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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 Photo Safari (5)


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.

Thomson Safaris 2012-2013 Catalog is Out



The Thomson Safaris 2012-2013 catalog is out and available. Yours truly has the cover this year, which is photo of a female leopard who is relaxing after a rather sumptuous meal (impala). Yum Yum. If you are interested in joining me on a Tanzania photo safari or to any of my other destinations in Africa, my Africa photo safari schedule can be found on my main web site at


Day 19 –Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

Ok, today was the day of all days. Leopards, leopards and more leopards. I am overwhelmed, to say the least, and here is how my day went in the paragraphs below.

We left Rattray’s by 6:30am and worked the road that borders Londolozi to the west. Within 1km of camp we heard a commotion of francolins, and it was clear we had a leopard in our midst. We stopped the vehicle and noticed not one but two leopards in a tree: the Dudley Female and her subadult cub. The cub was working an imapala carcass, and the Dudley Female was too busy paying attention to the young hyaena on the ground. We didn’t have a clear view, unfortunately, and we couldn’t go any closer than about 125 feet. Londolozi and Mala Mala are different properties, and none shall go between them. It’s just how it is, unfortunately. We watched as the Dudley Female jumped down out of the tree towards the hyaena, which totally freaked me out. Typically you will never see a leopard do such a thing, however this time the hyaena was too young to be much of a threat, so she obviously felt comfortable enough to get near it.

2 leopards by 6:45am.

We left the Dudley Female and her cub, and worked our way north and east towards the Sand River. We tracked and intercepted the Bicycle Crossing Male leopard by the river, and we had multiple attempts at photographing him as he walked down a game path. Our approach was to drive around and forward of him, turn around and photograph him as he walked towards us. We did this about 5 times, and I was happy with the photos from this session with him. I last saw him in 2008, and it was great to be near this great leopard again. His size and stature remind me of the late Tjololo, who made it to the cover of National Geographic a few years back. Kim Wolhuter photographed and shot video of Tjololo, and one should seek out some of Kim’s work if interested in beautiful leopard photography.

We followed the Bicycle Crossing Male offroad, and he came upon a skeleton of a wildebeest. He absolutely snuggled and caressed the bones, which was one of the more unusual acts I have seen a leopard engage in. After his intimacy with the dried remains, he then scent marked it as his own and then moved on. We lost track of him in the dense bush, and we had to backtrack to get back to the road.

3 leopards by 7:28am.

Above one of the picnic sites we found the Daughter of Ngoboswan Female, and boy was she a gorgeous leopard. She had a new impala carcass in the tree, and was happily munching away with an adult hyaena at the base of the tree. We were able to move the vehicle around to find some good vantage points, which explains some of the images down below.

4 leopards by 9:45am.

We were so chuffed when we got back to camp, that we decided to eat a quick brunch and head back to the Daughter of Ngoboswan Female to see what else we could yield photographically. Our other vehicles stayed with her when we ate, and when we got back to her the other vehicles moved on for brunch. Rotating vehicles is the only way to make sure that everybody gets good photographs, and I am a fan of this method.

After an amazing set of leopard sightings, we returned back to our mating pair of lions for some more ‘action shots’. J

Dinner was indoors, due to the high winds and cold temperature. It has really turned cold in the past 24 hours, and this morning was 40F with a colder morning forecasted for tomorrow. Time for winter gloves and a winter hat, for sure. It should be around 3C tomorrow morning. BRRRRRRRRR.

Note: All images in these daily blog postings are very very rough edits of the things we have seen, and I often omit the photographs that take too much time to process. I don’t take much time off during the day, as I am working with people with their photographic needs. All of my images in these posts will have to be re-processed when I get back home, and they are only included in these blog entries for illustration purposes.


The Dudley Female barely makes it into the open


The Dudley Female jumps from her tree in front of a hyaena


The Dudley Female


Bicycle Crossing Male


Bicycle Crossing Male

Bicycle Crossing Male


Bicycle Crossing Male


Daughter of Ngoboswan Female


Daughter of Ngoboswan Female


Daughter of Ngoboswan Female


Lone hyaena, looking for some scraps


Daughter of Ngoboswan Female


Dean, James, Filemon, LaWayne and George


Day 18 –Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

I haven’t been spending much time with my diary in recent days, primarily because of the limited amount of time to keep on top of it all. My apologies if today’s dairy on the shorter end, but I will try to do a better job in future days.

Today we focused on mating lions, sub adult male lions, kudu, birds and a nice sunset. Not bad!

Note: All images in these daily blog postings are very very rough edits of the things we have seen, and I often omit the photographs that take too much time to process. I don’t take much time off during the day, as I am working with people with their photographic needs. All of my images in these posts will have to be re-processed when I get back home, and they are only included in these blog entries for illustration purposes.







Day 17 –Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

Gosh, where do I begin? We had such a jam-packed day with so many rich photographic subjects. To put it bluntly, we had lions, lion cubs, leopards and rhino. Ok, so I said it. Now on to the day’s sightings.

We stumbled upon two adult females of the Styx pride, and one of the adult females is quite the legend in the area at 14 years old. She is a different looking lion, in that her nose rides high on her face, and you always know who she is when you see her. She has a young cub at the moment, and it may be the last she will have due to her ‘old’ age. We sat and watched the two lionesses in the open grass opposite Mala Mala Main Camp on the other side of the Sand River, and after an hour we noticed the younger female was interested in a bush buck on the river’s edge. She stalked and eventually took off running after the bush buck, only to end in failure. I could see the excitement in the other photographers’ eyes, as any chase is a great thing to see.

We were back at camp at 10:30 for brunch, and then back out by 3:00. In the wintertime many camps offer breakfast before the morning game drive, however for the next few days were are going to eat brunch after the game drive. This will allow us to get a few more minutes of sleep, without foregoing the good light in the morning. It also helps out the camp staff.

We left camp by 3pm, and photographed more lions in and around the Sand River. We had 3 cubs and 2 adult females, and we had a very difficult time getting clear shots of the cubs in the tall reeds in the river. The mothers felt comfortable enough with us, and the cubs were heard growling for their mothers to provide milk for the hungry little guys. So we had intimate experiences with these gorgeous cats during their nursing activities. I just couldn’t get a clear photograph, due to the tall grass, but it was a great moment indeed. After their feeding, the cubs played in the sand on the water’s edge. We left them and headed towards the west street bridge to photograph white rhinos that had been seen.

Rhinos are funny creatures, and I get a good chuckle when I spend time with them. They are difficult to photograph past the obvious types of shots, so I always have to find new ways of interpreting gestures, moods and behavior. After my obligatory head shots, I noticed that some of them had good gatherings of oxpeckers on their backs, so I tried my best to get these emotional birds in my viewfinder. My biggest challenge was getting a good angle, good light and a good background, but the best I could muster was a background with the bridge in the background. GRRRR. Oh well.

On the way back to camp, we tracked down the son of Ngoboswan, one of my favorite male leopards in the reserve. There are only two others that I enjoy more, and that is the Bicycle Crossing Male and the massive Emsagwen Male, and it was good to see this beautiful guy before the sun went down. He was obviously hunting, so we kept our distance and watched as he tried to sneak up on a nyala in the forest. The nyala had already figured out what was going on, but it was fun to watch the game of cat and mouse until we could barely see in the moon’s light.

At dinner we all laughed about our good fortune, and added up that we had collectively kept Sandisk in business due to our appetite for flash memory.

Note: All images in these daily blog postings are very very rough edits of the things we have seen, and I often omit the photographs that take too much time to process. I don’t take much time off during the day, as I am working with people with their photographic needs. All of my images in these posts will have to be re-processed when I get back home, and they are only included in these blog entries for illustration purposes.



El Grupo






Oxpeckers on the back of a white rhino