For more than two hours Joesph (our guide) and I negotiated with local Maasi tribe members for a special photo opportunity. Finally, we cut the deal – for $150 US (plus whatever tip we chose to add in), three Maasi warriors in full paint and dress would show up at 0700 the following day for a two-hour photo shoot on a near by hill. We then spent about an hour scouting shoot locations on the hill, selecting three positions that would likely work given the variety of lighting conditions that we would likely face the next day.
Shoot day came early as we departed the lodge at 0600, arriving at the hill shortly ahead of the Maasi. A fast set up with cameras, tripods and flash gear; we were about as ready as we could be for our two-hour shoot. Early cloud cover soon changed to 10-15% cloud cover with lots of sun breaks. This condition made for a very sweet light; however, it would soon be fast-changing to give us quite the lighting challenge (wow, does the light get bright quickly in Africa!). The Maasi showed up right on cue and seemed eager to get to work. We soon discovered that positioning non-professional Maasi models was a challenge due to the language barrier but we made the best of it and soon had them laughing by using our hand gestures and grunting sounds. Thank goodness our guide was conversant in Maasi as well as Swahili. The images below are a few samples of the hundreds we shot on the hill top.
Once we were off the hill and onto the floor of the conservancy, we found the mid-morning light to be too harsh because of the bright sun – this was unlike our previous days of shooting from sun up to sun down under cloudy skies with flat light. So, after a few elephant shots, we were back to the lodge for lunch and a brief chance to catch up on email including this post.
Cheers and happy photo’ing