Africa Portraits

I had the opportunity to take a tour to Africa in November 2015 for my second trip over there. Though it is great to see the wild animals on a trip like this, even more for me is to take photos of the people that make up the wonderful country of Tanzania.

Tanzania Market Vendor

We had the opportunity to stop at a roadside market on our way to the Serengeti. This market was one where Maasai men would go to sell their goats. Our guide had a friend that could show us around and spoke english and we were able to see the men as they traded their goats and proudly showed off their purchases afterwards. However, the Maasai in a situation like this, are very shy and do not like their photo taken. The lady above was following us around trying to get us to buy her bracelets. She was unable to speak, but her eyes said so much to each of us and I motioned if I could take her photo and she was more than happy to sit for me.

Maasai Medicine Man

At the market we encountered this Maasai Medicine Man and I really wanted to take his photo but he was only interested in receiving a sitting fee. I do not like the idea of paying for photos as it ruins it for the next photographer that comes along. But, I really wanted to get a good shot of him, so the negotiations began. Our guide spoke with him for probably 5 minutes and tried to negotiate a free fee sitting, but we were unable to. At the end of the day I paid him $2.00 USD to take his photo. Before I had him sit here, he was surrounded by Maasai men, but they disappeared when they saw I was taking a photo. I really wanted them as part of the backdrop and this shot he only allowed me 2 clicks and he was done.

Mosquito Village Marketplace

On our tours we go to a village named Mto Wa Mbu or the Mosquito Village. On this particular day it had rained quite a bit before we arrived and we were delayed by rivers that had flooded. Part of our stop here is to go to an area where artists paint on canvas and we are able to take wonderful artwork home in the Tinga Tinga style of painting. We had just left the artists and were heading to our vehicle, when I quickly grabbed a shot of this scene as I walked by. My camera was at hip level and I love how the colors and the child holding his arms up, as if blessing the suns arrival.

Mosquito Village Children

In Africa our group is always a curiosity and children will run out the road to wave at us as we drive by. Here we had just finished a traditional meal and these children were waiting by our vehicle and I couldn’t resist getting a quick portrait of them.

Boy with chicken in TanzaniaIts fun how the children will carry their animals such as goats and chickens with them. This little boy was very proud of his chicken and I’m not too sure what his sister thought of us however.

Maasai Village in Tanzania


The one thing I look forward to when going to Tanzania is our stop in a Maasai village. This particular village was located just a mile or so away from the entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater. The location was on a beautiful rolling hill and the sunlight was just perfect. I used my Nikon Nikon D300 on this shot with a 10.5mm 2.8 lens. Setting the F-stop to F/22 I was able to create the star like effect with the sun.

Maasai Jumping dance

When you arrive in the village you are greeted by all the members of the village and the men will do the traditional jumping dance after the woman sing a song for us. After this, we were given a tour of the village and told to take millions of photos if we like. I try to take as many as I can, but I also have to be aware of not missing something on this visit too without the camera being up to my eye the whole time. Below are some of my favorites from the Maasai Village visit.

Maasai Children Maasai Elder in Tanzania DSC03280 copy DSC03239 DSC03243 DSC03256 DSC03213 DSC03337

Maasai man throwing a spear that my customer Roberto was able to purchase. This was a well worn spear and is a souvenir that will be cherished with a great memory of his trip with us to Africa.

Maasai inside hut

Our Maasai guide took me inside his hut and shared how they live. These huts are very simple and are made by the woman of the village. They are made from twigs, soil grasses and cow dung. They use a certain type of grass that also keeps spiders out. They are designed to be comfortable when its either hot or cold. Being close to the Ngorongoro Crater, this hut was approximately 8,000 feet above sea level or 2,000 feet above the crater floor.

Maasai Boys in Tanzania

Last year I was able to get some great photos of Maasai boys on the side of the road and we were real happy when we had the opportunity to stop and take photos of these four. They were really good sports and I think they enjoyed the interaction with all of us as we posed them and tried to create some memorable photos to take home with us. I post processed this in Alien Skin Exposure 6 using a Technicolor filter.

Maasai boy in Tanzania

This young man was a great sport and I was trying to get a good pose that would capture a bit of who he was. I then put his stick on his shoulders and smiled and I knew it was going to be the perfect shot with him. I don’t often like to put my subject directly in the middle of the frame, but it worked well in this shot.

Maasai Boys in a tree

We were just about ready to go and as we were heading back to our vehicle, I noticed this tree in the distance and told everyone that we needed to use that tree for a photo. This is one of my favorites from the trip as well and was shot with my Fuji X-E1 with a 35mm f/1.4 lens. The photos below are not my favorite in this series due to a few sharpness challenges. Edits are in Topaz Adjust 5 with my own custom setting.

Maasai boys climbing on tree in Tanzania Maasai boys climbing on tree in Tanzania

If you would like to join me next year for a trip to Tanzania, click on the photo below for more information.

Shutter Tours in Africa


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