Wildlife Photographers Using New Technology to Get Closer to Lions in the Wild

Wildlife photographers have always been fascinated by lions. Equally (and understandably), they have also been afraid of them. Lions have never been fond of people roaming about in their territory. Perhaps they’re just camera shy, but in any case, photographing lions has always been a big challenge. Photographers want to get great photos without disturbing the lions, and also without being eaten. Nick Nichols and his crew have come up with some creative ways to get close without putting themselves in danger or disrupting the lions’ lifestyle:

Three creative technologies have been used to capture these lions:

  • The Tank – This little remote control vehicle gives the photographers the opportunity to get up close to the lions at a low/eye level perspective. This device not only protects the photographers, but also works to not disrupt the lions as much and provides a much better angle from which to shoot.
  • The Copter – Another small aerial vehicle has also been used by the team. The advantage of this device is its size. Without a small vehicle like this, the only other alternative would be a real helicopter or plane which is noisy, distracting, expensive, and inconvenient.
  • Infrared Lights – Lions are very active during the night, which provides a challenge for photographers since they have no sunlight to shoot with. But with infrared lights strapped to the front of their car, Nichols’ crew is able to photograph the lions at night without disturbing them. The infrared lights are not visible to the lions (or humans), so it doesn’t scare them away.

“You want them to go about their business, that’s the whole point. So you want to move as slowly as possible. So that, you know, you’re as close to an observer as possible.”

This camouflage "tank" can hold two DSLRs and a small shotgun mic

This camouflage “tank” can hold two DSLRs and a small shotgun mic

“This is not the way they reacted the first ten times we put [the tank] out. So this has been a process. They’re very calm with it now.”

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