The light above

A few weeks ago I was in New Zealand and had the sudden idea of going up a mountain for sunset and then stay at the top most of the night. It was a two-hour walk from the city and the climb to the top of the mountain was an extra hour and a half. Thankfully I went there prepared for the cold, the dark and the solitude!

Sunset was absolutely unbelievable as you can see from the following pictures. I stayed at the top for a total of 9 hours completely alone and at peace with nature (albeit there were quite a lot of big bugs crawling around my feet all night haha). I started to head back down the mountain around 4am as the clouds were beginning to close in again. 

Breathtakingly beautiful.
Lake Taupo and the city lights of Taupo (bottom right)
Mt. Ruapehu, Mt. Doom and Mt. Tongariro at the bottom of the frame (on the left is just a boulder at the top of the mountain where I was).

This was the first time for me to go out actively searching out the Milky Way. I’d never seen the outline of it clearly and had certainly never photographed it either, so this entire experience was beyond surreal for me. The moment the clouds had passed overhead (during and just after sunset) my eyes began to adjust to the dark skies and my heart lifted from seeing such an amazing display of stars and lights up above me. The picture above was the moment I knew the night was going to be spectacular and glorious beyond any possible description … I’ll have to let my pictures show what I can hardly express in words.

The Galaxy, me and my GoPro …
No words.


Probably the sharpest shot I have.

Soooo I had fun while up top too! Lightpainting the name of my awesome friend Dana! Hope to see you soon!!



You might, or might not notice it, but the whole frame is slightly out of focus … I over-exposed the shot and because the Earth is constantly rotating, the stars become star-trails (also, I turned the autofocus on … bad idea)
Once I came back down the mountain, I took a few extra shots for good measure!

Now here’s the thing. As it was my first time photographing the stars and the Milky Way, I basically just tried different settings on my camera to obtain these images. Only some actually turned out to be of good quality while most are slightly out of focus. But that’s okay, I’ll just do better next time! Having the chance to see the sky light up like this was such a privilege and I hope my picture convene some sense of grandeur … to me this was like something from a dream and probably my biggest highlight on the entire trip!

I know, that’s quite something to say considering I’ve been gone a few months. But no other experience or place has brought about such feelings of amazement.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light.” 

3 Comments on “The light above

    • Thanks! To do the light painting (at least this is how I learnt to do it) is use a long exposure on your camera. So set it to a few seconds shutter speed at least, and then just write or draw with a flashlight/phone, etc. Because I was facing the camera, I had to write the words inversely (mirror effect).

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