A few years ago, U.K. wildlife photographer William Burrard-Lucas started building a series of remote controlled DSLR camera vehicles as a DIY project. Named the BeetleCam, it’s now better protected, has space for a GoPro, and is a commercially available product.
Continuing to improve on his ideas and invent new ways to observe wildlife, Burrard-Lucas developed a gyro-stabilized BeetleBot and a BeetleCopter, which filmed the above scenes in the Serengeti, though they’re working on a quieter version. (A note for sensitive kiddos: half of a fresh kill shown at 2m14s.)
Below, a project update that shows all of his “camtraptions.”
Video of the performance, in 14 movements that represent different animals — a lion, a turtle, hens and roosters, elephants, fish, kangaroos, and more — was then packaged into an iPad app. It has become one of our favorites, not only due of the mix of animation and live action, but also because of how much time we get to spend with musicians playing beautiful music with their instruments. The video above is the grand finale. Highly recommended, along with these two newer apps from the same label: Pierre et le loup and Les 4 saisons d’Antoine.
San Francisco’s Kei Lun Lion Dancers and their director Corey Chan are dedicated to telling stories that are thousands of years old. Though traditional dance, music, costume-making, and story translation, they hope to help preserve and pass on these ancient stories by performing them for younger generations. From KQED Arts:
In the traditional lion dance, props are used that represent different meanings. For example lettuce and tangerines, which are often hung for lion dancers to pluck (along with cash), represent prosperity; tangerines with stems represent the unity of the family. The props help tell the tale and present a puzzle the lion must solve for the dance to be successful. “The audience struggles with the lion,” says Chan. “Sometimes the lion looks so frustrated because it can’t do what it wants to do.” But his triumph, when it comes, is all the sweeter for the obstacles…
Though the dragon dance is more festive and less layered in meaning than the lion dance, the dragon has great significance in Chinese culture as well. “The dragon is the ultimate symbol of the Chinese people, who call themselves the descendants of the dragon,” Chan explains. “The ancients believed different dragons controlled rainfall and flooding; they brought life-giving rain to the crops which sustained a nation, or they caused the catastrophic floods that wiped out millions. No wonder dragons were considered the loftiest, most powerful and most fearsome of creatures.”
"Jaguars are already one of the world’s most endangered species, but one of the two cubs on display at Zacango Zoo in Mexico is even more rare because it is melanistic. That means the animal appears completely black, although you can actually see spots if you look carefully. The two cubs were bred from different mothers and they’re the first of their kind to be born at the zoo for a decade."