Nelson Hardkore

I am proud to say, I finally made it to the South Island. Together with João I took the opportunity of the long weekend around Queen’s birthday – which is not her actual birthday, but that’s another story – to take the ferry south.

We had a great weekend, I took heaps of photos and will publish these in several posts. Today, I’ve got some shots I took in Picton and Nelson. It really looks a whole lot different just across some kilometres of water. South Island mutha fucka!

Kiwi Music

My music taste has always been a rather pragmatic one. I need music when I work, I need music when I am sitting in my room, but I don’t have strong opinions about the actual music I am listening too. I am not good at paying attention to lyrics (when I am programming I have to focus on that) and I have never been that much of a person who goes to concerts.

I am not picky about genre or language of a song as long as I just like it. Well, the only tendency I have experienced is that I cannot stand listening to the radio anymore because most of the common pop music is not of my taste at all.

Exploring new music is something I have ever liked, though. Gladly, a lot of people here are introducing me to the New Zealand music culture. I have been to two concert already and I’ll be visting another one this night (Shapeshifter, some decent Kiwi drum n bass). Thanks to Spotify, it was only a matter of days till I had a playlist of a lot of different music from all around the country.

Maybe you want to get to know some Kiwi music as well, so you can either have a look at my general playlist where I keep throwing in any music or you just enjoy this smaller playlist where I put in my current favorites. And sorry, only for Spotifiy users at the moment.

Oh, I found some interesting stories about some of the bands. Bret McKenzie for example, who is most famous for being one of the two guys from The Flight Of The Conchords but also is a former member of The Black Seeds, had a little 3 second role on the Lord of The Rings. His unnamed character raised a huge hype among fans. Cool story.


Who do I really have to tell why I wanted to go to Middle Earth New Zealand? I definately didn’t have to tell my friends from YOOtheme, which is why they handed me a voucher for one of the Lord Of The Rings tours when I left three months ago. Of course, now that I’m here, I have to check out the locations we all know and love from the movies.

Most of the famous landscape shots are filmed on the South Island, at locations that are not really possible to visit during just a short weekend trip. Others, like the set for Hobbiton, are up north and require a several hours drive as well. But as Peter Jackson lives in Wellington and the studios are located here as well, they picked a couple of locations just in reach of the city. So why not start with the tour that is easiest to get?

The whole tour was supposed to visit locations used for the Shire (“Shortcut to mushrooms”), Rivendell, the village of Bree, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith and the river Anduin. To be honest, you don’t really see much you know from the movie. But you learn how impressively perfect the movie industry understands to draw you into the illusion of a quiet place in Middle Earth when in reality they were filming in small woods surrounded by houses, traffic and rugby fields.

What the tour really was about though, were the background stories the guide told us. Also, at most places you really needed a guide, just to spot the one tree that actually appeared in the background of a scene.

We had great fun and not only enjoyed this as a tour through Middle Earth, but also a chance to see more of Wellington itself. Even without leaving town too far behind, you find yourself in some beautiful locations that didn’t make it into the movie. Today, I’ll only show you the pictures that actually show locations you could recognize. Some other landscape photos from that day might make it into another post.

Feel free to have a good laugh at my tries to reenact some scenes with these silly prosthetic ears. But hey, Sting was a pretty cool replica!

Lazy Sunday

What do you do if you are bored on a Sunday afternoon and haven’t used the 50mm/1.4 lens that your colleague has just borrowed you? Correct, you grab a friend, grab your camera and go out for a walk. So that was what Simon and I did today.

Starting with a shot from my apartment building (that’s quite a view, isn’t it?), I now present you what is just a collection of random shots. But hey, we saw a seal! And I must say, that lens feels really good, though I’m not sure if it’d be worth the upgrade from my current 50mm/1.8. We’ll see.


Photo of the sunrise over the foggy Wellington bay

I want to be a traveler. I want to speak four languages. I want to be a good programmer. I want to be an artist. I want to create, want to be a designer, a photographer and a movie maker. I want to read, want to be wise, want to have an opinion on important questions in life. I want to be a writer, an author, want to write a book. I want to be an actor, a stage performer, a good friend and someone who knows where he’s heading to in life. I want to be healthy, want to cook. I want to be an entrepreneur.

When I was a kid, I had dreams. Dreams of becoming something special in life. Without having an idea what exactly I wanted to be special at. I was told the good thing about successfully finishing school is that you can do whatever you want to do. And they were right.

Being at a point in life where you can do whatever you want to do is great. Still, I sometimes have the feeling I have to decide on what exactly to do, to decide on what to focus on. I am pretty sure the best way to be great at something, to excel at that, is to focus and concentrate. But I do not want to do that. I want the mix.

Actually, I already am most of the things I want to be, just not to the full amount. I am writing this, so I am a writer. I am in New Zealand at the moment, I’d count that as being a traveler. I love creating stuff, be it software, a collection of photos or a video. Still, I always need the mix. I love deeply diving into code I am writing, still I need to work on the design for that software as well so I feel good about my work. I like designing interfaces or just draw in my sketchbook, though not being particularly good at either.

This text might sound like it’s heading somewhere. Actually, it is not. That’s why I titled it “dreams” instead of “plans”. Life is full of beautiful possibilities, sometimes it just feels as if all of them seem equally appealing. For now I’ll just continue living my life of mixing everything together. Because let’s face it: Mixing everything together is the one thing I already am pretty good at.

Somes Island

This has been quite an exciting weekend. As I work during the week it is hard to really go somewhere for longer than just 2 days. That is why I wanted to do something really cool in Wellington this weekend. We have been blessed with good weather these past two days so it was a blast to really go out and experience something.

On Saturday, João, Josh, Lisa and me did a great trip to Somes Island – or Matiu, as the Maori call it. This is an island in the middle of Wellington’s harbor that can be visited by ferry. As it is a nature reserve for animals you are searched for potential pests on arrival. A ranger gives you a short introduction to the island’s history – it has served as a quarantine station for human or animal infections in the past 150-ish years and was one of the places to have heavy anti aircraft guns during WWII. Also, there’s this amazing lighthouse that’s still in use.

Now being a scientific and nature reserve instead of hosting military and medical security facilities, Somes Island is quite the place for a quiet day trip. I enjoyed the peace without the city’s noise and was lucky to spot some interesting animals – although missing out on the penguins that only return at night.

But that’s just the Saturday – on Sunday we went on this awesome… oh wait, I’ll tell you about that next time.

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