National Geographic has always been known for its stunning photography of wildlife and the environment. Over the last two years Nat. Geo. photographer Michael Nichols has been using technology to help him get up close and personal – so to speak – with a pride of lions.
No he wasn’t in some lion proof suit, or wearing some crazy cool camouflage; he was using drones and robots to do the dirty work. The benefit to using these devices is that no human life is is danger, but also that the Lions do not see the drones/robots as threats, which leads to them acting more natural than when a human is nearby snapping pictures.
The resulting photographs are pretty awesome, you can’t deny that they are really neat. But the wildlife photographer in me can’t help but feeling like he cheated a bit. I mean part of the allure of wildlife photography is getting out in the wild, and to a degree becoming connected with the animals you are shooting. As cool as drones/robots are I feel like you lose that experience when you use them.
UPDATE: I feel the need to clarify. When I say cheating in this case I don’t mean it in a completely negative the images should be banned sort of way. All I am saying is the photographer cheating himself out of the unique experience of getting in with a group of animals and getting the shot. (obviously special considerations to distance must be had in the case of dangerous wildlife like lions) The experience is what I am talking about, not the images themselves. I have no problem with them at all.
What are your thoughts? Is it cheating, or is it being smart or both? Let us know what you think in a comment below.
[via The Verge]