Photography Nightmare! I arrived at Hooker Lake with three dead camera batteries!

My three camera batteries were showing as dead as we arrived at the shore of the Hooker Lake…

This popular track was a must do for our trip to the South Island, I was really excited about checking out the valley, the lake and the trail to get there.

On our trip we slept in our vehicle at basic facility campgrounds which meant few opportunities to charge my camera batteries, however we had stayed at a holiday park in Lake Hawea the night previous and I had in my mind I had at least two fully charged.

I had taken a few shots on the way to the lake and my camera was showing a full battery, however this was not the case when we arrived and faced the beauty of the glacial Hooker lake, it’s icebergs and the on-looking Mount Cook!

 All three of my batteries I had on hand I tried in the camera they all showed red and quickly flashed red battery signs and shut off!! – I was pretty mad!

The day was quite warm and we were definitely warm from the one and a half hour walk through the Hooker Valley. The temperature at the lake edge in the valley was really quite hot…


I stuffed my batteries into my jeans pockets and sat in the sun for a bit (with hopes that the warmth may give a bit of charge) and then periodically re tried the batteries in my camera for the next half hour or so.

By some miracle, one of my batteries came through and either revived from some of the heat or just wanted to give me a chance and I was able to get a few shots in.

Composition was pretty tricky as I have an electronic viewfinder and reviewing the shots on an LCD display wasn’t going to happen on limited battery power.

The environment through this valley was absolutely stunning and I was able to play around with some low shots on the shore of the lake.

Hooker Lake, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, Photographer, Landscape, New Zealand
Getting Low at Hooker Lake, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park


Our time at the lake was awesome, I got sunburned/snow burned in early spring! And on the walk back to the start of the trail I sneaked in one more shot

This shot below was from the journey back where I set my camera up on a rock cycled through my three batteries, selected my 2 sec timer (very quickly through the menu system!) and one battery had enough charge just to grab this shot (which is probably my favourite) before shutting off!


Hooker Valley Aoraki Mt Cook Mount Cook New Zealand South Island Photography
One of my favourite shots of the trip, and an unforgettable event to get it!


My next task is to figure out what is going on with my batteries may have to replace some! plus look into a car charging method, do you have any recommendations or tips? I currently run a Fujifilm XT 1 system with two branded batteries and two knock off ones.

Have you had a situation like this?

For me I was initially pretty gutted but super fortunate to be where I was and super happy that I was able to come out with something. – Phil

A cloudy day at Colonial Knob

After weeks and weeks of telling myself I needed to, I was bursting to take a walk up colonial knob.

At 468 metres (1535 feet) located in Porirua, which is in the Wellington region of the North Island, New Zealand (where I live) colonial knob offers a lot!

From the top the views can go as far as Mount Taranaki on a super clear day, The South Island, Wellington areas of Tawa, Johnsonville, North to Waikanae and seaward to coastal islands, Kapiti Island and Mana Island.

The conditions were pretty clear, it had been a while, I was hoping to go up and see these beautiful views for myself much like the first time I had done this hike. This would be my second shot at getting to the top, this time I was walking the 4 x 4 style track as I was really keen to make it to to the top and didn’t need the deep forest experience as is featured on the other two tracks.

So I set off on the summit (4 x 4) track and it was a gradual climb just on gravel road sort of material, so it was pretty relaxing this time, it was beautiful and clear I could see out to neighbouring suburbs and housing areas as the afternoon started to wind up and start to move closer to sunset.

As a photographer I was tempted to stop for some preliminary compositions but my main focus was to get to the summit to watch the sun go down and check out these awesome views which I still had in my mind.

I carry on, passing sheep and cows and the odd person coming down. It is still clear until I take a few corners and see the communication/radio style masts which top some of the peaks starting to take on some mist and low cloud. This did not get any better…

So instead of standing atop a peak and seeing for hundreds of miles in each direction I was left to try and console with a few sheep who came in and out of visibility (they were pretty cool about it and continued to eat grass in between giving me odd looks).

Although this was not the experience I was expecting it did make for a nice series of low cloud/mist photos, I also had some pretty nice little pockets of evening sunlight.

And also there is something about standing in the clouds that makes you feel alive!

For this series I have given these images probably a different kind of style than my normal, I feel it is a good fit for these and the ability to try something new, much like this experience taught me.

Have you been up colonial knob??

What was your favourite experience of going up?

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Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Summit track, Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Rural setting including sheep among low cloud, Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Rural setting among low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Sheep among low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Communication masts among low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington


Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Rural setting amongst low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington