Most people photograph New Zealand in the summer, so I planned to do some of my coverage in
the winter. I was blessed with the most extraordinary snowfall, which I shot from a
helicopter. It was a heavy wet snow that blanketed the rain forest. But even though it only
lasted about six hours, for that brief time it made this exquisite place even more
After shooting since dawn, I was on my way back to my place in the middle of the day when
I stopped for a farmer herding a huge flock of sheep across the road. An elderly man going
60 mph (100 km/h) hit me from behind. I think he may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Emergency workers cut me out of the car, put me on a backboard, and flew me by helicopter
to a hospital. I suffered a broken back (compression fractures in a couple of vertabrae)
and a pretty good whiplash.
The worst thing I could have done was get on an airplane and fly 25 hours home. So I stayed,
did my coverage, and went through my physical therapy.
My husband, Don, did all the driving and carried my equipment. He made it easy for me to do
nothing but aim and shoot.
Fiordland is known for its extreme rainfall, but for some reason it stayed dry the whole
time I was there. I didnt get a real drenching downpour until my last day.