You can see why New Zealand so quickly and easily became not only the visual background for the epic Lord of the Rings movies, but literally BECAME Middle Earth itself.  Although JR Tolkein never visited this country in his lifetime, he must have had exactly our kind of wild and impressive landscapes in mind when he first imagined Middle Earth.

Though who could have dreamed that one of the youngest nations on earth would so truly BECOME the literal and physical home of the greatest fantasy saga ever written? Not only did we embrace the films themselves, but as a country we took on a whole new identity as Air NZ gave their planes a new paint job, NZ Post issued commemorative coins with hobbits on them, NZ Immigration stamped 70,000 passports with “Welcome to Middle Earth” and we developed a complete branch of thriving tourism opportunities based around the franchise.  Cripes, we even rewrote labour laws to allow the filming of the Hobbit!

But all that aside, when I look through Chris’s recent images from our Wildlight Safaris photo tour through the South Island, I am reminded once again of the reason we were so suitably matched to the Lord of the Rings vision. Our scenic splendor remains untouched and every moment captured is a reminder of how incredibly beautiful this country really is.

Feeling nostalgic on a Friday…

But just wanted to share these moody and magical images with you…

Well done Chris, you do our incredible country proud.

Veils of water cascading over the dark rocks during a heavy rainfall in Milford Sound. One of the few photography locations where we always wish for rain.  It is an interesting effect as this was shot with a relatively high shutter speed yet some of the “finer” faster moving areas of the waterfall appear soft and painterly whilst the splash at the bottom is frozen. 


Moria Gate Arch, Oparara.


Sunset over Aoraki (Mount Cook).


On this night we were treated to super stormy and dramatic skies in Milford Sound. At times it almost looked as if Mitre Peak was erupting! For this image I used a slow shutter speed to emphasise the drama in the fast moving clouds.


Sunset at Castle Hill, Arthurs Pass.


The rising fog as a storm clears in Fiordland creating an amazing spectacle.


New Zealand’s cheeky and mischievous Kea, a mountain parrot with beautiful orange coloring under it’s wings which is only visible in flight. You have to be careful of your possessions when these guys are around!


The pristine scenery and perfect reflections on our South Island photo tour are playing mind games with our overseas guests… See if you can work it out…!


The mystical waterfalls of Fiordland can be so high that they often disperse in the wind long before they reach the valley below.


Early morning at Lake Mathieson.


All images copyright Chris McLennan

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