Entitled, "Haast to Be" this is another new compositions from my trip here to New Zealand's south island this week...
This is an image of an unnamed waterfall close to the well-known and well-visited Fantail Falls in the Haast Gorge. It is not an easy hike to get to, but with some trail finding and unwillingness to give up, it can be done. You have to ford a rocky bottomed and frigid stream numerous times...and then scramble over some slick talus rocks and moss-covered deadfalls. The water was beyond cold, and my feet were frozen by the time I got to the falls, but I am soooo glad I made it. Awesome cascade dropping their tiers into a gorgeous glacier blue pool of water. Wow. I climbed up above the pool about 15 feet and set up shop to take some long exposures of this sweet waterfall. Life is good...but then a big oh-oh happened...
A couple of shots just before taking this image, I had a bit of a monstrous scare with my camera as I got an SD memory card failure error. An extreme panic attack seized my entire being. Oh-oh. I could not take any new pictures onto that card, and the ones I had shot all night/morning and afternoon were on that card. I could not even view those images through the camera. My heart sank. I was sick to my stomach.
I always back up my images at the end of a day of shooting for just this reason--fear of losing them due to a memory card failure. I had some of the best images taken on this trip unbacked-up on that card--including the first one I released from New Zealand of the Church of the Good Sheppard under the Milky Way (post directly below this one). What if I had just lost all of those images? I was feeling more and more sick, literally. I had no way to view the images, none of them. No way of knowing for certain if they were gone or if I could still pull them off the card. In the past, I have seen it go both ways--sometime relief, with a big "whew" as the images are still there, and other times dismay as all of the images are lost.
My computer was back at the motel, which was about an hour's hike out of the canyon back to the trailhead and then another hour and a half drive away. Nothing I could do right now. Worrying does no good. The light on this waterfall before my eyes was still getting better, and even though I desperately wanted to hike back to the car and drive back to the motel to put my mind at rest about the images that were either still accessible or simply lost for good, I persevered and and decided to just keep shooting--I put in a new memory card and took a group of successful images, including the one you see here before you. I pack up and headed back, with only one thing on my mind, my body almost numb in deep though and regret for not backing up the star images from last night when I stopped by the motel before heading out to shoot this waterfall. if i just would have done that--you all know how we torture ourselves with "what-ifs"
The trip had gone so splendidly well up until this point, but now all I could do was drive back to the motel and hope that a separate card reader I carry with me would be able to view the images so i could copy them onto my computer and back-up hard drive.
As I took the card out of my camera bag and inserted it into the reader, I could barely breath...but as it turned out, I got lucky--they were there. I had all of my images. Card was dead and useless, but I had all of my images. It was the "whew" option that i got. The "I dodged a bullet" feeling coupled with deep thankful relief as all the images were transferred safely to my permanent storage. "WHEW!"
So, I hope you enjoy this image of mine, one that i went through quite all physically and emotionally to get...and if you ever go to new Zealand, these spectacular falls should be on your must see list...
Camera settings: ISO-100, f/8 at 24mm for 480 seconds using 15 stops of Lee ND Proglass filters (.6ND, .9ND, 3.0ND) taken about 11:30am in a dark narrow canyon.
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I hope this image and message find you well.
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