Chimpanzees and Gorillas – A Photographic Adventure.

Join me to photograph the Chimpanzees in Uganda and the Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys of Rwanda. This safari starts on June 22, 2015 and runs through July 4. Three full days with the chimps, three treks with the gorillas and one trek with the endangered Golden Monkeys. This will be my 12th trek with the Gorillas and I can share with you that each one is different and very rewarding.

Join me on a safari that could very well change the way you look at life.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

2014 Wrap-Up and Adventure Summary

Ok, it’s time for the annual 2014 wrap up and a glimpse of what’s happening in 2015, so here we go.

2014 had me spending more time in Africa and on the road than I did at home, at least it seemed that way. The year kicked off in February with one of my favorite Thomson Safari adventures in Tanzania – the wildebeest calving. This time of the year is always an exciting because we are able to witness and photograph the births of literally thousands of newborn wildebeests. We also see the numerous predators that follow the herds of newborns and their parents, hoping for an easy meal.

Shortly thereafter I found myself in Namibia with Andy Biggs and Joshua Holko photographing the incredible landscapes in the oldest and tallest dunes in the world. This was my fourth trip to Namibia, and when it comes to desert landscapes, Namibia is absolutely numero uno! I will be returning in March 2015 to lead another Namibian landscape experience.

June found me back in Tanzania for the wildebeest rut safari, again with Thomson Safaris – and if you ask whether I like the calving more than the rutting, well, I just couldn’t say because both are incredible! With predators following the herds as they migrated across the plains to Kenya, we were afforded plenty of photographic opportunities then shared wonderful stories around the campfire as we recounted our daily adventures. I will be repeating this trip again in the May-June time frame of 2015.

August found me leading a photographic expedition to Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Trying to describe the landscapes of this island is simply beyond words. Check back after the first of the year for a new collection of photographs from this adventure. If Iceland is on your bucket list, I will be leading another expedition (or two) to Iceland in 2016 so stay tuned and let me know if you are interested.

In September I returned once again to Tanzania for the incredible great migration. During this trip we witnessed multiple wildebeest river crossings – always a spectacular event – and had numerous opportunities to photograph lions and leopards. The energy that surrounds the chaos of a river crossing must not be underestimated and it is one that must be experienced first-hand. As the wildebeest cross the Mara River, it is truly survival of the fittest as they face rapid river currents, angry hippos, and hungry crocodiles. Many of the wildebeests do not survive the mayhem.

October put me in Ethiopia photographing the tribes of the Omo Valley. This was one of the most humbling experiences of my photographic career because of the challenging roads, logistics, weather, and the people. However, I also am excited to repeat as soon as I can, so again, stay tuned. I can’t begin to describe what it was like to photograph these wonderful and caring tribal people of the Omo as they went about their daily lives. Being given unrestricted access to these people and invited to photograph and take part in their daily rituals made memories that will be with me for a long time. I can’t wait to return to work with these tribal members again, and I need to give special thanks to Piper MacKay for introducing me to these seldom-visited areas.

From October to late November I led two safaris into Botswana and co-led another safari with Grant Atkinson. As always, Eyes on Africa provided expert logistical support for two of the safaris and a new provider, Unlimited Safaris, provided the support for my first private camping safari. All three safaris produced wonderful photographic opportunities for leopards, lions and wild dogs. The highlights of these trips were seeing the gorgeous leopards and the packs of African Painted Dogs in full action as they hunted with the precision of a well-trained military unit. It was intense, high speed photography as we followed the dogs on chase after chase.

My third Botswana safari as co-leader with Grant Atkinson started in Maun with 17 of us taking a bush plane flight and landing at Nxabega. Our two days at Nxabega were filled with dogs and dogs and dogs. The African Painted Dog is a formidable killing machine. Usually hunting in both the morning and evening, they sport an 80 percent success rate in their chase to kill ratio. On our last morning before taking another bush flight to Sandibe, we witnessed the dogs make 7 antelope kills in 2 hours. They only missed once when they tried to chase a large kudu. I will be returning to Botswana next October for another photographic adventure sponsored by Muench Workshops.

A big highlight of the year was being invited to join the team of Muench Workshops, a small collection of very experienced professional photographers that lead workshops throughout the world. I think their tag line “one-of-a kind photography workshops at the coolest places on the planet” says it all. I am honored to be affiliated with David Muench, Mark Muench, and Andy Williams, and their wonderful team of photographers.

2015 will be another full year with highlights that include two safaris to Tanzania and Botswana, the landscapes of the Palouse, and the chimpanzees and mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda. I also will be joining Joshua Holko in July as we journey far north into the Arctic to photograph polar bears. In addition, I am currently planning a very small expedition-type adventure into Ethiopia’s Omo Valley in November, once again to photograph the seldom-photographed Suri Tribe. Details and booking information on all of these trips can be found on my website blog. If you don’t see me leading a trip to an area that interests you, please drop me a line and I will share with you what I have planned for the future. Likewise, if you are interested in one of the trips that are fully booked, I will be happy to place you on a waiting list – you just never know.

As for equipment, I am still shooting Nikon and Hasselblad and recently invested in the Profoto B1 portable flash head for my work in Ethiopia. I also invested in the new Nikon 400 f/2.8 FL series lens and man, what a beauty it is!

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2015.

Randy Hanna

Join me on an adventure of a lifetime as we make incredible photographs along the way.

2015 Workshop / Travel Outlook –

Iceland – By Winter – February 11-18 (private safari)
Namibia – Overland Landscapes – March 12-22
Tasmania and New Zealand – April 2015 (Private Safari)
Tanzania – The Rut Migration – May 27-June 7
Washington State – Muench Workshops Landscapes of the Palouse – June 11-17 (limited openings)
Uganda and Rwanda – Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas – June 25 – 4 July 2015
Norway – Polar Bears – July 22 – 4 August
Botswana – Pure Botswana – September 2015 (FULLY BOOKED)
Tanzania – The Great Migration – September 19-30
Botswana – Muench Workshops Botswana Adventures – October 10-20
Ethiopia – Omo Valley Adventure Series – October – November (please inquire if interested – limited to 4 guests only)

2016 Teaser: Italy, Iceland plus many more.

Gorillas from Victor

As I bring the posting about my recent photo safari to Rwanda, I wanted to share some images with you from one of my clients.  Rwanda represented Victor’s second photo safari with me, the first being Tanzania in Feb 2013.  Victor is an Orthopedic Surgeon by day and a great photographer by night.  Victor travels frequently and and almost always, his travels have photography in mind.  So without additional delay, here are some of his photos from our recent adventure:

Yes, we had some serious mud on one of our days.  My camera setup was a D4, D3s, and a Sony NEX-6.  Glass was 24-70mm and a 70-200mm, with a dual camera black rapid strap.  I also wore my HOG HAT for the fans back in Arkansas

According to our guides, the use of  a flower in the mouth is sign of aggression for the  young ones.

Eating every so carefully to avoid the sharp leaves.  The Gorillas do not drink from running or standing water which means that they must obtain all of their water requirements from plants.  It is amazing how they can obtain enough water for their needs from the plants.

One of the wonderful things about Rwanda, is just how friendly the locals are.  In this situation we were simply walking around the view point near a lodge that was located high atop a series of hills.  While walking, the lady of the house called out to our guide and said “come visit me”.  The next thing we knew, the entire neighbor hood was walking our way.  I guess when new visitors arrive, the whole neighborhood gets involved.  Obviously, there is a new Razorback fan in Rwanda.

This shot was on our last day and shows you just how massive the male Silver Backs are.  In all of my Gorilla Treks, I have yet to witness any aggressive moves by these massive creatures however, there is no doubt in my mind that I will always give them a wide berth.

Thanks Victor so much for sharing some of your images.  I look forward to future travels with you.  If  you want to see more of Victor’s work, jump over to his Smug Mug Site at

Cheers and that is a wrap for the Rwanda Trip.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  I will be leading a very special safari next Feb focusing on the Chimpanzees of Uganda and the Gorillas of Rwanda.  Our special permits will allow thee FULL days with the Chimps rather than the limits one hour permit.  Imagine, three 6 hour days with the Chimps……I can’t wait.

Thanks to Eyes on Africa and Thousand Hills for another wonderful Gorilla Adventure.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Rwanda Day 2 – 4 January 2014

Clear skies, 54 degrees F

The rooster crowed at 5am, we ate breakfast at 6am, then we were out the door at 6:30am to the National Park Headquarters to receive our trekking assignment and our guide. As we were leaving the lodge, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise over the several of the volcanic mountains.

Sunrise from Gorilla View Lodge
Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm, ISO 800, 1/400 sec at f/7.1

One of the 7 volcanoes that make up the National Park Areas of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo.  This image was taken here.
Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 34mm, ISO 250, 1/640 sec at f/8.0

Our Gorilla Group for today – the Hirwa Group. I spent two days trekking with them last year with great success so I was excited to visit them again. The Hirwa Group is one of only two groups that has successfully raised twins. The group also has a four-month old baby which proved a challenge to photograph due to the baby’s rapid movements.

Four month old baby gorilla of the Hirwa Group.  This image was taken here.
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm, ISO 800, 1/200 sec at f/4.5

The skies were clear which pushed lots of direct sunshine into the brush and undercover. This light penetration made shooting difficult at best. We found that a starting setting of EV-0.3 would get us close, preserving details across the bright bridge of the gorilla’s nose and at the same time maintaining good exposure on the gorilla’s black hair.

The hour we spent with the gorillas was magical and most certainly rewarding. We are jazzed up and looking forward to our next several days with different groups.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Blogging live from the mountain tops of the Volcanoes National Park – brought to you by XComGlobal. For Global WIFI solutions, even in remote locations, I turn to XComGlobal to stay connected.

Hirwa Group

Another shot from our first day with the Gorillas.

Looking Through the Ferns.  This image was taken here.
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @200mm, ISO 800 1/1000 sec at f3.2, AUTO ISO On, Matrix Metering

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Blogging live from the mountain tops of the Volcanoes National Park – brought to you by XComGlobal. For Global WIFI solutions, even in remote locations, I turn to XComGlobal to stay connected.

Rwanda – Day 1 January 3, 2014

Our first full day in Rwanda kicked off with a hearty breakfast after a well deserved night’s sleep. We linked up with our guides from Thousand Hills and headed to the Genocide Memorial. I would love to write more about this memorial however, I am still searching for words that would describe what I saw as well as the emotions that ran through me as I walked the memorial. Meanwhile, the summary below is taken directly from Wikipedia. The Rwandan Genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of ethnic Tutsis by ethnic Hutus that took place in 1994 in the East African state of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days (April 6 through mid-July) over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Estimates of the death toll have ranged from 500,000–1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country’s total population. It was the culmination of longstanding ethnic competition and tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutu peoples, who had come to power in the rebellion of 1959–62.

Beneath the concrete tops lay the bodies of some 300,000 genocide victims.
Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mm, ISO320, 1/640 sec at f/8.0

No explanation needed.
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 320, 1/320 sec at f/8.0

A rose lays on top of the ‘open grave’ display.
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 320, 1/250 sec at f/10.0

Following the tour of the memorial, it was time to head to the Mountains of the Volcanoes National Park. With a near constant altitude climb, we arrived at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, our home for the next 4 days. The lodge is located in the Musanze Providence. This area is regarded as the bread basket for Rwanda. With abundant rainfall and rich volcanic soil, this area provides the majority of the agricultural products in Rwanda.

Hillside view of the rich agricultural fields -not one inch goes unused.
Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mmm ISO320, 1/500 sec at f/10.0

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Blogging live from the mountain tops of the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda – brought to you by XComGlobal. For Global WIFI solutions, in remote locations, I turn to XComGlobal to stay connected.

Rwanda and the Masai Mara – March 2014


As I write this, I’m off to Tanzania to lead another exciting photo safari / workshop featuring the RUT season and all of the crazy activities that go on during the period of RUT. I described the RUT to someone the other day as the “Serengeti being awash in a sea of testosterone, with all animals fully involved.”

Before I kick this safari off, I wanted to toss out a teaser for my March 2014 trip featuring the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda followed by several days in the wonderful Masai Mara. While I am still pulling together the final logistical details of the trip, I can share with you that we will have two full days of gorilla treking, one day of treking for the endangered Golden Monkeys, and 5 days in the Masai Mara Plains area of Kenya. The trip will be limited to 12 people and based on the interest that I have received, it will sell out fast. For those of you whom have already requested a spot on this trip, I have your name on the list and you will be the first contacted with final details.

Photographing and viewing the gorillas and monkeys, will a moving experience for all. For the photographers, it will be fast paced and some of the most technically challenging shooting that you will likely have ever undertaken. Between the complex light levels, constant motion, and thick vegetation; you will have your hands full I will be there with you to ensure you get the most out of this trip. After our daily treks, we will spend some time visiting local villages, markets, and doing some post processing or image review.

As far as the Masai Mara goes, it is a game rich area and full of action. The term sensory overload comes to mind when photographing in this incredible area. From the big five, to exhilarating cheetahs chases, we will likely see it all.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @200mm, ISO 640, 1/125 sec at f/3.5, elevation 8497 ft.

Nikon D4,  70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 6400, 1/125 sec at f/5.6, elevation 8435 ft

Heavy bamboo made getting a clear shoot of the fast moving monkeys one heck of a challenge.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

From 10,058 meters aloft, Turkish Airlines TK10

Sorry, but I just had to do this. I’ve never been able to generate a blog posting while in flight.  Currently, flying an ‘over the pole’ route, just passing over Butte Montana, with an altitude of  1o,o58 meters  , and 1,022 km/h for airspeed (ground speed indicated), time to Istanbul will be 10.24 hours (remaining).   Total distance, this leg, is 11,045 km.  Once I land in Istanbul, another 6 hour leg will place me in Tanzania.

As luck would have it, I was upgraded to Comfort Class on Turkish Airlines TK10, LAX to Istanbul. This class is a wonderful mix of super economy plus (United), and normal business class. The seats are normal US business class seats except with lots of wonderful pluses. These include 120 volts, two USB charging ports, 12 volt ports, and FREE wi-fi. This blows the United business seats totally away.

I just completed field processing of this image below only seconds before they turned on some kind of soothing red-amber-ish lighting, so there goes my color management. Oh by the way, the chiefs were at the aircraft entrance greeting the passengers while the stewards were off doing their steward stuff. Yes, there are two chiefs dedicated to business class (first class in the normal US) and two dedicated to the Comfort Class. You gotta love it.

Another Golden Monkey shot from Rwanda posted from aboard Turkish Airlines TK10, just because I can. These monkeys were really difficult to photograph. Fast moving, on the ground and flying thru the air, coupled with this bamboo and heavy overcast skies, my camera of choice was the Nikon D4. With it’s high speed capture rate and virtually noise free imagery, it was just what the situation called for.

 Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm,  ISO 12,800, 1/125 sec at f/5.6.

Cheers and happy photo’ing

Back Home from Namibia

Well, it has been about 15 days since I have returned from a killer landscape workshop that I led in Namibia. While I was gone, lots of things changed in my photo world. While it is always fun to return to Seattle and discover what little things changed, but man, change was everywhere around me upon my return. The big changes included:

1.  Nik Software is now available for $149.00 for the entire suite. Normally HDR or Viveza would cost this much alone. I use Nik products in just about every image that I process. I would suggest that you get it now, as we have no idea what Google will do with the product line.  You can get this software here.

2.  Nikon released a new, and much needed, 80-400mm Zoom. Still at an f-stop of 4.5-5.6, it sports a much faster focusing system, and Nano-crystal lens coating, making this a great safari lens for those that can’t justify the much more expensive 200-400mm.

3.  Nikon released the D7100, which returns another full stop or two more sensitive than the D7000.  Built as a pro-consumer body, this is a great camera for those interested in a 1.5 crop sensor.

4.  Posterious died with short notice. Posterious, the posting service that I used to post to my blog from the bush, was absorbed by Twitter about a year ago.  With 5 days notice, they folded their doors and left me searching for alternatives to support live blogging from the bush while I’m out on safari.

5.  The Hasselblad H5D series is now shipping to the US. After tons of trouble with the H4D series, this new release is the one that I have been waiting for. Better lens / body connections, new menu systems and weather-proofing make this a solid medium format camera that will last well into the future. I cant wait to get my hands on one.

6.  Last and certainly the least, is the big Adobe announcement for LR5. If the past trend of releases continues to be true, we might see a LR5 release by the end of June or July.  Looking at the LR5 Beta, the big improvements include:

  • Very powerful advance healing bush that allows for non-circular click and drag corrections
  • New Radial Filter for off-center vignetting and elliptical local adjustments
  • Upright in the Lens Corrections to automatically straighten photos and fix perspective
  • Smart Previews supporting off-line editing of photos
  • Grid and guide overlays for library, develop, and tethered captured
  • PNG file support
  • True fullscreen mode
  • Page numbering and layout saving in the Book Module
  • Videos can be included in slideshows
  • Windows HiDPI support
  • New smart collections criteria

I hope to release the final details on the Mountain Gorilla and Massai Mara safari (scheduled for early March), a June trip to Botswana, and Iceland in August, just as soon as I possibly can. If you are on my mailing list, you will receive advance notice of these safaris before they are posted on the web. As usual, space will be limited across all safaris, so start thinking about your desires.

I’ll post a few notes from Namibia before I depart for Tanzania again on the 12th of May, including Martini Madness. Meanwhile, I’m on the road heading to Atlanta to see my youngest daughter graduate with her second Masters. Rumor has it that she will soon be employed with a top notch consulting company in Washington DC.

Cheers and happy photo’ing