Pitting a Remote Controlled Nikon Against a Curious Pride of Lions

A few days ago it was a National Geographic robot camera rig vs. a tiger, today we swap out the tigers for a pride of lions and the Nat Geo rig for “Car-L,” a little remote-controlled ‘buggy’ packing a Nikon D800E.

New Zealand photographer Chris McLennan wanted to get some great up-close-and-personal shots of lions in the wild. And so he loaded up his Nikon D800E w/ 18-35mm lens inside of “Car-L” — an AquaTech sound blimp modified by friend Carl Hansen to double as a 4×4 remote-controlled rig.


It all started normally enough with the rig getting a great shot of a big male lion and then making a clean escape, but the video turns into an unplanned AquaTech commercial when the females of the pride decide Car-L is worth some serious attention.

McLennan tries to back Car-L out slowly once the lions gets a bit too curious, but alas, escaping a pride of curious cats isn’t in the cards for the little rig. Fortunately the blimp is sturdy enough to be called “lion proof” and, even though we don’t think the rig was running by the end of the experience, the photos McLennan got made the whole thing incredibly worth it.

Be sure to check out the whole video to see the shots he captured, and if you’d like to see more of McLennan’s work, head over to his website by clicking here.