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Antipodes I (September 27th 2003)

Earth from space with antipodal connection around the globe

Antipodal point on Pitt Island and camera direction towards antipodal point in France Antipodal point in France and camera direction towards antipodal point on Pitt Island

Mont Waihere, Pitt Island, Chatham Islands
44°16'.985 S / 176° 15'.343 W
View facing west-northwest (288°)
(Antipode: Ralf Kleimann)

Col de Poulio, Départemant de Lozére, France
44°16'.993 N / 3° 44'.662 E
View facing east-southeast (108°)
(Antipode: Jörg Jozwiak

18:22:00h Chatham Islands Standard Time (sunset)
= 07:37:00h Central European Summer Time (sunrise)
Camera alignment on Pitt Island  Pressing the shutter Pressing the shutter  Camera alignment in France
Synchronous antipodal shot Pitt Island Synchronous antipodal shot France
Map and camera angle Pitt Island Map and camera angle France
Aerial Düsseldorf

Luftbild Orean

Satellite image Chatham Islands

Images (unedited)
(centre) University of Miami
What is on the other side of the earth? Where would a hole drilled through the centre of the globe end? These questions marked the beginning of this particular project. The antipodes of central Europe are located in the Pacific ocean. A location situated opposite Düsseldorf, for example, lies more than 1400 km southeast of New Zealand's capital Wellington. The nearest place which is inhabited is 811km away: Pitt Island, the second largest island in the Chatham Archipalego.

Naval chart, Düsseldorf's antipodes and  Pitt Island

Globe Europe

Globe Europe's antipodes in the Pacific ocean

Satellitenfoto Pitt Island

Images (unedited):
(top) Microsoft Encarta
(centre) Microsoft Encarta
(bottom) Nasa

Illustration Globe

A line projected back from Pitt Island, through the centre of the earth, ends in the heart of the Cévennes National Park in France. In terms of these two places, the word "antipodes" (Greek for "opposing feet") can be taken literally: Two people can stand exactly opposite each other (and thus at the greatest possible distance away from each other on the earth). Such a line-up was organised and documented for this project. The concept included two people who would simultaneously press the shutter of a camera whilst facing in the exact direction of the other person, hypothetically around the bend of the earth.
Pitt Island's antipodes: coast outline; click on image to zoom

Pitt Island's antipodes: coast outline; click on image to zoom

Antipodes of the Chatham archipelago in France (map)

Antipodes of the Chatham archipelago in France (satellite image)

Image (unedited): Nasa

Pitt Island's antipodes (map)
antipodal map projection

Vegetation Zones  (Pitt's Antipodes; click to zoom)

Vegetation Zones
(Pitt's Antipodes; click to zoom)
The search for a pair of antipodes followed two premises: they should be situated above the average land height, and they should not be covered by trees. Elevated and vegetation-free spots were desirable in the interest of long-distance photographic views. It turned out that - particularly due to the dense forests on the French side - less than 10% of the total area of Pitt Island/Pitt's antipodes were suitable. According to maps, 11 points appeared promising. The next task was to visit and investigate these spots, and eventually select the most promising pair.
Vegetation Zones  (Pitt Island; click to zoom)

Vegetation Zones
(Pitt Island; click to zoom)

Potential "Meeting points"
(Pitt's Antipodes; click to zoom)
Two potential meeting points on a Pitt Island map and seen from plane

Potential "Meeting points"
(Pitt Island; click to zoom)

Aerial Cévennes

Cévennes, Mont Mars

In September 2003, Ralf Kleimann und Roy Gollogly, the two participants for the southern antipode travelled to Pitt Island, while I went to France. Pitt Island could only be reached with the help of local fishermen, or by a chartering a small aircraft from the main island of the archipelago. As a result of the bad weather, it is sometimes impossible to cross the 30 km wide Pitt Strait between the islands for days or even weeks. These conditions result in the success of the project becoming a matter of chance. However, Ralf and Roy arrived on Pitt Island on September 22nd; three days after I had put up my tent in the Cévennes.

Aerial Pitt Island

Plane on Chatham Main Island

All of the cartographically determined locations were inspected, and their suitability discussed during telephone conversations until we were able to decide upon the ideal pair of points. We agreed that the event should take place on September 27th at 07:37:00 Central European Summer Time = 18:22:00 Chatham Islands Standard Time. At this time the sun would be rising on the French side and setting over the Chathams. Only at this time of the day would both antipodes be exposed to some natural light simultaneously. At exactly this moment ("to the precise second"), and at exactly the determined co-ordinates ("on the meter"), I focused my camera on the horizon at a direction of 108° (east-southeast), whilst Ralf did the same thing, facing the compementary angle (288°; west-nothwest). In this way we were looking at each other, and documented this glance (as seen in the two photos displayed at the top of this page).

Photo direction France
Illustration, Situation of the cameras facing each other
Photo direction Pitt Island

A TV-Documentary was filmed about this project (in German) and was broadcast in "52° Süd - Von Kartenlesern und Weltensammlern", ARTE TV. It was written, directed and produced by Thomas Schmitt (2005); Courtesy of the author.

It may take up to a few minutes to load the video depending on your link speed. If the video is not displayed correctly, then open in new tab or window as mp4 (61MB)
TV-Documentary - Play video

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© 2017 Jozwiak