Andrew is a legendary photographer and human. His creative flair with the camera is only matched by his dedication and passion for wildlife and Africa. His photography seems to perfectly capture the sense of wild and wonder that you feel when on this magical continent. A vegan with an obsession for working out and the occasional funny joke, there’s never a dull moment with Andrew around! And, it doesn't hurt that he LOVES Mulberry Mongoose - definite brownie points there!
Read the story of inspiration and adventure behind the lens, as told by the man himself:
Me in Zambia
I would describe myself as being someone that can find a positive in most of the situations I find myself in. I take life one step at a time with no great master plan for the future. I go with the flow and want to make my life as adventurous as possible. I'm definitely a collector of memories as opposed to money in the bank. I have a deep fascination and appreciation for the natural world and capturing moments through photographing wildlife and landscapes is my biggest passion.
I think growing up my dream was to become a professional footballer and although I turned out to be a pretty decent player I was also absolutely mad on watching the BBC documentaries with David Attenborough. I also used to go through all my parents' volumes of National Geographic to look at the photographs. To end up having images featured in Nat Geo in an article about Mulberry Mongoose seems surreal now that I think back to those childhood memories.
During lockdown I have been looking at some old family photos and even way back on family vacations I had my dad's Olympus film camera around my neck. I still have the same camera in my drawer here. I was also fascinated with our old video camera; this thing was so old that you had to put an actual VCR into the side of the camcorder to record onto.
In Zambia with an elephant
Things got a little more serious when I travelled around the world for a year in 2012/13, visiting 5 continents and 19 countries and upon my return friends and family were very complimentary of the images I had captured. In 2015 I decided to invest in some decent camera equipment, packed my bags and headed back to Africa to do my safari guide qualification. I worked in both South Africa and Botswana as a guide which was an incredible experience. While looking for my next adventure, I emailed safari operators all over Africa looking for guiding work and I always put a link to my website on my email. At this stage my website was very basic but a company in Zambia called Norman Carr Safaris got back to me and invited me to take photos for 3 weeks. About a week before I was due to leave Botswana for Zambia there was a fire in my room and I lost all my belongings, apart from my camera, laptop and hard drives. You name it and I lost it - money, passport, diaries, guiding log books, clothes, shoes. Even sitting there watching my belongings burning, unable to get close to my room due to the heat of the flames I can remember processing what I had to do - "Ok Andrew, you just gotta go home for a while and regroup, this African dream isn't over".
On a termite mound in Botswana
Luckily Norman Carr Safaris said they would still take me for 3 weeks of photography whenever I was ready. My journey back home was an adventure that involved a 12 hour bus ride, having my passport photo taken in the street with about 50 spectators and buying an emergency passport using 3 different currencies. I eventually got myself to Zambia in 2016 just as Norman Carr Safaris were starting a rebrand into the now Time + Tide Safaris. The three weeks of photography must have been a success as I was invited back in 2017 for three months and 4 years later I am still their in-house photographer and videographer. Even before going to Zambia, for some reason I knew it was going to be the place for me but with Time + Tide I have also been able to spend many weeks in Madagascar which is a fascinating place.
Shooting in Madagascar
There have been a few crazy things that have happened to me in Africa. Of course there are the usual warning charges from elephants while out on foot (those get the heart racing) but one that really caught me out was while guiding in Botswana. During a horse riding trip from one camp to the next we stopped for picnic lunch where we also had little camp beds. I took my bed into the bush for a little siesta and I could see the groomsman letting the horses drink from the delta. Suddenly he started shouting and I looked up to see 3 horses running straight towards me, I was worried they would run over me so I stood up so they could see me. This worked but as they saw me they quickly turned to the right and there was a lioness about 5 metres behind them. I have that vivid image in my head - I froze solid and all I could say was "oh f$*k it's a lion"!! I was relieved that the lion's gaze remained with the horses and just before she launched herself onto a horse one of the guides let off a bear banger which distracted her. The horses ran 20km back to camp. Afterwards I paced out how close the lion tacks were to my camp bed - it was 9 metres.
Again, in Botswana, I managed to drown our vehicle in the deep water and myself and the guests had to strip to our underwear, hold our bags above our heads and walk back through the water to be collected by another guide. There is never a dull moment in Africa.
In action in the South Luangwa, Zambia
I don't like Mulberry Mongoose, I love Mulberry Mongoose. I remember the first time I walked into the shop and workshop and saw the jewellery - it was right up my street. I loved the raw feel of the materials and the designs. Then I found out the story behind the jewellery and the positive impact on local employment and conservation and I've been addicted ever since. Working for Mulberry Mongoose every time I'm in The South Luangwa is always a pleasure and it's great to be a small part of the great work they do.
Wearing Mulberry Mongoose
To see for yourself how extraordinary his photography is and to buy his limited edition fine art prints, go to www.andrewmacdonaldphoto.co.uk. You’ll also see his work on https://timeandtideafrica.com