I tried- goat ritual

I worked hard on writing and sending you this post— at a glance the photo’s that I hoped to put with it look amazing… but with only one day in Addis.. and so much to take care of… time was lost to working, good times with my group, and my friends here in Addis, Ethiopia….But I could not leave Addis again, without at least posting what I wrote..for the first time without images….. you will just have to wait and see…it is worth checking back….. here is the text….


Goat ritual


I have been down in the Omo Valley for the past 11 days with a small group of photographers. This time, I had no Internet access outside of Addis, but I am trying to sort that out before heading back down to the beautiful Suri Tribe early tomorrow morning. I have time for one quick post!


I have often stated,  “Africa is magical; it always delivers something new and exciting”. This past trip to the Omo Valley was no different.  I usually like to stop by the village for a greeting before jumping out with our cameras, but we had word a head of time, there was going to be a pre-bull jumping ceremony the afternoon we arrived. We checked into our lodge, grabbed a quick lunch and raced off.


I have been to this ceremony before. Some of you may cringe at the thought, but this time we were invited to participate and photograph the ritual of the slaughtering and roasting of the goats. The process was fascinating, taking several hours. I am often ask, “how can you photograph something like that, I am not sure I could do it?” My response is, “you need to come into a situation like this with an open mind, leave your western ideals in the modern world, and embraced the beauty of a culture and their traditions.”  Personally I think I would find it much harder to photograph than a slaughterhouse in the US; I am doubtful I could even photograph it.


It was a large ceremony, practicing for the bull-jumping event, taking place the next afternoon.  The men were either gathered in a circle singing for hours or sitting under a temporary cabana drinking the local beer and talking politics. The women were making coffee, roasting corn, occasionally dancing with the men, and also sitting around socializing with each other. There were plenty of activities to enjoy and photograph if someone in our group did not want to participate in the goat ritual.


My biggest challenges were going between shooting video and stills, simply wanting to enjoy it, and the fact it was raining during most of the event.  I have set up my 5DMark II for video and I am using my 1DX for stills. Switching between video and stills is difficult enough; adding off camera flash in this scenario was quite impossible for me, so the images below were all taken with natural light. I have been mentored to commit to either stills or video, when shooting an event like this, but I am not there yet. I cannot resist capturing soulful moments when you connect with your subject for a brief moment, clicking the shutter at the precise second, and freezing it in time, forever. I still love the power of a single image.


In the mist of the action and excitement, I take little moments to let the cameras hang down my by side, taking it all in and feeling blessed to have the opportunity to experience something this rare and special.


Always remembering – “More than a photograph; an experience”





4 Responses to “I tried- goat ritual”

  1. alessandro silvestroni

    would like so much to be there once with you! waiting for the images, they must be gorgeous!

  2. alessandro silvestroni


    would like so much to be there once with you!! looking forward to reviewing the images.