Memorial Day

Last night, after more than a week of trying, I finally got a good look at more than 100 elephants crossing the sand between the Tabarac-Barac forest and the Banzena marsh. I had been hunting them each morning and evening, and was growing tired with my limited success. At the nomad camp, hot sandy winds and boisterous livestock made sleeping especially difficult. Eight nights there eroded my strength to the point of illness. I was spending 23 hours each day preparing for at best 30 minutes with my cameras in my hands. Some of the days elephants came, but usually it was too early or too late to make a picture. Instead I observed them, followed their tracks, and learned their movements. A week of waiting felt like wasted time. But if the large group of elephants had come through on the first night, I would not have been comfortable approaching them. Last night I felt that I could predict them and I moved within range to shoot 10 rolls of film during 15 minutes of twilight. Sand hung in the air like a fog, obscuring the sun, and the elephants glided like a freight train across the horizon. To stand alone on the sand facing the wall of giants was simply awesome. If I was able to capture just a fraction of their power on film, I will have achieved success. Several times, the elephants triggered a camera trap I had placed in their path (relocated from its previous position where it had been stepped on). Hopefully the new position will continue to produce pictures in my absence, as I have moved back to the Banzena camp where I will spend the next few nights trying to photograph elephants by moonlight as they come to the marsh. Its 10:30 A.M. here, and now I must sleep to prepare for the nocturnal adventures that await.View new photography at www.carltonward.com