Lion vs. Nikon: a customised 4x4 rig for photographing wildlife

Lions are often called the most majestic creatures. After watching this video, you will soon appreciate why.

Lions are often called the most majestic creatures. After watching this video, you will soon appreciate why.

(Screenshot by CBSi)

Photographer Chris McLennan is renowned for his travel images, though none can match the adventurous nature of these stills he was able to capture in Botswana. Rather than taking photos from a safari vehicle with a telephoto lens, McLennan got far closer using a customised camera rig.

The rig is called the "Car-L", which consists of a modified AquaTech sound blimp made to fit on a 4x4 buggy. Inside the blimp, McLennan placed the Nikon D800E alongside an 18-35mm lens to capture the lions. A remote trigger was used to fire the camera from a distance.

Having the rig situated so close to the ground gave McLennan a unique perspective on the lion kingdom. Halfway through the video, the inquisitive beasts try their hand at a spot of photography themselves. Though the rig was pretty much destroyed, the camera survived the inspection, so McLennan could extract the resulting images.

McLennan also explains some of the exposure settings used before he set the rig out into the wild — just in case you want to try this at home.

This is not the first time a photographer has used a motorised rig to get up close and personal with lions. Last year, two British wildlife photographers did a similar thing with two "BeetleCams" that had a live video feed to chart the camera's progress in real time.

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