Monday: More Lord of the Rings (and some Gregory Crewdson) Fangasming.

Today I’m coming at you from the beautiful city of Nelson (adios north island, and hello south!), which we arrived in about six hours ago. We’ve yet to explore, but we’re already having a great time here with our WWOOF Hosts. More on that in a bit.

This post is going to be another excuse for me to fan girl about a couple things. It’ll be very similar to my Weta Cave entry two weeks ago. It’s going to be made up of a ton of pictures – just fair warning – lots of which are going to look a little something like this:


If you thought I couldn’t get any nerdier before, you were obviously wrong.

As I mentioned last time, Kathleen and I signed ourselves up for a Lord of the Rings film locations tour through Ultimate Movie Tour. Before the tour, we started our day with Robert, the awesome guy who we were sharing our Wellington hostel room with. He suggested going across the street to grab some food from the grocery store and making ourselves breakfast. Who could pass up such a delicious idea?

So after some bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, and orange juice, it was time to take off for our tour!


First off, I should say that this tour is very much worth taking. Granted, all the locations we went to you can get to on your own; however, when you are car-less in New Zealand (as Kathleen and myself are) paying a bit of money to be driven around to awesome locations is, again, worth it. We did the Ultimate Tour package, which meant we got to do the all day tour, revisit Weta Cave, and be fed lunch. Our tour guide, Ted, was fun and incredibly enthusiastic. Not to mention he called all of us hobbits throughout the day (“come along, hobbits“) which made me smile.

Needless to say, the tour was amazing. We saw a good handful of locations from the films that were shot around Wellington.


Kathleen across the street from Helms Deep / Minas Tirith.


The pathway to Isengard.


Where Brego found Aragorn.


The film crew planted this tree after they were done filming Rivendell.


I could barely breathe due to excitement at this point.


Not a filming location. Just a bad ass bridge.


Elijah Wood’s butt touched that tree!




I spy a place a Nazgul once stood!

Those aren’t all of the places we saw, but they are the main ones. And yes, Kathleen and I flipped out at each and every one of them.

Best of all, we got to do some reenactment pictures in the exact locations of where they were filmed! Our tour group consisted only of myself, Kathleen, and three other people. While the other three people seemed to like the films, they were all a great deal less enthusiastic than Kathleen and me. They were certainly more hesitant about posing for pictures, whereas we were consistently leaping at each occasion.

(Plus the only other girl on the tour was wearing these beautiful red high heels. I’ve got nothing against high heels, but Jesus Christ, why would you wear such nice shoes on a tour that requires tromping up hills and through mud?? She ended up staying behind a couple times because of it. Not this girl’s smartest life decision.)

Anyway, here’s some major evidence that I’m a humungous goober… not that proof is really needed to prove that point.


I’m bringing sexy back – the Legolas way.


No, Julia! Don’t give into the temptation!


Kathleen wasn’t too thrilled that she got stuck as Pippin.


Hear that? It’s the sound of twelve year old me weeping from joy.


We’d make pretty kick ass wizards, would we not?

The picture of me as Frodo up in the tree is, without a doubt, my favorite one from the tour. However, I’m quite fond of this photo of us being a Nazgul on his horse.


Now, I mean, it’s a pretty cool photo, but the reason I love it as much as I do is because the process of recreating this image was SO GODDAMN AWKWARD.


At least I wasn’t the horse’s ass.

The tour ended with us back at Weta Cave. Since Kathleen and I had already been to Weta, we opted out of doing the Workshop tour and watching the Weta film. Instead, we traversed around the shop, deciding what we’d like to purchase. The previous time I had only purchased a couple postcards, a keychain for myself, and a small gift for a friend. This time around I got another gift for another friend, and… well… I may have spent a bit more money than planned… and by a bit more money, I mean my dad might not be too pleased when he finds out.



Those are replicas of Nori’s fleshing knives from The Hobbit. Chances are you’re wondering, “Who’s Nori?” That’s fair, considering he only had one line in the entire film. But it’s this guy:

Some of you might be thinking, “Oh. Well that’s a bit random, isn’t it? To spend so much money on knives for such a minor character.” Well you can shut your trap, cause I happen to adore this character. While he may not be used a lot in the film, there’s so much written about him in all the Hobbit companion guide books. Plus Jed Brophy, the actor who portrays Nori, is one of the most vocal actors from the film and loves speaking about his character. Not to mention the daggers were limited edition, so I felt kind of justified. Besides splurging on a hoodie a couple weeks back, I’ve done a pretty damn good job keeping myself on a restricted budget. I mean, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were key factors in getting me to New Zealand. Buying myself a somewhat pricey gift is kind of justified when you figure it like that (though I’m still not looking forward to explaining this purchase to my dad…).

Speaking of Jed Brophy, this definitely happened on Facebook the other day.



So that all happened on Saturday, and the plan was to take off out of Wellington on Sunday. The only thing we didn’t account for? You have to book your ferry tickets to visit the other islands twenty-six hours in advance. Because we’re idiots and didn’t do that, we had to push our leave date to Monday.

Sunday ended up being a very relaxed day. We went out for breakfast, swiped some WiFi off Starbucks, then trudged around Wellington. We walked through a quaint little outdoor market and explored the harbor area a bit. Eventually we ended up outside of a museum, and as we had nothing better to do decided to go in.

Little did I know what we would find waiting inside….


Oh. My. God.

I’ve been obsessed with Gregory Crewdson’s photography since I was twenty and first discovered his work in my Photography II class. While I love photography and studied it extensively in college, I’ve never had many favorite artists. Oh sure, I can rattle off some names of photographers I admire or who’ve influenced my work, but not many have truly struck a cord with me over the years.

But Crewdson. Oh goodness, Crewdson’s work certainly has – especially his series Beneath the Roses, Twilight, and In a Lonely Place. So you could say I was a little more than thrilled when I saw the sign inside that said the museum was featuring three Crewdson series: In a Lonely Place, Fireflies, and Sanctuary.



In a Lonely Place.

I was holding back tears the entire time we explored all the different rooms, gasping as I saw photos I had only ever seen in books and online stand before my very eyes. Each photograph from In a Lonely Place was huge in size, which I was so goddamn grateful for. Crewdson’s so well known for his intricate eye for detail, so getting a closer look at some of that detail was simply astounding. I tried to explain to Kathleen why this man’s work fascinates me so much. How he personally scouted each shoot location just like one would for a film. How all of his interior shots were done on sound stages. How many people went into setting up each shoot all for the sake of one photograph. How he has a jaw dropping level of detail in each of his photographs. How much movies have influenced his work over the years. How every object, every expression, every strand of hair is purposefully placed and that sometimes it can take weeks to get a single shot just right. But I felt like everything that came out of my mouth was incoherent babble. Almost three years of admiring Crewdson’s work; I couldn’t help but be a little speechless.

In a Lonely Place.

Life is funny sometimes, the way these serendipitous occurrences come about – and I am so damn grateful for this one. Visiting that museum is certainly going to be one of the highlights of my entire time in New Zealand, that’s for sure.


Pretty sure I did an illegal thing. Sorry not sorry?


Julia Gaskill: Law-Breaking Fan Girl Extraordinaire.


One happy photography nerd!

This morning we made the journey from the north island to the south. The three hour ferry ride was absolutely stunning. We then hitched a ride on our scheduled InterCity bus and made our way to Nelson.

(I supposed I should note that I’ve been having a bit of camera trouble again, namely with just one of the lenses. I need to figure out why it’s not working and the other one is. Ugh.)



And now here we are! Nelson! It’s such a beautiful area! I’m really looking forward to exploring it.

Ah, our WWOOF Hosts! They’re kind of sort of really amazing…?? They’re a married couple, and they’re both so amiable and funny and just down right easy to get along with. Not that our previous WWOOF Hosts haven’t been great in they’re own right, but with these guys we feel right at home. They cooked us up a healthy dinner and engaged us in conversation the entire time. They’re absolutely lovely people.

Plus they invited us to watch The Hobbit with them tonight. I think Kathleen and I are in love.

Tolkien: the way to this girl’s heart.

It sounds like our WWOOF work is going to consist mainly of weeding, which – after moving bee boxes and endless raking – will be a nice change of pace. Hopefully we’ll be able to go into town tomorrow and explore a bit, and get a certain package shipped back to my house. I’m not sure what all Nelson has in store just yet, but I’m excited to find out.

JGask out.


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