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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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Wildlife Photography Techniques

Anticipating movement and action
When I anticipate having action or significant movement of my subject(s) in my frame, I will always shoot in AI focusing mode (or Continuous mode on Nikon cameras). I try to keep my frames in more than 2 to 4 frame bursts, unless I am trying to isolate a very inique moment in time. When browsing through my images, I will tend to locate the images where my subject(s) look natural, the overall composition is pleasing, and there is some sort of dynamic element to the frame.

Shooting Mode
I tend to use aperture priority mode most of the time when I am shooting wildlife. There is usually significant movement of my subjects in relation to my light source (the sun), and I find that I can change my exposure compensation much faster. You can read my article on depth of field from an earlier post on this site.


Lion cubs, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, January 2004
Canon 10D, 300mm f/2.8 L IS + 1.4x, 1/250 @ f/4.5, ISO 400

This is where I use many different approaches, depending on the situation. In fast changing light, I tend to use evaluative metering with some sort of exposure compensation. If the light is not changing quickly, I will tend to use evaluative or spot metering in manual shooting mode. My lazy shooting almost always happens in aperture priority mode with evaluative metering. Most subjects that are out on the Serengeti plains will be around a +1/3 exposure compensation, and those subjects that are darker than middle tones (elephants, wildebeest and rhinos) will have around -2/3 of compensation. All of the big cats (lions, cheetah and leopards) are close to middle tone, but I almost always add in an extra +1/3 of compensation to 'expose to the right'.

Camera and Lens stabilization
Almost all of my wildlife photography in Africa is taken from a bean bag. There are so few opportunities to get out and use a tripod, and any other means of supporting your cameras and lenses just aren't as effective. However, east African safaris typically have enclosed Land Rover/Land Cruiser vehicles with pop-tops. These are very different from southern African vehicles with open sides. I will be in Botswana in a few months, and will figure out what works best during the safari. I will be prepared to use a variety of solutions, and will settle on one approach within the first few days.



Wildebeest and Zebras at a watering hole, Serengeti N.P, July 2005

Canon 20D, 100-400mm, 1/25 @ f/22, ISO 100

Image Stabilization
In a few words, life would be much more difficult without image stabilization. I use it as often as I can.

Shutter Speed
I rarely let shutter speed be my first consideration in my photos. Well, unless I am deliberately shooting slow speed panning shots. I am usually more concerned with depth of field, and will use my ISO setting on my camera help me achieve my minimum shutter speeds. For some this may sound crazy, but I would rather have a sharp photograph with noise (think ISO 800 and 1/500 sec) than a photograph with no noise and a blurry subject (ISO 100 and 1/6o sec). I am not afraid to push my ISO to higher numbers on my Canon equipment, but with my recent use of the Nikon D2x I would hesitate in pushing past ISO 400.


Three Wilebeest, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, February 2005

Canon 1DMkII, 100-400mm, 1/1000 @ f/7.1, ISO 250

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