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About Andy

 

I am an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. My photographic safaris allow my travelers to not only enhance their understanding of photography, lighting, and wildlife, but to develop a life-long admiration for Africa ‘s beauty and culture.

Banana Republic recently used my photographs as the cornerstone of their Urban Safari campaign, and my images were seen in all 750 stores around the globe, as well as in their billboards, catalogs and annual report. I was also the winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the ‘Wild Places’ category in 2008 and a highly commended in the ‘Creative Visions of Nature’ category in 2007.

I launched Gura Gear in 2008, in an attempt to deliver lightweight camera bags to the market. I was looking for a lightweight camera bag to hold all of my photographic gear, and there was nothing desirable on the market that suited my needs. After spending 2 years with many prototypes, the Gura Gear Kiboko bag was born. More products are now available on the Gura Gear web site.

 

 

 

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Friday
Mar252016

Nik Collection is now free!

I have been a huge fan of the Nik Collection plugins for Photoshop (not the Lightroom ones) for many years, and now they are going to be FREE going forward. As Lightroom and Capture One functionality has increased I have been relying less and less on the Nik Collection tools, but they still have a use in my overall tool kit.

Click here to download the Nik Collection for free

Wednesday
Mar022016

On the Lookout for the Classic Gura Gear Camera Bags?

 

I have had many emails asking me if Gura Gear still has the line of bags in stock that had the old branding on them, and the short answer is the best way to find them is to look over at one of the dealers, Outdoor Photo Gear. As you may know, the name Gura Gear was discontinued last year in order to focus time and effort on our Tamrac brand.

Here are some helpful links:

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L - $329 (was $429)

Gura Gear Bataflae 26L in stone color - $199 (was $379)

Gura Gear Bataflae 26L in black - $199 (was $379)

Gura Gear Bataflae 18L in tan - $149 (was $299)

Gura Gear Bataflae 18L in grey - $149 (was $299)

All of the Gura Gear products can be found by searching on Gura Gear on their web site. And, of course, you can find all of the new bags over on the Tamrac web site.

Thursday
Dec242015

2015 Year in Review

Wow. Another year has passed. Many things changed and many things stayed the same. What stayed the same you ask? Too much travel away from home. I say this every single year, but as a nature photographer and guide there isn’t an easy way to balance income requirements for my family and the travel that’s required to earn it. The only way to travel less is to likely leave the industry that I love so much, but I am not yet ready to make such a move.

Camera Equipment

Just like 2014, 2015 was a year of Phase One medium format equipment, augmented by 35mm camera gear when needed. For example, some trips like my Ultimate Primates safari (where we trek for wild chimpanzees and mountain gorillas) a full frame Canon or Nikon camera and a 70-200mm f/2.8 is all that you need. Nothing else. It’s not that my Phase One gear isn’t appropriate, but rather it isn’t the absolute best tool for the job. Late in 2015 I purchased some Canon 35mm gear from a friend who was selling off his entire system. I picked up a 5Ds camera, 24-70mm f/4, 24mm TSE, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II and a 200-400mm f/4. All I need is a second Canon camera body to round out the system. I did take the Canon to Botswana with me last month, and I compared the files to the Phase One IQ250 (with Sony’s 50mp sensor) and at lower ISO values the files look amazing. I think the Phase One 50mp files are better, like way better at ISO 1600, 3200 and 6400 (perhaps by 1.5 or 2 stops), but at ISO 800 and lower the 5Ds is a killer camera. I may purchase a second one, instead of going with something like a 1Dx or its forthcoming replacement.

Places I visited

I have to go off of memory here, and for a 46-year old man that starts to get challenging. ;-). Let’s see. I guided 5 African safaris (4 listed on my web site and 1 was private) to Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda and Rwanda, a landscape trip to Scotland in the late winter, Moab in Utah for the best 1-2 combination of national parks in the American West (Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park), a wildlife and cultural trip to India and also a trip to the southern Oregon coast in the late summer for some relief from the Texas heat.

Of all of the trips the India trip stood out for me. It was my first trip to India, and we had some amazing wildlife sightings with tigers being at the top of the list. I have now added India to my yearly destination list, and my 2016 trip has already been sold out for a number of months. 2017 is already in the works.

My 2016 Schedule

I am busier than I appear, based on my own travel schedule. Why? I act as a safari consultant / agent for safaris and trips that I don’t personally guide. I get phone calls and emails all of the time, asking for assistance with setting up custom safaris for small groups of people who may not have the budget for one of my published trips or maybe my dates don’t work well for them. I also set up trips for other photographers to guide, and these trips have the Andy Biggs Photo Safaris quality stamp all over them. It is the only way for me to satisfy the demand, stay married and see my kids!

If you are considering going to to any of these places or are thinking of joining me in 2016 or beyond, please contact me and let’s have a dialogue about your needs, wants and desires. I have a tendency to set up trips and tell people about them before they end up on my web site, so often many of my trips are a result of my listening to my customers’ wants and then I set something up and tell them about it. The next thing I know I have a trip that’s mostly filled up before I even get a chance to write anything up for this blog or my main web site.

My Favorite Photos and Memories from 2015 (In Captured Order)

Sisters

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

Lion Pair

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

Giraffes and Clouds

Lake Ndutu, Tanzania

 

Lioness On A Kopje

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

 

Incoming Storm

Isle of Skye, Scotland

 

Water’s Edge

Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebredes, Scotland

 

Beggar Girl and the Taj Mahal

Agra, India

 

Jumping Tiger

Bandhavgarh, India

 

Green Bee-Eater

Bandavgarh, India

 

Coastal Fog and Sea Stacks

Bandon, Oregon

 

Contemplating Chimpanzee

Kibale Forest, Uganda

 

Mother and Child Chimpanzees

Kibale Forest, Uganda

 

Pre-Trek Dryness and Smiles

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

Silverback Mountain Gorilla

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

Silverback Mountain Gorilla

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Post-Trek Wetness and Smiles

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

Silverback Mountain Gorilla

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

Imitation Silverback Mountain Gorilla, AKA Francois

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

 

Leopard Cub

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

 

Bull Elephant

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

A Hunting Pack of Painted Wolves, AKA Wild Dogs

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

Drinking Lioness

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

Jumping Lion

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

Leopard and Cub

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Friday
Dec042015

Today is International Cheetah Day

Happy International Cheetah Day, everyone. Today is the day when we recongize the cheetah, one of the most elegant and beautiful big cats on our planet. This is a photograph from a recent safari in Botswana, where we spent some time with this mother and her two 5-week old cubs. Taken near Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge.

 

Tuesday
Sep082015

A Year in the Life, a lecture given at B&H

B&H has now posted a video of a lecture I gave a few months back in NYC. The video is around an hour long, and I spoke about creativity, my own approach to photography as well as some field and post processing techniques.

 

Thursday
Jul092015

India Tiger Safari Trip Mini Report

I have been back from India for more than a month and I have had some time to reflect on the amazing trip. My 2016 trip has already been planned and is now being actively marketed, and now it’s time to do a quick write up with photographs to talk about what we saw, photographed and felt.

In May 2015 I made my first trip to India. It was a trip that was long in the making, and the purpose of the trip was to combine some cultural sites with wildlife and nature. At the top of the cultural sites was of course the Taj Mahal, and on the nature list was the majestic tiger. These two goals of the trip helped us piece together an itinerary that looked like this:

  • Delhi (1 night)
  • Agra (1 night)
  • Ranthambhore National Park (4 nights)
  • Delhi (1 night)
  • Bandavgarh National Park (4 nights)
  • Delhi

I don’t want to go through a blow-by-blow detail of each day, but describing the trip in broad terms is more of how I want this report to be talked about. First off, India is a HUGE country, with many different cultures, climates and cuisines. This trip was limited to the central part of India, and in future years I will be branching out to see even more. India is a place that will challenge you in many ways and excite all of your senses: your sense of smell, sight, touch and hearing. The colors are often bright and colorful, the large cities are loud and energetic, walking the streets can mean bumping around between people and the spices of the food overwhelming (in a good way). I loved it. I loved everything about it.

We split our time between two different wildlife areas: Ranthambhore National Park and Bandhavgarh National park. We spent 4 days at each park, and because they aren’t close to each other we flew commercially back to Delhi and stayed for a night in between. On my 2016 trip we are connecting to parks that are closer together, in order to minimize fatigue.

Our group had some great sightings of tigers in total, of which a few of them were off the carts in a good way. In between tiger sightings there were so many mammal and bird species to photograph to keep us busy. Those other species really made the trip special for me, as it helps me understand and area and how an ecosystem works. Seeing tigers in the wild really was a sight to behold, and they really are as majestic and regal as I had hoped they would be. Many of our sightings included younger tiger cubs that were quite playful, which made great sightings into excellent sightings.

Photographing tigers is very different than that of other big cats, in that much of the process involves tracking and waiting. In some of the places work in Africa we track and track and track until we find our subject, however in India we track until we get a good understanding of where the tiger(s) may be and then find the nearest water hole and hunker down for a while. Eventually the forest will make some noise and we will a better understanding of what is going on. It may be the sound of a chital, a bird or some other noise. It’s a fascinating process and one that paid off for us.

So here are some images that I captured along the way to help illustrate what the trip was all about, with short captions underneath each photograph. I am looking forward to going back in April 2016!!

-Andy

Luxury India Tiger Safari, April 2016

 

Tigress and Cub, Bandhavgarh National Park

 

Finishing Up Our Game Drive, Ranthambhore

 

Tigress, Bandavgarh National Park

 

Chital Deer (also known as spotted or axis deer), Bandhavgarh National Park

 

Beggar Girl’s Hands, Agra

 

The Tea Room at the Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, with the Taj Mahal in the background

 

My private deck and view of the Taj Mahal from the Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

 

Tiger, Ranthambhore National Park

 

Samode Safari Lodge, Bandhavgarh National Park

 

Tigress and Cub, Bandhavgarh National Park

 

 

Tiger, Ranthambhore National Park

 

Peek-A-Boo

 

Floating Flowers, Oberoi Amarvilas, Ranthambhore

 

Samode Safari Lodge Lanterns

 

Samode Safari Lodge

 

  

 

 

 

Sunday
Jun212015

Photography Roundtable Podcast

 

 

Photography Roundtable podcast recently interviewed me about my photography business, safaris and other things about photography. It was an easy 30 minute discussion, and it was one of the better ones I have been a part of.

Going from 3 Auto Focus Points to Leading Safaris - Andy Biggs Episode 102

Sunday
Mar012015

Back Home From Tanzania

The 2015 year has been off to a busy start, as I guided a private group to Botswana’s Okavango Delta in January, and recently I was in Tanzania’s Serengeti for my first open signup safari for the year. Both were amazing safari experiences, and this is my first image to share in the new year. Enjoy!

 

Lion On A Rock

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

February 2015

Phase One DF+ camera, IQ250 digital back, Schneider 240mm lens