The Jaw-Dropping Photo About A Kingfisher That Took 6 Years and 4200 Hours to Capture

A Perfect Photo of a Kingfisher: A Stunning Moment Captured in Time

In the world of avian wonders, few birds possess the grace and precision of the kingfisher. With the agility of an Olympic diver, this small and vibrant creature is known for its remarkable fishing technique. Photographer Alan McFadyen recently succeeded in capturing an awe-inspiring moment of a kingfisher in action, just before it plunges into the water to seize its prey. The resulting photograph is a breathtaking masterpiece that showcases the bird’s elegance, with its mirrored reflection on the water’s surface. It is a testament to McFadyen’s unwavering dedication and passion for capturing nature’s fleeting moments.

McFadyen’s affinity for kingfishers dates back to his childhood days spent birdwatching with his grandfather along the banks of River Tarff, near his home in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. The avian world, and particularly the kingfisher, held a magical allure for him. Even today, any sighting of this enchanting bird, let alone witnessing its remarkable dive, evokes a sense of wonder within him. “To me, it is so exotic and so different from other UK birds,” he remarks. “It seems like it would be more at home in the tropics.”

Originally a fisherman, McFadyen’s life took an unexpected turn when a back injury forced him to set aside his fishing rod. Determined to continue his exploration of nature, he turned his attention to photography six years ago. Armed with a camera, he ventured into the same woodlands along River Tarff, the very place he had once roamed with his grandfather. The goal was to capture the essence of native animals through his lens. From tawny owls to venomous adders, McFadyen’s portfolio expanded, and inevitably, the regal kingfisher found its way into his focus.

The kingfisher, with its vibrant plumage and captivating diving technique, presented a unique challenge for McFadyen. Recognizing its popularity as a subject among photographers, he was determined to capture something truly extraordinary and distinct. “I wanted something different and more unique,” he explains. And so, an obsessive quest for the perfect shot commenced, encompassing countless hours and an astonishing 720,000 exposures.

McFadyen experimented with various angles and compositions in his pursuit of capturing the essence of the kingfisher’s dive. It was during this process that he conceived the idea of capturing a mirror image, an approach that had been explored by others in the past. With precision and technical finesse, he programmed his Nikon D4 camera and a Nikon 70-200 lens. A small aperture, high ISO (1250), and fast shutter speed (1/5000) were set to freeze the bird’s swift movements. The camera was positioned at a low angle, close to the water, while McFadyen patiently waited within a camouflaged blind for the perfect moment to unfold. The final touch came in the form of a remote shutter release, enabling him to capture the precise instant when the kingfisher’s dive intersected with its mirrored reflection.

The resulting photograph is a mesmerizing testament to McFadyen’s unwavering determination and artistic vision. It depicts a balletic spectacle as the kingfisher’s twin emerges from the water, its beak barely grazing the one of the speckled blue bird descending to meet it. The harmonious union of nature and elegance captured in this single frame is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

For Alan McFadyen, this extraordinary photograph is more than just a stunning image—it represents an ongoing quest for the extraordinary. “Some people look at the moon and say, ‘That is nice.’ Others want to go there,” he muses. “I consider myself to be like the latter.” His relentless pursuit of capturing nature’s fleeting moments serves as a reminder of the boundless beauty that surrounds us, waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

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