A number of years ago I read an interesting little book by C. A. W. Guggisberg entitled “Early Wildlife Photographers.” one of the photographers that he discusses is George Shiras III(1859-1942), who was a US congressman from Pennsylvania, photographer, and wildlife enthusiast. Shiras won a Gold Medal at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition for what he referred to as his “Midnight Series.” In these images he was one of the first to experiment with flash light sources. He experimented with a lamp that could be held in one hand and fired like a pistol and also with trip wires that caused animals to photograph themselves.*
The perseverance required by nighttime wildlife photograph remains, despite all of the inventions that can claim to have made it “easier.” Over a century later we still marvel at such work. As a result, I was immediately drawn to a portfolio of nocturnal wildlife pictures called “Creatures of the Night.” I especially love the stroboscopic image of the northern flying squirrel, nut held tightly in mouth from Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited (Rocky would be proud); some very spookey camans by Frans Lanting of National Geographic and the bulldog bat also by Frans Lanting. OK, OK, I admit it, I love animal cute as much as anybody else. So be sure to check out the western tarsier clinging to a tree, again by Lanting.
This portfolio is one of those cases when we have to ask: what woud George Shiras say? He would have been in awe and amazed just like we are.
*A more detailed discussion of Shiras, images of him a work at night, and some of his early images can be seen at this site.