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Winter sunrise reflection of Mt Taranaki, Pouakai Range, Egmont National Park

The Pouakai Range in North Taranaki rises to a relatively modest 1400 metres above sea level so it does not offer a truly alpine environment compared with the 2518-metre Mt Taranaki immediately to the south. Alpine conditions do occur here, though, such as on the morning that I took this photograph at sunrise in midwinter.

I had arrived at Pouakai Hut in darkness the night before, with dry snow blowing in on a cold southerly wind — conditions that weren’t too promising for sunrise photography the next morning. By the time I left the hut before dawn, however, the wind was dropping and the temperature hovered at a reasonably mild minus two degrees, giving me reason to be optimistic about what I might see from the tarn that was my destination about 15 minutes’ walk away. As I neared the tarn with sunrise approaching I was relieved to see that the view was clear; it seemed that I was going to get my photo opportunity after all.

Soon after I arrived the wind died out completely, the temperature quickly falling to minus seven degrees — cold enough for the tarn to start freezing over in front of my eyes as I took this photograph. In less than half an hour the tarn had completely frozen over, a skin of new ice remaining on the surface for perhaps another hour until the rising sun melted it again.


Blue Lake, Mt Tongariro

Winter sunrise reflection of Mt Taranaki

Mt Taranaki from Pouakai Range

High country tussockland, Lindis Pass

Frozen terminal lake, Tasman Glacier

Mt Ngauruhoe at sunset

Mt Taranaki from Pouakai Range

Star trails over Mt Taranaki

Winter sunrise, MacKenzie Basin

Ben Ohau Range, Canterbury

Cerro Rosado, Argentina

Frozen lake, Mackenzie Basin

Rangipo Desert, central North Island