As the late afternoon clouds start to roll in I snagged this long exposure of the Traveling Moai standing proudly above Ahu Tongariki.
The Traveling Moai has been around, in fact he has been to Japan and back! As a thank you to the Japanese for donating a crane and rebuilding the entire Ahu Tongoraiki site after a massive earthquake off the coast of Chile produced a tsunami that rocked the site of and thew the Moai hundreds of yards inland; the Rapa Naui people granted the Japanese permission to take the Traveling Moai to Japan for their Worlds Fair. Upon his return, the Traveling Moai was used in experiments to test the theories on how the Moai were said to have walked up right from Rano Raraku to various locations throughout the island.
Due to the remote location of Easter Island, it has some of the darkest skies you will see anywhere, but these skies are just as elusive as they are brilliant. Being a small island in the heart of the Pacific there is a constant influx of clouds that unpredictably roll in and out at a moments notice. Over the course of the entire week that I spent here, I had one opportunity to capture the Milky Way and only about a two hour window to make it happen. I chose the epic ceremonial site of Ahu Tongariki which boast the largest of Moai to be transported across the island. With15 Maoi standing strong, they were the perfect silhouette to this blanket of stars accented by the quarry site of Rano Raraku peaking out in the distance.
In order to capture the Milky Way in this manner I had to read a few books by some professional photographers to learn the unorthodox camera settings that I almost never use. For those of you looking to get into this kind of shooting Nightscape by David Kingham is a good place to start.
As one of the most remote and mysterious places on the planet, Easter Island has always been on my radar for places to photograph. I had the opportunity to travel here last July and spent a week studying and capturing the Moai at all hours of the day, and night.
Rano Raraku in Rapa Nui National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site is a hot bed for Moai sightings, as there are literally hundreds of them scattered about the hillside in various stages of both construction and burial. Rano Raraku is an extinct volcano where the Moai are quarried, carved and dispersed throughout the island. The Moai featured here embedded in the hillside are said to have been in transport before the Moai culture was abanondoned. Centuries of erosion from the peak of the volcano has buried 20 to sometimes 40 feet of these statues into the ground. Excavations have revealed that these Monoliths are even more massive than they seem.
As a professional photographer I have picked up a few tricks on how to capture movement in a still photograph. Utilizing a 10 stop neutral density filter I was able to slow down time to a 90 second exposure in the middle of the day to give the effect of moving clouds.
Craig is a professional photographer in Miami specializing in Architectural & Interior photography and is hired on a freelanced basis for advertising purposes. The posts from this blog will feature samples and descriptions of his favorite commercial projects.