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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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Camera bags, and more camera bags

I think I have done it. I mean actually done it. I think I have actually managed to collect as many camera bags as my wife has pairs of shoes. I am dead serious. Even though I have sold off a few bags over the past year, I have still managed to fill an entire closet worth of nothing but camera bags. Shoulder bags. Bacpacks. Fanny packs. You name it. This is insane. I am at step number 1, and I only have 11 more to go. My name is Andy Biggs, and I am a recovering.....
Oops. Wrong speech.
The problem with the camera bag industry is that nobody makes a bag that will suit my needs. I like to think that I have needs that are common to all photographers who travel with our camera equipment.

I want a camera backpack that is sensitive to weight, built extremely well, and is FAA airline legal. That's it. Pretty simple. We are currently bombarded with changing airline regulations that tell us we cannot lock our checked luggage. Ok. So that means we carry on our camera gear personally onto the plane. But many international airlines are limiting our carryon allowances to 1, maybe 2 bags, and are often limited to 15 to 22 pounds for our main carryon bag.

Let me set a scenario here. I am an African wildlife photographer. This means I use a large lens, like a 500mm f/4 lens, and it weighs 8.5 pounds. The typical camera backpack that can hold this lens, in addition to a few cameras and some more lenses, weighs around 9 to 10 pounds. Simple math tells me that I am already over the British Airways allowance of 6 kilos (14 pounds), and am almost to the limit for KLM's restriction of 10 kilos (22 pounds). The only bag that is airline legal in size, and can accommodate my equipment is a total and utter piece of junk. This product will be unnamed in this blog, as I don't want this blog to be personal in nature.
I take many people to Africa each year on safari, so I see plenty of camera bags come into my Land Rovers. To give up some weight, one assumes that one has to give up on features and padding. I don't think this is the case at all. There are two ways of reducing weight on a bag: reduce features or spend your way out of it with lightweight, expensive materials. Why won't somebody make a high end, lightweight camera backpack? Why do I have to give up on either padding or features to have a lightweight bag? I don't, do I?

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Reader Comments (6)

IP: jrlimages@hotmail.comURL:Great news...will be interested to see the new bag! I'm off to Italy at the end of the month, but don't plan to take any long lenses on this trip.
March 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjrl001
IP: hiddenlightphotography@yahoo.comURL: http://hiddenlightphotographyyahoo.comYou may have tried them, but the bags that Moose Peterson produces are supposedly light and still of high quality for photo gear protection. I believe that the bags range in weight from 3 to 5 pounds and are built specifically for travelling standards.
March 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterilovearches
IP: andybiggs@gmail.comURL: http://www.andybiggs.comYes, I have much experience with the MP-1 bag, and I have to say that it is not very well built and not well padded. The materials and technology to make the bag are 1970's or 1980's era stuff. From a design standpoint I applaud the effort to remove weight, and bring to market a product that has no competitors, really. Unfortunately these products fall apart, as witnessed by many of my safari travelers.
March 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndy
IP: dave@daverephoto.comURL: http://daverephoto.comFWIW - the Think Tank Photo Airport Acceleration bag will hold the 500/4 and, depending on how many dividers you use, isn't all that heavy - between 3.5 and 7 pounds, but with the dividers removed to make room for that lens, probably mid-5 pounds??? I have one of these, and I've been happy with it so far...
June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDave Re
IP: andybiggs@gmail.comURL: http://www.andybiggs.comDave-

True, but the Airport Acceleration bag could be bigger to take advantage of what the airlines allow for maximum size. 18.5” H x 13“ W x 7” D means that I am giving up valuable space.
June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Biggs
IP: djearnold@cox.netURL: http://So, Andy --Did you ever bring that new bag to market? And, if so, where can I look at it. I'm in the market for some "real" photography bags now that I have 2 DSLRs, a 200-400 VR lens, several other lenses, flash, etc. Will be going to South Africa and Botswana in April/May of 2008, so I want to get 1 or 2 bags now.Thanks!
February 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdearnold

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