The first photograghic image1826: First Permanent Image
French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce uses a camera obscura to burn a permanent image of the countryside at his Le Gras, France, estate onto a chemical-coated pewter plate. He names his technique "heliography," meaning "sun drawing." The black-and-white exposure takes eight hours and fades significantly, but an image is still visible on the plate today.
The first Photo of a person1839: First Photo of a Person
In early 1839, French painter and chemist Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre photographs a Paris street scene from his apartment window using a camera obscura and his newly invented daguerreotype process. The long exposure time (several minutes) means moving objects like pedestrians and carriages don't appear in the photo. But an unidentified man who stops for a shoeshine remains still long enough to unwittingly become the first person ever photographed.
The first photo of lightning1847: First Photo of Lightning
First Photo of Lightning
In 1847, early photography pioneer Thomas Easterly makes a daguerreotype of a bolt of lightning—the first picture to capture the natural phenomenon. Primarily a portraitist, Easterly also makes pictures of landscapes, unusual for daguerreotypists.
The photos of war1847: First Photos of War
In 1847, during the Mexican-American War, daguerreotypist Charles J. Betts follows the American Army to Veracruz, Mexico, and, according to an advertisement, offers to photograph "the dead and wounded." Dozens of anonymous daguerreotypes are also taken of troop movements and American officers. The first official war photos, though, are of the Crimean War from 1855 to 1856. The British government sends several photographers to document the war, but because of his meticul
The First birds eye view1858: First Bird's-Eye View
Felix Tournachon, better known by the nom de plume Nadar, combines his interests— aeronautics, journalism, and photography— and becomes the first to capture an aerial photograph in a tethered balloon over Paris in 1858.
The first colour photo1861: First Color Photo
The enormously influential Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell creates a rudimentary color image by superimposing onto a single screen three black-and-white images each passed through three filters—red, green, and blue. His photo of a multicolored ribbon is the first to prove the efficacy of the three-color method, until then just a theory, and sets the stage for further color innovation, particularly by the Lumißre brothers in France.
The first action photos1878: First Action Photos
English photographer Eadweard Muybridge, using new emulsions that allow nearly instantaneous photography, begins taking photograph sequences that capture animals and humans in motion. His 1878 photo series of a galloping horse, created with 12 cameras each outfitted with a trip wire, helps settle a disagreement over whether at any time in a horse's gait all four hooves leave the ground. (They do.) It also causes a popular stir about the potential of cameras to study mov
The first image published on national geographic1889: First Photo Published in National Geographic
The first photograph to appear in National Geographic is a relief map of North America. It appears in the magazine's third issue (Volume 1, Number 3, 1889). The first photograph of a natural scene—generally considered the first real photograph in the magazine—is of Herald Island, in the Arctic Ocean, taken from a ship and appearing in the March 1890 issue.
The first photo taken in the north pole1909: First Photos of the North Pole
On April 6, 1909, Robert E. Peary and his assistant, Matthew Henson, become the first people to reach, and photograph, the North Pole. The mission, supported by the National Geographic Society, was a grueling, 37-day dogsled journey over 475 miles (760 kilometers) of ice. The feat is immediately questioned by skeptics who say Peary's navigation and reckoning were dodgy and that the round-trip could not have been completed so quickly. Nearly 100 years later, t
The first colour under water image1926: First Underwater Color Photo
Ichthyologist William Longley and National Geographic staff photographer Charles Martin use an Autochrome camera and a raft full of explosive magnesium flash powder to illuminate the shallows of Florida's Dry Tortugas and make the first undersea color photographs. The photos, which show reef scenes with fish, are published in the January 1927 National Geographic.
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the first survey of the night sky1949-'56: First Survey of the Night Sky
National Geographic teams up with the California Institute of Technology for the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey, a seven-year project to produce the first photographic map of the Northern Hemisphere's night sky. The work is done at the Palomar Observatory in California using "Big Schmidt," a new, 48-inch (122-centimeter) camera telescope. The result is a comprehensive study of the heavens that leads to the discovery of many new stars and galaxies and is st