When U.K. photographers and brothers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas decided to photograph African wildlife in 2009, they built the BeetleCam, a remote controlled buggy with a DSLR camera mounted on top. The Beetlecam returned groundbreaking photographs of elephants and buffalo in Tanzania but it was almost destroyed in an encounter with a lion. In 2011, they created two new versions of the BeetleCam: one with more advanced capabilities and one with an armoured shell. The result: a portfolio of lion photographs in Masai Mara, Kenya.
As the pictures show, the lions are very aware of the Beetlecams and approach and poke at them curiously. In the video, it is interesting to see the lion holding its ground, unperturbed as a beetlecam races toward it. Maybe if the beetecams are left interacting with them (solar panels, smart software), the lions will completely forget about them in time and we can get more “natural” photos of the lions doing their own thing instead of staring into the camera.
If you want your own beetlecam (Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, dual Speedlite flashes and a GoPro Hero), they’ll sell you one.
View the photos at: Beetelcam.