How'd They Get Those Pictures of Scary Animals?

Lions, sharks, polar bears — how do you get amazing close-up shots of these dangerous beasts?
By Lukas Pilz & Josh Sampiero

Traveling around the world to take photos of exotic places and things may sound like a dream job — and let's be honest: It is. However, it often requires some courage, or at least a few unorthodox techniques, to get the shot.

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If you enjoyed our first article on how photographers get some of their craziest shotsyou'll also like the photos we've assembled below. Don't miss the GoPro owl dance-off, by the way ...

How the got the shot, animal-style
Oh, hello over there... © Chris McLennan

Stalked by Lions

Photographer Chris McLennan didn't get himself this close to these lions in Botswana — he sent in Car-L, a remote-controlled, off-road vehicle you can see below.

How the got the shot, animal-style
Curious cats... © Chris McLennan

That's a good thing, too, because the pride of eight lions (you can see more in the background, if you look close) stalked and carried off the camera buggy like it was their prey. But once they realized it wasn't food, they quickly lost interest.


How the got the shot, animal-style
What's in there? Can I get a closer look? © Simone Sbaraglia

A Curious Lemur

Lemurs in Madagascar have no natural predators and lots of human admirers, making them confident and friendly. Particularly famous are the ringtail lemurs of Vakona, who will get extremely close to humans.

How the got the shot, animal-style
Don't press that button! © Simone Sbaraglia

How close? Obviously, selfie-close. This brave fellow actually grabbed the lens of photographer Simone Sbaraglia, presumably to look at his reflection in the lens.


© Megan Lorenz

Watch an Owl Work It

You may have already seen this video on the Internet — after all, it has 6,000,000 views since its release. How'd wildlife photographer Megan Lopez make it happen? Easy enough: position the GoPro like a sprinkler, and, well, wait.

Despite the fact that it didn't involve mega-sized waves or tons of powder, GoPro liked the video enough to make it its video of the day, practically guaranteeing viral success.


How the got the shot, animal-style
That's a tasty meal © William Burrard-Lucas

Dinner for Two?

Photographer William Burrard-Lucas is no stranger to getting up close and personal with animals — that's why we put together this collection of his awesome shots.

How the got the shot, animal-style
Feast your eyes... © William Burrard-Lucas

Much like the photographer above, he uses remote-controlled buggies to get his camera to the places he doesn't want to go, like near this lion when it's hungry. Although we can't help but think: Maybe it's safer when he's already eating.


Great white shark close encounter
The man in grey © Amos Nachoum

Swimming With Sharks

Yes, that's a Great White. No, photographer Amos Nachoum is not in a shark cage. His mission? "Dispel the myth that Great Whites are dangerous to humans," according to him.

Photographer Amos Nachoum a few meters from the nose of a great white shark
No shark cage © Jeb Corliss

Was he successful? He survived, so at least a little bit. The shot — taken from his waterhousing, as you can see above — used a standard 50mm lens instead of the wide-angle one might expect. Funny fact? This shot of Amos at work was taken by wingsuit flyer Jeb Corliss; see his amazing "Flying Dagger" flight here.


How the got the shot, animal-style
This guy looks like he's hungry... © Amos Nachoum

Warm Up to a Polar Bear

Another from Nachoun, who took quite a few precautions when nabbing this shot of a polar bear. "I had two Inuit guides and a snowmobile in 'ready' mode. But what we were paying the most attention to was the wind direction. After all, the sense of smell is the strongest attraction for a polar bear. As long as the wind was blowing from the bear toward me, I was fine."

How the got the shot, animal-style
There's the grey suit... and the white suit

Want to experience this kind of thrill for yourself? Amos can help you do that – he runs wildlife photography expeditions which you can sign up for at his website.

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