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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 Leopard (22)


Photo of the Day - Leopard In The Rain


Leopard In The Rain

Okavango Delta, Botwana. December 2013

Nikon D800E, 300mm f/2.8, 1/500 @ f/4.5, ISO 800


Photo of the Day - Stretching Leopard


Stretching Leopard

Okavango Delta, Botswana. November 2013

Phase One DF+, IQ280 80mp digital back, Schneider 240mm lens


As many of you know I have been working with digital medium format for a couple of years, and even though medium format digital equipment isn’t the most appropriate for much of my wildlife work it definitely has its place in my bag on those trips. Why? If you could see this image printed in person you would have that answer. The detail and crispness stand out in a way that no other capture device can do so.

I recently upgraded from a 60 megapixel digital back to an 80 megapixel back and I am very glad that I did so. The new dimensions are 10,300 x 7,760 pixels. Whoa. Yup. That’s a big file to deal with, but the results are astounding. My longest lens is a 240mm, which equates to around 155mm on a full frame 35mm camera. Since I photograph many subjects and not just wildlife, the new Phase One IQ280 on a Phase One DF+ camera will be in my bag on all of my trips going forward. For my wildlife trips I augment either Nikon or Canon gear, however for landscape trips I am 100% medium format.

I am heading back out to the bush tomorrow, and I hope to come home with another image or two from this new camera system.


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








Photo of the Day - Leopard In A Tree


Leopard In A Tree

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. February 2012

Pentax 645D, 400mm f/5.6, 1/250 @ f/5.6, ISO 400


Photo of the Day - Leopard In The Grass


Leopard In The Grass

Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa. June 2012

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/400 @ f/5.6, ISO 800


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 15

Dear diary:

Today we were chased by a bull elephant. It was really cool. It is amazing how fast a Land Rover can go with short notice. And it’s also amazing how fast adult male elephants can run when they are in musth.

Glad to be safe-


We did have a great morning with a bull elephant who turned out to be our most memorable sighting of the day. Whenever we got anywhere near him he would come out of the trees to ‘greet’ the vehicle, but we would back way off and try it a few minutes later. We were always had a safe escape plan, and also planned for his own escape route, but it was fun to approach him slowly from a distance just to watch his behavior. We never endangered ourselves nor did we intentionally agitate him and it was good fun to see how he would close the distance between us once he noticed we were somewhat near him.

We had a pride of lions just outside of camp, and when I mean outside of camp I mean 100 feet away from one of our rooms. They weren’t very interesting to watch, as they were just lying around passing the time until their next meal walked by.

We found a small journey of giraffe around one of the watering holes, and photographed them drinking water. It’s tough to get these types of shots, because one needs to be either right in front of them or to the side of them. All other angles just don’t work. You also need to have a high shutter speed to get the water dripping from their mouth as they pull their head away from the water, and I think 1/1600 is a good minimum speed to consider. I love shooting giraffes in this way, because you know they are relaxed enough to put their long necks down for a long drink of water. It’s difficult to shoot them, though, as the tendency is to use too much focal length and next thing you know it you cannot get their whole body and neck in your frame when they quickly lift their neck and head up from the water. The key is to back off with your lens selection, pre-focus on where the head is before they drink, wait for them to lift their heads and then fire away when they do finally come up. The resulting frames are interesting, due to the long stream of water that comes from their mouth. The best scenario is when that water stream is side or back lit, because the sun coming through the water will light it up like a Christmas tree. The light was to our backs, so this didn’t work out.

The highlight of the afternoon and early evening was the Kashane male leopard, as he patrolled the area just outside of the other side of camp. He vocalized his presence, which is a thunderous growl that can be heard far away. We photographed him coming towards our vehicle numerous times, as he would pass the vehicle and we would drive around in front of him for it to happen all over again. What a beautiful male leopard he was.


Yawning Lioness

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/3200 @ f/4, ISO 500


Two Giraffes

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/2500 @ f/6.3, ISO 1000


Kashane Male Leopard

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/200 @ f/4, ISO 1600


Kashane Male Leopard at Dusk

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/6 @ f/4.5, ISO 100


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 11

This morning we drove in one huge circle around the edge of the Singita area and we eventually picked up the tracks of 3 adult female lionesses and a single adult male. We knew direction and approximate time of the tracks, so it was a matter of time before we were able to find them. We had them walking down a road, and from a photographic standpoint I don’t prefer to have man made objects in my photographs, so we positioned our Land Rover parallel to the road so we could photograph the walking lions without any hint of a road. What made the composition better was that there was tall grass in the foreground, and that created depth to the scene. The challenge with the setup was how to focus on the lions, as the foreground grass was the only thing we could get a clean autofocus point on. Not to fret, as it is easy to tweak the focus manually and use an f-stop to make sure we had enough depth of field just in case of error. I recommended f/8 to f/14, and it seemed to work out.

Eventually the lions took a long drink, and the only way we could position the vehicle was to have them looking to the side, parallel to us. Since lions don’t like mud, we had a good idea where they would eventually place themselves for a drink. Almost the entire edge of the water was covered in mud, so it made it easy to predict where the lions would drink from.


Lion At The Waterhole

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1600 @ f/5.6, ISO 400

In the afternoon we had an excess of riches. We ‘had’ to decide between mating leopards (the same we had photographed a day ago) and the mother leopard and her two cubs. Both sightings were within 500 meters of each other, so we just went to the location of the mating leopards first. The leopards weren’t as easy to photograph this time, due to the area of thick bush they were in, but I used the opportunity to shoot video just so I could have audio of the affair. After a 6 matings we were anxious to get ourselves to Hlabankuzi and her two cubs, so we drove out and headed towards the Sand River’s edge.


Renee and Deven

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/200 @ f/7.1, ISO 400

On the way to the river we noticed some tracks on the road that were out of place, and eventually figured out that Hlabankuzi had made a kill near the road and had dragged the carcass down to the sandy part of the river. Score! We found her with her cubs on the carcass, but they were in an extremely dense bush and we couldn’t see much. We waited until one of them appeared, and eventually Hlabankuzi dragged the remaining impala carcass down the road and up into a huge jackalberry tree.

The light had already faded, but we sat and watched one of her cubs climb up into the tree and enjoy the meal by herself. The irony of the moment was that the kill was sitting on top of a leopard orchid, which was growing wild on top of a low branch in the tree. A leopard on top of a leopard orchid. Poetic. I pushed the D4 to ISO 12,800 before we needed to leave them to dine. Hlabankuzi had left the jackalberry tree to go and fetch cub number two, and we needed to respect the rule that nobody should spend time with a leopard cub without the presence of the mother, so we drove back to camp in the dark. On the way back we saw yet another leopard and 2 more cubs, so today we had seven unique leopards in the span of only one hour. What an awesome way to end the last full day of safari for my safari group.

Tomorrow I will have to say goodbye to my group, as I have another safari group arriving. I know we are going to have another 8 days of fantastic sightings, even if we don’t see a single leopard, lion or cheetah. The general game has been excellent, and I anticipate more of the same in the week ahead.


Ravenscourt Female Leopard

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1250 @ f/4, ISO 5000


Ravenscourt Female Leopard and One of Her Cubs With a Kill

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1250 @ f/3.2, ISO 6400


Leopard Cub

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/100 @ f/2.8, ISO 12,800, hand-held


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.