Take a guess at when the first trail cam picture was recorded.
Would you believe the very first trail camera photos were taken as far back as 1880?
Believe it or not, that was when wildlife enthusiast George Shiras likely recorded the first trail cam picture in history. Cameras themselves hadn’t been available for many years, at least not in mass production, but Mr. Shiras set out to photograph wildlife with some inventive techniques.
Shiras is the same conservationist who is credited with the discovery of the subspecies of moose that roams Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area. Many are likely familiar with the Shiras moose.
Shiras developed an ingenious trap with trip wires and an automatic flash bulb to set off the camera. Below are some pictures taken with this method, and they are truly a marvel.
In 1906, National Geographic published images from Mr. Shiras and after reading the article, President Theodore Roosevelt personally wrote a letter to Shiras suggesting he write a book about his experiences.
It was thirty-four years later when Shiras published Hunting Wild Life with Camera and Flashlight: a Record of Sixty Five Years’ Visits to the Woods and Waters of North America which included over 960 wildlife photographs as well as some of the earliest “flash” photography.
It’s hard to believe these first known trail camera images are over one hundred years old. If only Mr. Shiras could see just how far today’s trail cameras have made it.
Shiras is a pioneer in this arena who often doesn’t get the credit deserved. His work lives on through his published pieces and are still inspirations today.
Photos via National Geographic Society