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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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Mahale Mountains National Park (Part 3 of 3)

Today we did the same morning routine again, and again went out on our morning hike with the chimpanzees after breakfast. The hike was much longer today, and I think we were gone around 4 to 4.5 hours. In the whole scheme of what these hikes could be, it was certainly middle of the road. The forest behind our camp is quite dark with dappled light coming through, and this is very difficult for photography. One has to pay attention to every little light source, and hopefully one of those light sources can help illuminate a dark face.

I decided to take my D700 instead of my D300, primarily because I was wanting to shoot higher than ISO 1600. My shutter speeds from my first attempt weren't quite what I would want, so I took the risk that my subjects would be closer to me and I could get close to filling the frame at 200mm. Technically we are not allowed to be closer than 10 meters away, however the chimpanzees make the rules in the jungle and they would come close to us after we had stopped at the 10 meter point.

Here are some photos from the day:


Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/200 @ f/2.8, ISO 3200



Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/1250 @ f/2.8, ISO 5000


The Thinker

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/400 @ f/2.8, ISO 4000


A Walk In The Forest

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/1000 @ f/2.8, ISO 5000


Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/320 @ f/2.8, ISO 6400


Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/800 @ f/2.8, ISO 6400


'Chimping' wild animals in the forest

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, 1/640 @ f/5, ISO 6400

Today's light was technically better than on our first hike with the chimpanzees, as it was more overcast. The challenge was that I easily lost at least 2 stops of light because of it. I was very very happy that I chose to bring my D700 instead of the D300, and when I go back to Mahale I will definitely take the best low light camera in my bag. I would rather have better pixels at the same ISO or be able to push it higher, even if it means cropping. Fewer pixels that are better will definitely trump the larger file sizes.

My time at Mahale was a magical one. I had amazing travelers/customers who I absolutely loved spending my time with, the setting along the shores of Lake Tanganyika were otherwordly, and at the top of my list was spending time with the largest free-living colony of chimpanzees on the planet. It isn't for everyone, however I am now hooked on photographing primates in the wild. Large primates. Chimpanzees have human qualities in many things that they do, and it is easy to bond with them (this only goes 1 way, as they don't really regard us when were were there).

Highly recommended. Greystoke Mahale is a location that isn't to be missed.

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Reader Comments (6)

Just wondering...why the surgical masks???
Thanks for sharing your adventure...I want to do this someday!!! And now I want a D700 too!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry in Indiana

Surgical masks are required to prevent the transmission of disease between humans and the chimpanzees.

May 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterAndy Biggs

Very nice images Andy-Love the B/W!

May 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDick Berry

Wonderful low light photography and literally no noice. Very nice Andy!

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Hutchinson

Andy, what beautiful images of Chimps you are showing there! Amazing. I don't know if I should say "they look so human" or rather say "we kinda look like Chimps"... Keep up your great work which is a source of great inspiration for mine. Thank you for sharing!

May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStefano Levi

Love the picture of the chimp pulling a smug face! (2nd to last one)

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSafari Tanzania

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