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10 Century-Old Wildlife Photos from George Shiras, the Father of Game Cameras

National Geographic

These George Shiras pictures are just flat out awesome. 

If you don’t know who George Shiras is, don’t worry because most people don’t. However, you just might recognize his pictures. As a matter of fact, Shiras was responsible for the first photos ever published in National Geographic all the way back in 1906. Before even that, Shiras experimented with the idea that brought us modern day game cameras.

Sometime around the turn of the century, Shiras invented a camera trap designed for night time shooting. With this device, he would connect a bait pile of food to a bunch of wires. When the pile was disturbed by animals, magnesium powder would explode and the camera would take a picture. Fast forward 100 years later, we have the game cameras of today all thanks to this primitive technique.

If you are like me, you can’t help but find these photos erie, just as much as they are fascinating.

1. Albino porcupine

National Geographic

Can you believe this photo was taken in 1905?

2. Whitetail doe

National Geographic

Not much different than some of today’s pictures from a game camera.

3. Racoon

National Geographic

What a cool picture.

4. Snowy Owl

National Geographic

One of the first pictures ever taken at night. This one was dated 1900.

5. Spooked deer

National Geographic

I think a magnesium explosion would probably make me jump a little, too!

Another technique that Shiras developed was a technique he called “jacklighting”. With this pioneering camera trick, he would silently travel in a canoe down a river at night with a small lantern fixed to the front. Animals would stop and stare at the light as it traveled down the river. He would then aim his magnesium flash cameras at their glowing eyes and take a picture.

The results are remarkable.

6. Misty moose

National Geographic

I want this framed in my house.

7. Cow elk


A picture like this would be hard to capture today. This was taken over 100 years ago!

8. Nice buck

1906 GEORGE SHIRAS   Copyright: PD (NO PERMISSION, NO PAYMENT - PUBLIC DOMAIN.)   Location: Chinichoochichi Lake, Ontario, Canada. Legend: A deer stands still in the light.

Another amazing picture of incredible wildlife from 1906.

9. Albino family


Seriously though, how cool is this?

10. Big elk


Hopefully you are like me and found yourself captivated by these old timey pictures from days gone by. Maybe this year your game pictures can turn out half as cool these did this coming season.


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10 Century-Old Wildlife Photos from George Shiras, the Father of Game Cameras