Niagara Falls Photo from April 1840!
The image below (click in image to see larger size) was in a blog called British Photographic History on November 2. It says that Hugh Lee Pattinson made the first picture of Niagara Falls using the Daguerreotype technique. They said , “It took him more than twenty minutes to fix the scene on the silver-coated copper plate inside this camera.” The original images were lost at the University of Newcastle in England for a long time and were not found until 1997.
I found an interesting site that discusses daguerreotype images called The Daguerreian Society. They answer a lot of questions on this process. Why are daguerreotypes backwards? I had not realized that they are typically reversed images. “The only way to get a correct orientation was to copy the image with a second daguerreotype, or to make the original daguerreotype using a reversing prism or mirror. Besides the complexity, a problem with a reversing mirror was, if taken outdoors, it may be subject to movement by a breeze causing a blurred image. So typically people just lived with a reversed image.” This process was popular from 1840 through 1855; after that ambrotypes and tintypes were used.
I attempted to do a daguerreotype following some of the steps in Photoshop Fine Arts Effects Cookbook by John Beardsworth. Not sure I did that well but it was a lot of fun. This is a picture I took at Stonehenge a couple years ago.