Photographer took 6 years and 720,000 photos to capture this award-winning photo of a bird

Photographers are typically diligent, taking as many shots as they need to achieve the perfect photograph. Trekking around the most unusual locations, toting the heaviest equipment, photographers get that coveted shot.

Alan McFadyen takes that idea to new extremes.

Alan McFadyen has been a wildlife photographer since 2009. While most wildlife photographers spread their time around various animals, settings, and shots, McFadyen took it upon himself to attempt to get the impossible shot. He wanted to capture a photograph of a kingfisher diving straight into the water without any splash.

However, because virtually everything makes some sort of splash when it comes into contact with water, this task really would seem impossible to the average person. But, make no mistake; Alan McFadyen is not your average photographer.

McFadyen was taught to love and appreciate nature by his grandfather. He explains that the man would take him outdoors to look at the kingfishers in their nests. From the first time he saw a kingfisher nest, Alan McFadyen was blown away by the birds. After he took up photography, an older McFadyen would return to that same spot to capture his beloved kingfishers on camera.

According to McFadyen, the shot he was striving for took six years to capture. McFadyen explains, “The photo I was going for of the perfect dive, flawlessly straight, with no splash required not only me to be in the right place and get a very lucky shot but also for the bird itself to get it perfect.”

However, you can’t exactly ask a bird in plain English to make itself perfect right before he dives into the water. The bird isn’t entering the water for perfection, after all. His only goal is to catch food.

But McFadyen was not quick to give up. The wildlife photographer explains that the perfect shot cost him 720,000 photos and 4,200 hours. He would often go out and take up to 600 pictures in one session. None of them would be good enough. So, he kept at it. His hard work eventually paid off, as he finally got the photograph he devoted so much time and effort into.

Alan McFadyen

McFadyen explains that the time he spent trying to get that single perfect shot doesn’t bother him in the least because he really enjoyed what he was doing. Looking at that shot invokes a strong sense of pride and accomplishment in the man. He knows that his grandfather would have been proud of the shot as well. He reflects, “I’m sure my grandfather would have loved it, I just wish he could have seen it.”


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