Lonely Planet Writer

These magical photos of Switzerland look just like Tolkien’s Shire

Czech landscape photographer Martin Rak is so enchanted with the Swiss countryside, he named this series ‘Hobbiton’, in honour of the dreamy landscapes featured in the classic Lord of the Rings films. He’s been taking pictures since he was a child, and has always been drawn towards lush outdoor scenes like these.

“It’s almost too perfect to be real”, says Martin. Image by Martin Rak

“I got my first camera from my grandfather when I was six years old”, he tells Lonely Planet. “He was a real photography enthusiast, and taught me all the basics. So I was taking pictures already as a young kid, but they were just tourist snapshots without any decent light or striking composition. The real passion for photography started in 2009, when I got my first DSLR.”

The dreamy landscape looks just like Tolkien’s Shire. Image by Martin Rak

“I had always been fascinated by nature and loved being outside, so landscape photography was a pretty obvious choice for me. Since then, I’ve been shooting mainly during sunrise and sunset to get the best light into the image, or in extreme conditions like snowstorms, rain or thick fog to capture the scene in the most dramatic and extraordinary conditions possible.”

Martin loves to shoot during sunrise and sunset. Image by Martin Rak

It was actually some photos of Switzerland that prompted Martin to visit. “About a year ago, I saw some pictures of a picturesque area, where the hills had trees on top of them. I found out it was not far from Zurich, Switzerland, and I knew I needed to go there as soon as possible. The forecast looked promising, so I went there for a few days. When I climbed one of the hills on the first morning and looked around, the landscape instantly reminded me of Hobbiton from JRR Tolkien’s books. I saw hills, trees, meadows with farm houses, and there was a soft fog in the valleys and high mountains peaks in the background. It was almost too perfect to be real.”

The area has distinctive trees on top of its hills. Image by Martin Rak

For more on Martin, see his website and Bohemian Journeys for workshops.