Aoraki Mount Cook National Park forms part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve – a 4300 km² region of the South Island where light pollution is strictly controlled enabling us to view truly dark skies – one of the best places in the world to do so. I’m lucky to have such a stunning location just a few hours’ drive from home. A popular short-walk in the park takes visitors to the outlet of the Tasman Lake where the Tasman River begins its short journey towards Lake Pukaki. As a reminder that the landscape around us is ever-changing, Tasman Lake formed just a few decades ago and its rapid growth is a result of the melting and retreat of the Tasman Glacier which is New Zealand’s largest glacier. Chunks of the glacial ice break off to become icebergs and drift down the lake towards the Tasman River outlet.
I’ve enjoyed coming to this location to make photographs for the past several winters and although I’m saddened by the thought that I’m witnessing the retreat of the glacier, I’m also able to fully appreciate the beauty of the scene it’s created. For me, the true magic of the scene is revealed in the darker hours from the time the sun has set and alpenglow is reflected by the snow-capped face of Aoraki Mount Cook through till dawn, when the snowy peaks are illuminated one by one by the light of the rising sun.
So late one afternoon, I headed to this popular spot with a group of friends for a session of astrophotography. The conditions were absolutely perfect at the lake; the water’s surface was still with not a breath of wind about to cause any ripples. As the sun set and twilight cast the landscape into the blue hour, I started to make a series of images. The first images were made to capture some of the detail of the foreground scene with icebergs floating serenely near the lake shore with Aoraki and the ranges of the Southern Alps dominating the midground. As twilight passed, the sky became a deeper blue and as darkness approached, the stars began to shine crisply in the cool night air. I lengthened the exposures I was taking so as to record the apparent motion of the stars across the night sky – rising from the east (at the right of the image) and moving in a gentle arc towards the west to meet Aoraki. I continued taking these “star exposures” for an hour which then gave me all the imagery I needed to create the final photograph. Fortunately the lack of wind allowed me to capture near-perfect reflections of the stars in the icy cool waters of the lake.
Star Trails, Tasman Lake reminds me of how important it is to stop – so that we can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of our natural landscape.
Camera: Canon EOS 6D
Lens: Samyang 24mm f/1.4
Foreground Exposure: f/4*, 20s, ISO 800
Night Sky Exposures: f/4*, 4min, ISO 200 x 15 frames
Composite blend. * Estimated aperture setting using manual lens.
About this Limited Edition
- Edition of 25
- Media: Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag 310 gsm cotton paper using Canon Lucia Pro pigment-based inks
- Print is hand-signed and numbered
- Includes hand-signed Certificate of Authenticity
- Includes Information sheet with the story of the image and capture details
Photographic prints of this image will only be available in this limited edition. I do reserve the right to use the image for other purposes for example: calendars, books, greeting cards, postcards and other items of a similar nature.
- Print size: 21″ x 14″ (533mm x 355mm) printed on A2
Your print will also include an additional white space border to allow for easy handling during the framing process.
A ready-to-hang solution for you to enjoy your photograph straight away. Framed photographs are presented in a classic 30mm wide timber frame made in New Zealand. White or Black frames are available. The photograph is mounted using archival quality materials including a neutrally-coloured bevelled mat (up to 3″ wide) made from Bainbridge Alphamat Artcare 4-ply matboard in Spanish White (8463) and 5mm acid-free foamboard. Conservation Clear glass is used to frame the work and is rated to 99% UV protection. Museum Glass which offers both a high level of UV protection and anti-reflective properties is available upon request for an additional charge.
Completed frame size (approximate) includes the print, mat overlay and frame and gives a useful guide for checking a framed piece will fit into your desired space:
- 29.5″ x 22.75″ (749mm x 578mm)
Shipping and Handling
- As each print is personally printed by Mike White and frames are made to order, please allow up to 3 weeks for dispatch. If you require your order to be completed urgently, please contact Mike directly to discuss options.
- Prints will be shipped flat in an archival sleeve between layers of sturdy, protective board.
- Framed artworks can only be shipped in New Zealand and will be packaged with multiple layers of bubble-wrap and heavy-duty corrugated card to ensure safe arrival.
- All packages are shipped with a tracked courier service.
- Free shipping within New Zealand applies to all orders.