Bára & Kuba on the road

Night sky shooting

Night sky shooting

When we arrived to Auckland more than one year ago, we tried to save as much money as it was possible as newcomers. Therefore, we chose an overnight bus drive to Wellington, rather than a more expensive flight. It wasn’t the most comfortable journey but while driving down to the south, we were stunned by the amazing sky scattered with so many bright stars.

The sky above Red Rocks
The sky above Red Rocks

New Zealand is a great place for taking night photos because of its low light pollution. If you don’t mind a bit chilly weather, a short drive or walk during the night, you are patient and don’t give up with first few failed attempts, you can get really amazing shots.

Since we’ve been in New Zealand, we’ve made few trips to take night pictures. Some of them were more successful than the others but all of them were exciting and helped us to improve our photography craft.

On the way from Makara beach
On the way from Makara beach

The first night shots we took at Castlepoint. More precisely, Jakub took them on his own, because I couldn’t make myself get out of my warm sleeping bag. Despite strong wind he took some nice pictures with the lighthouse or Castle Rock in the background and ships on trailers looked like foreign spacecrafts.

Castle Rock during night shooting
Castle Rock during night shooting

We’d planned to made our second attempt during the Kapakapanui track as we stayed at a hut just below the top of the hill and we had all necessary equipment with us. Unfortunately, even after midnight the sky was so bright that we couldn’t take a single shot.

The situation wasn’t much better during our third night shooting hunt at Makara beach. That time the sky was not only too bright because of the full moon but it’d got also quite cloudy before we managed to reach the coast line. After an hour we left the beach with heaps of blurry ghost pictures.

Two ghosts at the Makara beach
Two ghosts at the Makara beach

For our best pictures we didn’t have to go far away. We took them just behind the corner of our place, close to the Red Rocks. It was amazing how beautiful the sky was even so close to the city. After a while when we were pointing the camera to the Red Rocks we moved next to Houghton Bay and took some pictures with the Pencarrow lighthouse in the background. The millions and millions of tiny dots.

The shot towards Pencarrow Head
The shot towards Pencarrow Head

To sum all our attempts up, our findings for NZ night shooting are so far:

  1. wait for new moon night,
  2. act quickly as weather may change quickly and clear sky might be cloudy in few minutes,
  3. stay warm - onion style well appreciated as well as a thermo cup with hot tea.