A mere 6 years, 4,200 hours and 720,000 photos …

It took Alan McFayden, of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, 6 years, 4,200 hours, and 720,000 photos to get the shot he wanted.

“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,” said McFayden. And he sometimes took as many as 600 shots in a single session.

But he finally got the shot:

Photo © Alan McFayden
Photo © Alan McFayden

Of course, along the way he got a few other great shots.

Photo © Alan McFayden
Photo © Alan McFayden
Photo © Alan McFayden
Photo © Alan McFayden

As a child, McFayden was often taken by his grandfather to watch a certain kingfisher nest. He was intrigued by the birds and as an adult wildlife photographer, returned again and again to the same spot.


  1. All beautiful. But, the first shot is most interesting. Notice how the birds image is sharp while its reflection isn’t. It means the shot was made much more difficult because the photographer was panning with the bird. Fantastic!

    1. Okay, so now I’m impressed and amazed all over again, but even more than the first time! But I suppose he had to be panning since he couldn’t have known in advance exactly where the bird would hit the water. I suppose I’d just attributed the blurred reflection to dirty water or something.

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