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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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Nikon equipment


Are you interested in hearing some thoughts about Nikon equipment from a Canon point of view? Well you just might get it on this blog. I recently purchased some Nikon gear to better understand my customers' needs. I was able to buy a decent kit used from one person, so now I have a Nikon outfit along with all of my Canon gear. I am not sure which system I will keep, and that includes looking at some of the Sony equipment.

So why did I make the purchase? A number of reasons come to mind. Let me list the ways:

  • I need to understand how the Nikon cameras and lenses work together, primarily for the benefit of my safari customers. Reading a manual out in the field is no fun, and hopefully if there is a question about a button or function, I can help out.
  • The Nikon flash system is far superior. Far superior. Have you seen the new SB900? I thought the Nikon Creative Lighting System was incredible with the SB800, but now the SB900 just makes the system so amazing.
  • The 200-400mm f/4 VR lens. This is exactly what Canon needs to be manufacturing, and this lens is a wildlife photographer's dream. Sometimes it isn't enough reach, especially out on the open savannah in Tanzania, but that can be overcome in a few ways: buy a 500mm VR (expensive, and more gear), use a 1.5x crop D300 type camera or just put more megapixels on your subject with the new D3x 24.5mp camera body and crop later (if needed).
  • Ergonomics. The Canon 1 series cameras right now are so much better than the last generation, but Nikon has figured out the ergonomics game. They feel good in my hand, and some buttons are just where they need to be. Some not, but overall the Nikon ergonomics is pretty hard to beat.

So am I going to switch completely? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We shall see. I need to sell off some of my Canon gear to help pay for the new Nikon equipment, for sure. I leave for a three-week safari in Tanzania next month, and I am planning on taking all Nikon equipment with me. Here is what I will take:

Nikon D300, D700, D3 camera bodies. The 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR and 200-400mm f/4 VR lenses. Oh, and a 1.7x teleconverter. Why so many cameras? Because this was how my purchase planned out. I bought the D300 from a friend just so I could try the camera out with another friend's 200-400mm. Then another friend announced that he was selling his D700. And then the huge package deal was presented to me and I bought a D3 with some amazing lenses. There are some lenses that I am not prepared to keep, such as the 105mm f/2.8 VR macro, 24mm Tilt/Shift and perhaps the amazing 28mm f/1.4, and I will be listing some of these lenses on eBay or an online forum in the coming days. On the Canon side I might sell my 400mm f/4 DO and 24-105mm f/4 L IS.

I plan on writing about my experiences with the Nikon equipment. For those that are thinking of switching from Canon to Nikon, you might be interested. For those who are already on the Nikon platform, you might hear some things of value, as well.

So Andy, what is so wrong about the Canon system? Pretty much nothing, actually. Like I said before, I would like to have more knowledge on the Nikon system for my travelers. Yes, the Canon system needs a better wide angle lens, an update to the ancient 100-400mm lens, also known as the 'Dust Sucker', and a lack of a 200-400mm f/4 zoom. But that is fairly nitpicky.

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Reader Comments (3)

Keep the 105 VR. It's a crackin' lens. Portrait or macro, spot on focus, sharp, fast. Don't sell it!!

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Watson

Andy - I'm envious of your new Nikon toys as I am still on my D2h/D2x/300mm f/2.8 non-VR system but then again, I'm not on safari anytime soon. One of these days I will get me a D700 and/or D3 for the awesome high ISO capabilities useful during weddings and event photography. Might you be interested in seeling me the 24mm T/S PC-E instead of putting it on eBay? If so, what price? Thanks, Andrew

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Chan

Andy - nice kit! One suggestion...before leaving for Africa, you'll want to check the autofocus adjustments using the "AF Fine Tune" feature of the Nikon bodies. I found that I needed to program in a non-trivial adjustment for the D3/200-400/1.7xTC combo to get things sharp at distance. (It's like Canon's AF microadjustment...You can have separate settings for each lens, with and without TC. The camera detects which combination you've mounted, and automagically resets things.) Takes only a few minutes. - Rick

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRick Sciambi

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