Wow. What a year. I mean what-a-year. I spent more time away from home than I ever anticipated, but in that time away I had some amazing experiences, photographic opportunities and time with customers that are nothing short of amazing. So let’s jump into my year, which is going to be a modem buster of a blog entry, due to the large volume of images.
Before we get to the destinations and photographs, I need to say that 2013 was a huge year of change for me. Why? I sold off much of my Nikon 35mm gear in order to be more agnostic. I did this because I need to shoot with Canon and other systems, as I need and want to know exactly what the needs of my customers are. I sold off much of my Nikon system and only own a D800E, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and a 50mm. This means I have a huge gap to fill on each of my trips, which I fill by relying on the rental market. I use Borrowlenses.com exactly for this need. I just rent either a Canon or Nikon camera body and a ‘long’ lens, like a 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8 or 200-400mm f/4. Voila. Simple, easy and I accomplish the goal of knowing both platforms as best that I can.
I also shoot with Phase One medium format gear, and late this year I upgraded from a 60 megapixel IQ160 digital back to an 80 megapixel IQ280 digital back. After my first trip with the new IQ280 I am extremely happy with the upgrade, as I now have 10,300 pixels on the longest dimension to work with. These files are HUGE, I tell you. HUGE. And yes, I now need a new computer to process the files.
International Travel - Africa and Iceland
I spent much of the month of March in Iceland, as I co-led two workshop groups with friends Joshua Holko and Daniel Bergman. These workshops were winter workshops, primarily driven around snow, ice and the aurora borealis. Here are a few images from March:
Aurora Borealis, Lighthouse and Power Plant
Daniel, King of Ice
Workshop Group at Jökulsárlön
Reysnisdrangar near Vík
Having a little fun at my expense. Funny people.
Joshua out on the ice
I also spent a ton of time in Africa, splitting my time between Tanzania (1 safari), Rwanda (1 safari), Kenya (3 safaris) and Botswana (3 safaris). I didn’t visit Africa until May, yet I managed to fit in so many game drives into the year I think I lost count. Here is a quick synopsis of my African travels, in order of where I guided my trips:
Mother and Baby Giraffe, Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Playing Cheetahs, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya
Cheetahs Chasing Their Lunch, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya
Welcome To My Office
Wink Wink, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya
Lion, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya
Giraffe and Clouds, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
I Am King, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Four Lions, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya
Three Giraffe, Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Liftoff, Helicopter Aerial Flight over the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Our Mobile Shooting Platform, complete with custom brackets (and Andy Biggs Photo Safaris exclusive)
A Boat Cruise out on the Okavango Delta
Stretching Leopard, Okavango Delta, Botswana
North American destinations
Well, my year wouldn’t be complete without some trips to the American West and the Pacific Northwest, which I visited early on in the year, so here are a few images from Death Valley and the areas near Moab, Utah (Arches and Canyonlands National Parks):
The Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park
Juniper, Arches National Park
Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park
Valley Floor, Death Valley National Park
Valley Floor, Death Valley National Park
The truth is that my African travels were enough to fill up an entire year, but it didn’t end there. I guided 7 African safaris alone, and once you add in the Iceland trip and other North American trips I needed more time at home with my family, or at minimum more time with family out on vacation. Which leads me to……
Last, but not least, Leslie and I went on a no-kids vacation up to the Pacific Northwest. This was our first vacation away from kids in 3 years, and it was amazing. We spent time with friends and family in Seattle and Vancouver, and spent some time doing ‘research’ for my business at Sonora Resort, one of the most fabulous destinations I have ever been to. Seriously. If you are interested in a great balance of the outdoors, fine dining and pampering services this is the place for you. We went flyfishing, grizzly bear viewing, hiking, spa-ing and just about anything else outdoors, and I cannot wait to go back.
Sunset near Sonora Resort, British Columbia, Canada
To cap off this huge blog post, I thought it is worth noting that my kids have hearts of gold. During one of my trips to Africa, William had heard that there isn’t enough clean drinking water in Africa. So William took a bottle of water, wrapped it up and put it into the mailbox to send to me.
I look forward to another wonderful year in 2014, which will take me back to many of the same places in Africa, yet will add Antarctica, South Georgia and the Galápagos Islands to the mix. Bring ‘em on!