Mto Wa Mbu

Village Child, get down to their level


Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania, Africa Mto Wa Mbu is a village sitting on the edge of one of the greatest natural areas in Africa, the Ngorongoro conservation area. With over 16,000 people in this dense fertile volcanic area, there was a lot to see. I was somewhat apprehensive coming here as I feel that bringing a troupe of photographers and big lenses would be an invasion of privacy, but our tourism is bringing much needed revenue in to bring in fresh water, maintain pipelines and build schools, thus we were welcomed with open arms. A huge part of my travel philosophy is to be respectful and to leave the place in better condition than I left it, if I can make a difference just by being here then I'm going to be here!

In a world where electricity is often bought a lot like a drink in a bar to power Nokia cell phones that have battery lives of up to two weeks, you aren’t going to be seeing children tweeting about how they didn’t get an ipad for christmas. I was asked how long the batteries lasted in my Android phone, and they laughed at the idea that I had to charge it almost every night. Tires and soccer balls seem to have a long life here compared to other toys, and most likely have the longest life out of anything else around here.

Photographic details: I was walking with a photographer that has a keen eye for people, while I was photographing some soccer players I noticed my buddy completely change in body posture, kneel down and shoot towards this kid. She had the right idea in getting close to the ground and at the level of the child. Shooting across at them the ground tends to fall out of focus and a much more interesting perspective is achieved. We are so used to seeing everything from eye level that it’s no longer an interesting perspective. I like the fact the child is waving, creating a connection between the viewer and the subject. I of course gingerly waved back as this kid smiled, giggled and swung the little tire around as far as his little arms could let him.

1/500s f/2.8 ISO100 200mm

Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania, Africa


The thing about photos is that they are an edited point of view. The photographer edits the real world by providing a very specific glimpse of one moment in time. In this photo you are seeing a person exploring a jungle. But in reality they are merely walking inside the villiage of Mto Wa Mbu, it’s name meaning “River of Mosquitoes” with a population of over 16,000 people.The only reason we were allowed here as tourists, is that our admission fee goes towards programs that promote energy saving stoves, building water pipelines and schools for these communities. Photographic Details: Walking with a wide angle lens on my 5D and a telephoto lens on my 7D I was prepared for scenes both close and far away. Being swallowed by this lush forest with the sun shining in my eyes was really cool as our group followed our local guides. Snapping this shot was one of those surprise moments when I was going through my photos later in the evening, I was very grateful for my wide angle lens. Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/125s f/5.6 ISO100 17mm 16-35mm f2.8L lens