On April 1, I stayed at a place called River Valley Lodge. If you’re driving south on the North Island, it’s between Lake Taupo and Wellington. They’re known for their horseback riding and white water rafting. The lodge is also quite a ways from — well, anything. The closest town is roughly 20 miles away.
The lodge is situated at the bottom of a range of mountains, which slope up around it on all sides. This ensures you won’t have cell phone service if your life depended on it, but it also meant I had a partially obstructed view of the sky. So, around 10:30pm, I headed back up the mountain to get a better view of the sky. The Milky Way was my target. I ended up walking about 8 km out. The sky was unlike I’ve ever seen it. The stars were bright and crisp, and there just seemed to be more of them than I’d ever seen. I’m not sure why, but they also appeared a bit closer to the Earth.
I set up on the side of a road in between two sheep farms, both with hundreds, if not thousands of sheep. They kept me company with all their baaing, trampling, and some other strange growling / howling noise. I originally wanted to shoot a time lapse here of the Milky Way moving across the night sky, but after not more than 30 minutes into it, a big band of clouds rolled in and that was that. I packed up and trekked back down to the valley.
I did, however, get a handful of images of the beautiful night sky, including the Milky Way and the Southern Crux. You can view the full resolution image on Flickr by clicking on the photo above. If you’re curious about how to take better night photography to make images like this one, have a look at this short guide I wrote over on ZAGGblog.
Lastly, I’ve had several people inquire about prints of this photo. If you’re interested in purchasing a print of this or any other image, please get in touch.