it was a dark and stormy night

It's hard to believe that only days ago I was in New Zealand on an epic adventure.

I had the good fortune to be able to attend Trey Ratcliff’s New Zealand Photo Adventure! This experience has been a life changer in so many ways I hardly know were to begin.  This is a trip I will never forget.  I am just now getting time to process all my photos of the wonderful places in this stunningly beautiful country.  

The schedule for the workshop was crazy intense - on the bus at 6am, sunrise photo shoot till 9/10am, post processing instruction, lunch, post processing tutorials, quick dinner, sunset shoot and sometimes a night shoot - home by 10/11pm and then rinse and repeat the next day.  Inside all of that was travel time of course, a bit of social time and just enough personal hygiene time to keep us smelling fresh!  And just when I thought I was loosing steam, the thrill of the next shoot would come along - and they kept throwing in fabulous surprises to keep us going!  Like what you ask? One night we got access to a piece of property that covers the top of a high hill nestled between the two mountain ranges overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu - on the top of this hill (880 m up) there were animals (deer, goats, bison, alpaca, sheep and many wild bunnies), weather towers and the abandoned set from a movie called the Rescuers - built to look like a Korean prison.  And then there was the boat cruise on Milford Sound and the sunrise shoot at the exclusive golf course "The Hills."

"It was a dark and stormy night" is what I am titling this image because, well, for starters it was a dark and stormy night!  We had arrived in Milford after a full day bus ride to find the clouds hanging low and a steady rain falling.  So we went to dinner with the hopes that things would clear up while we ate.  When we discovered that the clouds were starting to allow some of the mountains to peak out, we grabbed our gear and trekked out to the spot you see above.  The tide was coming in, it was still misting and things were further complicated with sand flies (New Zealand’s version of Scottish midges - but a million times more aggressive) trying to eat us alive and swarming all over the lenses.  It was challenging stuff.  In the dark - the camera can see quite well but I still found it difficult to get sharp focus.

The funny thing about this title is that I discovered that the line "It was a dark and stormy night" is also the sample of what is called "purple prose."   Have you heard this before?  I thought it was pretty ironic given that I have processed this shot in a way that gives it a slightly purple look.

There's a google wormhole you can follow down if you like :)


Milford Sound, New Zealand
February 2013


  • Nikon D700, 14-24mm f/2.8single raw (ISO 320 14mm f/2.8 4.0sec)
  • cleaned up in Lightroom (including Trey Ratcliff’s preset “Endless Portrait”)
  • Photoshop for final touches (sharpening & Noiseware pro)
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