The Inventions That Changed Wildlife Photography
From the earliest photo traps to shark-mounted cameras, we've made some wild advances in capturing animals on film.
In July 1906, the National Geographic Society dedicated an entire magazine issue to a series of candid wildlife photographs: a snacking raccoon, a blurred grizzly bear, a bolting white-tailed deer. The startled animals had walked in front of an inventive new method of photography pioneered by former Congressman George Shiras. His “flashlight trapping” set off a bright flash and triggered the camera shutter.
Not everyone was pleased by the innovation. “Wandering off into nature is not geography,” one National Geographic board member fumed. But the reader response was unambiguous: Within two years, photo essays helped the magazine grow nearly seven-fold, reaching 20,000 subscribers.
And over the decades, the Society's innovation in wildlife photography persisted. By the late 1980s, engineers in the