A few weeks ago we came across an event listed in Facebook for a new and previously unknown lantern festival including a giant lantern dragon. Myself and Rena – the more attractive half of Clan Tan – jumped at the opportunity to host a Fuji X Aus night shoot. After doing a little research, it turns out that the event was called Light Up Melbourne. It was held along Birrarung Mar which is the broad pathway between Federation Square and the North Bank of the Yarra river.
First, we set the meetup point at the front of Federation Square at the Swanston Street end. The number of people that were in the city when I arrived was crazy. I rarely go into the city at night time, but I was a little shocked just by the volume of people. Some were going to the football, others were obviously heading to the lantern festival. Public transport, traffic and parking were at a peak, and as a result, a few of those joining us were quite late in arriving.
We made our way down from the meeting point to come across the lantern festival. We were greeted by two large panda lanterns at the front gate. It was clear that with the number of people before us, staying together would be impossible. So we set a meeting point and a time for everyone to regroup. This proved wise as we were quickly scattered and caught in the flow of people. The area had probably around 10 giant lanterns – all with a very Chinese theme throughout the area. There was also a broad range of vendors selling Asian street foods. I really wanted to enjoy the food, but the queues were huge, and the sheer press of people made it impossible to do anything other than shuffle forward a few steps at a time.
I found myself feeling quite claustrophobic but still managed to get around the entire venue and see all of the lanterns on display. They were very impressive but to get close to get a clear shot was limited by all the iPhones held high in front of me. We all met back together as agreed and then made our way back up to Federation Square and the bar Beer Deluxe. We grabbed a couple of tables and enjoyed some refreshments while debriefing about the shoot. And, as always, it was great to catch up with old friends and talk shop. Everyone commented on just how packed the event was. It is a pity they did not use up more of the space along the river to help thin out the crowds. Perhaps the event organisers didn’t realise just how seriously Melbourne takes events like this. Happy shooting. Hope to see you next time.