Some folks may not realize but some of the earliest photographs taken in North America were of the Falls. Early daguerreotype photographs were taken by H. L. Pattinson when he traveled from England to Niagara Falls in April of 1840. The apparatus he used took the form of a large gentleman’s traveling case. It cost about $50.00 (lots of money in 1840). The exposure could take anywhere between 3 and 30 minutes.
Soon after Pattinson’s visits daguerrotypists and photographers (also called professors) became a common sight at the falls. Many of these early photographs were taken with visitors in a studio with a fake backdrop of the falls. Later photographers started to take images using the actual falls as their backdrop and people waited in line to have their photos captured for eternity as the accompanying photo testifies. Taking a photo of the falls today is much easier and quicker with digital cameras.