Remembering Winter

Ulsan Snow
Mountain Snowman


Where does the time go? I cannot believe that it has been a week since I sat down at my computer or that the joy that cherry blossom brings has almost diminished for another year.

As the northern hemisphere continues to cast off the slumber of winter it is with a little sadness in my heart that I look forward to the balmy days of the fast approaching summer.

I do enjoy the summer, spending every possible hour outside with family and friends, enjoying the freedom that warmth and light brings, however I find that I already miss the low winter sun, a sun that casts a glorious warm glow on the world and creates lovely long deep shadows that creep into every orifice, awakening hidden treasures often overlooked when the sun is high in the sky.

As I sit and ponder on winter I am drawn to one of my favourite things; snow. I love it, I love looking at, I love being in it, and I love photographing it. There is nothing I enjoy more than looking out over a grand vista that contains snow-capped mountains or wandering through fields containing freshly laid carpets of snow. My husband on the other hand is not that keen, so you can image his surprise, when we visited New Zealand last year and woke up to a view I had been hoping to see.

Whilst researching our bucket-list trip to New Zealand last year, I knew that I really wanted to visit as many of the landscapes featured in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy as possible. TLOTR are some of my favourite films; I fell in love with New Zealand while watching this trilogy and one of the biggest draws had to be the snow-capped vistas heavily featured during the numerous hours of film footage. Image my delight when Taupo was included in our itinerary as the view across the famous lake [Lake Taupo] takes in the Tongariro National Park, which in turn forms part of the opening credits in The Fellowship of the Ring; Mt. Ngauruhoe is also credited as being Mt Doom in these films.

Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park

Of course you need to be in New Zealand during the winter/spring months to find snow in the mountains and knowing that we had arrived during the right season(s), we could be in for a special treat. I was terribly disappointed when we arrived at our destination to find a heavy cloud covering the distant mountain range, however knowing that we would be spending a few nights in our location I went to bed hoping that these would lift by morning showing us the full glory that Mt. Doom had to offer.

Even though our accommodation was tucked around the corner from the lake, as the sun rose the next day I was in awe of the view that greeted me, okay so this is not the best photo I could have taken, but due to lens capabilities and our location I was just so happy to get the view I had longed for. Eager for more I then dragged my companions out to the lake, which is where I finally saw Tongariro National Park in its full glory and was able to replicate an image I had longed to find.

Tongariro National Park behind Lake Taupo
Tongariro National Park behind Lake Taupo


Knowing that I had little time to get exactly what I wanted, I snapped off a dozen images thinking that I could return the next day to find more of the same, however by our second day the clouds had returned and the view was lost to us, and although this inconvenience was disappointing at the time, my husband and I have vowed to return in the future so that I can capture more images of this great landscape.

Under different circumstances, I found myself in a similar situation this past winter while travelling to a temple located in our local [South Korean] mountain range. Down at sea-level we had been experiencing lots of rain/sleet, at the time I thought nothing of the winter weather however as I rounded a curve in the road I found our highest peak, Mt. Gajisan, covered in snow and this was when I began to feel the same sensations as that day in Taupo – OMG snow …

Okay, so the view may not be as spectacular as that of Mt. Ngauruhoe, but oh how I love to see an expanse of mountains covered in snow. Everywhere looks clean and fresh and the air becomes crisp and frozen; snow manages to bring out the child in everyone and if you look, most people will have a smile on their face as it reminds us of Christmas, log fires and momentous snowball fights.

Even though I hail from the UK, I do not see snow often but when I do see it I always feel warm and fuzzy inside. Perhaps next winter we will be lucky to see it fall as heavy again here in Ulsan, or perhaps we will be lucky enough to return to New Zealand again sometime soon, but for now I am looking forward to the hazy days of summer along with different joys and pleasures to fill my days.

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