Photographer: Romel Jacinto, San Francisco, California
Getting the Shot: I used a basic, but very capable point-and-shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot A460. Although I had another SLR-like camera on this trip, the smaller point-and-shot camera was far less intimidating to people and was easier to use to capture candid shots.
The Details: I was in Bandiagara on a bicycle tour with a small group. Bandiagara is a sleepy town and most travelers only stay in briefly to arrange trekking into Dogon country, but our small group stayed an extra day since someone got sick. That extra day gave a chance to meander and soak up the rhythm of local life. I walked around town slowly, just observing and taking photos when I could.
Most people did not want to be photographed. The others cherished it, particularly young children, and they hammed it up for the camera. This girl fell into neither of those categories and seemed completely at ease with the camera. She just seemed so content, strong and serene all at once, so I took the shot quickly and continued my slow stroll through town.