Stephen Dalton was born in Surrey, England in 1937. After a period working in a company manufacturing agricultural machinery, he took a full-time photography course at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic. After leaving, his interest in natural history encouraged him to build up a library of wildlife subjects.
His particular interest was insect life but he was not satisfied with the static pictures that the limitations of existing equipment dictated. With the help of a friend who was an electronics expert, he developed a system of lighting a flying insect that could be triggered to freeze its movement at a precise point in flight, making it possible for details of the flight action of such creatures to be seen for the first time, and recorded with remarkable clarity. This alone was not enough. He also wanted to create the natural environment of the insect and not simply make a sterile record of the subject. This has resulted in his pictures having an aesthetic quality of far greater interest than scientific information alone.
Modern life encourages specialization and photography is no exception. Very often, however, the specialist approach can lead to work of limited appeal but the successful blend of the naturalist’s curiosity and thrist for knowledge and the perceptive and sensitive eye of a photographer has raised Stephen Dalton’s work to a level of universal appeal. These remarkable pictures can be seen in his book Borne on the Wind and The Miracle of Flight.