Lionesses in the baking heat of the equatorial midday at Amboseli Game Reserve in southwest Kenya; Jul 1978.

Click onto the image to view an enlarged version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: forgetting what day this is, I looked through my archives and found this – and then remembered that I first arrived in Kenya 40 years ago, which seems forever.  This shot brings three things quickly to mind.

First that it was taken from a vehicle, obviously – although the usual reaction of a lion to a human is to retreat, you don’t mess around with these babies even when, as here, they’ve probably had a good meal and are sleeping it off in the midday heat.

Second, that in terms of sheer beauty and style, the spotted cats – Cheetah and Leopard – always did it most for me.  But, for all of these big cats, staring long into their amber eyes, drowning in those eyes (from the safety of a vehicle of course), was a profound spiritual experience for me.  Well, I grew up alongside a cat, maybe that had something to do with it; and I do of course still find cats extremely beautiful, even mystical perhaps, now.

And lastly, the camera, the Olympus OM-1, that was also a thing of great and somewhat Minimal beauty, combined exquisitely with function.  And, after all these years, sitting here beside me, it still is.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, 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:

    A beautiful photo – and 40 years. Seems a long time ago, but sometimes – especially as one ages – those days come back very easily and strongly, don’t they? What an experience.

    I love the thought of the trusty camera still by your side – holding all the memories, also.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, an experience. As we get older, our Short Term Memory declines (I can’t remember what I went upstairs to do) but Long Term Memory increases – and so to memories of very far off days, sometimes even to individual conversations.

      Yes the camera is still here, and the OM-2 too, but both took a beating in Kenya, and their interiors are mouldy now. But the mechanical OM-1 still fires – Olympus were trying to develop something with as quiet a shutter as the legendary Leica rangefinders as so the OM-1 has the least obtrusive of clicks – I sometimes fire it, just to recall the (almost lack of) sound! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bluebrightly says:

    A lovely post, Adrian. The photo, the memories, the observations. What an adventure, to have worked in Kenya back then.


  3. I can sense the awe in your narration, and rightfully so.
    40 years, huh? Time just slips away, skulks. Kind of like a cat. Indifferent. Elusive. You were brave to be so close. What a feeling that must have been!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, awe, certainly, my friend. And yes, time slips away – as Dylan Thomas so wonderfully put it, in Under Milk Wood, “Time passes. Listen. Time passes.”. Google it, its wonderful stuff. No, I wasn’t brave, foolhardy would be nearer the mark – but that’s ok from a vehicle – but on foot I would have been paralysed with fear. OH YES – an anniversary is approaching for Your Goodself and I still haven’t got your new address – but don’t need to have it if you’d rather not. ATP xxx


  4. paula graham says:

    What bittersweet memories you must have of your many years in Africa…Lovely photo.


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