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Mid-June 2022, when we experienced several days of volatile weather in the build-up to the heaviest snowfall in six years in the Mackenzie Basin, the alpine high country of Canterbury on the South Island of New Zealand. Driving around the familiar southern shore of Lake Pukaki, we were suddenly confronted with this beautiful scene: Morgan’s Island, fairly innocuous on an ordinary day (and behind which we would usually be hoping for a clear view of majestic Mount Cook) now bathed in bright sunlight punching a hole in the foreboding clouds, lighting up the horizon and casting the glacial blue water of the lake into shadow.
The bright light would come and go for several minutes, sometimes reflecting on the water so brightly as to be blinding, and then softening again slightly to enable a telephoto shot without any glaring blown highlights.
A telephoto lens comes into its own here, compressing the mid-ground elements of the composition and keeping the rest of the image simple, minimalistic and perhaps surreal. A classic case of being in the right place at the right time, as an image like this is not something we can ever plan or anticipate in advance.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor