Robot-Assisted Photo Taken in Kenya Ranked Among Best Worldwide

A photo of four hyenas taken at Lemek Conservancy in Masai Mara.
A photo of four hyenas taken at Lemek Conservancy in Masai Mara.
Jen Guyton / NatGeo

A photo taken in Kenya's Masai Mara National Park has been ranked among 29 pictures of the year across the world by the National Geographic Magazine.

The image showed four hyenas described as intelligent wild animals arriving at a pond with the intention of consuming water at Lemek Conservancy.

Jen Guyton, a world-renowned photographer, took the image using a remote-controlled robot.

"Soon after dawn at Lemek Conservancy, spotted hyenas arrive at a pond to drink. Widely misunderstood, hyenas are fierce, intelligent, and social, living and hunting as members of matriarchal clans," read a description of the image by NatGeo Magazine.

Photographer Jen Guyton
Photographer Jen Guyton.
Jen Guyton

"Jen Guyton captured this closeup with an armored, remote-controlled robot designed by National Geographic photo engineers."

Nat Geo Director of Photography Sadie Quarrier, in a later interview, indicated that the media outlet settled on the 29 photographs from around the world after sifting through over 2.1 million submissions.

"Beyond the expected criteria for well-executed images — such as great light and strong compositions — I am looking to feel a strong emotional response to what I’m seeing. The final choices are the ones that still resonate with me weeks later,” she explained in an interview with PetaPixel, a media outlet.

“These images not only sparked my curiosity, but also surprised, delighted, or enlightened me in some way.”

Guyton, on her website, describes herself as a photographer and ecologist with a passion for telling stories at the junction of global environmental change and human culture.

She has also won several awards including the UC Berkeley Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by Young Alumni and the American Society of Mammologists Murie Family Conservation Award.

"I believe that stories — whether in the form of film, photography, writing, or something else — have the power to persuade and motivate. That makes them crucial for protecting our wild places," she insists.

Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wired Magazine, and Geo Germany.

A collection of National Geographic Magazine
A collection of National Geographic Magazine.