Photo Safari North

In his work as a landscape and advertising photographer based in Hamburg, Jan Erik Waider tells me he spends up to half of each year on the road, much of it in the Nordic countries. We all benefit from his time investment.

Click through and enjoy Jan Erik’s portfolio. I think it’s beautiful.


I enjoyed reading this person’s review of the recent total eclipse this morning. She (I guess it’s a she) and I seem to think alike. It appears we shared a sort of vague disquiet watching the cosmos get out of kilter.

Here is a bit of what she wrote:

The moon will never be the same; its dark side cannot be unseen. Gone is the being of pure light flying gently across the heavens. It is a corpse, a dead thing, the dusty remains of old Theia horrifically attached to its sister planet by a withering gravitational umbilical cord.

Compared with my own review of an eclipse in Out in the Cold:

Once it is revealed you are frightened to have seen that it is so. You have registered somewhere deep under the skin another alien, raw thing; the comforting life-giving sun was just five minutes ago an orange ring of flame surrounded by darkness, a fanged personality, no tulips and honeybees.

(Go and read more of that excerpt from Out in the Cold here.)


Meanwhile on the Planet

This photo is from Amboseli, a park in Kenya famous for elephants, that my wife and I got into a groove of visiting a few times a few years ago. This is one of my favorite pictures, two friends greeting one another, querying each other, displaying obvious good will, emotions like humans.

I commend to you the author Carl Safina whose insights about animal minds are essential. See my posts Do Animals Think? and Elephants Display Emotion Just Like You Do for links to his work.

Just now, we’re all up in ourselves here in the United States about the eclipse next Monday. Our country closes up over myopic media-driven obsessions, the eclipse for one thing and this week, for another, Trump/Charlottesville, topped today with a side of possibly Islam-tinged terror in Barcelona (cable channels can never leave ‘possibly Islamic-tinged’ alone). Sometimes it’s hard to hear from our mass media about much anything else in the world beyond our country.

Sad and evil things happen out there. From the African continent this week, where dedicated people are fighting the good fight on behalf of the non-human world,  here are two:

Leading elephant conservationist shot dead in Tanzania

Three wildlife rangers killed in attack by violent militia in DRC/

Friday Photo Quiz #12

First, the answer to last week’s quiz: That lazy little capital city nestled in the hills is Windhoek, capital of the beautiful southwestern African wcountry of Namibia. The other photo is from the “dead vlei,” part of the Sossusvlei desert area out by the coast. Here are more photos from Namibia, a lifetime must see destination. Photos from

We’ll be pausing the photo quizzes for a few weeks after today so that your author can head for a little rest and relaxation by the lake, then we’ll be back in early August with more photo quizzes up until the Labor Day holiday. This week, an easy quiz. For better or worse, this landmark remains square in the center of this country’s capital city, a former “gift” from the ruler of an adjacent land. Can you name the city? The country?

Leave your best guess as a comment. I’ll put all the correct answers into a hat, draw one, and the winner of the drawing gets a copy of the audiobook version of my book Common Sense and Whiskey. It may be that the winner must be in the USA for the download code to work.

Win free stuff every Friday this summer. New photo every Friday, drawing the next Thursday, winner notified by email Friday. Good luck.

Now: What’s your guess in this week’s quiz? Go ahead, give it a try. Guesses accepted.