|Photo by Jennifer Ilene|
After an hour of driving and getting nowhere, the driver finally let me use his phone to dial the number of the person I was renting the studio from. "Oh, you didn't get my email?", said the guy incredulously, "I sent you an email yesterday..." while I was in transit to Thailand... "telling you I had another renter who rented the studio for a longer period than you did so I gave him the property instead." He didn't say this in so many words, but instead mumbled some excuse about how he hadn't realized that you weren't supposed to rent out properties for under 30 days in Bangkok, which is absolutely not the case. I had had this studio booked for months!!! He gave me the address to his alternative hostel, which he would let me stay the night in for free, while I looked for other places to stay. It was a damp room in a house with no bathroom and no air conditioning. The internet was spotty, so I had a friend book a place on Airbnb.com and headed out the next day hoping it was going to be acceptable.
huddled during the hottest parts of the day when temperatures soared over 100 degrees F. After the arrival of my first client, we spent an additional day in Bangkok and then headed to the train station to buy our overland train tickets to Chiang Mai. We got spots on the overnight sleeper car train, a 12-hour journey through pastureland and villages, in which we got up early and stuck our heads out the window to watch the sun rise. The conductors shot us curious glances as we walked up and down the train cars in the dark trying to find the best spot to watch from. Though the doors to the cars were propped open (safety being waved aside), we were strictly shooed away from sitting on the exit steps and watching the scenery pass right in front of us. We were content with our open windows and the wind on our faces as the sky lit up with pink and yellow and the world came into view.
At 7 in the morning, Jennifer and I went out to meet my elephants. I shot with three elephants, in the river and on the bank, while the clouds sat puffy and bright in the sky, and the surrounding forest was bathed in morning light. The experience of being close and connecting, in a way, with these elephants, was absolutely incredible, and the resulting photos reflect the beauty of those moments. I want to thank both Lek and Jennifer Ilene, for this amazing experience and the resulting photos, which will be used to promote conservation of these animals.
|My favorite of the series|
|Dancing with an elephant|
|There is no feeling like connecting with these gentle beasts|
|One of the many rescued cats at the sanctuary|
|Lek let me kiss one of her elephants for my good friend who has a terminal illness|