Photographer Drives Remote Controlled Nikon D800 Into an African Pride of Lions

I remember seeing this video when it first came out and it stuck with me. Then, while planning a shoot with some lion cubs this coming weekend (you may launch jealousy fuelled insults my way for that), I looked it up again. When photographer Chris McLennan attached a DSLR to a remote control 4x4 car and then drove it across the plains of Botswanna in to prides of lions, it yielded — rather expectedly — unique and beautiful results.

This technique isn't and wasn't overly new; people have been attaching GoPros to anything from pets to planes for some time. However, attaching a DSLR becomes a little more difficult due to its weight and fragility. The Nikon D800E is housed in an Aquatech Sound Blimp to withstand any mauling from curious lions. The controller for the buggy is using a Spektrum DX6 transmitter which allows McLennan to both drive his DSLR around and to fire the camera.

The shots appear at the end and they are truly astounding, with the group shot featuring a seemingly half blind lion being the pick of the bunch for me. However, the most enjoyable moment of the video has to be when the three photographers first see the shots on the back of the camera and how they react. If you've ever tried to pull off a difficult shot where you aren't entirely in control of the shots, you'll know that feeling and it is a driving force behind any photographer's pursuit of interesting imagery.

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7 Comments

Chris Himstedt's picture

Very cool with some real FUN captures.

Leigh Miller's picture

C'mon FS...this is old news. I'm a big fan of CM and follow his YT Channel...he's done much more recent stuff.

I assume it's because someone decided to post it on Reddit earlier today.

Robert K Baggs's picture

As I mentioned in as early as the first two lines of this post, I've got a shoot with lion cubs this coming weekend and it reminded me of the video so I sought it out. I then noticed it hadn't been posted on FS. If you've seen it before then you needn't have clicked it again.

Leigh Miller's picture

Yes I saw that and I'm not insulting. However there have been numerous applications of RC/Drone for this explicit purpose...to track and observe animals etc. And many of them are far more recent.

It just seems that FS is fast running out of fresh news/info...but I don't understand why. So much cool "new" stuff going on in the stills/video world. Pick up the pace a bit maybe?

Christian Berens's picture

Well, that was new to me, awesome video!
Makes me want to go to Africa... except for all the shots i'd need :\

FFS-toppers!!!! This is like 1.5 years old news....