With A Pencil …

… you can write flowery rubbish …

In an era of infinite screens, the humble pencil feels revolutionarily (sic) direct: It does exactly what it does, when it does it, right in front of you. Pencils eschew digital jujitsu. They are pure analog, absolute presence. They help to rescue us from oblivion. Think of how many of our finest motions disappear, untracked — how many eye blinks and toe twitches and secret glances vanish into nothing. And yet when you hold a pencil, your quietest little hand-dances are mapped exactly, from the loops and slashes to the final dot at the very end of a sentence.

and with a camera you can make the most amazing images. If you’ve ever used either do yourself a favour and have a look at the images of a pencil factory made by Christopher Payne (no doubt using digital jujitsu). The words are by John McPhee … they’re optional.

Just click <HERE>.

You can chew a pencil but can a pencil eschew anything at all? Is this the first recorded instance of anthropomorphism concerning pencils? What did the pencil think about that?

Buy the lens …?

Not long ago I managed to trim down the weight of my camera kit. The ever tightening stance of the airlines caused me concern. I even managed to get a lighter pair of binoculars. But …

Inevitably the weight has crept up again. I currently carry two cameras when I travel, one for landscape and time-lapse, a Lumix GH4, and a Cannon 7d mark ll with a telephoto for wildlife. At home I leave a full frame Sony with a nice macro lens. Of course none of them talk to each other, three different sensor sizes, incompatible lenses. Why? Because no one just buys a whole kit in one go and times change.

I’m thinking ahead to another big trip. Do I buy a bunch of lenses for just one of my much-loved cameras? What happens if it fails in the time I’m away? It is so hard but fortunately there is a flow chart …

It doesn’t solve the problem but it does amuse you while you ponder.

Low Tide …

There’s about 25 km of beach running from Gantheaume Point north to Willie Creek. This is Cable Beach, sun, surf, camels, tourists, very popular. But the further north you get the fewer people you encounter. The numbers would drop off faster if driving on the beach was forbidden, sadly it is permitted. There is some debate as to whether a full-time or part-time four-wheel drive is better on the beach. Personally, I think the best car for the purpose is somebody else’s car.

About 13 km up the beach from the Cable Beach Resort, or 25 km by road, is the suburb I know as Coconut Well, officially Waterbank. If you have a spare three or four million you can buy a nice home here. It won’t have mains electricity or town water but it will have a nice view.

At low tide there are some rocks exposed that are interesting to poke around in. Fish dart around in the tidal pools. There will be some migratory shorebirds about and perhaps a Frigatebird will fly over and if you’re really lucky you may see a Beach Stone-curlew …

Silver Gull
Beach Stone-curlew

The photo at the top is of an Eastern Reef Egret hunting through the pools. They often stand motionless, sometimes with their wings out to create some enticing shade. When a morsel presents itself the neck uncoils like a spring.

Game Drive …

Dawn found us on the banks of the Nile, our taxi was first in line for the ferry …

The savanna awaits on the north bank along with a severe case of pixel intoxication …

Waterbuck (m)
Waterbuck (m)
Denham’s Bustard
Northern Carmine Bee-eater
African Elephant
Patas Monkey
Rothschild’s Giraffe

What about that sky, the light was magical, and surprisingly not a drop of rain fell.

And then we encountered the lions …



The some very sharp eyes found these for us.

the Leopard is a very secretive animal. And if you delve into his secrets it could be quite dangerous for you…

Geoffrey Muhanguzi.


This is just a fraction of what we saw, and we racked up quite a bird list to go with the mammals. Choosing which photos to include here has been very hard. If I went through the exercise again there might not be too much of an overlap.

All too soon it was over, we had to make the 11 am ferry in order to be out of the park before our 24 hours were up and we all became liable for another 50 bucks.

My advice, if you are visiting Murchison Falls National Park, stay longer and explore the possibility of staying in the northern section of the park.