Leave your infrared-laser tripped stationary camera to your dad, the whitetail hunting enthusiast, ’cause you’re about learn what REAL wildlife photography is.
Will & Matt Burrard-Lucas just wrapped up their first (largely) successful photography expedition using their ingenious BeetleCam, a remote control camera ATV. The brothers have been professional nature photographers since 2004 but really set themselves apart from the wildlife photography hive when they strapped their DSLR camera to four tiny all-terrain tires, and camouflaged it.
After poppin’ some major wheelies in the airport security line, they flew with the camera buggy to the Ruaha and Katavi National Parks in Tanzania. The national parks provided the BeetleCam with some amazing photo-opts while keeping the brothers at a safe distance which decreased their pant-wetting probability by like, 25%.
The first real test came when the team spotted some African elephants. The elephants proved to be a little harder capture than first assumed given their super sensitive hearing (their ears are REALLY big). But eventually, being the curious monsters they are, the elephants came over to check out the buggy on their own.
Next up: LIONS.
::Keep reading or you will regret it for the rest of your life.::
This is where the qualifier “largely” I used in the second sentence of this post comes into play. When you’re driving a toy Hummer with an expensive duct-taped camera right into a pride of lions, you think “What could go wrong?” But then you’re reminded that they’re MF’ING LIONS when they grab your camera and take it into the bush to gnaw on it. But. Thankfully, the brothers were able to snag these incredible photos from the mangled camera body:
“Dude. It’s cool. I’ve read Jose Cansenco’s twitter page. I know how to handle perceived threats.”
So with camera one gone (a Canon 400D = $600), they had to think fast. The brothers’ only option, other than to spend the rest of their African vacay at the hotel bar drinking tequila sunrises, was to strap their other camera (a Canon EOS 1D MK III = $6,000) onto to the ATV. No pressure.
Needless to say, the brothers steered clear of Africa’s top predators. And I’m glad they did because it meant they were able to capture one of my favorite animals, the African Buffalo. Sure, they can be ferociously aggressive toward humans and other threatening animals, but a small motorized camera buggy didn’t seem to bother them. In fact, they were pretty interested in the thing.
The BeetleCam Brothers will be making another trip to Africa later this year. Hopefully with lion repellent in tow. You should all, every single one of you, check out their blog, blog.burrard-lucas.com/ and subscribe to the RSS feed or email list so you won’t miss a thing. And for more videos like this one, head over to the BeetleCam page.
Thanks so much to Will (of Will & Matt) for the great photos and information about the BeetleCam.