The First-Ever Photographs of Animals at Night

In Honor of the Longest Night of the Year, Pioneering Work by George Shiras

December 22, 2015  By Lit Hub Photography

george shiras

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George Shiras is credited with taking the first-ever nighttime wildlife photographs, using a technique he developed in the early 1890s. Borrowing a hunting trick from the Objibwa called “jacklighting”, Shiras would focus a gaslight on midnight shores (across Canada and the US), waiting to capture the attention of the forest inhabitants with his strange alien moon. He also developed photographic “traps,” remote-triggering snares to capture animals in action, in the depths of the wood.

The following images are collected in a new photographic edition from Editions Xavier Barral, called George Shiras: In the Heart of the Dark Night, by Jean-Christophe Bailly.


Lynx by the pondMoose in the mistHi there, I'm a deerDeer in the waterRaccoon on a logLeaping deerStag at the edge of waterGeorge Shiras

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Digital imaging by Nicole Elliott, National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

Lit Hub Photography
Lit Hub Photography
Photography excerpts are curated by Catherine Talese and Rachel Cobb.

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