Posts Tagged ‘stars’

16th January
written by Justin

Tree Pose!

Tree Pose!

This photo was taken on one of the first “Trig” hikes we ever took. Trigs are little pyramids that New Zealanders put atop their hills so they can tell how far stuff is. I know, weird. But I guess it could work. Hazel is imitating the tree in the background in this photo.

Exploring a Massive Cave

Hazel discovered a gigantic cave at the top of one of our hill climbs. It was filled with stalactites! WoHoo! How far down can you go?!?

Franz Josef Glacier

This is a sweet pic of the river that flows out from under a glacier. Makes sense, eh?

Hooker Valley Track Bridge @ Mt. Cook

This is from one of the most beautiful alpine tracks we’ve walked on. A rickety bridge starts it off.

The Hut on Hooker Valley Track

A WC Hut in the middle of the track.

Glacial Stream @ Hooker Valley Track

A bright blue stream from glacial runoff in the middle of the track.

Glacial Lake @ Hooker Valley Track

Us + Glacial Lake

The lake at the bottom of the Hooker Glacier, a little less dramatic than Franz Josef. But it had its own serenity.

Ready for Stargazing @ Mt. John

Here’s what we were outfitted in before we went up to a summit to view stars. Not pictured are our socks-and-sandals.

Hazel Topping Key Summit

This was a really remarkable hike starting at the Divide on the way to Milford Sound. We got to the top of the mountain, and here is the proof!

Hazel's On A Boat

Obligatory “On a Boat” picture

Serenity on Doubtful Sound

This shows just how alone one can feel out in the boondocks of Fiordland. This picture looks out on the Tasman Sea.

Albatross on the Tasman Sea near the Thompson Sound

When we were about to start fishing, we were greeted by the friendly neighborhood ALBATROSS! So huge! The picture doesn’t do it justice but it must’ve had an 8 foot wingspan.

Hazel kissing her First Fish Ever

Finally. Hazel, after only 5 minutes of fishing in Proper Conditions catches her first fish, a Sea Perch. She was made to kiss it by our friendly captain Fiord — who said we wouldn’t get off the boat until Hazel caught her first fish. Luckily it was a good day!

The Shark Andre Caught

The Shark #2

This was huge. And amazing. And scary. Basically Andre was a hero.

Hazel and her First Fish Ever

Since we hadn’t had enough of her first fish, we got it out of the “to be dinner” bucket and photographed it again :)

Sunset on Doubtful Sound

Hazel's Eye reflecting Doubtful Sound

Sunset on Doubtful Sound #2

Sunset on Doubtful Sound #3

Moon + Sunset on Doubtful Sound

These photos reflect the beauty of the Sounds at sunset. Also how grateful we were to finally crawl into bed after seeing dolphins, pulling up lobster pots, fishing, kayaking, and eating. Did I mention eating?

Morning on Doubtful Sound

Morning on Doubtful Sound #2

The infamous Morning After. This one wasn’t so bad!
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Hazel Perched on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Hazel Conquering the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Hazel Walking Into The Light

These photos represent our initial experience of Tongariro — a steep hike up rocky volcanic ground, only to cross a huge, barren crater.

Tongariro's Red Crater

Then we found out what a real crater looks like.

Us Atop the Red Crater

The Red crater was also the highest altitude we attained on the Crossing, a whopping 1886 meters high!

Tongariro's Emerald Lakes

Tongariro's Emerald Lakes #2

This is the icing on the cake, after peaking Red Crater you get to lope down loose soil to see the beautiful Emerald Lakes.

Blustery Wind and Hazel the Photographer

We had gale-force winds up at the top, and were worried about falling into a crater almost the whole time!

Hazel + Lake Rotoaira + Lake Taupo

Here’s the view at the end of the Crossing — serene and pastoral. Mission Accomplished.

Hope you liked my Best Of – this is a great selection from the photos I’ve taken so far!

31st December
written by Hazel

I’m extremely excited about this post!

One of my Christmas gifts from Justin was a late night observatory trip to the world’s southernmost research observatory!  You can read about the tour here, or about the observatory here or here.  With all of our recent rain we were a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to see much on the tour.  The tour company even gave us a $15 discount because there were a few clouds in the sky.  It turned out to be an awesome experience though.

We set out on the tour at 11:45 pm and didn’t get back until almost 2 am.  We were given huge red parkas to keep warm and then they took us up to the observatory on a big bus and then used really bright laser pointers to show us some of the constellations and explain some of the things we could see.  Jupiter was incredibly bright.  I thought it was interesting that the only constellation I could pick out from home, Orion, is upside down here in the southern hemisphere!

After the introduction we split up and could look through telescopes that they lined up to interesting things or try our hand at night photography.  Of course I went right to the photography!  It turned out that I was the only one in the group who lasted more than a couple of minutes taking photos so I got an explaining person to myself helping me out and telling me what I could see!  I even got to mount my camera on the tracking boom that moves at the same speed as the earth rotates so that the stars don’t appear smeared in the photos.  Before I used the boom I was getting streaky stars with a one minute exposure – the earth moves fast!

Upside-down Orion!

This was one of the pictures using the tracking boom. You can see the bright red supergiant Betelgeuse (his shoulder, but at the bottom left in this photo) and the blue supergiant Rigel (top right) and the pinkish Orion Nebula (in his sword).  Click on the photo to zoom in to see better!

Southern Cross

There’s a lot you can see in this photo!  The Southern Cross is in the middle at the bottom – pretty distinctive!  I had so much fun taking these photos and absolutely loved the whole experience!

Mt. John Observatory

We went back up the next day and did a circuit hike around the observatory so we could get a look at it in the daytime.  The views were spectacular, but notice that the clouds were already rolling back in.

We’re just outside Queenstown for new year’s eve tonight.  Hope everyone at home has a safe and happy New Year!!!