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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.





Entries in Botswana (59)


Botswana Safari Report - Part 2

After I said goodbye to my safari group, I spent the next 3 nights in the Selinda Reserve with my good friend and guide, Kane Motswana. Kane and I have been on many game drives together, and I wanted to see him as well as spend some time between two of the camps in the reserve, Zarafa and Selinda Camp. Selinda Reserve is managed and operated by Great Plain, one of my favorite safari outfitters in Africa. They not only have great camps, but they also have a great ethos of delivering low impact, high value safaris. This really means few travelers, big pieces of land, community involvement and employees who care deeply about conserving habitat for wild animals.

During my three nights in the reserve I spent a night at Zarafa Camp and two nights at Selinda Camp. We had some great sightings, but nothing compares to the numerous game drives of nothing but African wild dogs (lycaeon pictus). I have a soft spot for wild dogs, often referred to as African painted dogs, or cape hunting dogs. We had 4 game drives in a row when the wild dogs were within 5 minutes of camp, and on one occasion they hunted down a young reedbuck and made their kill within 2 meters of my vehicle’s door. Awesome. Amazing. Violent. Efficient.

On another occasion we left for our game drive, only to turn around after 50 feet to follow the dog pack back into camp. After a few minutes we heard the staff screaming in the lobby area, and it turned out that a wild dog had chased an impala through camp and through the dining room. The impala got away, and it was funny that we would have had a better photo opportunity if we were still sitting on the couch, sipping a coffee or tea. We had some good laughs over that sighting.

As I left Selinda at the end of September the temperatures were starting to rise, and I was worried that my next safari in Namibia would be scorching heat, which ultimately never happened. Usually we refer to October as being the warmest month in Botswana, then some rains hit in early November to cool things down a bit. These early rains also coincide with very intense clouds, making for a very dramatic backdrop for photography.

I am planning on running some safaris to Selinda Camp and Duba Plains in the coming years, so look out for those on my calendar.



African Wild Dog (Lycaeon Pictus)

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


African Wild Dogs (Lycaeon Pictus) at the end of a kill

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


African Wild Dog Puppies (Lycaeon Pictus) at play

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


African Wild Dog Puppies (Lycaeon Pictus) at play

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


African Wild Dog (Lycaeon Pictus)

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 28mm lens (17mm equivalent)


Kane Motswana


Botswana Safari Report - Part 1

The Move To Medium Format

Back in September I led a safari to northern Botswana, which was my first safari where I shot exclusively with digital medium format gear. Sometime in the middle of 2012 I actually sold off all of my Nikon 35mm gear, adopted a Phase One IQ160 (60mp) digital back on a Phase One DF camera body and pursued the world of the biggest and best files I could possibly obtain. Here is the complete camera setup that I took with me: 

  • Phase One DF camera body
  • Phase One IQ160 (60mp) digital back
  • 28mm
  • 45mm
  • 80mm
  • 75-150mm
  • 200mm f/2.8 APO
  • 300mm f/2.8 APO
  • 2x Teleconverter


There are major drawbacks with this approach, and the major issue is that autofocus speed an accuracy isn’t even in the ballpark of what 35mm gear can deliver. Another major limitation is that I am limited to ISO 100, 200 and 400 in a pinch. I have to make sure that I stay within my opinion ISO range, which is ISO 100 or 200. Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part: my preferred wildlife lens is a Mamiya 300mm f/2.8 APO model, which I was able to find still in the original box and was unused. The 300mm lens equates to about a 190mm lens on a 35mm camera, so the images won’t be ‘in your face’ type images that fill the frame with the face of a lion. The catch? It is also a manual focus lens. Oh, and aperture selection is manual (on the lens) and cannot be controlled on the camera. So my process isn’t exactly what I would call easy, but then again I absolutely love challenges and the payoffs that go with them. These drawbacks are just obstacles on the way to HUGE files that can be printed at any size that I wish. My goal is to always make images that stir the soul, and to be able to print these images at any print size that my 44” printer can accommodate. 30x40” prints are my desired target on a fiber / baryta type paper, and 40x60” on canvas. 

The Safari

This safari took place in northern Botswana, and we split our time between Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta and DumaTau Camp along the Linyanti River. I always like to split up my time between camps when I am in Botswana, because every camp has a different ecosystem, wildlife, look and feel that need to be experienced. Other places in Africa can work for only 1 camp, such as the Masai Mara, however Botswana is best when split between 2 or more camps.

While at Chitabe we took sole use of the camp for our 4 nights there. I typically take over a camp in order to control the dining schedule, as well as have sole use of all of the vehicles. September is a great time to be in northern Botswana, as it is one of the dry months and wildlife is easier to locate and photograph when the grasses are short.

After we left Chitabe we had 4 more nights at the newly built DumaTau Camp, which sits at the edge of the Linyanti River. These two camps could not be more different, as the vegetation, wildlife, scenery and feel are completely different. Between these two camps we had over the top lion sightings, great leopards, elephant water crossings, hyaenas, wild dogs and also general game. I have been running photographic safaris for the past 11 years and this was one of those safaris that had an excellent balance between all of the available mammal and bird species. 

Ok, on to some of the images!


Elephant Along The Linyanti River

Phase One DF, IQ160, 300mm f/2.8 APO


Leopard On A Termite Mound

Phase One camera, IQ160 digital back, 200mm f/2.8 APO


Two Giraffes Drinking From A Puddle

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


Leopard On A Tree

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


Elephant Parts

Phase One DF camera, IQ160 digital back, 300mm f/2.8 APO


Gura Gear Bataflae 26L camera bag in tan


Phase One camera setup with 300mm f/2.8 APO lens


Phase One camera setup with 200mm f/2.8 APO lens (gaffer tape all over the place, to ensure the back was sealed)



Pile ‘O Gura Gear Bags at the airport



Photo of the Day - Botswana Safari Group


Our Safari Group - July 2011


I love to take group photographs from each safari, and this one was no exception. It’s great to look back at so many happy faces after some amazing experiences out in the bush. On this particular safari we visited 2 camps in northern Botswana, Chitabe and Savuti, and came home with some stellar photographs.


Photo of the Day - Lion at Mombo


Lion, near Mombo Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana. July 2011

Nikon D3, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/800 sec @ f/3.5, ISO 1600


Photo of the Day - Elephants in the Okavango


Elephant Family in the Okavango Delta. July 2011

Nikon D3, 28-300mm f/3.4-5.6, 1/2000 @ f/5.6, ISO 1250


Photo of the Day - Elephant in the Savute Channel


Elephant in the Savute Channel

Linyanti Concession, near Savuti Camp, Botswana. July 2011

Nikon D3x, 28-300mm, 1/2000 @ f/5.6, ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Viveza 2


This was a very tricky image to process, I must say. I was shooting with my Nikon D3x that afternoon, and the camera isn’t well known for its high ISO capabilities. I needed to keep the ISO down, possibly 1600 or lower, but the main challenge was trying to balance blowing out the details in the sky with the deep shadows of my subject. I could only minimally process this image in Lightroom, and the bulk of the work was done in Nik Software’s Viveza 2. In Lightroom I only adjusted the white balance, exposure, black point and a small gradient on the sky. I brought the image into Photoshop as a smart object, which allowed me to go back to the original raw file to tweak some of those settings. In Viveza 2 I worked on tonal relationships, and the main thing I needed to work on was the exposure on the elephant. There was simply no way of getting detail in the sky with enough exposure on the elephant, at least from a global processing point of view. Viveza saves the day.

Tip: If you are interested in learning more about Nik Software’s tools, you can use my code ABIGGS during checkout for a 15% discount.


Photo of the Day - Legadema




Mombo Camp, Botswana. July 2011

Nikon D3x, 200-400mm f/4 VR, 1/640 @ f/4, ISO 800


Photo of the Day - Lion Pride Crossing


Lion Pride Crossing The Okavango Waters

near Chitabe Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana. July 2011

Nikon D3x, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 640


We waited and watched patiently for a pride of lions, sans adult males, to cross some open water in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and our patience paid off. I have about 50 different images of them walking towards the vehicle, but the one that I like the most is this one, as I had most of the eyes visible. I also like the gentle curve of the lions from right to left. I do wish that I had used a 2nd camera with a wide angle lens, as my 70mm was barely enough to fit them all into the scene.