Mt Roy overnight photo project, Lake Wanaka

The weather has not been the most settled this summer, and when I saw a couple of fine days lining up for the end of last week, I decided to do something that has been on the list for quite some time. I managed to recruit a couple of good friends to accompany me on my mission. The mission was to climb Mt Roy, a 1580m peak, which looks over our township of Wanaka, and sleep out at the top. From this very popular tourist walk you get 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka, Mt Aspiring and the Southern Alps. I wanted to shoot photos of the sunset, the stars over Wanaka and the sunrise the next morning. The weather was still and calm, and the skies blue. Perfect.

With my rather heavy F-Stop camera bag laden with camera, lenses and tripod, as well as water and food, sleeping bag and roll mat, extra clothes and essentials, it was a fair old slog up 1300 vertical meters to the top. However the views were not to disappoint.

Looking up over West Wanaka to the Matukituki Valley and Mt Aspiring

Wonderful friends, Roo Stanford and Iona Sanders ponder over the spectacular view of Lake Wanaka

We reached the top and found a good place to sleep, and had plenty of time to take in the sunset before it got dark.

Watching the sun go down over Mt Aspiring.

Roo watching sundown.

A cheeky sheep came to watch too…

After the sun went down, we settled into our sleeping bags and chatted while the stars slowly appeared one by one. At about 10.30pm almost all the stars were out and I started to shoot photos of the night sky over Wanaka. I love shooting photos of stars, your camera can always see so much more than you.

Stars over Wanaka

1hr exposure

After playing around for a good hour shooting 30 sec – 2 min exposure shots of the night sky, I then set up a long exposure shot over Wanaka, pointing South East in hope that I would get the Southern Celestial Point, and get some shots of the world spinning. I went to my sleeping bag with an alarm set for an hr later. I love shooting long exposure shots as you never know what you are going to get. At 12.30pm I stopped the shutter. This is the result. I just got the Southern Celestial Point in the shot, I need to point it more South next time! Time for bed…

I woke to my alarm at 6am for the sunrise, and sat bolt upright. Huge disappointment met my sleepy eyes, as we were submerged in thick cloud… Thank god we didn’t get rained on, but it was really average that I wasn’t going to get sunrise photos. After a muesli bar and an ‘Up and Go’ for breakfast, we began to walk down. All of a sudden we were out the thick layer of clouds and a miracle happened. The clouds were breaking and the sun began to stream through, revealing Wanaka, waking up in the morning sun. It was so incredible.

Sun cracking through the clouds over Wanaka

We walked back down the long hill, and was back in Wanaka by 9am. It was an awesome mission, and so stoked we got a cool sunrise after all!