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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 D3x mini field report from Arizona


Saguaro Sunset

Saguaro National Park, Arizona. April 2009

Nikon D3x, 24-70mm, 1/4 sec @ f/14. ISO 100

I was in Arizona a few weeks ago with some friends, and this was my first landscape trip with my Nikon D3x camera. As a new Nikon user, I had some frustrating moments when I realized that I was not able to have both mirror lockup with a shutter delay. I was comfortable with how Canon implemented their mirror lockup, even though I had to dig deep into the menu structure to make it work. The Nikon way is accessed on the top of the camera (yeah!), however a timer / countdown mode requires making a choice between mirror lockup and the timer. There is no apparent way of having both. In a perfect world I would compose, click the shutter and the mirror flips up, and then a timed day of 2, 5 or 10 seconds, then the exposure happens.

One thing that has surpised me on the D3x is just how much detail there is when compared to a Canon 1DsMkIII or 5D Mk2 file. Nikon must be using a less aggressive anti aliasing filter, as the file size increase from 21 to 24 megapixels shouldn't be enough to explain the increased resolution. I am extremely pleased with these files, especially for landscape photographers.

The dynamic range is also pretty darned amazing. Yes, in landscape situations I can take multiple frames and merge them together and perform a tone mapping for more dynamic range, but HDR really isn't my cup of tea. I would rather grab a shot and move on to the next scene. I am ok with a more limited dynamic range, as I am still recovering from my Fuji Velvia days. Ok, now that I have admitted it, I only have 11 more steps to go for a full recovery!!

On the lens side of things, the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 is one heck of a good lens. My hunch is that it is better than the Canon 24-70mm, especially on the wider end of the zoom range. The D3x is a demanding camera, and good lenses support its capabilities and bad lenses make it look pretty bad. And that brings me to the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. This is a lens that Nikon need to update ASAP. At apertures up to about f/11, you see a significant amount of vignetting around the edges. It is like Nikon never actually thought that they would have a full frame digital SLR on the market. My friend E.J. Peiker tells me that he is having excellent results from his Nikkor 70-300mm VR for landscapes. This is great news, as it is much less expensive and lighter in weight. I was prepared to purchase the 70-300mm VR for my upcoming Namibia trip in early May, however Sony will be loaning me a pair of A900 24mp digital SLR bodies with their 16-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses. The equipment should show up tomorrow, and it is likely that I will be taking the Sony setup to Namibia as a result. If you can recall back to November, Sony loaned out some gear for my polar bear trip, which also included a pair of A900 camera bodies.

So far I have been extremely happy with the Nikon D3x, but I tend to grab my D3 for all of my shooting around the house. Why? Primarily because of better quality files at ISO 800, 1600 and perhaps 3200. I am less interested in large prints, and I am more interested in silky smooth files at the higher ISO values. Both are excellent cameras, and the D3x is more of a specific tool for me. My goal when I am shooting in Africa is to be able to create large prints for sale, and the larger the print the better.

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Reader Comments (3)

There is a "shutter lag" in the custom functions that gives a brief delay after the mirror raise prior to exposure.

There is also a neat way to set up Nikon for HDR photos using its internal timer -- I found it to be much less of a hassle vs. the Canon system.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoshLi

The other, though less desirable, option to Josh's custom function d8 tip (I think that's what he's referencing) is to let the camera time out. As far as I know, after 30 seconds if no action taken, it will take the picture on its own.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I use the "Exposure Delay Mode" option that Josh points out on my D2h/D2x in combination with Mirror Lockup. However, one still has to press the shutter button to trigger the shot and I always wonder whether the delay introduced by the Exposure Delay Mode is sufficient to compensate for the movement my finger causes pressing the shutter. To be sure, I would use the Nikon remote trigger or, in my case, I can use a couple of Pocket Wizards I own to achieve the same result. The Canon version is much better except for being buried in menus.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Chan

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