Wellington, New Zealand, January 2015:  There was a “Birdman” competition on hosted by commercial radio station ZMFM- but the action at the nearby Taranaki Wharf jumping ramp was way more fun…

From Architecture.co.nz

Those “down with the kids” have been on and around this great piece of urban design all summer long. At this key pivot point in the city where the main “vertical” street in Te Aro (Taranaki Street) meets the horizontal wharf edge, crowds gather on all sides of an existing “cut” in the wharf to watch the general public jump – from five and eight metres – into the sea below. 

If approaching from a distance, and not knowing of the aperture, it appears as if people are throwing themselves from an Escher-esque staircase to the asphalt below – while surrounded by a chanting and cheering crowd. But sea spray – not blood – erupts among the crowd as the jumpers pass through the ground and hit the water. The result is theatrical, and crowds gather for a spectacle of twists, turns, bombs and the occasional belly flop. All leave with a grin (and perhaps droplets of sea water) on their face.

All images were made using a 50 year old Konica Auto S rangefinder (1963-1965) purchased a few years ago for $20. Notable for being the very first auto-exposure 35mm camera ever- (although of course I was was shooting in manual)- the ‘Auto S’ sports a sharp 47mm f1.9mm Konishiroku Hexanon lens, built in lens hood, reliable Copal SVA shutter (B-500th), and bright/accurate rangefinder. Film was bulk-roll Ilford Delta 100 developed in my kitchen with Ilford LC29, a drop of vinegar for stop, and semi crystallized “fix” that kind of did the job…


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