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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 Cheetah (10)


Today is International Cheetah Day

Happy International Cheetah Day, everyone. Today is the day when we recongize the cheetah, one of the most elegant and beautiful big cats on our planet. This is a photograph from a recent safari in Botswana, where we spent some time with this mother and her two 5-week old cubs. Taken near Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge.



Big Cats of the Masai Mara - 2 New Safaris for 2013

Today I am announcing a pair of safaris for 2013 that will excite those who wish to photograph all three of the 3 big cat species: cheetah, leopard and of course lion. I planned these safaris for the photographer who wants more opportunities to capture the Masai Mara’s big cats in their majestic environment. The safari will be entirely based at the best camp in the Mara ecosystem, Mara Plains Camp. Mara Plains in in the Olare Orok Conservancy, which has very few camps and also has offroading driving. We won’t have to worry about crowds or having to stay on roads to get our best photographs. I have to say that in my past travels to this area of the Masai Mara I have had my best opportunities to witness and photograph cheetah chases. On my last safari in March 2012 to the area we had numerous cheetah chases, leopards with cubs on multiple sightings, majestic male lions on top of hills with wind in their faces, and to top it all off we had the big cat trifecta of having all 3 species within view of our vehicle at the same time. This is just a taste of the things that we can see on this safari. Please join me.

Safari Highlights

  • Game drives in the private Olare Orok Conservancy (where our camp is located), bordering the Masai Mara, to the north. Unlike the Mara itself, this reserve is private to the very few camps located here, so we will not experience the larger crowds present inside the Mara proper. With this said, we will have the option of driving into the Mara each day if we decide to, although the game viewing is as good or better in the Orok. We will also have the option of returning to camp after dark since we are not subject to the rules of the National Park. 
  • We have private vehicles for the safari game drives, with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have either 2 or 3 rows behind the driver, plus a seat next to the driver if you want to be lower down to the ground.) The vehicles are open 4x4 vehicles, allowing for unhindered movement for photography. 
  • Private and exclusive use of the safari camp.
  • Safari is limited to 14 participants, plus Andy and Chas as trip leaders.
  • Private air charters between Nairobi and our private camp in the Masai Mara region.
  • Extra luggage allowances to accommodate the special needs of our photographic equipment. The Nairobi-Mara charter flights will allow for an average of 30-35kg (66 to 77lbs) per person.
  • This itinerary focuses on up-close and real wildlife experiences from the surroundings of premier accommodations.


For a complete detailed itinerary, dates and costs I have two links:

Big Cats of the Masai Mara, May 22-31, 2013

Big Cats of the Masai Mara, May 30-June 8, 2013


Cheetah on a Termite Mound, March 2012


Mara Plains Camp at Night


Hot Air Ballooning over the Masai Mara








Sabi Sand Safari Report - Day 19

You guessed it: up at 5:30, coffee at 6 and out shortly after that. Since the male cheetah has been seen almost every day since our arrival, we decided we needed some more opportunities to get him in the warm early morning light.

We spent the first 30 minutes doing nothing but looking for and analyzing tracks in the southern part of Singita. We didn’t see a single track of any of the three big cats: lion, leopard or cheetah. We stopped at a tower of giraffes (a gathering of giraffes that are walking are called a journey and a standing one is a tower) and within a few seconds we realized that they were fixated on something to the north of them. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the male cheetah was walking towards us at that moment. We had to reverse back a few hundred meters to get Lawrence back into the vehicle, as we wanted to make sure that the cheetah didn’t see him move from the tracking position to one of rows of seats. After getting Lawrence in the vehicle we drove forward again to catch up with the quickly walking cheetah.


Giraffe Sunrise

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/400 @ f/8, ISO 640


He visited many different termite mounds and downed trees, and we took the opportunity to shoot him in different types of light. It was probably one of the best and easiest photo opportunities I have had with any cheetah at any time.


Cheeah On A Tree

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1600 @ f/4, ISO 2000


Cheetah On A Tree

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/640 @ f/4, ISO 2000


In the afternoon we decided to do some more walking amongst wildlife, and we decided to walk to a dazzle (yes, that is the technical term) of zebras. As we did yesterday, we paid attention to escape routes, wind direction and how the animals were dealing with our presence. On our way back to camp we tracked and located a leopard along one of the drainage areas near our camp. Initially we weren’t sure if we had seen this male before, but after he got up and walked we realized we were watching Kashane, the male that I have written about in my past entries.

We followed him for quite a while, until the sun faded away and we could no longer keep up with the fast-walking leopard. We broke off and headed towards camp, only to find a pride of lionesses a few hundred meters from the back veranda of camp. Nothing like watching lions from the deck.



Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/320 @ f/11, ISO 400


Kashane Male Leopard

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 400

Camera bags on this safari are sponsored by Gura Gear, which I started in 2008. Check us out. We make the best camera bags on the planet.

Some of the gear on this safari has been provided by I rely on for both my own needs as well as my safari travelers’ needs. When we need big lenses, cameras or anything else photographic, we turn to to help out. They are the best resource in the industry for traveling photographers.


Sabi Sand Safari Report - Day 17

The temperature was much warmer today than in the past few weeks, and it was nice to have cool-ish morning to start off with (as opposed to near freezing temps). Oh, and we had clouds today! We all decided that we would put some time in to see if we could locate cheetah, as there had been a lone male cheetah spotted in the southern part of the property yesterday morning. We stopped and listened to any alarm calls from birds or mammals every few minutes, and within an hour we heard an impala’s snorts just to the east of our position. We didn’t know the specific area, so we drove all roads near where we heard the sound so we could either find the alarm caller or at least locate tracks.


Cheetah On A Termite Mound

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1250 @ f/8, ISO 800


There are many different ways of locating predators, and one of the methods is to listen to vocalization from specific animals. Good examples are impala, kudu, francolin, guinea fowl, vervet monkeys and baboons. My least favorite is from francolin, because often they are false positive alarms and can lead to dead ends.

We eventually found a cheetah on the top of a termite mound, just as the morning sunlight was breaking through the dense clouds. We photographed him on many different mounds and downed trees over the next hour and came away with some great shots. Cheetah? Check. Good light? Check. Good visibility? Check.

On the way back to camp we stopped for a journey of giraffe, and just sat there and enjoyed a long stop to watch them feed on the trees. Giraffe and elephant are my two most favorite mammals to watch and to photograph, so I was glad to spend some good time with a relaxed congregation of them this morning.



Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1400 @ f/4, ISO 1600


Friends (Lawrence and Renneck, our amazing trackers)

Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/640 @ f/4, ISO 320


Camera bags on this safari are sponsored by Gura Gear, which I started in 2008. Check us out. We make the best camera bags on the planet.

Some of the gear on this safari has been provided by I rely on for both my own needs as well as my safari travelers’ needs. When we need big lenses, cameras or anything else photographic, we turn to to help out. They are the best resource in the industry for traveling photographers.


Photo of the Day - Cheetah and Her Cubs


Cheetah and Her Cubs

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. March 2012

Pentax 645D + 400mm f/5.6, 1/100 @ f/5.6, ISO 800


Safari Update #7

We left the Serengeti today, and made our way to the Ngorongoro highlands. Along the way we stopped at Lake Masek to photograph sparring giraffes, as well as a larger family group that was walking along the water’s edge. After a half an hour, we continued on our journey to the Ngorongoro Crater, which took much of the morning and into the early afternoon.

We stopped at the Oldupai Gorge (not the incorrect spelling of Olduvai), for fuel at the top of the crater rim, as well as for a picnic lunch. We ate underneath one of the largest fig trees I have ever seen, which provided more shade than I had ever seen from one. Truly marvelous. My guests commented on how green the crater is, as well as how much they liked the cool weather. It was probably 65F this afternoon, and I watched the crater floor as the passing clouds created shadows that looked like the spots of a dairy cow.

We arrived at camp around 2pm, and we took a nice rest until the light was good enough to go photograph some local Maasai near our camp. At 4:30 we loaded up and made our way to a boma nearby. Saitoti met us outside, asked us to come in and mingle around for a while. I helped Troy shoot some portraits, as he needed help with the strobe light setup. We used Pocket Wizards with his 580EX flash, with the flash set to manual. We mostly shot at 1/4 power, with the flash around 3 to 4 feet away from our subjects. He had a great time, and I was glad to help. The local ladies really like the Polaroid shots we gave away, and I should bring a small printer with me next time. I think Canon makes a Selphy model, which is battery powered.

I was happy to see that everybody was having a good time, and we went back to camp after 90 minutes of laughing, dancing and chit chatting.

The sunset was beautiful tonight, and I can tell that it will be cbilly tonight. No clouds equals chilly morning temperatures, for sure. The dinner tonight was local fare, with nyama choma (grilled meat), sukuma weike (spinach), maharage (beans), rice and chaati bread. My favorite Tanzanian meal at the end of a long and fruitful day.


Serengeti Safari Update - Ndutu

Today was our last full day in the greater Serengeti ecosystem at a place we call Ndutu, and it was one of the most photgraphically rich days we have had on the safari. Read on!

Just outside of camp we stopped for bat-eared foxes, and unlike most I have photographed in the past the 5 individuals were curious about us and didn’t run away. Typically they are quite shy and skiddish, and these were a welcome sight for me, as I don’t have enough quality photos of them.

Cheetah were next on our sighting list, and we watched 2 adult males walk the swamp edges for more than an hour. With a respectful distance, we watched them jump across water, play with each other and rest when they needed to rest. It was a great hour of entertainment, and the highlight was watching them both drink at the water’s edge with their eyes looking our direction. Oh, and their reflection in the water was the icing on the cake.

When they sat down to rest in the shade, we waited for 30 minutes to see if they would give us another show, but it appeared to be it for a while. We moved back to the main area of the swamp, and located the lion pride with the 3 cubs again. They were happy to be sleeping, so within minutes we found our next photo op that would last the remainder of the morning: zebras at a watering hole.

We photographed zebras coming and going in and around a large watering hole, and every few minutes a group would get spooked and would run through the water back to the safety of dry land. What great photos can be had in these situations, and it takes patience to get the right shots. I think I burned 10gb of memory in 1 hour, which is a significant burn rate for me. I just don’t shoot that many images, and I had to seize the opportunity.

After our lunch and midday rest, Troy and I spent a few minute shooting video testimonials from some of our travelers, as well as short interviews with the guides. Troy is shooting all of the video, and I am just acting as producer / interviewer. We did bring along high quality Sony wireless lav microphones, which really helps with the production quality. Audio quality is very very important!

We found a pride of 9 adult lions out on the open plains, who were seeking shade underneath a large acacia tree. Not much happened, but we were able to shoot some 60p slo-mo video of lions yawning, which may turn out to be interesting to see. After a little while we moved on and saw another 2 adult male cheetahs. They were extremely skiddish, and we left within a few minutes, as they weren’t interested in being near us.

On the way back into the acacia woodland near Lake Masek, we watched 2 adult male giraffes fighting. I have seen many many sparring giraffes, however this scene was an aggressive fight that could not be considered sparring. Male giraffes yse their necks and heads to deliver blows to each other, and timing the best time to take photographs can be tricky.

A short trip around Lake Masek followed, and we stopped a few places to shoot the flamingoes in the warm afternoon light.


Photo of the Day


Cheetah on a Ridge

Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa. November 2010

Nikon D3x, 200-400mm f/4 VR, 1/400 @ f/4, ISO 1250