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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.




« Tanzania safari report day 1 - Tarangire | Main | My Scholarship Fund »

...Of Wildlife Photography and non-digital equipment


Well, you probably are wondering what the heck this headline is all about. Well, I am ditching my Nikon digital camera equipment on my next Tanzania safari. I am shoving off soon, and I am only taking a single still camera with me, and it happens to be a Fotoman 6x24cm panorama film camera. I can only take 3 photographs per roll of 120 medium format film. And it takes me about 10 seconds to shoot, wind, cock the lens, compose and shoot again. I am looking forward to the challenge, for sure. I am challenging myself to see if I can create images that can truly tell the story of the wide open savannah of the Serengeti, and this may be the ticket.


Fotoman 624 panorama camera with 180mm lens and cone


I purchased the Fotoman 624 about 3 years ago, and I have only used it once. I think it was January of 2008. At that time I only had a 180mm lens on the camera, and that really didn't work out too well. That is equivalent to about 45mm in 35mm camera terms. This time I am going with a huge 300mm lens on the front, and the camera cannot be described as being a small camera. I am making up my hyperfocal chart right now for the new 300mm lens, but check this out for absurd depth of field with the 180mm lens:

F/9 = 263 feet (130 feet to infinity)
F/11 = 209 feet (100 feet to infinity)
F/14 = 166 feet (83 feet to infinity)
F/16 = 148 feet (75 feet to infinity)
F/22 = 105 feet (52 feet to infinity)
F/32 = 74 feet (37 feet to infinity)

To interpret what I just wrote down, in the first line I could focus at 263 feet with the helical mount on the front of the camera, and everything that is 1/2 that number, or 131.5 feet, to infinity is sharp at f/9. I am sure the 300mm lens is going to be just silly when it comes to the depth of field, but it is going to be a fun challenge.

I am also taking my new JVC GM-HY100 high definition video camera. This is actually my primary tool for the safari, as I have been itching to get more and more into video. My goal for the trip is to just capture what a typical day is like, from sunrise to sunset. Hopefully I can piece together enough clips to have a 2 minute 'day in the life of an African photographic safari' kind of video on this blog. We shall see.

I am only taking 20 rolls of Fuji Provia 400F film with me, so I am only good for 60 exposures. I will have some Fuji Neopan 100 as backup, but I doubt I will need it. Wish me luck.

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Reader Comments (7)

Good luck, man - looks like an awesome / unique project :)

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstanj

I think it is a great camera to take to a land of wide vistas. I could feel the need for one as I drove home today across South Florida on I-75 through the Everglades. A 35mm or any DSLR just seems to be limited in so many ways when there is so much out there.
Looking forward to seeing the results and hearing about the highs and lows. Should be quite an experiance.


February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul B

I love it Andy! When I went to Antarctica I took 100 rolls of B&W film with me, and still regret not shooting more of it. You'll have a fantastic time dealing with the challenges (opportunities?) your equipment presents, and I can't wait to see the photos.

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Enns

My first response was to check the date, it can't be 1st April already! It'll be interesting to see what you come with.

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Dowie

Impressed to say the least that you will not be carrying any DSLR's on your trip-Concentrating on your Fotoman and your surroundings will probably yield some fantastic images. Fellow pano shooters like Danny Burk would be proud to know you are following in his footsteps. Look forward to seeing your images and your HD footage. Both those items plus getting to Africa are on my list of things to get and see. Have a safe and productive trip.

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDick Berry

Excellent idea, Andy. It forces you to see in new ways, which is always a good thing.


February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Olwick

Panoramic cameras are great! - really looking forward to seeing your shots and hearing about the experience

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterColin Lee

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