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In my lightboxes:

Nugget Point Lighthouse
Photo By Mike Isaak

  • Title: Nugget Point Lighthouse
  • State/Province/Region:
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Nearest Area: Kaka Point
  • Nearest Town: Balclutha
  • Brief Directions: From Balclutha take the Owaka Highway south to Kaka Point Road, then take Nugget Point Road.
  • Best Season: Summer
  • Description: We arrived at Nugget Point just before sunset, so I quickly grabbed all my gear and walked the path to the lighthouse. I had seen images from here that were taken from higher up, so I looked around and found a small path on a very narrow ridge (video link at the bottom shows just how narrow). It was incredibly windy, and I basically had to crawl up to get to the vantage point I was happy with. I was able to secure my bag between some bushes and set up my tripod in a way that allowed me to sit between a rock and bush, so I wouldn’t lose my balance and fall over either side. Somehow I blocked out any ideas of falling over either side and started shooting. There wasn’t any drama in the sky, yet I shot till the sun was down and didn’t come away with a good shot. I decided I better hike back down before it got too dark. With the aid of a headlamp, and my tripod as a makeshift cane, I stayed super low to the ground in case I slipped, and eventually made it down. Not before a couple of slipping scares though! I wouldn’t recommend this spot if you have a fear of heights! If you are going to shoot here, I highly recommend a wind breaker of some kind. I brought a rain jacket, but it doesn’t breathe well. The next day I woke up super early so I could climb in the dark and get set up before the sun came up. With limited sleep from the night before (a combination of 4-5 hours of sleep and the wind rocking the van all night) I put on all my gear and headed out once again. Because the wind died down a bit, (5-10km/h) I made the decision to hike up the ridge even higher. And being the second time up there, it was a little less frightening. I set up a nice little perch between bushes again and waited for the sun to come up. I kept snapping away as the sun rose into the sky. The clouds had a few gaps in them and some small sun rays started to appear. The minutes went by and the rays got brighter, and bigger. I stopped taking panoramic photos for a little and made some single image photos. I could not believe what was happening before my eyes and I’m pretty sure I screamed at the top of my lungs a few times. The wind and ocean waves seemed to drown out any noise I was making quite nicely. I composed for one last panoramic shot and shot this four image photo right before the rays started to disappear. It was the most magical light I’ve ever seen in my life. And the best light I got on the whole New Zealand trip.
  • Gear: Nikon D300s, Nikkor 17-55, Gitzo Tripod
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