition of the photograph and the dedication it embodies.”
He fondly recollected, “My grandfather’s role in introducing me to the kingfisher’s world remains vivid in my memory. The sheer splendor of these birds left an indelible mark on me. It’s as though I’ve come full circle.”
While cherishing this achievement, McFadyen expressed a bittersweet sentiment, “I am confident my grandfather would have reveled in this achievement. I merely wish he could have witnessed it. Upon sharing the photograph with my family, their heartfelt reactions underscored the sentiment that he would have taken immense pride in it.”