I find it fascinating that witnessing something that would be considered fantastic (in the true sense of the word) back in your home town or city can be an everyday event in Asia. Whenever I scroll through my Siem Reap photos I still pause when I get to a set of photos I took from our tuk-tuk of an elephant leisurely crossing the road. This elephant encounter was really unexpected!
I took this photo on our first morning out to look at the myriad ruins of this amazing part of Cambodia and despite our visit coming after four months in South East Asia, the sight still delighted me.
While preparing photos for a magazine story the other day, I zoomed in and noticed that there was a coconut curled up in the elephant’s trunk and there appeared to be a smile on the elephant’s face. While this photo didn’t end up making the cut (mainly because the blue van behind the elephant’s tail is distracting), it always reminds me of that feeling of excitement you have the first day exploring a new destination.
Of course, after a few days in Siem Reap, I would have thought to myself that there is too much of the tuk-tuk roof in shot, the parking sign is also a distraction, and the guy on the elephant is facing the wrong way, and I probably wouldn’t have lifted the camera to my eye.
However there is something about seeing these things for the first time and as a visitor on a ‘trip of a lifetime’ to see Angkor Wat, this would be another extraordinary sight, perhaps for some who get ‘templed out’ from looking at bunches of old rocks, a far more fascinating sight.
Incidentally, while I find the photo fascinating, the treatment of the elephants is something that I don’t condone…and due to public pressure, elephants are not used for riding any more and have been retired. You can visit them at the Kulen Elephant Forest.
Details: Nikon D700, 80-200mm F2.8D @ F5 @ 1/1250th second @ ISO800.
Very elephant-like indeed. These animals are masters of their own time. There are some roads in India where you have authorised elephant crossing zones. :)
PS: I didn’t notice the blue truck behind the elephant until you mentioned it, lol..
Lara Dunston says
Hi Priyank – looking forward to seeing one of those elephant crossings. I remember when Terry and I were driving from Koh Samui (part way on the ferry of course) to Phuket and were driving along the highway and turned a corner to find elephants very slowly wandering around the road. No crossings in Thailand – elephants rule! Thanks for dropping by.