Savannah grassland
Savannah grassland with scattered Acacia thorn bushes in the south of the Maasai Mara Reserve; April 1979.

The small thorn bushes in the foreground are probably Whistling Thorns.  These bushes have swollen, hollow bases to some of their thorns, in which live symbiotic ants.  The ants make holes in the swollen thorns to get in and out, and the wind blowing through these holes produces a whistling sound that gives the plant its name.

There is some thicker and darker bush just right of centre, along a small and probably seasonal watercourse.

This picture was taken in southern Mara, in extreme southwestern Kenya, and the distant hills are in Tanzania’s Serengeti Reserve.

Use of a polarising filter has greatly increased the definition of the clouds but caused the few patches of visible sky to be an unnaturally dark blue.  I loved using the Olympus OM-1 SLR.  It was light and compact, as were its Zuiko lenses, and the three that I always carried with me – 28mm f3.5, 50mm f1.4 and 75mm-150mm f4 – all used screw in filters of the same diameter – a wonderfully handy, compact and lightweight arrangement!

OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko; polarising filter; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Meanderer says:

    Wonderful, Adrian. It’s lovely seeing these images from your time in Africa.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you, M, glad you like the Kenyan pics. Due to recent events I’m not feeling so energetic at the moment and so haven’t been out photographing much, so I’m taking the opportunity of developing some of the many unused scans that I have – this is a distinctly enjoyable process, I very much enjoy looking at the potential of an image, and thinking how it might be presented. A

      Liked by 1 person

  2. paula graham says:

    Amazing country indeed.


  3. Sallyann says:

    Whistling thorns. 🙂
    As much as the thought of any ant gives me goosebumps – a childhood experience which still plays on my mind- just this once the ants are forgiven 🙂


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Excellent – great stuff! And these ants in particular should be forgiven because they have a symbiotic relationship with the bush – they don’t do the bush any harm, and they also swarm out over any animal that tries to eat the bush.

      I gather you suffered ant stings as a kid and that the shock lingers. The great thing not to do in Kenya is stand on Safari Ants, which are large, and instantly shin up your legs, and instantly bite like hell – people have to shed clothes instantly – and there are tales of other people being pegged out in from of advancing Safari Ant columns as a form of torture. A


  4. sheldonk2014 says:

    Just beautiful. Great work


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