Twelve Second Drop is the view that awaited us after climbing for a couple of hours, and summating Mackinnon Pass along the Milford Track.

It snowed for about two minutes while I was at the top, but having just arrived I hadn't yet set up my tripod to begin taking images. After taking a few minutes to just enjoy the view, which is simply stunning, I moved very close to the edge (about 3 feet forward of where I placed the tripod) and began composing this image. I wanted to capture the sheer vastness of the scene, the height of the pass, the steepness of the mountains, and the snow line that extends across the range.

After soaking in this scene, I continued hiking up the mountain before the trail started it's steep descent. I think what had taken 9 kilometers of track to ascend took only 2.5 km to descend. In fact, if you look at the bottom of the frame just to the left of center you will see a straight line; that is an old airstrip. That's where we stayed that night. I have to say, I've flown into some crazy airports in my day, but I'm not sure I'd want to fly into that one!

In case your wondering, the little green sign in the lower left corner of the images says "Danger: Keep clear of cliff edge for your safety."

I decided to take a panoramic approach to this image, which is composed of 11 separate slices, all combined in Photoshop. That was really the only way to get the image with the size and scale and detail I wanted. I'm looking forward to having this one printed, as it could easily be three meters.

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