Walking the Secret Hills of Laikipia

17th, Jan 2013

In the promotional trailer for BBC’s current showcase natural history series, Africa, Sir David Attenborough plants himself human compass-like at the top of a hill. In all directions are sweeping, majestic views, empty of human civilisation.

The Ninth Wave – writing at sea

29th, Nov 2012

I have written substantial parts of my last two books at sea, much of them typing with one hand while clinging to the desk with the other, keeping a leery eye on the cabin window to determine which stage we were in the great oceanic washing machine cycle.

The Shooting Gallery – photography and shooting

25th, Nov 2012

In the postwar period in Europe a strange fairground attraction emerged – the shooting gallery. All but defunct now, these booths lured punters with the prospect of shooting an air rifle, but not to hit a target and win a stuffed panda. The object was to take your own photograph.

Bodies in Space – street photography now

12th, Oct 2012

Photography is changing so quickly in the digital era, it’s hard to keep up. We tend to think of this as a technological phenomenon, but it’s also social and cultural.

Bush Midnight

29th, Sep 2012

‘Bush Midnight’ is an evolving body of work about the African bush. In the wilderness night has a different density to anywhere else. ‘Bush Midnight’ is a term that refers to the early nights in bushcamp: if you get up at 4.45am, then you go to bed at 8.30pm.

‘Bitter Pastoral’ – the voice of the land

28th, Sep 2012

‘Bitter Pastoral – A Talk About the Cederberg’ is the title of an essay written by my friend Stephen Watson, a South African writer who died after a short illness in April 2011.

Birds of East Africa: poetry and birdwatching

18th, Sep 2012

Recently I’ve been learning about birds, and can now identify over 70 African birds by their calls, and a similar number by sight. Bird life in Lewa in the Northern Rangelands of Kenya is prolific, with over 400 species recorded in the area.