The Road to Lorien

View more photos on my web page: ** prints available on  DeviantArt

Middle Earth New Zealand 2013 photo calendar now available

The main location for the “Lorien” scenes in Fellowship of the Ring is located along Paradise Road, out of Glenorchy, at the Western tip of Lake Wakatipu, a 50 km curvy drive from Queenstown. The landscape is stunningly beautiful even for New Zealand, where there is stunning beauty round every corner. The area also sports plenty of the ancient Southern beech forest which is such a good approximation of the mallorn trees of the magic elven realm.

I’ve been able to visit this location on three occasions so far. These photos are from an evening excursion in March 2007:  I was travelling with my parents, it had been a rainy, stormy day, and we arrived in Glenorchy only in the late afternoon. But we needed to travel on the next day, and I had set my heart on going up Paradise Road, so I convinced them that we should drive up there no matter what the weather, or the time. And were we ever amply rewarded: halfway down the road, the weather began to clear up and we were gifted with a gorgeous solid rainbow shimmering in the late afternoon light.

As we were approaching the actual location, we were  flagged down by a lady guarding an orange traffic cone: somewhat unexpectedly, since Paradise Road is really one of the remotest and least trafficked unsealed backcountry roads imaginable! We were asked to stop for a few minutes, because there was a film shoot in progress… For a moment there, I thought we had fallen through a wormhole back in time, to when they were shooting Lord of the Rings. But no: when I asked what movie, I was told it was for the Narnia series, and given the timing, it must have been Prince Caspian. The location also appears  in X-Men – Wolverine: There is no mistaking the shape of that one mountain in the background behind the hut of the old couple who find the protagonist running around in the nude and take him in, and suffer a violent cruel death for their efforts!

By the time we got to the actual location, the sun had set and it was beginning to rain again, which made for some very stunning light effects! I don’t have too many landscape photos where pink is the predominant color. Given the lack of light, some of the photos of the woodland turned out a bit shaky. But when I was sorting through my old photos earlier on, selecting them for my online gallery, I found those fuzzy photos actually represent the magic of the elven woodland realm better than a technically perfect shot could have done! Just call them Art. 😀



View more photos on my web page: ** prints availlable on  DeviantArt

I have to apologize (to the small and select group of people who have so far subscribed to this blog) for taking a lengthy break: I do intend to continue! Indeed, I have a backlog of nearly a decade of photos to work my way through … so I won’t run out of topics any time soon.

I had to move my website to a different server, though, which has been a bit of a hassle, so I haven’t gotten around to updating it with new photo galleries in a little while. I won’t be able to keep up the pace of once a week in the near future, either, but for now, will do a blog post once a month, until perhaps one day my workload will look a bit smaller! :Yeah right… :

The location where the sets for “Rivendell”, in Peter Jackson’s film version of “Lord of the Rings”, were built, is not far from my home – Kaitoke Regional Park, nestled into the Rimutaka hills, which I have to cross on my way to Wellington. The park can be reached via Waterworks Road, off State Highway 2. The location is signposted, a small area next to the river, a 1 minute stroll from the parking space.

I used to visit the park quite regularly while I lived in Wellington, but now that I live in the country, there has been no need to get out of the city, so I hadn’t been there in a little while when, one sunny day last May, I decided on a spur to go on a photo shoot and get some new images for next year’s edition of my Middle Earth New Zealand calendar.

Given that Rivendell will undoubtedly appear again in “The Hobbit”, I was curious to see if the same location was going to be used again to build the sets. But I could discover no traces of recent film shoots. The area had been planted up after the devastation wrought by the film crews: this is now quite a few years ago, and by now the area is pleasantly overgrown, and showed no signs of having been recently disturbed.

The only change I noted is a little platform by the steep drop down to the river on one side of the former filming area, which is where the main set building had stood. There is a very remarkable old twisted tree root there: I am pretty sure I have spotted it in the movie! One or two of the tree trunks look a bit familiar, too.

Continuing to walk from the film set area, I followed a walk looping back to the parking lot, through some gorgeous ancient rimu forest – it was going toward sundown, and the play of the tree shadows and the evening sun on the mountainside was well worth a few shots!