Alan McFayden developed an interest in birds and wildlife when he was at college. Even though he started a family and started working in marketing, he never stopped going out into the wilderness and taking photos.
One of his favorite animals is the kingfisher, a special and elusive bird. He went to great lengths to take the perfect photo. Enormous lengths.
Inspiration in nature
Kingfishers are birds that are notoriously difficult to photographs. Since they are fast and only emerge from the nest every once in a while, a photographer only has a split second to act. Alan McFayden studied them for years and was very informed about their whereabouts and habits. He took a few photos of them, which is amazing in itself, but he wasn’t satisfied yet.
Alan had a perfect photo in mind, one that he had never seen before. What if he took a photo of a kingfisher just as he was descending into a lake? He never saw a photo of a bird right during impact with water service.
If taking the photo of a kingfisher was difficult, then this is near impossible for even the most seasoned bird photographers. However, Alan was never the one to give up.
Persistence towards a goal
Knowing this task would take time, Alan organized himself to go on weekly photograph trips with his friend and try to accomplish his goal. Most of the time, he was unable to see a kingfisher. Even rarer was an instance where he saw the bird actually hunting. Days went on, and he had more and more photographs on his hard drive.
After a few years, he thought there was no chance to make it work. The moment he was trying to capture is just too small for it to be caught in any situation. Then, after almost six years of hiding in the same set of bushes and looking at the same view, Alan McFayden finally achieved the goal of every nature photographer.
The Holy Grail of bird photography
After a little more than 720.000 total photos taken and 6 years spent in almost daily hiding, Alan managed to capture the perfect photo of a kingfisher descending into the water to catch his prey.
Down to the nanometer, the photo perfectly shows the moment when the bird’s beak is about the touch the water. Therefore, we are proud to present this brilliant work by Alan McFayden.
His story should be an inspiration to us all. After making an ambitious plan, Alan didn’t mind that it would take him a long time. Instead, he relished the journey and valued every day he got to spend in nature. After achieving his goal, he was awarded by several prominent photography and nature magazines.
“Honestly, I was starting to lose my faith after year four. It was really difficult to face the option of failing yet another day. Thankfully, everything worked out!”, says Alan with a smile.