The BeetleCam is a remote-controlled buggy that is used for photographing anything from a ground-level perspective. This the most unique, enjoyable photographic accessory I can imagine – well worth the hassles of air travel with it (size, bulk, TSA security inspections/questions, etc)! And the photos that result are phenomenal – closeness and perspective not achievable unless one risks his life.
BeetleCam Any camera including sophisticated DSLRs with zoom lens can be mounted on the interior platform. Once the camera with lens is in place, a metal carapace with an opening for the lens covers the entire platform housing the sensitive electronics. Amazingly, after numerous times closely approaching large African mammals (elephants, cape buffalo, lions, cheetahs, leopards), my BeetleCam has never been damaged.
BeetleCam A remote controller (right) in the hands of the distant photographer controls the camera shutter action, as well as a lens tilt mechanism on the BeetleCam. The photographer also has a remote viewer (left), which enables her/him to see what the distant camera sees (via a GoPro which is permanently mounted on the buggy platform just below the photographer’s camera lens).
Spotted Hyena Curious, this female hyena and her cub warily check out the BeetleCam.
Spotted Hyena After being around the mechanical intruder for a while, this hyena lets it come within a very short distance.
Spotted Hyena Always social and curious, this group of hyenas decides to check out the strange contraption.
Female Lion Of all the animals I’ve photographed using the BeetleCam, I’ve found the big cats to be the most receptive to it and the most fun to watch reacting to it.
Lion Pride When the BeetleCam headed into this lion pride’s space, the closest female lion went on immediate alert, while the others in the group remained disinterested.
Female Lion This is the same lioness reacting to the BeetelCam in the earlier photos. Although at all times wary, once she was around the BeetleCam for a while, she relaxed and allowed me to send the buggy close to her, coming within a hair’s breath of touching her leg. Amazing.
Female Lion After photographing the lioness up close for a while, I turned the buggy around and directed it in the opposite direction. It almost seemed as if the lioness would follow as I guided it away.
Cheetah This juvenile cheetah was more wary of the BeetleCam than other cheetahs have been when I’ve used it. The young cat kept its distance and did not display the curiosity I have come to expect from these cats.
Cheetah CheetahAlert but calm, this juvenile cheetah lets the BeetleCam come within a few feet without reacting with alarm.