Death Before Life
The solitary egg of a red-vented bulbul (Pyconotus cafer), sits forlornly in its abandoned nest after the adult female was killed, flying into a ceiling fan in my home, a few weeks ago. Known locally as konda kurullas, these small birds often build nests inside houses, for protection from predators, commonly choosing light fittings as a perch for their nests. Human dwellings, of course, come with their own dangers, as this mother-to-be found out. Attidiya, April 2023.

• 50mm • f/2.8 • 1/100 • ISO5000 • Canon R6 & EF50/1.8 •


The Doomed Giants of Anuradhapura
Sunrise over the Basawakkulama Tank, believed to be Sri Lanka’s oldest reservoir, built in 400BC, against the backdrop of the Ruwanwelisaya and, faintly in the distance, the massive broken Jetawanaramaya, both over 2,000 years old. The tree silhouetted against the morning is one of many that line the tank’s retaining bund. For perhaps a century or more, these broadly spread giants have sheltered farmers, workers, schoolchildren, and the occasional photographer, using the bund as a footpath into Anuradhapura. When I took this picture in January 2017, while on assignment for Serendib magazine, the trees were also home to rock squirrels, numerous nesting birds, and families of grey langurs. But sadly, it has now been reported that the government has begun felling these ancient trees because they are believed to be damaging the bund with their great roots. The perspective they have given to one of the most iconic views of Anuradhapura will be the least of the losses their deaths will bring.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/250 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 •

Nature’s Roads
In the rainforest, man must follow nature to be part of nature. The only way to move unobtrusively through this jungle is to take the road set before you. And that road usually follows water, as it carves its way through rock and tree. As Frederick Spencer Chapman wrote, the jungle itself is neutral; neither giving nor taking. Only revealing. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, in the Kuru Ganga Valley, during my unsuccessful first attempt to find the Batadombalena Cave, in December 2015. I managed it the next year, and my photo story, The Cave in the Jungle, ran in the March 2016 issue.

Cold Fizz
The world’s tallest cold water geyser, at Andernach, on the Rhein, shoots up as high as 60m at times. Created in 1903, when drilling for carbon dioxide deposits in the volcanic rock of the Namedy Peninsula, the resulting spring was bottled as Namedeyer Sprudel, a fizzy mineral water. The Andernach Geyser is fed from an artesian well 350m below the surface. Shot in spring 2014, at a shutter speed of 1/2500th of a second.

Two Little Peafowl Sitting in a Tree
A pair of Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) high up in the Welioya jungle. Northeast Sri Lanka, February 2016.

From Darkness to the Light
Happy New Year, everybody! Water lilies (Nymphaea nouchali) bloom from the depths of the Maminiyawa Tank, close to Kekirawa, in north-central Sri Lanka. Shot on assignment for Explore Sri Lanka. My photo story, The Road to Ritigala, ran in the March 2016 issue.

An Afternoon Walk in the Jungle
But a wet one. As I’ve said before, stream- and riverbeds are the jungle’s corridors; but they aren’t always conveniently dry. Shot on assignment for 230i and Verger Natural, somewhere in Kegalle, in September 2017.

Hunting Salties
We waited til it was light enough to see into the deep shadows under the mangrove canopy before cutting our outboard and stealthily turning into the Bentara River’s dark back alleys. With no engine, my boatman and I hauled our craft forward hand over hand, pulling on the branches overhead, trying to be quiet. It was no use. We were too noisy, and they were too quick. The only sign was a flash of movement among the roots, and a splash as, time after time, monsters longer than our 12-ft boat bellied into the murky water. Eventually, we gave up. This was no place to capsize or run aground. I had to content myself with a photo of a baby salt water crocodile, sunning itself on a root. Wherever his mum and dad were, I couldn’t catch them with my lens. On assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines. My photo story, Eternal Bentota, ran in the November 2016 issue.

No Other Gods Before Me
Grey langur (Semnopithecus priam) in the ruins of the holy city of Anuradhapura. December 2016.