Behind the Lens interview with the Pros: Jerry Acton
We share their stunning snapshots in our photo features and on our covers, but the professional photographers who take them still remain relatively unseen. Working with these amazing people is such a wonderful experience that we’ve decided to extend our Behind the Lens profiles to our blog. Meet the first of our monthly featured photographers: Jerry Acton!
When did you begin taking pictures of birds?
I first became serious about taking photos of birds 10 years ago when they began flocking to the backyard wildlife habitat we were developing at our new country home. Fascinated by their beauty, I was inspired to capture them in pictures to share with others. A pleasant past-time quickly grew into a passion.
Our landscaping already included two garden ponds and numerous bird-friendly trees, shrubs, and flowers. To entice even more birds, I expanded the number and variety of feeders and ground feeding areas to allow comfortable space for the many species we were enjoying. I built bluebird nest boxes, placing them strategically around the yard and pastures, building more and rearranging them as the birds showed me their preferred locales.
My photography goals evolved as I observed the birds. I wanted to capture infrequently seen behavior, such as a female red-eyed vireo feeding her young, a robin spreading flat on the ground on a very hot day, or a song sparrow feeding her fledgling cowbird. I also wanted to show the birds as they’d look in natural habitat, which challenged me to provide feeding arrangements that appeared more natural.
What inspires you?
I am most inspired by the knowledge that I will never run out of opportunities to photograph and share nature’s beauty. There are new settings in which to capture the birds I have already photographed, new species on my “to be captured” list, and more photographing and editing techniques to learn. As long as I can push a shutter button, I will be able to “Brighten Your Day with Nature” (my website logo slogan).
Why do you take pictures?
I take pictures because, in the moment, it gives me an adrenaline rush to capture nature’s amazing beauty. Sitting with my camera, watching bird and animal behavior and waiting for those precious moments, is like meditation for me. Posting my images daily on my website gives me the additional pleasure of sharing what I see with others all over the U.S. and throughout the world.
What’s your favorite thing to photograph?
I especially love photographing bird behavior. There is so much more to enjoying birds than identification guides are able to show: courtship, nesting, fledglings, molting, bathing, variations in plumage, and reactions to all kinds of weather: rain, sleet, frost, snow, high wind, or heat. I also love catching anything unusual, such as the snowy owl hunting in our neighbor’s cornfield, or the leucistic chickadee currently frequenting our feeder.
Enjoy Jerry’s photo galleries by visiting the Jerry Acton Nature Photography website: www.jerryacton.com.