I was camping in the Omo Valley photographing various Ethiopian tribes. Due to very heavy rains, we were not able to drive out of the camp for several days. Members of the Karo tribe, whose land we were camping on, started showing up at the camp and spending the days with us. We were right on the Omo River under huge trees and aside from right on the river bank, the camp was mostly in heavy shade. As the sun got lower, it shown in beautiful light patterns through the leaves. 

I had photographed the man twice and had not felt I had gotten the image of him I wanted. He did not speak any English so communication was limited. Near sunset, I saw a beautiful patch of light and asked him to walk with me to the place and he immediately reacted to the surroundings and sat under the tree where the light caught the side of his face. He too was pleased with the light and gave me this beautiful expression while looking directly at me. It was the shot I had been waiting for. 1/160 second, F5.6, 2000iso on a 100-400 Nikon Z lens @110.


Cyndy has been a photographer for most of her life. Her passion is photographing and working with people around the world. In 1995 she traveled to Kenya and was compelled to do more than photograph the desperate situations she found children surviving in. She has dedicated the past 28 years developing The Orbit Village Project in 3 locations around Kenya. The project helps orphaned and vulnerable children and families stay together and find stability through education, food support and emotional and spiritual welfare. The goal being to help families survive a broken generation with the focus on keeping siblings groups healthy and together.  

Still loving to photograph reality, she has been working on a collection of African portraits of people in their natural environments. Eye contact is very important to her when capturing an image of someone. That moment and connection is what drives Cyndy to share each individual’s strength and beauty. 

Spending time recently photographing tribes in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia was a great, and eye opening experience for Cyndy. 

She makes her home both in Sevierville, Tennessee where she was born and raised, and Nairobi, Kenya. You can see more of her work on her webpage: cyndybwaters.smugmug.com,  FB: cyndybwaters,  Instagram: @Cyndybwatersphotographer.You can learn about her project in Kenya at www.orbitvillage.org