Lantern Festival ’08

Face lantern 2

The 2008 Chinese New Year festivities are nearing their end, which means it’s time for the Auckland Lantern Festival. It’s the ninth year of the festival and by now it feels like an essential part of an Auckland summer.

This weekend, 22 to 24 February, Albert Park will again be the scene of lanterns galore, along with cultural performances from many Chinese groups. (I hope they do karaoke this year, cos that’s always one of my faves.)

After the jump: food, festivities, fireworks and photography.

Princes Street will be lined with food and craft stalls. I can personally testify that happiness is a pork bun, but I find bubble tea too potent for my Pakeha palate. And witness the odd phenomenon when cheap Chinese-made dollar-shop tat takes on kitschy charm when it’s sold at a stall not a mall.

The Lantern Festival also provides a great opportunity for people watching. Blogger Tze Ming Mok recounted some funny moments she overheard at last year’s festival.

The event runs all weekend – from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. It’s best to visit after dark – sunset is around 8.10pm – but there’s plenty of stuff to see from 5pm onwards.

The two big events are the official opening at 8pm on Friday night, where all the lanterns are switched on and double-happys go off and it’s really choice; and the grand finale on Sunday night at 9.55pm, involving Shanghai drummers and really kick-arse fireworks.

You can peruse the whole Lantern Festival programme here.

And, of course, with the lantern festival being full of beautiful lanterns all aglow in the late summer night, you’ll probably want to take a few pics…

Robyn’s hints for taking good photos at the Lantern Festival

  • Old lamps for new!Deactive your flash. Your camera may be jonesing to flash, but remember, you’re taking a photo of a light, so you don’t need to bring any more to the party.
  • Get up close to the lantern. Don’t zoom in from afar, physically walk as close as you can get. That’ll help use all the light from the lantern and make nice bright, colourful photo.
  • Don’t get in the mode of documentarian. Often small features of the lanterns are more interesting than taking a full-length photo.
  • If you’re getting blurring, go with it. There’s sure to be a Flickr group that is hot for Chinese lanterns with a bit of artful motion blur.
  • And make sure you don’t experience the lantern festival mostly through your camera’s LCD screen. Sometimes it’s nice to just put your camera away and experience the lanterns and the festival with your eyes and your memory.

One Response

  1. I am really looking forward to this. I haven’t been to one in years (as was overseas) and it will be interesting to see how much it has changed.

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