lake-tekapo-new-zealand

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand on May 9th, 2015

Being a photographer often means chasing the weather. But there are the rare occasions that the weather chases you. Midway through my 2015 New Zealand Photography Workshop my group was heading toward Mt. Cook Village. But arriving at the Mt. Cook viewpoint at the head of Lake Pukaki we could see it would be a fool’s errand to push on any further: huge storm clouds and walls of rain obscured the mountains. Driving up into the village would simply mean a boring afternoon spent inside keeping our cameras out of the torrential rainfall. Instead, we headed farther to the north where we could see that beautiful Lake Tekapo was likely enjoying decent weather.

And sure enough when we arrived at Lake Tekapo the sun was blissfully shining. And yet the swaying of the bus told us something else was happening as well: the wind was huffing and puffing. We jumped off the coach for a quick lunch break to the sound of signs blowing over, tree branches whipping, and jackets flapping. And unbeknownst to us while we were inside cafes scarfing down sandwiches and pastries, the wind was also carrying along with it some ominous clouds.

A fact that soon became clear once we stepped outside and saw a wall of deep gray marching down upon us at a speed I didn’t know clouds could move. We made our way to the Church of the Good Shepherd just as the wall of rain hit, splattering the landscape with a deluge of fat drops. But as quickly as it came in the downpour subsided. Grabbing our cameras the group began to shoot the beautiful church. And then, almost without warning, another bombast of rain came down, scattering us like ants. But this one too quickly subsided and those of us who weren’t too waterlogged and frazzled by the weather ended up down at the lake shore.

The wind was roaring across the open expanse of Lake Tekapo, whipping up ocean-size rollers cresting with foamy whitewater. And the storm clouds behind the lake began to close in, forcing the sunlight to struggle through in bits and pieces. I loved the extraordinary drama of the scene and in between wiping my wind-whipped eyes dry I captured this photo of the stormy display.

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