Tasman Lake, New Zealand, March 27th, 2015

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Tasman Lake in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand, on March 28th, 2015

A big part of being a nature photographer is no, not waiting, but watching. In fact, I might argue that that’s the best part of being a nature photographer: watching the beauty and wonder of the natural world unfold around you. And not just watching, but also experiencing. Hearing the sound of the wind as it rushes down a mountainside, feeling the raindrops as they splash your face, and smelling the petrichor of freshly wet soil. It’s in these moments you feel connected to the place you’re in, and the barrier between yourself and the “outside world” becomes less distinct.

While photographing icebergs at Tasman Lake I was fortunate to feel such a moment of deep connection and presence. The day was thick with thunderstorms and I was intent on capturing their drama. With a light patter of raindrops falling on my head I made the short walk to the Tasman River outlet, as this is where most of the icebergs in the lake end up. Seeing a few crepuscular rays breaking through the clouds at the head of the lake I quickly set up my camera, thinking they might disappear.

But rather than disappear the rays only grew stronger as they swept down the Tasman Glacier valley and out across the lake. And as those beams passed overhead and vanished behind me, more took their place at the top of the lake. This happened over and over, and for a full two hours I watched, heard, felt, and photographed this stately procession of light and shadow as it marched across Tasman Lake.

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