Photographing people is neither a chore or a job. For me it's a real life passion. When that's combined with exploring the country it's a dream come true.

When I had to break the news to Courtney that I couldn't photograph her and Gareth's wedding at Hobbiton next year, I was stoked that she trusted in my decision to still do an engagement shoot around Mt. Ruapehu.

As André 3000 says, you can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather. The shoot was planned weeks in advance and closer to the weekend the forecast was looking less than desirable. But I wasn't worried.

We headed towards the Ohakune Mountain Road to get up to the Turoa skifield. We made it 3km to a road block. Blizzard conditions meant there was no way we were getting up the road. So we walked into the lush green forest next to us, success.

But we wanted snow. Lucky for us, it had been snowing in Ohakune on and off and many surrounding areas were covered. We headed to Whakapapa village to try our luck getting up the Bruce Road. We made two stops, but keeping in mind the light, and the very little bit of warmth would run out. Who am I kidding it was very cold, hence the very genuine hugs.

Our first stop was a wide open field, next came a empty campsite that we quickly explored and turned out to be awesome! We pressed on to Whakapapa village to find the golf course covered in a good meter of snow! It was snowing, and the road up to the Ski area was closed. The sun was dipping even lower so once last stop at Tawhai Falls was a must. As that is a location from Lord of the Rings, quite appropriate for the next step of the engagement that will finish at Hobbiton!