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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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Safari Update from South Africa - Day 1

This is the first installment of safari updates from the Sabi Sands of South Africa. I am on a 3-day pre safari with two of my customers, and at the end of this pre safari I will begin two back-to-back safaris, each with 11 travelers. My goals for writing these daily safari updates are:


  • To explain what we are seeing and photographing each day
  • To explain some of the camera equipment used and any thoughts around them
  • To show a day-in-the-life on one of my African photographic safaris
  • To create a diary for my travelers, so they won’t have to keep up with what we saw each day


So, here goes!

This morning we left the D’Oreale Grand Hotel in Johannesburg, and were picked up by my good friend Gordie, who runs a hospitality transfer business. Gordie took us to the hanger where our flight would take us to the Sabi Sands. We checked in, if you can call it that, and boarded our Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. 50 minutes later we landed at the Mala Mala airstrip, and my good friend and head ranger Matt grabbed us and took us to our camp for the next 3 nights. Every time I visit Mala Mala I make sure that Matt is my main guide, and this trip is no exception. We grabbed a nice lunch on the deck, got settled into our rooms and then took off for our afternoon game drive.

The weather this afternoon was almost perfect at around 75F. When I left home in Houston it was already getting into the 90’s each day, with an average low of the mid 70’s. I am not a fan of hot and humid places, and it was great to be in such great weather.

We had heard about a pair of leopard cubs from the Kikilezi female leopard, and made sure that we went straight for the place where they were last seen. It is important to be sensitive around any young cub, and since their mother wasn’t around we didn’t want to stay very long at all. If anything bad happened during our brief visit, the cubs would associate the event with the presence of a vehicle, and would forever be shy around them. We did spot the two 6-week old cubs, and for a quick reference I have included an image. It isn’t a great one, but the purpose of the images on these updates is to illustrate what we have seen out here.

After our brief visit with the leopard cubs, we drove along the edge of the Sand River to see what was out in the open and easy to photograph. We happened on a small congregation of bull elephants, drinking and sparring at the waters’ edge. I love any animal that is near water, especially if there is interaction with the water (drinking, splashing, etc) or if there is a reflection. Or both! We took some shots and decided we would head down to the southern edge of Mala Mala where some wild dogs had been seen a few days earlier.

When we got to the southern edge of the property, we had to bushwhack our way through very very dense brush in an attempt to locate where we though the dog den might be. We had another vehicle in the area, and he was able to triangulate and figure out the location within an hour. We stayed a fair distance back from the den, and we only saw one adult female near the entrance. Awesome! This is the key to great wild dog photography, as you know where the epicenter of activity is coming from. All hunts begin and end from the den. We didn’t stay long, as it was obvious that the other adults had already left to go hunting, and there wasn’t much to see. We needed to make sure the dogs weren’t spooked by our presence, and staying back to observe and come back another day was the best approach.

We headed back to camp after dark, as it took a while to find our way back to the road from the dense brush. The temperature quickly dropped and my vehicle mates and I all had huge smiles on our faces from our first game drive of the trip.


Leopard Cub

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8, 1/3200 @ f/4, ISO 400. Hand held


Elephant in the Sand River

Nikon D800, 300mm f2.8, 1/640 @ f/5, ISO 400. Shot from a bean bag


View of the same elephant in the Sand River

Nikon D800, 300mm f/2.8, 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.

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Reader Comments (1)

I wish I was there with you guys. Please give my best to Matt and the other guides. Sounds like you had a great afternoon and I am sure the days ahead will be very productive. The cubs are amazing. Hopefully you will return to photograph them more. Keep Chris in line...


June 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFilemon Lopez

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