Photography Travel

Portraits of Maasai

As my photography has evolved I find that I mostly gravitate to taking photos of people. Whether it’s the streets of Seattle doing street photography or while being a tour leader in Tanzania and visiting the amazing people that live there.

The Maasai are always great to take photos of once you get through the hard sell of them wanting you to buy all the items they are selling. I warn my guests that they are the best salesman in the world and you will buy more than you expect if you are not careful. They also have a great skill of dividing the group into smaller groups and this is when I say no thanks and venture off on my own to get the photos I came to to their village for.

I find it best to walk around a bit, give a gesture of a greeting and allow them a little bit of time to get used to you walking around. This also allows you to start framing in your mind, the photos you’d like to take and with whom and what backgrounds will work best.

Also, I tend to like shooting in a shallow depth of field, using f / 5.0 to f/ 5.6 as a standard to maintain sharpness, but also getting that nice bokeh (Bokay) with a soft background. All of these images were shot with a Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4 S lens on a Nikon Z6.

Elderly Maasai Wife

When I met this beautiful woman above all I could think about was the life she had lived and what she must think about us crazy tourists and all of our camera gear, silly hats and weird languages that we speak. She was really patient with me and I just felt her warmth and love that she radiated as I was taking this photo.

Maasai Wife in B&W by Terry Divyak

This has always been a favorite of mine and I wanted to give it a timeless look by converting to B&W 

Maasai Matriarch by Terry Divyak

As I walked around the village, this lady who is likely the matriarch of the village really caught my eye. Her look of confidence and authority here made this one of my favorite photos that day.

Maasai Wife


Maasai Wife

I didn’t notice it at the time, but the Maasai wife in the image above is blind in her left eye. I wondered to myself as I was editing the image if it changed her status in the village.


Maasai Wife selling jewelry
Maasai Child

The pensive look of this child with the crazy tourist and a camera, I’m sure she was wondering how to react to me. I love the colors and the framing of her with the hut in the background.


Maasai man building fire

On this trip I didn’t get a lot of photos of the men, other when they were jumping, but this one caught my eye as I was editing, though I was more focused on the tinder he was lighting and not his face.

Maasai Wife
Maasai Wife

The Maasai are such experts and beadwork and I could really watch them for a long time, working on the jewelry they created.

Maasai Wives

When I started editing this photo, I noticed the key hanging from the necklace and wondered where this might have come from? The photo above this one, the lady has a key as well. Do they have a hidden safe in their home? I do not know the answer so can only speculate. I’ll have to ask on my next trip back.

Maasai children in school

The school children are always happy to see us and the schoolmaster helped the children say their ABC’s and count. One always needs to bring money to help with their education, though I’m not always sure if they merely have us visit the school for show or if they are actually there for learning.

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