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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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Lightroom Crop Overlays

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has a nice Crop Overlay feature, which allows you to view your images with different grids, or overlays, on top of your images. There are six (6) different crop overlays available. Here is what you do:

1) Hit the 'R' key to go to the Develop module and have the Crop feature enabled.

2) The default display will be the 'Rule of Thirds' crop overlay.

3) Cycle through the other overlay options by clicking the letter 'O' on your keyboard. Not the zero key. For those overlays that are not symmetrical, you can use the Shift+O combination to alter the orienation of the overlay.

I have been playing around with these different overlays over the past few days, and I am most intrigued by the Golden Ration and Golden Sprial overlays.



Rule of Thirds


Golden Ratio


Diagonal lines








The above image and below image are known as the 'golden mean' or 'Phi'. They occur frequently in nature, and some studies have shown that humans may be genetically programmed to recognize the ratio as a pleasing ratio or composition. Studies of top fashion models revealed that their faces have an abundance of the 1.618 ratio.


Golden Mean or Phi



A grid pattern. I have used this overlay to identify converging lines.

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Reader Comments (2)

I began drawing and oil painting in high school, half my life ago. After a hiaitus leaning toward computer graphics, I took it up again. I find that my manual rendering is much more organic and inspired. My tendancy is to correlate the opposites of my two premier mentors in artistry. My Uncle Mark, the best artist I've ever known, his paradigm was that painting realism went out with photography... so, he was abstract, out of the box, refined and worked to create illusions in his work, like a warbled canvas on the starewell that looked like a normal flat rectangular picture as one climbed the stairs but upon arrival turned out to be completely distorted - neither quadratic or flat and the painting no longer resembled what it did at the bottom of the stairs - he also played with color and made paintings that looked like all one color but were complimentary from one side to the next. My Aunt Marian on the other hand was not geometry and illusion but completely emotive with color and composition - she was all about evoking sadness, rage, clarity, calmness, nostalgia, etc.

My work is a strong combination of the two. I recently painted a portrait of my friend Jen for her birthday from a photo I took with my camera at a crowded bar as she dragged on her cigarette with her head tilted back and her eyes looking into the phone. I changed the background to elude to people and hazy lights of a bar but all abstract to keep her the focus, I painted her delicate wrist draping her hand downward... long thing fingers... french nails... and a 2kt diamond solitair on her ring finger as she gently held the cigarette she dragged on turning the cherry into a firey red. The illusion came as I made the cherry of that cigarette the center point of the picture, using perspective technique, that cigarette telescoped from her lips outwardly from her lips like it was coming right out of the painting and that cherry glowed red as mars against her alibaster skin and short blonde hair as she looked at me through mascara eyes that with head tilted back showed no iris.

Well, that painting with some others got seen by a gallery owner as my landlord stopped by my place in Chicago and I got a showing at The Green Gallery near Fulton-Market. So, I've been playing with composition and stumbled on Phi. I'm working on two paintings. One is a landscape where the ground rolls subtley insinuating the back of a bull, while Pleiades and Hyades float in the eastern sky as a crescent moon faces Orion off the side and morphs into hazey curled horns whose points are Cronus and Gaia who cast these virgins into the heavens to protect their virtue from Orion... they are doves and I'm not sure how I'm going to make dove-like stars. In the upclose foreground is a man facing the viewer whose intentions are unclear but his eyes shift down and right (the liar's look, but also in the direction of Cronus and Gaia father time and mother earth that created the universe, while he wears a floppy brimmed and coned rumpley hat that, because he's so close to the frame, it climbs almost to the top of the picture creating a fermament that almost entirely closes off the virgin sisters from their parents in the foreground, behind him are Christmas flowers of the Genus Helobus, and fields of wheat and chaf). Another is one of my mom running toward the shining sun down a path in a gauzy white dress with green ribbons, her forehand is pointing up at the sun and she is turning her head back over her shoulder running a little sideways with the bottom of her bare foot showing from under her dress and her opposite hand extending toward the viewer beseaching the viewer to follow her. Her left greeen eye is the center of the phi spiral, while the spiral exagerates her extended arm like it's coming out of the page. The sun is center top and her left hand points her index finger directly up the center line to the center of the sun whose radius is 1", diameter 2", and is perimetered by 5" with 8 rays. My problem is the landscape... Do I go 2/3? Do I use Phi, lower third or upper third for horizon, and both for composition and the spiral, I need more than a woman centered on a path running toward a centered sun... I need to come up with something large but undistracting and mildly symbolic to throw off center and probably something else a symetrically opposite and smaller, further away to balance it... I'm at a loss... I've been working for 3 weeks and my show is in May and my mom's birthday is April 11.

So, if you have any muse in you???? Otherwise, thanks for the great site.


April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBen Harman

THANK YOU. Been using the lines for years, knew how to use them, but totally forgot the meaning. The refresher was greatly appreciated.

Rock on!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonald Norris

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