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New Zealand Fine Art Landscape Photography - "Misty Spirit Rising"

Misty Spirit Rising

Misty Spirit Rising

Misty Spirit Rising is a black and white photograph that was the result of many days of effort, mostly in getting to this particular point of the world.

I had wanted to be back in the lush landscape of South Westland in New Zealand for nearly 30 years. I last saw it in 1989, and the feeling it left me with was one of total unspoilt nature, combined with absolute zen.

There aren't many places in the world as quiet as this. Other than the very occasional native bird, all you can hear is weather (usually rain) and the odd trickle of a small mountain stream.

I always wanted to describe this feeling in an image. I knew there was somewhere in the mountains that I could find that would sum up everything I felt about the region, all I had to do was find it! Seemed easy at the time....

I scoped out an area that was accessible (just so happened to be an emergency helicopter landing area with lots of places to camp by a river) and made my way there.

After 3 days of travel by van, we arrived at my chosen spot, setup camp ,and decided to get an early night - not knowing what the evening had in store for us.

Around midnight the rain started. To call it rain would actually be an understatement. More like the 40 day flood! The river we were next to rose over a metre (3 feet for our imperial friends) which blew my mind - considering it was about 30 metres wide! The volume of water was unfathomable!

We moved camp to higher ground and I had visions of our demise by one of 2 means: A/ the now very high wind was going to blow us into the next town, or B/ if the wind didn't get us, then the flood waters would, as the road we came in on was now flooded and the water was still rising.

After 6 more hours of no sleep, cold rain and flood worries, the rain eased off and the winds died down. It was now sunrise, so I decided I might have a peek outside to see what damage might have been done.

To my surprise what I encountered was nothing short of natural perfection.

The smells of nature were strong, the sound of the fast flowing river was now quieting, and the birds were starting to wake up.

More importantly though, the ground was starting to warm, and the evening wetness was now starting to condense into mist, rising gently through the trees and into fog.

In the space of 5 minutes, the slowly condensing mist turned to thick cloud and all visibility was lost.

In that time, I managed to get half a dozen frames of the slow moving mist - rising like the spirit of the forest - upwards, to the heavens and beyond.

I knew I had an image, just wasn't sure which one was going to tell the story best.

This particular frame is one of the last 3 that I took. By this time the heavy cloud further up the valley was descending to meet our closer, lighter fog, and casting a dark ominous background.

The sun broke through for a few seconds, and illuminated one last puff of mist before disappearing again for the rest of the day.

This one frame stood out to me because the spirit of the forest seemed to be rising to meet the heavens, to then be turned into rain and returned to the soil from which it came.

It is the cycle of life, all in one image, and I'll always remember the feeling of peace and balance I felt on that early morning....

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