Papyrus Reed Boat, Lake Tana
by John Downey
This image was made at the southern end of Lake Tana, Ethiopia. The lake is the source of the Blue Nile River and heavy controversy between Ethiopia, The Sudan and Egypt. Tana is also dotted with small islands and micro communities, many of which are home to Orthodox Christians and ancient monasteries.
The reed boats barely clear the waterline as evidenced by shoes in hands. Papyrus reeds are spongy, can easily be lashed with nylon twine and do not waterlog for some time. A cheap and efficient form of transportation across Tana’s [usually] calm surface.
Spot exposure on one of the boys’ neutral shirts was necessary to overcome the strong early-am backlighting. Normally, I avoid contrasty scenes like this, but the composition works well.