A father-of-three inspired by visits to an idyllic countryside spot to watch kingfishers as a boy with his grandfather spent six years and took 720,000 photos trying to get the perfect shot in memory of his late relative.

Alan McFadyen, 46, was taken by Robert Murray to see the kingfisher nesting spot at the beautiful lakeside location near Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway 40 years ago.

As he grew up, Mr McFadyen never forgot his visits and when he took up photography six years ago decided to make the spot he first visited as a child the focus of his attention.

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Since the kingfisher nest was flooded each year by the tidal water, he dug a hole in the bank and filled it with clay to make a more sustainable nest for the birds.

For six long years, Mr McFadyen returned a few times a week, averaging 100 days a year, to photograph the kingfishers as they dived into the lake.

He clocked up more than 4,200 hours and took around 720,000 photos before he got the perfect shot of the kingfisher doing a flawless dive into the water, without even a splash.

Mr McFadyen, who lives in Dumfries and Galloway said: "There are not many people in the world who have got this shot. Kingfishers dive so fast they are like bullets so taking a good photo requires a lot of luck - and a lot of patience.

"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.

"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 realise just how much work I have done to get it.

"I never really stopped to think about how long it was taking along the way as I enjoyed doing it but now I look back on it I'm really proud of the picture and the work I put in."

Mr McFadyen's grandfather passed away in 1994 at the age of 78, and he is sad that he did not get to see him take up the kingfisher photography.

He said: "I'm sure my grandfather would have loved it, I just wish he could have seen it. All of my family contacted me when they saw it and said he would have been so proud of it.

"I'm not really an emotional guy but hearing this really did get me going. I felt very proud as my grandfather brought me up as if he was my dad, so it really meant a lot."

Visiting twice a day, about 100 days a year, Mr McFadyen would usually shoot around 600 pictures per session. Over the six years, he felt only a small fraction were any good.

He said: "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.

"It was extraordinary how quick they flashed into the water with their brilliant blue colours - they didn't look real, they were like a bullet they were so quick.

"So when I took up photography I returned to this same spot to photograph the kingfishers, but due to flooding the birds would rarely survive so I decided to give them a hand.

"I got in the water and built them an artificial bank, by digging a hole and filling it with clay. I wanted to give her a helping hand with her nest and see if the chicks could survive.

"Around 70 per cent died from either flooding or not learning to dive properly. It is so difficult to learn to dive like the one in the picture as the bird has to judge the refraction in the water."