Lone elephant, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
I've been fascinated by Africa since I was 10, when I started looking at "National Geographic" magazines my fifth grade teacher kept in our classroom. Finally, at 53, I traveled to Tanzania and Kenya, not as a physician or teacher, as I'd imagined I would be earlier in life, but as a photographer. And after all the years of wondering what it would really be like, the Africa I saw overwhelmed me.
My memory of this photograph: We left the temporary tented camp just as daylight began to break, and our driver navigated through thick fog and across rough, rutted roads to the crater. Maasai people in their blue or red clothing appeared suddenly as we drew very close — walking to their pastures, or maybe to a crossroads where they might find a ride to a village — and then disappeared into the fog.
When we arrived at the crater, our vehicle followed the winding road on a 600-meter descent to the bottom of the caldera. The fog had lifted from the ground, but lingered in the air, obscuring the crater walls.
We spotted a majestic elephant walking alone, illuminated by the morning light, one of its long tusks broken. He was grand, solemn, breathtaking.
Elephants are incredible animals with complex family relationships and language. And even though they look sturdy and strong, their species is in peril. Imagining a world without elephants breaks my heart, and I know humans will be diminished if we allow elephants to disappear.