Blind At Night


“There where no stars.” That was the only thing the Japanese girl said when she got on the bus. She looked tired, disappointed and wet, which is not “the look” anyone wants on their vacation. That was almost four years ago but the experience stuck with me and since then I’ve learned that chance has everything to do with it. Tekepo (Teck-a-Poe), a sleepy town of 300, which is centrally located on the south island, is mostly renowned for its nothing. In fact, Tekepo has so much nothing that it has embraced it, becoming a certified sky protected reserve (or something like that), which basically just means that all light fixtures are built to reduce excess light. The concept of “excess light” is a pretty strange and funny concept for the modern man to consider. City people, like myself, flock here by the bus full to marvel at the vast expanses of nothing. Some even go as far as to pony up $150 each to use the telescopes at the local observatory.

panorama observatory

Not us. Somewhere around 11:00 and the four of us are standing out in the middle of a random field, knee deep in sheep poo, having a psudo- argument about which app will help us decipher what the hell we are looking at. Spoiler- it turns out they all suck. The conclusion, which I believe to be solid, is that computers suck and stars rule. We found the best thing to do is to look up and lie about your nonexistent star knowledge. That, and argue about what aperture will probably ruin what you’re looking at in picture form.

So, we battle against the impending frost with laughter. For our first attempt at night photography, we got some pretty good shots (I should say Linzay got some pretty good shots). My tragic attempts on 35mm will only come to light months down the road when I decide to develop the roll. I look forward to forgetting about these shots and rediscovering them, even though they’ll inevitably end up a blurry black mess.

On the weather map the low front looked like a curved Arabian blade, made of angry red and purple clouds. So it was no surprise when, the next day the cold moved in something fierce, stabbing the west coast and eventually the interior. By then, we’d already made our escape back to Queenstown, where it rained torrents for two days. Finally, chance was on our side.

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