350 Birdman people jump off Taranaki Street Wharf

Today I went to check out the 350 Birdman competition. It was the type of event where people compete to jump off a wharf and try and get the most distance as possible. In addition, there was also points for costumes. Local businesses came together to provide prizes for competitors. The event was put together for and and effort to raise awareness for 350.org, a global change organization. Here is a quote from their site explaining their mission:

“350 Aotearoa is part of an international campaign to unite the world around solutions to climate change. Our mission is to inspire climate action in communities across New Zealand.”

Aaron Packard leaps off the diving platform at the 350 Birdman competition 24/1/11, Wellington, New Zealand

Aaron Packard leaps off the diving platform at the 350 Birdman competition 24/1/11, Wellington, New Zealand

The trick with shooting this type of event is to get in position. I was shooting along side a photographer from The Wellingtonian, and an event shooter from PhotoGeek. We were all based on the pontoon at the water level under the diving platform. One of the obvious challenges was to get something different- I tried shooting over the shoulders of the two kids who had already jumped which made for a fun composition:

Boy jumps at the 350 Birdman Competition

Boy jumps at the 350 Birdman Competition 24/1/11. Wellington, New Zealand.

One of the highlights for me was the fact that despite there were not people jumping continuously, there was a mellow vibe in the large crowd that gathered. They seemed fine to hang out and wait for the next competitor to pluck up the courage and get their costume together. I was surprised that so many of the competitors said the water was warm. I suspect that they were just saying that so more people would take part! I have wanted to see a Birdman event for a long time since seeing on TV as a boy. I was really glad today to finally see the event up close…

Parting shot: Luke Collins dressed in paper mache globe leaps mid air without the use of his arms to steady himself.

Parting shot: Luke Collins dressed in paper mache globe leaps mid air without the use of his arms to steady himself.

The list of sponsors reads as follows:

The event was produced by Capital Productions – click here to go to their site.

350.org also did a post about the day using one of the photos- click here to read their post.

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