Monday, April 25, 2011

Postcards from Middle-Earth - Part 1

I'm generally not a fan of landscape photography.  Maybe it's because the subject matter is infinitely patient.  In general the photo will have everything in focus, and whatever is being captured has been there longer than you or I.  There's no immediacy to it.  Sure, mountains and trees and waterfalls are pretty, but I just don't know what a landscape photo is telling me other than "doesn't wherever you are now suck in comparison?"

While writing my series on Lord of the Rings Online I decided I wanted screenshots to go with it, and that for some reason it was important that they be personally taken screenshots instead of stock images from whatever the internet had to offer.  As I went about I decided I really enjoyed the hunt.  No longer was I just some hero in Middle Earth; now I was some hero with a camera.

Once I started I just couldn't stop, and I quickly gathered far more photos than I needed for my article.  So I've decided to post them here as a visual journey through Turbine's rendering of Middle Earth.  I feel like I was a little harsh on them, because truth be told there are many beautiful scenic areas in the game.  Anyway, here you'll find no rants about game mechanics, just pretty pictures and some light captions.  Enjoy.

It seemed natural for these photos to follow the hobbit journey from Hobbiton to Rivendell.  Here we have Bag End in all its cozy glory.  And excellent place to host a dozen dwarves.

A cute little hobbit hole cut out of the hillside.  I'm thinking maybe this whole rectangular door things is overrated.

Frodo was found of hikes into the woods around the Shire.  I imagine this forest path might have been one of his favorites.

Hobbits are none to comfortable around the water, but they have on big beautiful river running through the Shire.  In classic hobbit fashion this river is named "The Water".

They've gotta get over that river somewhere, and here's one of the crossings at nighttime with a Bounder keeping watch.  He probably doesn't see much action, and more than likely is drunk on the job.

It's daytime in this shot, but this is the Buckleberry Ferry where the hobbits escaped the black riders into Buckland.

I know they were trying to shake those scary black riders, but I don't think going through the Old Forest was the brightest idea.  It is not a happy place.

Here we have Old Man Willow, luring all passersby into a blissful slumber.

We've emerge from the Old Forest into the Barrow Downs.  Cairns and tombs, oh my!  You can't take two steps without stumbling over reanimated bag of bones.  This is where players will likely experience their first dungeon instance.

North of the forest are beautiful fields that would have provided a much more enjoyable path.  But I guess the big open is just begging for a Ringwraith to swoop through and gobble you up.

All throughout the land of Middle Earth are ruins of ages past, such as this one.

And here we see the town of Bree, looking perfectly pleasant in the day light.  For low level characters this is their main hub for banking and auctions.  I guess it's a more friendly place if you're not trucking around the One Ring of Power.

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