Wairakei, New Zealand

Psychedelic landscape -- The umbrella fern is one of many species of flora found near the geothermal blowholes and gullies of the Craters of the Moon reserve. This is a tropical fern, benefiting from the warm soil and the moist, steamy air.

Seen in the context of this smoldering glen, the clumps of umbrella ferns do resemble another sort of weed that would thrive here. This entire region is the natural inspiration for The Lord of the Ring's Mordor, filmed less than 100km to the south at the volcanic plateau of Tongariro National Park.

These photos were taken with the Nikon D100 digital SLR, using 60mm f/2.8 lens (above) and 20mm f/2.8 lens (below).

New Zealand 2004

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