A festival for photo lovers officially kicks off in Charlottesville this week.
The Look3 Festival starts Thursday, and now we're getting a behind the lens look at the work of one artist who spent years in Africa to get the right shot.
Nick Nichols is a photographer and editor-at-large for National Geographic. He spent years in the Serengeti photographing lions. Out of 200,000 pictures, 13 are now being published.
Nichols said lions are more threatened than people think, which is why he took on this project.
"Most people think lions are everywhere but they're actually more endangered," he said. "That's why we wanted to do an article about this cliché African animal."
Nichols says technology has allowed him to photograph the lions in a different way. Some of the photographs were taken with a robot with two small cameras on it.
"It drove right up to the lions...we got the lions habituated to it so they weren't scared," he said.
The robot allowed the crew to photograph the lions up close and on their level.
Other pictures were taken with an electric helicopter that would fly a camera overheard to get scenes of the land.
They also used a special-built land rover that had a refrigerator and infrared lights so they could photograph the lions at night without blinding them or scaring their food away.
The pictures Nichols chose are now hanging in the Haven, and are free for public viewing.
"This is not about religion... it's about trying to get people to look at nature with a level of respect and putting pictures of lions in a church has some of that effect," said Nichols.
The pictures are being featured at Look3 before they are published in National Geographic. They will be published in the August issue which will come out July 15.
More than 1,000 people from around the country and around the world are expected to check out the displays located in venues across downtown Charlottesville during the festival.
The Look3 exhibits have been open since last week, but the main event starts Wednesday night with a talk and book signing with photographer Tim Laman.
Laman's Birds of Paradise exhibit is hanging in the trees along the downtown mall.
The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Paramont Theater.
Click here for a full list of events for the Look3 Festival.
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