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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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Friday
Apr272007

Off for Galapagos

Well, after 15 months of planning, I am off to lead a workshop in the Galapagos Islands. We have a private 85-foot motor yacht to ourselves for 7 days, and I am extremely confident we will be coming back with wonderful memories and photographs. I will be posting my experience online when I return.
Thursday
Apr262007

Leopard in a Tree

Leopards are interesting subjects to photograph, to say the least. You can spend your entire safari looking for leopards, never spotting one at all, or you can get extraordinarily lucky and have 4 or 5 in one single day. Odds are that most sightings are not perfect photographic opportunities, due to distance or messy compositions. Most of the time we find leopards way up in the canopy of a tree, and many tree branches are blocking our view. Add to that the leopard is in shaded/soft light (good thing), but the contrast between the leopard and the bright ambient daylight make for a difficult photographic opportunity.

On this day in February 2007 we came across the female leopard up in an acacia tree. Normally I do not see leopards in trees where the first branch is so high up. We sat and waited for a few hours for the scene to transpire. We were simply waiting for her to jump down out of the tree for a change of scenery.

As we were waiting for her to move, I switched into instructional mode to guide my 2 photographers who were in the Land Rover with me. I gave some background information on leopard behavior, and what would make an interesting photograph. Once you have a tight shot on a leopard in a tree, I like to zoom out with a shorter focal length, telling the story of the leopard in its environment. With a shorter focal length, you can grab a shot of the cat coming out of the tree, leaping onto the ground beneath. If you have too much lens, you can easily miss your shot and have half of your subject in your frame and half out. Better to crop later than to miss your shot entirely.

As she started to move from her perch up above, we all started capturing our images. Well stupid me. I was more interested in having a large file size from my 1DsMkII (16mp) than anything else. As you can image, my buffer filled up on my camera and I missed most of the action of her jumping out of the tree. The shot below is my last image captured before she hit the ground and left the area. Lesson learned, don't you think? I was very excited that the two guests I had in the vehicle with me had absolutely stunning images of the entire jumping sequence. I am always extremely happy when I see the excitement on faces after a rich photographic opportunity was seized!!
 

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Canon 1DsMkII, 400mm f/4 DO IS
Tuesday
Apr242007

The new Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 II

I have been playing around with the new Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 II, and I will be doing some testing with it over the coming days. My initial impression is that not much has changed, unless you sweat the minute details. Probably the biggest change has been the filter size, as it moved from a 'standard' 77mm to 82mm. Since I rarely use any filter on wide angle lenses, this isn't much of a consideration for me. For example, polarizers at 16 to about 28mm or 30mm has very distinct polarized areas and non polarized areas in the same scene. I am not a fan of using UV filters on my lenses, unless I am headed to Namibia to photograph in extreme sandy environments.

Another change, albeit small, is that the autofocus on/off switch on the side of the lens is now much easier to switch on and off. If you have the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens, you will recognize the new switch, as it has grooves that grab on to your finger. A huge plus if you are shooting with gloves on.

Here is a great review that has already been published on the lens.

Is the upgrade worth it? I have no idea. But I have a hard time believing this new lens is worse than my 16-35mm series 1 that it is replacing. I will be giving it a spin on board our Galapagos motor yacht later this week, though.
Monday
Apr162007

PhotoShelter mentioning..

PhotoShelter recently made mention of myself and my newly renovated web site, powered by their own technologies. Here is a link to their blog entry about yours truly. Thanks, Allen and Grover.

PhotoShelter blog entry
Monday
Apr162007

Photo of the Day


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Evacuation device, Mount Kilimanjaro, 2002
captured with Olympus 3030 digicam


Gosh, 2002 seems like a very long time ago in the world of digital imaging. Leslie, my sister Katie, and her husband Rich and I did our obligatory trek on Kilimanjaro in the summer of 2002. Leslie and I spent 6 weeks in east Africa, beginning with our Kilimanjaro climb. I grabbed this shot on the next to last day, as we were descending from the top of the mountain. It certainly drives home the reality that injuries, and even death, do happen on Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,340 feet, and our climb began at around 6,000 feet. We chose the Machame route, which is much more enjoyable and more scenic than the Marangu route, otherwise known as the 'Coca Cola' route. You need time to acclimatize to the elevation, and the slower and less sudden the better. So we took 7 days on the mountain, and if I were to do another attempt I would take either 8 or 9 days on a longer route. The Marangu route is an atrociously short 5 days, and less than 50% success rate of reaching the summit.

For a fantastic reading of my friend Eric Cheng's Kilimanjaro experience, head on over to this link for a good read and some great photographs from his own experience.
Wednesday
Apr042007

Arches and Canyonlands Workshop Announcement

I will be running my annual Arches and Canyonlands Workshop again this year, and the dates are set for December 4 - 8, 2007. This is the time of the year when there are no crowds, the skies are haze-free, and there is the likelihood of a dusting of snow on the ground. These factors all add up to the perfect time to host a workshop in red rock country.

We wll be basing the workshop out of Moab, Utah, and will include accommodations at my favorite inn, The Gonzo Inn. The Gonzo Inn has free wi-fi internet access, which is a great thing for those who hate to pull away from daily life.

We are planning an entire day of digital printing with my friends over at Moab by Legion Paper. After capturing dynamic landscapes for four days, we will then turn our time to digital printing.

This photographic workshop requires 5 days out of your schedule. Here is the breakdown of the days:

Day 1 ( December 4 ) - We will meet in Moab, Utah for an afternoon trip into Arches National Park.

Days 2-4 ( December 5 - 7 ) - For the next 3 days, we will photograph the landscapes of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park and other local out of the way locations. We will also plan on photographing the two iconic locations of the area; Delicate Arch at sunset and Mesa Arch at sunrise. Our specific daily schedule will be determined by weather conditions. If we have overcast weather, we will change course and focus on the abundant petroglyphs of the area. Our goal is to take advantage of the time we have available to us, no matter what the weather situation is at the time.

Day 5 ( December 8 ) - Day of printing and workflow discussions. We will spend the entire day inside, going over my own workflow, as well as printing images of your own. *If you would like to print your own photographs, please bring your own laptop computer*. We will have a number of Epson printers available on a network, as well as Moab by Legion Paper samples for us to use. If you are interested in learning more about fine art printing, you will find this last day of the workshop to be very valuable.

The cost of this workshop is U.S. $1,495 per person. Transportation and meals are not provided. Accommodations are included in this workshop at The Gonzo Inn. The included nights are from December 4 until December 8, checking out on December 9.

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (climatic, environmental, etc) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible.

The deposit will be $375 to secure your spot on this workshop, and the remainder will be due 120 days before the workshop begins. The deposit is 50% refundable, providing we have ample time to remarket and book your spot(s).

Cancellation Policy: Per person charges for cancellations (must be written cancellation) received less than 120 days prior to departure are as follows: 91 to 120 days - $300.00; 61 to 90 days - 50% of workshop fee; 60 days or less - $100% of workshop cost. Andy Biggs Photo Safaris reserves the right to cancel any group due to insufficient registration. In the even of such cancellation, those with reservations shall be notified as soon as possible and a full refund of trip payment will be given. Andy Biggs Photo Safaris is not responsible for refund or additional expenses incurred in preparation for a trip.

The Arches and Canyonlands Workshop link

What Do I Do Next?

Our groups are small, so space is limited. If this exciting workshop has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this workshop, then now is the time to register. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to info@andybiggs.com.
Tuesday
Mar272007

June 12 - 23, 2007 Safari - 1 spot available

I have a cancellation on my June 12 - 23, 2007 safari. Please contact me as soon as possible if you are interested. There is only 1 spot, and 1 room, which means this is a single supplement (private accommodations) availability.
Tuesday
Mar272007

Galapagos - 1 spot available

There has been a late cancellation on my April 28, 2007 Galapagos Islands trip. If you have any measurable interest in this trip, with such late notice, please contact me as soon as possible. I will be sending out an email to all people who have expressed an interest in the past, so I anticipate that this spot will not last for long.