African Wildlife Photographed Up Close by Ingenious Remote-Controlled Vehicle

African wildlife photographed by Will Burrard-Lucas

In 2009, British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas was looking to find unique perspectives for photographing African wildlife. After brainstorming methods that could get up close to the animals, but keep him safe, the BeetleCam was born. Ten years later, this remote-control buggy carrying a DSLR or mirrorless camera has seen its share of adventures. As Burrard-Lucas refined his design in an aim to make it “lion proof,” his invention has captured memorable photographs of elephants, lions, leopards, and much more.

Across Tanzania, Zambia, and Kenya, the BeetleCam has performed admirably. In its first outing, Burrard-Lucas's invention assisted him in photographing elephants and buffalo in Tanzania. Unfortunately, this inaugural model had a tussle with a curious lion and was damaged—though it managed to take some great photographs of the encounter.

Buoyed by his initial success, Burrard-Lucas continued to develop the BeetleCam. His invention spurred a whole new business—Camtraptions—where he sells camera traps and BeetleCams to assist other photographers. At the same time, the BeetleCam has been by his side when he lived in Zambia for a year, created award-winning photographs, and published books. His newest publication, Land of Giants, shows his dedication to African wildlife. Filled with BeetleCam images of elephants in Tsavo, Kenya, the book is an homage to some of the last big-tusk elephants on Earth.

After ten years, Burrard-Lucas continues to innovate. In 2020, he plans to debut two new iterations of BeetleCam, which he will use in a new project to document lions. Scroll down to see photographs from 10 years of adventure with BeetleCam and read more about Burrard-Lucas's experiences on his blog.

In 2009, wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas created the remote-controlled BeetleCam to document animals in Africa.

BeetleCam by Will Burrard-Lucas

BeetleCam by Will Burrard-Lucas

His invention has allowed him to get incredibly close to lions, wild dogs, and elephants across Africa.

Lion in Serengeti National Park

Close Up Portrait of a Lion in Africa by Will Burrard-Lucas

Lion Cubs in Africa

African wild dog in Zimbabwe

Lion in Serengeti National Park

Moving discretely, BeetleCam can take photographs while keeping Burrard-Lucas safe.

Lion Kill at Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

African Wildlife Photography by Will Burrard-Lucas

African Wild Dogs by Will Burrard-Lucas

Of course, these wild animals are always quite curious about the moving camera.

Photographing Wild Dogs with BeetleCam.

African Wildlife Photography by Will Burrard-Lucas

African Wildlife Photography by Will Burrard-Lucas

Curious Lion Cub by Will Burrard-Lucas


Next: Check out more spectacular photos of African wildlife.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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