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Lisa Michele Burns. Peak Patience.

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When the unpredictability of nature and its fleeting beauty combine to create total awe.

All day, wild winds had swept through the valley as a blanket of thick clouds remained tucked tightly over New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook/Aoraki. Crossing my fingers and toes the gusty conditions would eventually help sweep the cloud cover away at sunset, I hiked to a viewpoint and sat to watch and wait as light fell.

Darkness crept in quickly though, and with no glimpse in sight, I decided to hike back down, getting only 100m along before a pink glow suddenly stopped me in my tracks and I turned to see this scene being revealed.

While it felt like slow motion and included a quick happy dance, I’ve never opened my camera bag as quickly as I did at that moment. This brief window of intense pastel tones appeared for no more than three minutes before clouds rolled back through and the peak was tucked in again for the night ahead.

It’s moments like this that make me feel alive behind the camera, making any hour spent waiting, so completely worth it to witness the beauty of nature.

Lisa Michele Burns is an Australian photographer, editor of The Wandering Lens, and OM SYSTEM ambassador. Her work covers glaciers, deserts, and regions of climatic significance alongside wildlife, writing travel guides, and mentoring fellow travel photographers via Travel Photography Courses.

Follow Lisa on Instagram @the_wanderinglens.

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