P140H – Mitre Peak – Milford Sound, New Zealand

Located in the southwestern area of the south island, Milford Sound is probably the wettest location in all of New Zealand with an average annual rainfall of over 260 inches a year. I can attest to that as I was stuck in Milford Sound for three days. It’s certainly not a bad place to become stuck but the reason was both unfortunate and fortunate. When I arrived in the area in the late morning, it was perfectly clear with no hint of any clouds. Within less than an hour while I was out cruising on a boat, the weather turned drastically cold and clouded over. Rain soon followed and didn’t stop for over 36 hours. Heavy snow fall in the higher elevations caused avalanches to threaten the blockage of the 1.2m tunnel, the only way out by car. The lodge was full with tourists and those expected to emerge off the Milford Track multi-day hiking trail, so therefore I stayed in my car. Luckily I’m a seasoned veteran at living out of my car on photography expositions so I had plenty of food and water.

On the third morning, the rain stopped and the most brilliant light occurred; gracefully caressing some of the distant peaks. The water was mirror smooth, which I found out later is exceptionally rare. In addition the tide was in so the foreground rocks, tree trunks and mucky areas were all hidden by the high water level. This photograph could not have been taken unless I was stuck in the valley because you had to be stuck here to be able to observe and capture this early morning light. You see, the road was not opened until the early afternoon, of which it would have been too late.

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