People around the World: Africa

Any self-respecting photographer will continuously try to better him/herself. Ways to do this include taking classes, buying manuals, upgrading equipment, and, quite simply, practicing. (That’s how you get to Carneghie Hall, man.)

One category of photography that I have wanted to become better at is photographing people. My travels are usually to see places, not people, but it so often is the people themselves that become the “attraction” that lingers longest in my memory.

I am starting a new feature – People around the World. Each installment will focus on a particular region of the globe. Geography notwithstanding, the recurring element of these pictures is the presence of people. Headshots? Not really. Close-ups? Sometimes. Action shots? Often. Staged? On occasion.

For today’s post, my first entry in the series, I’m sharing pictures that I took on my travels to Africa. Although I like each one of these pictures, some are better than others, and all of them could probably be better.

Thanks for stopping by!

These inquisitive children were photographed during a pit stop in Uganda, but their patience and curiosity was emblematic of children throughout Africa.

An uphill hike from the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt, led to this impressive vista point. My guide, who saw me as an easy target for “baksheesh,” was sure to point out the River Nile in the distance. Nice guy though; I hope the economic struggles that accompanied Egypt’s Arab Spring didn’t put him out of a job….

Speaking of Egypt, here we have young Abdul of Cairo, striking a pose for the mujahideen.

This Masaai woman, on the outskirts of Kenya’s Masaai Mara National Reserve, was proud to demonstrate the efficiency of her simple kitchen.

Nothing to be ashamed of. Photo taken in Soweto, near Johannesburg.

I love this flourish of childhood color. With experience, I learned that children must be photographed at their level. From above, they seem to have oversized heads. Although I didn’t observe that rule when snapping this picture in an alleyway in Coptic Cairo, I was pleasantly surprised by the result. (Those smiles certainly help.)

On the lookout for gorillas, somewhere in the depths of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda.

My Kruger National Park walking safari guide, John, telling us all there is to know about elephant dung. True story: he took a bite and said, “Yes, this is fresh.”

Dougie – surely one of Botswana’s richest men – cruises the reedy floodwaters that are the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, as his companion keeps a look out for hippos.

Local – and some gringo – carelessly poses atop the lip of Victoria Falls.

On more stable ground: Zambian nationals enjoy the natural “water park” that is Victoria Falls, courtesy of its drenching mist.

My long-suffering guide, Martin, smiles for the camera en route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. After getting me successfully to the top and back, he had nary a single day off before it was time to lead another expedition.

These soldiers appeared to have a good time as they danced a jig (all but one) inside the courtyard of the Castle of Good Hope, in Cape Town.

A job I don’t want for myself: keeping watch for cliff-climbing crocodiles along the Mara River, where Kenya and Tanzania meet.

I photographed these beautiful children along a narrow street that passes through Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town. Look closely, though, and you’ll see a certain sadness in their eyes.

What do you think? Which picture is your favorite?

All pictures were taken with a Canon Powershot or Nikon DSLR camera. All images are the property of GringoPotpourri unless credited otherwise, and should be used with permission only.

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food, history, and women, all while weathering the culture shock. Life's journey has since brought him to rural Tennessee, perhaps the biggest culture shock of them all. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, and travel in general.

4 thoughts on “People around the World: Africa”

  1. Great shots! Makes me want to go to Africa more than ever. I’ve only ever been to Morocco. I think the first one is best, for the composition and the timelessness of it. Incidentally, I read your caption “was proud to demonstrate the efficiency of her simple kitchen” while looking at the breastfeeding photo and didn’t twig, feeding her child from her bosom is certainly efficient and a metaphorical kitchen of sorts.

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