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Behind the Scenes of National Geographic’s Lion Photography

By Anthony Thurston on August 13th 2013

Lions MM7947

Over the weekend we shared with you these amazing images of lions that National Geographic Photographer Michael Nichols captured while using robots and drones. The images offered us an interesting and unique look at these Serengeti lions captured in a way that allowed the photographer to stay safe and get closer than would be advised on foot.

Today I came across this great behind the scenes video that National Geographic put up on YouTube which shows us the robot and drone used on the project. It also gives us a great view of how the robot/drones were used and how close they were really getting to these majestic animals.  Check it out below…

Eating Crow

I feel the need here to post an update to my previous post in which I gave my opinion that I felt like using drones or robots in this manner was “cheating” a bit at wildlife photography. This video changed my mind on the matter though, and I just wanted to make a public note that I was way off base with that opinion.

What it boils down to is that I did not look into the project enough. I saw the images, and read a little about the project and made assumptions about how it was done that were simply incorrect. Having seen this video, which clearly shows that while Michael may not be behind the camera that is 1 foot away from a lions face that he is still closer than most would venture to go, I can be an adult and admit I was wrong.

We all make incorrect assumptions now and then, and this was one of mine. I will be making a better effort in the future to make sure that I fully understand a project prior to posting my opinions on them. Now just give me a minute to finish eating my crow and ill be on my way.  Have a great day!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. lionsssss

    yes! lions are the most patient creatures on earth!

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  2. Summer

    Thanks for sharing! love the part with aerial photography. May I know what are the equipment to get and how much it will cost?

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  3. Krystal Griffin

    Thanks for sharing and for owning your misjudgments. It’s refreshing.

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