Rapa Nui, or Easter IslandĀ  is one of the remotest places on earth. A four and a half hour flight into the vastness of the pacific ocean. Lan Chile did two flights a week from Santiago by wide bodied jet ... too easy some might say. The long runway intersects a large chunk of the island - a back up for the space shuttle apparently; if ever it should have needed an emergency landing strip.

I spent about ten days photographing the Moai statues in Easter 2000 (the island was 'discovered' on Easter Sunday, 1722) hiring a little jeep to get around - sometimes in the middle of the night when I had the whole national park (which is what the Island is) to myself. Certainly photographing the looming statues at three in the morning, pitch dark with thunderstorms out to sea was atmospheric to say the least. I say pitch dark, but try and imagine standing in front of row of seven meter Moai silhouetted by the most intense starry galaxy you have ever seen... here in the middle of the Pacific, light pollution is zero. One might imagine the wrath of the ancestral spirits swirling around - an impudent invader to sacred grave markers, but fortunately I was kept busy with my camera to worry about such things. (I have tried to capture something of this concept in picture No3). I only had to worry about scorpions; torch light revealed they were crawling all over the the Ahu! (stone pedestals)

I used a Mamiya 7 film camera on this trip - using conventional 120 film but also red sensitive infrared film. Picture No1 was quite involved in the making; with a tripod mounted camera, each Moai required five separate full power flashes from a speedlite (positioned out of frame obviously) and then an additional 45 minute exposure for the star trails. It's a technique I practiced back home on trees... best to get it right first time. You can't exactly just pop back to Easter Island to have a second go. I had also previously researched the 'pole star' position in the southern hemisphere; In this case the composition was perfect! those ancestral spirits must have seen my endeavors as virtuous...

I think I was lucky in going when I did... I believe most of the Maoi now have little rope fences around them - not good for photos.