Near the end of January, Levi The Poet was invited to New Zealand by Parachute Music to participate in their annual festival just outside of the city of Hamilton (more on that later). While we were there, Brandi, myself, and our friends in a band named Oh Sleeper (who happen to be the biggest Lord Of The Rings nerds you may have never known about), were given the opportunity to take a tour of the Tolkien-inspired Shire, where Peter Jackson famously made the novels come alive in his LOTR trilogy, and most recent The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Did you know that the tree above Bilbo's house is dead? It's not fake, but it's dead. It isn't indigenous to New Zealand, but to capture the tree that Tolkien described, the trilogy's director had a tree cut down elsewhere, disassembled, shipped to the shoot-site, reassembled, and anchored in. Over two-hundred thousand leaves were then spray-painted and glued onto it's limbs by college students from Hamilton and Auckland.
Or how about that scene beneath the Party Tree when Pippin and Merry are fooling around with Gandalf's fireworks? Do you remember when the wizard startles them? During the shoot, Peter Jackson set off unscripted firecrackers beneath the tent, so when you hear the two frightened hobbits screaming like girls, well... they are.
Finally, there is a cat that lives in Hobbiton, named Pickles. My wife took the only picture you'll see of him here, because she loves cats more than she loves me. At any rate, during the shooting of The Hobbit, Pickles had his own designated caretaker whose job it was to make sure the cat was taken care of and didn't slink his way into any of the scenes. Just like a cat, indeed.
Below are over 100 photos from that day. Enjoy.