Window to the Worlds Beyond

This is the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo, New Zealand.

The Sentimental Recollection

Gazing upwards towards the views Tekapo has to offer of an evening serves as a vivid reminder to precisely how small each and every one of us is. Walking among the glacially carved valleys around this area serves only to reenforce this fact. Nothing out here cares who you are, what you have, or why you came. The massive landscape was here long before you were, and will remain well after your and the many generations who follow.

Spend some time laying on your back in the grass after dark here, looking up, and you’ll realise very quickly that there is a whole bunch more out there waiting to be discovered. Don’t let that thought wane when the sun comes back up, and be sure to pull on your hiking shoes and discover a little bit of what you couldn’t see the night before.

To this point in time, this photo is without doubt my favourite. It brings me warm memories of an exciting period in my life, and of the most enjoyable vacation I’ve ever been on. I came across it being used in a Flickr gallery called Happiness Is… recently, which is what prompted this post. Check the gallery out, it’s a wonderful sentiment.

This photo isn’t perfect yet, and there are some things I’d do differently if I had the opportunity again.

I love New Zealand, that’s no secret to anyone who knows me. It’s the magical places like this that keep drawing me back.

The Less Idealistic Parts

It was towards the start of a two week trip around the South Island with my best mate that this shot was taken. We were fuelled up with wine, having spent some time in the Sauvignon Blanc heaven that is Marlborough before heading this way. The night before we’d listened as our football team spanked their rivals of the evening to progress to the grand final. Free from having to remain lucid enough to pay attention to much, it’s fair to say we were a little inebriated by the time we decided it was a “Good Idea ™” to head out into the night with the camera. Tekapo is a cold place at the best of times, but this was September, and the average overnight temperature at this time of year is about 1C.

Armed with the warm blanket of invulnerability that alcohol provides, we packed up the equipment and headed out around 11pm, staying out until about 2am. So many shots were bad. Accidental knocks to the tripod or slightly out of focus efforts plagued us when reviewing the nights work. This particular shot however, taken early in the expedition, seemed to exhibit what Thomo referred to as the magic of “drunk focus”. It’s that point in an evening where your dexterity has deteriorated to the point it’s a struggle to find the camera, let alone the shutter button, but somehow you manage to fine tune a tiny focus wheel to the perfect position with no light to guide you and a situation that caused the autofocus to give up and abandoned you hours earlier. It’s truly magic.