Just So Festival

A festival aimed at families where we get to camp in the beautiful Kaitoke Regional park and take part in all sorts of events including a madcap tribal tournament? Sounds great! The inaugural New Zealand edition of the Just So Festival took place over the last weekend of February and we had a blast :)

We had left work early so we would have time to put up our tent and get settled before the festivities started at 5pm on the friday night. There were no queues and plenty of parking and from the car it was a short walk over to find our friends and pitch our tent. Once we had somewhere to sleep and everyone was ready it was time to head over to the festival site.

That evening and over the next couple of days we danced, crafted, paraded, rested, ate, marvelled, collected golden stones, played, talked, sang, dressed up, roasted marshmallows, chased bubbles, went inside bubbles, pillow fought and smiled. Hopefully you’ll see below some of the enjoyment and wonder that we experienced. We can’t wait for the next one!

Puppet dinosaur feeding

Puppet dinosaur feeding with String Bean Puppets

Learning some circus skills

Learning some circus skills

Campfire tales

Campfire tales

Kakapo shenanigans

Kakapo shenanigans

Misty morning camping

Misty morning camping

Conga line!

Conga line!

Dress up fun

Dress up fun

Festival buddies

Festival buddies

The lantern parade

The lantern parade

Campfire marshmallows

Campfire marshmallows

Fire dancing

Fire dancing

Inside camp curious

Inside Camp Curious

Inside a bubble

Inside a bubble

Checking out the aliens

Checking out the aliens

Knocked over by Fraser Hooper

Knocked over by Fraser Hooper

The penguin tribe leader

The penguin tribe leader

Pillow fight time!

Pillow fight time!

Let the feathers fly

Let the feathers fly

Tribal tournament

Tribal tournament

Supermoon and Mark Gee

Facebook has certaintly helped increase my knowledge of all things astrophotography, largely through membership of different groups and seeing the photos others share and their stories about how the images were captured. One of the stars of the New Zealand (and world) astrophotography scene is Mark Gee and as luck would have it he’s a Wellington resident and a member of many of the groups I frequent. Recently a new group was created for Wellington Aurora Hunters and last weekend Mark posted a message looking for some volunteers to help him with a little project he had planned. I checked with Keryn and then volunteered us (actually it may not have happened in that order…).

Sunday evening saw us arriving at a secluded car park on the Miramar peninsular to find half a dozen people standing around. Shortly after our arrival Mark took the group on a short walk up to a couple of water towers and he explained his plan. We were to be walk on photographers for a short movie based around the rising of a supermoon. With everyone understanding what we needed to we had 45 minutes or so to wait. It was a beautiful and calm evening so Keryn, Alayna and I headed down to Miramar and grabbed some fish and chips which we then consumed on the hillside while we waited for the moon to appear.

The rising supermoon

The rising supermoon

Soon enough Mark was recording and directing via a 2-way radio and I was the 5th to walk into the scene. Alayna wasn’t impressed with me leaving our little picnic and expressed her displeasure so a quick conversation was had over the radio and Keryn got the go-ahead to bring Alayna into the shot. And that’s how our little family became part of the film.

Photographers Moonrise from Mark Gee on Vimeo.

Naturally we got to meet some fellow members of the Wellington Aurora Hunters group. Keryn had a good chat with Sally while I chased Alayna around the sealed area next to the water towers.

Ready for the chase

Ready for the chase

Then Sally made a friend for life by showing Alayna her bubble gear and producing a succession of giant bubbles for Alayna to marvel at and chase. The bubbles also became the subject of many photos as the evening turned to night.

Giant bubble!

Giant bubble!

Bubbles over the harbour

Bubbles over the harbour

I also got a few shots of passing aircraft, the fading sunset and the glowing lights of Wellington. All in all it was a great afternoon and evening.

Coming in to land

Coming in to land

Looking South

Looking South