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150th Anniversary of the First U.S. Aerial Photo

Renaissance painters used principles of perspective to imagine what cities looked like from above, but no one knew for sure until photographer James Wallace Black went up over Boston in a hot-air balloon in 1860. The military saw beyond the entertainment factor, and northern photographers in hot-air balloons were soon tracking Confederate troops. Black's fascination with lofty views proved prescient: 150 years later, Google has taken a similar adventure via Google Earth, the satellite-imagery program that lets you view aerial scenery of the entire planet — and the moon, too. Sadly, Black's next innovation lacked that staying power. He became the authority on the candelight-powered projector, a forefather of the slide projector. — BS

Wed, October 13
150th Anniversary of the First U.S. Aerial Photo

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