In 2015, Alan McFadyen finally managed to capture the perfect kingfisher photo: the exact moment just before plunging into the surface of the water. In the picture, the kingfisher looks as majestic as a diver competing in the Olympics. But do you know the history behind it?
The kingfisher hunts by diving into the water head-first. In the perfect kingfisher photo, you can see the precision with which its beak is pointed at its prey. Catching and then flying away takes place in less than a second, much faster than what the human eye can see.
How Did The Perfect Kingfisher Photo Happen Then?
Alan McFadyen’s 2015 photo is nothing less than being the most gorgeous picture of a kingfisher in action. The riveting dive is captured right at the moment it breaks the water’s surface, and nabs the prey. You can see the still surface of the water reflecting its body as well.
The usually small birds can reach top speeds of about 25mph when they dive. McFadyen explains that sometimes 10 frames in a second may not be enough to photograph the action. His kingfisher fascination had started in his childhood in Scotland. To him, kingfishers are unique birds in the UK. He feels the brightly-colored birds are better suited for the tropics.
The kingfisher was a one-of-a-kind challenge for McFadyen. The bird is well-loved and there are numerous pictures of it across the world. As a result, Alan was looking to take a picture that was as unique as it gets. This was the starting point of his obsessive search for a perfect kingfisher photo.
He estimates that it took him about 720,000 exposures and 4,200 hours. 4,200 hours means somewhere between 5 to 6 months. But he actually spent his 6 years as a photographer searching for that picture. The shutter speed was set to 1/5000. He spent a long time waiting in a hidden blind to get the moment.
The perfect kingfisher photo is so perfect that some might say there are two kingfishers in the photo. Their beaks just barely touching. Even though it is 5 years old now, it is one of those photos that will surely keep us coming back.