It finally happened. Alan McFadyen, a professional wildlife photographer, got the shot he was looking for after six years of attempting. Over those six years, McFadyen had clicked his camera 720,000 times trying to capture his ideal shot of the ever-elusive kingfisher, a stunningly beautiful bird that is faster than a speeding bullet and a bit camera shy.

His persistence finally paid off.

Over those six years, MacFadyen estimated he had spent over 4,200 hours chasing the bird. Needless to say, he was determined. And he knew exactly the shot that he wanted. Like a composer that already hears the music in their head before one note is written on paper, McFadyen could picture what his shot yet untaken looked like before he ever succeeded in getting it.

Looking back, you see the journey more clearly.

His ideal shot would consist of a kingfisher diving in a straight line directly into the water with no trace of a splash.

“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,” McFadyen told The Herald Scotland.

“I would often go and take 600 pictures in a session and not a single one of them be any good. But now I look back on the thousands and thousands of photos I have taken to get this one image, it makes me realize just how much work I have done to get it.”

He was gifted a love for nature by his grandfather.

It was McFadyen’s grandpa who passed on the love of nature and wildlife to McFadyen. He has fond memories of seeing kingfishers with his grandfather as a child.

“I remember my grandfather taking me to see the kingfisher nest and I just remember being completely blown away by how magnificent the birds are. So when I took up photography I returned to this same spot to photograph the kingfishers.” 

He is not alone in his pursuit.

McFadyen, who owns a wildlife photography hide business, is one of many avid professional or hobby photographers who have wished for the opportunity to capture the exact same shot he pursued relentlessly. In succeeding personally, he was also able to provide the world of wildlife photographers a small sense of victory for themselves.

Photographs courtesy of Alan McFadyen