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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 Lion (15)


Back Home From Tanzania

The 2015 year has been off to a busy start, as I guided a private group to Botswana’s Okavango Delta in January, and recently I was in Tanzania’s Serengeti for my first open signup safari for the year. Both were amazing safari experiences, and this is my first image to share in the new year. Enjoy!


Lion On A Rock

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

February 2015

Phase One DF+ camera, IQ250 digital back, Schneider 240mm lens


Photo of the Day - Lion On The Plains


Lion On The Plains

Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya. January 2014


There is something so regal, so majestic, so beautiful about a male lion in his prime when his mane is waving in the wind. I have found that the angle at which one photographs big cats as the lie in the grass is extremely important. If the subject is showing too much belly you have to move the vehicle around to eliminate that view, and other angles may show an awkwardness to the way the animal is sitting or lying down. I didn’t have much of a choice with this subject, primarily because the background in this view was the best with the above angle of view. A well-positioned background is that extra step that a photographer needs to think about, as you do not want to have your background (or foreground) compete with the overall purposes of what the photograph is all about.

I did attempt to get a head-on shot of this male, however the sitted position and the background just didn’t work for me.

This is just my $.02 and how I tend to like to frame my photographs. What do you think?


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 10

Some people have emailed me and have confronted me on my opinions of the D800 versus D4 camera bodies, and I just want to be on record that my needs and desires might be completely different to others who use these tools. I am actually a good candidate for medium format digital equipment, as I don’t think that I need high frames per second as much as I need larger file sizes for bigger print reproductions. Your needs might be different than mine, and I don’t pretend to think my needs are similar or dissimilar to others. The D4 is a great camera and I just prefer the D800 over it. It’s just that simple.


Yellow Billed Horn Bill

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1600 @ f/5, ISO 500

What about the Canon 5DMk3? Well, a few of my travelers have that camera on this trip and from what I see it is also an excellent camera. The autofocus is in a completely different league than that of the 5DMk2, and for that reason I can easily recommend it to wildlife photographers. Even though Nikon stole some thunder with the D800, the 5DMk3 is a much more capable camera than the camera that came before it. Since we don’t have the 1Dx out in the marketplace as of this blog post, I have absolutely no idea which one I would choose if I were still shooting with Canon. It is likely that I will rent an entire Canon kit for my pair of Botswana safaris this November, and I will be in a better position to have some opinions on the matter.

As far as sightings go, we had a hunting male leopard on some warthogs (unsuccessful hunt for him), a large male lion who was intent on finding other lions to socialize with and the finale for the day was…….drum roll please…….a mating pair of leopards. We had the most amazing afternoon, as we sat and watched the mating pair for at least 8 copulations. On one occasion the male mounted the female about 2 meters from my front seat in the Land Rover. Mating leopards are fascinating to watch, as the female instigates the action and the male follows suit. The male will bite the back of the female as a sign of domination and the female will growl back as the end nears. This action happened 8 times before the light faded and we needed to head back to camp. It had been a few years since I had seen mating leopards, and the sights and sounds were jaw dropping. Nature really has a way of impressing me.


Mating Leopards In The Road

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/200 @ f/5, ISO 2500 (not enough shutter speed!)


Mating Pair Of Leopards

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/500 @ f/3.2, ISO 2500


Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8 VRII, 1/1250 @ f/4.5, 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.



Photo of the Day - Lion in the Sabi Sands


Lion Stare

Sabi Sands, South Africa

Nikon D3x, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR1, 1/200 @ f/4.5, ISO 800


This is one of the members of the famed Mapogo group of male lions. The Mapogo can adequately be described as one of the most badass group of male lions, and have enjoyed photographing them when I am in the Sabi Sands. With this image we sat next to him off to the side of our Land Rover, as he was relaxed but alert. You can tell he has been in many altercations, due to the amount of scars on his face. I used a 70-200mm lens on a D3x to capture this image, which indicates just how close we were to each other. His stare just went right through me, which is an envigorating feeling. Do a Google search on the Mapogo Lions or Mapogo Males if you get a chance. Some fascinating reading, to say the least.

I will be running two back-to-back safaris to Singita Sabi Sands in June, which is part of the historical territory of the Mapogo males. For more information on these South Africa Photo Safaris, here are two links:

Singita Sabi Sands Photo Safari, June 2-11, 2012 (only 2 spaces available)

Singita Sabi Sands Photo Safari, June 10-19, 2012 with Marc Muench and Andy Williams (only 4 spaces available)


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


Safari Update - Serengeti


The Chase

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. March 2011

Nikon D3x, 200-400mm, 1/1600 @ f/5.6, ISO 400

Ok, where do I even begin? Let me first start off by saying that I am not going to write down all that happened today, other than one amazing wildlife moment. It was a moment that is up there with my best wildlife viewing moments over the past 10 years of running photo safaris in Africa. It was that kind of cool moment. So here goes.

We saw a kill. A good one, at that. We were sitting at a good watering hole, watching zebras and wildebeest come in for water. After about half an hour we saw a huge splash in the water as a lioness came running out of the bushes to chase the subjects were just photographing. I completely missed the shots, as we were in a bad location to shoot the lioness, but we did track her down afterwards. We noticed she was very very interested in the wildebeests that lay beyond the water, and she started stalking back towards the water’s edge. We moved our vehicle into position to anticipate where she would hunt, and right as we settled down…….POW! She was chasing after a couple of older wildebeest in hopes of having a nice meal.

I grabbed a few frames before she ran within my minimum focusing distance on my Nikon 200-400mm lens, as you can see in the following frame.


Whoops. The minimum focusing distance on the 200-400mm is only 6 feet. Nothing like a lioness chasing a wildebeest only inches away.


The lioness grabbed the wildebeest by the throat only a few feet from the back of my Land Rover, and the struggle only lasted about a minute as the wildebeest was brought to the ground. We had to maneuver the vehicle to be able to shoot from the windows, as the lioness was still trying to finish off the job, so to speak. Autofocus was a challenge, for sure, as there was waving grass right in front of her face. I had to tweak the focus manually, as autofocus just does not work in these situations. The best thing to do is to tweak it manually and stop down a little bit to make sure that you have enough depth of field in case you missed the focus.


…And the final shot


Lesson learned: always be ready for the action, and always decide ahead of time which lens you are going to use. The 70-200mm would not have been ideal for the chase, however it might have worked when they ran by the vehicle. That wasn’t ‘the shot’ I was after, so my 200-400mm was chosen and I went with it.

The rest of the day was also amazing, but in a very very different way.


Serengeti Safari Update #4

Today we left our camp at El Makati, and made our way south towards Ndutu. The southern part of the Serengeti ecosystem is where the wildebeest calving season occurs, typically during the months of January and February, and also early March. The short grass plains in the area yields rich grass, which the wildebeest prefer when they are nursing their young.

We took the long way to our next camp, Ndutu Safari Lodge, which took us past the Masai Kopjes, vilima saba (7 hills), Naabi Hill, and the southern part of Serengeti National Park. We photographed a nice pride of lions at the Masai Kopjes, which were bathing in the morning sun, all on top of various granite rocks. The kopjes, or inselbergs, are excellent backdrops which help illustrate that these photographs were taken in one very specific location. It really helps with storytelling, which is what photography is all about. We have to use imagery to tell our stories, as we don’t often have words to explain what and where our images are all about.

We checked into Ndutu Safari Lodge, ate some lunch and headed back out around 3:30. We drove the swamps to the west of the lodge, as we had heard of a mother cheetah and her 3 cubs that was in that direction. We never found her, however we did come across a pride of lions in the middle of the marsh. There was one adult male, six adult females and 3 young cubs. The young cubs were quietly sleeping, and then all of a sudden they realized they were hungry and attacked their mother for some milk. CUTE is a good word to describe the moment. Dang these cubs were cute. We sat and watched for about 2.5 hours, as the show before us grabbed all of our attention. We saw a lone cheetah in the distance, but we didn’t budge, as we had a bird in hand, so to speak.

I look forward to processing some of the images from today, as I think I have a few keepers.