Billowing Inferno

Last night, I spent my first night atop a dilapidated adobe structure beside the lake Banzena, aiming to photograph elephants at the water in the moonlight. About 2 hours after sunset, a thin layer of clouds slid beneath the full moon. I was irritated by the clouds because they cut the available light in half and I was looking toward the eastern horizon for signs that they would blow by. It was then that I saw it. A black mountain was moving over the trees at an alarming rate. For a moment I was frozen in awe. I was perched precariously before an avalanche of sand being rolled between earth and stratosphere. I didn't know what else it could be. It took me less than a minute to tightly fasten my turban, stuff all of my cameras into their bags, and start descending through the hole in the broken roof. By then the wall of swirling sand was already on top of me. I crouched against the weight of the wind and waited in hopes that it would soon pass. But after an hour my hope faded and I and grew concerned about my remote cameras which were being battered. I called base camp on the radio. When the driver arrived he was painted orange from head to toe and I realized I must look the same. With no real shelter, no one slept well last night. So when the elephants decided to come to water the next morning for the first time since I've been here, I shot a lot of film but was so tired that I do not remember whether or not I made any good pictures.View new photography at www.carltonward.com