Mark Hickey

Mark was born in Hinsdale, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Part of an active family, Mark's appreciation of the outdoors was instilled at an early age. Camping and fishing trips played a big part in his childhood, as did organized sports. It was a family ski trip to Breckenridge at the age of 12 that gave him his first taste of the West, and he vowed to return. He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, where he studied fine arts, photography, illustration and design, yet still found time for both hockey and soccer (and pinball). Somehow he always managed to scrounge the money and time for snowboarding excursions to Colorado, as well as the yearly pilgrimage to Mardi Gras with his crew. After graduation he traveled with his father through Alaska, then finally took a job as an art director for an automotive aftermarket manufacturer. He moved to Wicker Park in Chicago and continued to study film and web design... when he wasn't throwing a round of disc golf. One day he left with his dog on a fly-fishing trip to Colorado and never looked back. Somewhere along the line, he figured he should probably return to the working world and landed his job with Nat Hab. He resides in Louisville where he enjoys live music, a fine IPA, cooking and spending time hiking with his family, and their husky, Shiloh Blue.  
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Back to the bush! Kalahari Plains Camp is the first of six camps we'll cover over the next 14 days. We take off from Maun and Nicole jams Santana on her iPod because she thinks this is Kingdom of the Monarchs.Our two nights in the desert were filled with crazy lion vocalizations and stars. Kalahari Plains Camp is perfectly situated overlooking an immense pan with endless horizons and beautiful skies.My first sundowner in four years. Huzzah! A storm rides out the horizon... Girl you gotta love your man.Don't be deceived... it's all smoke and mirrors. Editor's Note: The copyright infringement case: Kalahari v. Bon Jovi has still not been resolved.An oryx shot in the golden hour. The Kalahari offers some unbelievable light for photography. Now if I could just find the legendary Kalahari black-maned lion.Quick sundowners with Becca and Agent 007. Creative Director's note: "Do something cool, like an album cover." Fail.Yellow Billed Hornbill - the flying banana. Both male and female are identical, with the only marked difference being that the female has a smaller beak than the male. The male mostly ignores what the female says, so they get along.Out of the desert and into the jungle. Wow. Big change. Chitabe Camp is situated in a private concession area on a beautiful island in the south-east of the Okavango Delta."Oh my God! I love black and white checkered bed spreads!" Baby hyenas are actually pretty cute even though they will grow up to be ruthless scavengers.The Chitabe sunset provides a dramatic backdrop for drinks and snacks at sundown. Both, of which, as you may know... I enjoy.Dawson models the newest in the Victoria's Secret "Angels" line. This new feathered wrap-around design includes a spurred-wing for conflicts on the cat walk.The Marlboro Impala. Warning: Smoking blades of grass may cause hot, female impalas to gravitate towards you, like Soda Pop in the Outsiders.Like most members of the horse family, zebras are highly sociable. This zebra is clearly a nerd, and got kicked out of happy hour for actually using the straw to drink his gin and tonic.The lovely Chitabe camp staff received the highest of ratings in my book. Except for Nicole, she doesn't work here, she works over there. [Pointing at Louisville].Sometime you gotta be a "Bala."LBR dude. I bet you still call it a Lillac Breasted Roller. Thought so. You probably drink gin and tonics with a straw too.There must be an animal hospital around here cause that is one sick python.What? A couple of guys, chillin' out, watchin' a lioness... what?Such a classy lady. She actually whiffed an her kudu take down, but I still "like her, like her". We might go to prom, if it's cool with her dad.Our last morning tea at Chitabe. Hey! Let's get a photo! Matching green floppies? Check! Matching silver cups filled with boiling hot coffee that will take 30 minutes to become safe enough to sip? Check.A friendly welcome to Xigera River Camp.Our macorro ride was cut short by a torrential downpour - the only rain we saw on our trip. Ask Nicole about baboons, she loves them.An elephant welcomes us to Vumbura Plains camp, situated in the extreme north of the Delta.I like this shot too. Same Elephant - Different light.Come on... hurry up. I wanna call shot gun for the game drive to increase my chances to see elephant, giraffe, impala, sable antelope, kudu, zebra, common waterbuck and reedbuck, tsessebe, wildebeest, red lechwe and Cape buffalo. Geez.Giraffe. Female giraffes associate in groups of a dozen or so members, occasionally including a few younger males. So really, giraffes are cougars.Zebra. The name "zebra" comes from the Old Portuguese word zevra which means "wild ass". Not to be associated with "Zebras Gone Wild", a tacky straight-to-VHS production now available online.The African Fish Hawk. It feeds mainly on fish, which I am still trying to wrap my head around. I don't know how these guides can keep all this information organized.Happy Group at tea time - Vumbura Plains. Ollie and Go, which I'm pretty sure were the lead characters in Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo - totally unrelated."You know I took the bronze in competition poling back in the 87 Olympics... that was when everyone used Mopane wood, now it's all carbon and titanium. Shame. Easton ruined poling for me""Sundowners! Hey let's get a picture of us. Let's look past the camera this time so it looks like we're being politely candid.All right, let's get all you guys in here too! Do you think this Danny Terrio thing is working for me?"Geez Bob, your ear is totally filled with wax. Gross dude."Yeah, thanks. We took the restrictor plate off to give the Land Rover a little more juice. But it's not exactly street legal, so keep it on the down low. Hey Mike.We saw a pair of lions on our first drive at Duma Tau. Mom was out hunting for her young boys.They stayed busy cleaning each other. Right here. Not here or here so much. Right here. I can smell you guys over here. Let's see you had lamb with extra Mombo sauce? Yep. I thought so.How are you shooting this Bickram? Wide open?What you can't see is the two groups of hippos 30 ft away on both sides..."What you want to do is capture the moment, place your subject in the moment, really place your viewer in the moment... that's... that's how moments are placed and captured."Wild Dog vs. Baboon. Discovery channel has already approached me for a pilot.Okay now let's rest.Wait... I hear something.We saw a pack of twelve wild dog hunting on the north border of Duma Tau.The classic Defender safari vehicle design is in the midst of a total overhaul by Land Rover. Project Icon will be launched in 2012, and I have requested some added cup holders which would be convenient while watching spotted wild dog.Hungry. Hungry.Hey look, Mark and Nicole at sunset. Weird. What kind of light reading are you getting there Ollie? Can you bump it up a half stop and readjust the focus? Thanks.Sexy Beast.Here's a fish eagle with a successful catch. Sushi!Right after I snapped this shot, I got up and busted a centipede through the fire, then accidentally stepped on that one girl's foot, and got boo'd out of the boma. Just kidding. I totally rocked it and everyone carried me to dinner on their shoulders. Ask Nicole.These eyes have seen a lot of love but their never gonna see another warthog like you just- no wait... you'll get another one in 12 minutes.This leopard had his breakfast poached by three hyenas earlier - this time he successfully got his brunch up a tree to safety, after a ferocious second encounter. Leopard 1 - Hyenas 1.He liked the camera......and kept out a watchful eye for intruders.Name, our stellar guide at Duma Tau, I swear he's Michael Franti's cousin... Everyone loves music. Sweet music.We bid farewell to our friends and set off for Selinda Reserve.Rodney and the camp staff greet our boat at the dock.My signature shot. This time with a green floppy hat!Mark and Nicole at Sundowners... Mark looks like a chiseled field researcher and Nicole looks like she's suffering from Khaki Fever.Okay so maybe Marks looks a little more the part with the whole name badge and such.We saw the same pack again but this time it looked like the alpha male had been challenged for his spot.You gotta run like an antelope... out of control."Oh look at that little impala""Oh, I like this one... One dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way""I see many dogs on my mail route. I'll bet there's not one type of mutt or mongrel I haven't run across.Giraffe.One last photo, check that volcano in Iceland, and we are heading back to the states!
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