Photographer Rigs Remote Car Camera to Get Very Up Close and Personal with Lions

Most people try to avoid dangerous predators like lions, but photographer Chris McLennan’s clever remote camera setup allowed him—or rather, “Car-L”—to get in the faces of a pride of lions in Botswana and capture some otherwise-impossible shots:

The setup, designed by McLennan’s friend Carl Hansen, consisted of an AquaTech Sound Blimp mounted to a 4×4 remote control buggy.

McLennan placed a Nikon D800E camera inside the blimp, equipped with an 18-35mm lens. He set the camera to manual focus mode with high ISO and small aperture for “great depth of field,” and he set the lens to a wide 18mm, knowing that he would have crisp focus at 1m.

car-l remote control buggy trigger rig setup

By the end of his run, Car-L was “dead,” but protected the camera and baited the lions with ease.

“What I’m planning on doing is driving this vehicle in and getting really close to a large predator here in Africa… and [seeing] if we can get that special shot that you can’t get any other way,” McLennan had said. “Hopefully, at the end of it all, we’ll get the camera back and have something to look at.”

At the end of it all, McLennan’s “hopefully” turned out to be prophecy.

The movement-triggered aggression of lions and other big predatory cats may be frightening, but it guaranteed the success of McLennan’s shoot. Not only did McLennan capture crisp, close-up shots in the faces of one or several lions, he received the opportunity of a lifetime when an entire pride of lions began stalking and fighting over Car-L.

big cat up close and personal wildlife

McLennan has a penchant for photographing dangerous wildlife

Chris McLennan is a New Zealand-based adventure, travel, and wildlife photographer endorsed as both an HP Ambassador and a Nikon Ambassador.

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