STORY BEHIND THE SHOT - 'P O U A K A I'
This week we take a look at an image I snapped while shooting a series of 3 TV commercials - if you don't know the back story, my journey of capturing imagery started with video. Anyway, the turn around for these ads were intense - shoot on Sunday and Monday then have 3 ads edited and ready for air before the weekend!!! As if that wasn't enough, the job also entailed capturing stills in order to design half a dozen social media & newspaper ads. HENCE, erratic typing cat.
To cut a long story short, I learned ALOT that week, and was able to breath a sigh of relief well before beer-0-clock on Friday afternoon. Yasss, victory to me!!! Cat jokes and victories aside, the story of this shot, in essence, is about taking chances and just doing it - sounds like an ad. Speaking of ads, below is one of the three I produced - the first shot might look familiar.
Moving on, the story begins at about 7:30pm after day 1 of the shoot. As we (my nephew Tiari and I) settle in to our room I constantly check what the sunset is doing and whether 'KORO' is even visible. Little backstory on the 'KORO' reference comes from an interview I did for another project regarding the mountain and the fact that thats how some local's refer to Mount Taranaki.
If you're familiar with the Taranaki region and Mount Taranaki in particular (landscape photographers know) you'll realise just how fickle 'KORO' can be. In doing some research I read numerous stories of photographers who trekked up to 3 and a half hours to this spot with no sign of the mountain. Can you imagine! Tired, dishevelled and a backpack full of camera's with no mountain to capture - now can you appreciate my concern for such a mission? This worst case scenario coupled with the fact I only had one window of opportunity to capture all of the above content caused some major unrest. In saying that, I packed my kit and set out my clothes ready for the 3am wake up call.
When I woke I headed straight outside to check the breeze because 'P O U A K A I' would not have been possible if there was ANY wind. To my surprise/disgust, it was windier than I had anticipated, but, I was up now so I packed up and hit the road. As if that wasn't enough, it started spitting (light rain for non Kiwi's) the closer we got to the mountain but we'd come so far there was no way we were turning back now! Making good time, we arrived at the base of our hike with more than enough time to spare so we chucked on our headlamps and set off in the dark.
As soon as we started walking the anxiety and second guessing melted (literally) away. The wind was nowhere to be felt and all we could hear was the soothing tranquility of nature - and a lot of heavy breathing. The first part of the tramp had us scaling through native bush towards Pouakai Hut, which was the first marker on our journey to the tarns. Reaching the hut in good time we thought it was a good opportunity for a bit of hydration and some high fives at the fact the weather was so perfect. Buzzing with anticipation we trucked up towards our second marker, which was the top of the Pouakai Range. By this point it was still pitch black, but, we could make out the silhouette of Koro - and a further 200 metres of walking revealed our first sight of the tarns which were still a good kilometre away. Thinking it was all downhill from here (which it actually was) the lack of wind had frozen the boardwalk making the last leg of our journey the slowest one.
Half an hour later we'd made it and the sun was still nowhere to be seen. With time on our side we had the luxury of getting in a good position well before the sun came up - it was at this point I slapped myself for not preparing a flask of coffee! Live & learn. Other than that, we'd made it and couldn't have asked for better conditions - now it was just a matter of minutes before freezing this moment ↓ in time.
If you weren't aware this series (Story behind the shot) is also a monthly opportunity for you guys to win the FEATURED (POUAKAI) print!!! To enter click this link and follow the simple rules to be in to win.
Like always, thanks for reading - and if you haven't signed up make sure you do for weekly yarns, monthly giveaways and the odd video.