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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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Saturday
May192007

Photo of the Day

We were lucky enough to witness a short-eared owl while on the island of Genovesa, Galapagos islands, and had an opportunity to be within short range of this amazing creature. This was the only image I was able to capture before flying away, but take notice of the storm petrel in his grasp. The storm petrel is the most common food source for the short-eared owl in the Galapagos.

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Short-eared owl, Genovesa island, Galapagos, May 2007
Canon 1DsMkII, 100-400mm, 1/500sec @ f/7.1, ISO 320

Thursday
May172007

Gadgets and situational problem solving

I love gadgets. I admit it. I love it when I find a gadget that solves a valid problem in my daily life or in my photography career. Solving issues out in the field is something a field photographer has to deal with, using any and all tools available. Sometimes tools and gadgets aren't available, and that is when you need to have your McGyver hat on.

I came across a very funny page on Wikipedia, and thought it should have a place on my blog. MacGyver lives on.

List of problems solved by McGyver

Tuesday
May152007

Feature in Colorvision May 2007 Newsletter

I just noticed that I have been featured in the Colorvision (Datacolor) May 2007 newsletter. Since the information on the link points back to my own web site, you can click back and forth between the newsletter and my site all day long. Kind of like Clark Griswold from European Vacation: "Hey kids, look! Parliament. Big Bend." Say 500 times. Repeat. Wash hands. Repeat.

Thanks Colorvision!

Colorvision May 2007 Newsletter

Tuesday
May082007

Back from the Galapagos islands

I had a wonderful time on board the M/Y Letty in the Galapagos islands, along with 17 other people in my group. I cannot tell you how amazing Galapagos is, with so many different unique species to witness and photograph, as well as the casual setting aboard our private motor yacht. We had absolutely fantastic weather, as well as two of the best naturalists in the business. I will be sifting through my 40GB of images over the next few days, picking out my favorites to share. I have processed a few images on my Macbook, but I need to reprocess them on my Mac Pro desktop to be compliant with my Lightroom workflow that I have adopted.

For those that joined me on this trip, thank you so very much for making my belly ache from so much laughter.
 

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Photographing frigate birds from the top deck

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Nazca booby on Genovesa island

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Harry on top of lava rocks, Isabella island

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Nazca booby, Espaniola island

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Wave at the camera, somewhere in the middle of the ocean

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M/Y Letty and two pangas, Santiago island
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