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06 March 2012

Sneaking up on a lion

This morning the PetaPixal blog pointed me to the Burrard-Lucas blog, with a post about how these photographers  get close up shots of wild animals.  I've always wondered about that - how close was the photographer to the lion. what sort of zoom lens must have been used to get that shot? And, doesn't it look like the photographer must have been lying down in front of the lion? Well, in this case, maybe not close at all, and no zoom lens, but yes, the camera was on the ground in front of the lion.
Screen shot of  Burrard-Lucas.com
The secret?
Screen shot of  Burrard-Lucas.com
the BeetleCam:  a remote controlled, armored, buggy with a Canon 550D camera mounted on it. Another model included  a live video feed, HD movie recording and a Canon 1Ds MK III. read about the project, the process, the equipment, on  BeetleCam vs the Lions of the Masai Mara, The BeetleCam Projet, and, if you would like to buy your own BeetleCam, click here. (The starting price for a basic BeetleCam is GBP £1,250.  Each one is built to order.)

"Over the course of the next few days, we were able to gain new understanding and respect for the lions we were photographing. We were always mindful that we didn’t want to harass them or intrude on their lives. However, we came to appreciate that lions are incredibly curious cats and full of the bravado that comes from being the Masai Mara’s top predator. This resulted in plenty more raucous games with the youngsters and some wonderful encounters with older individuals, who treated BeetleCam with nonchalant disdain, deliberately ignoring it as it manoeuvred around them. However, we also found that lions can be very unpredictable; every now and then one would deliver a powerful bite that bent metal and left us wincing. As a result, we never knew if the next encounter might be BeetleCam’s last." (link.  Click through and read the whole story.)

If you had a remote trigger on your camera, could you camouflage it at your bird feeder, or in your garden, and sit quietly, waiting, for the right animal, and that perfect photo to come along?  Do you have the patience to do that?  Do you think a camera on a remote car would work, if you only wanted to get pictures of your pet cat or dog?  What precautions would you have to take?