I had wanted to photograph Mongolia for many years. The opportunity arose to travel there in the summer of 2018. Checking the internet for the country’s weather, I found the following:
“Mongolia’s climate can be described as having warm summers and long, dry and very cold winters. Known as “The Land of Blue Skies,” Mongolia is a very sunny country which usually has about 250 sunny days a year.” My husband John and I promptly eliminated our umbrellas and rain jackets from our duffels and flew to Mongolia, so I could photograph the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar, as well as much of the rest of the country.
The rain began immediately upon our arrival. We had to borrow a golf umbrella from the hotel and I had to photograph the elaborate parade and other festivities in the stadium from under it. The highly anticipated costume event was canceled and the photographs I got of small intrepid groups of family members in their best attire posing in front of the Genghis Khan statue included their umbrellas. The horse race, in which 7 to 13-year-old boys and sometimes girls ride horses 15 to 30 kilometers is normally a highlight. Held out of town in a dirt field, the riders, horses and visitors were all drenched and muddy by the end of the long race. When viewed in the field, I thought my images were bad.
After returning home I sent our tour leader a few of these pictures. His email response was, “I have looked at hundreds of pictures of this annual horse race over the years and I have never seen anything like these. You took the difficult situation and transformed the photos you got into something special, making it your own.” His response was a reminder of what I have experienced for many years, but often forget. No matter what adverse conditions a trip brings, creative images can emerge from it.