Mave On The Move - Week 14

David M. Byrne

New Member
Hello again,

I like cities. I always have. Big, small, relaxed, busy, hot, cold, clean, dirty. It doesn't matter; there is something about them that appeal to me. I've always liked Sydney, one of the world’s great urban centres. I've liked it for as long as I can remember, & certainly from a time before I liked taking pictures. And now that I do – like taking pictures – I can say that Sydney is a real treat. Or it was for me. I've spent the last week & a bit here & have really enjoyed toting my camera here, there & everywhere. And what’s not to like, especially for a photographer? That natural harbour, rivalled on the world stage maybe only by Rio De Janeiro, itself an early 2013 Mave On The Move destination, needs no introduction; it’s as photogenic as it is famous, especially when the weather plays ball. I offer up no apologies for the fact that 5 of the 7 pictures I present here of Sydney, from days 92-99 of the trip, are taken in or around the aforementioned harbour and show either the iconic Harbour Bridge or Opera House. Nope, no apologies whatsoever. That’s just the way it is.

Picture 85, Day 92 – Opera House, Sydney, Australia. June 5th 2012

Sydney’s Opera House, a multi-venue performing arts centre, is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site & easily one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, opening in 1973 after a long gestation that had begun with his competition-winning design in 1957. Utzon received the Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honour, in 2003. The Pritzker Prize citation stated:

‘There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent.’

This is a picture I captured of a worker abseiling the distinctive sails of the Opera Houses’ roof - I think he was cleaning the roof tiles although he didn't seem to hang around, if you’ll pardon the pun, very long. It was captured in colour but I thought, given the overcast conditions, that it looked better as a monochrome image.

Picture 86, Day 94 – Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia. June 7th 2012

On day 94 of the trip I walked, as you do, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge & sat by the northern shore of the harbour in the Kirribilli district of the city. I sat there for a few hours watching the sun setting & the city lights springing into life. It was there, not long after sunset, that I captured this 10-second exposure image back across the harbour towards the Central Business District. I purposely captured a lot of sky in this image in an attempt to show the stars that were slowly lighting in the darkening sky. This picture, as well as the next, suffered badly when I reduced it’s resolution for display here – in full resolution both images are impressively sharp & a joy to look at!

Picture 87, Day 94 – Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia. June 7th 2012

Another 10-second, wide-angle image of Sydney Harbour & City Centre skyline at night from the North Shore Kirribilli district of the city. This dramatic view of the bridge, the harbour and the Opera House is ‘the’ iconic image of not only Sydney but also Australia itself. As a result everyone with a camera has a go at this shot - I certainly wasn't alone trying to capture this image (but I did seem to be the only one without a tripod).

Picture 88, Day 95 – Bridge Climb, Sydney, Australia. June 8th 2012

I'm a sucker for silhouettes; I like them just as much as I like reflections. This is a picture of climbers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge taken from the Manly Ferry as it departed Sydney Cove. The bridge is a steel through arch bridge that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the CBD and the North Shore. Nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design, the bridge, which opened in 1932, was designed and built during The Great Depression of the 1930s by British firm Dorman Long and Co. Ltd. of Middlesbrough. According to the Guinness World Records, it is the world's widest long-span bridge. A few other accolades? Ok, well it is the fifth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world & the tallest steel arch bridge in the world, measuring 134 metres (440 ft) from top to water level. Until 1967 the Harbour Bridge was Sydney's tallest structure so needless to say the views from it's peak are spectacular. I climbed the bridge when I was last in the city 9 years ago but didn’t feel the need to do it again.

Picture 89, Day 95 – Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia. June 8th 2012

Another silhouette image, this one of a swimmer on Manly Beach, one of Sydney's many beaches. Manly is a suburb of northern Sydney, about 17 kilometres north-east of the CBD. It’s a popular tourist destination featuring a long stretch of sand. But, & no offence to Manly residents, as a tourist it’s the trip here on the Manly Ferry that is the real highlight of a visit – the ferry offers amazing views, and thus photo opportunities, of the harbour & its iconic sights.

Picture 90, Day 95 – Opera Quays, Sydney, Australia. June 8th 2012

My trip to Sydney coincided with Vivid Sydney, billed as an after dark festival of ‘Light, Music & Ideas’. Various waterfront areas, structures & buildings were illuminated by immersive light installations and projections, all of which provided its fair share of photo opportunities. It brought the crowds out and this is a picture I captured of revellers on Opera Quays with the Opera House in the background.

Picture 91, Day 97 – Titanic Victims. The National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. June 10th 2012

Sydney is intrinsically linked to the sea so it just seemed appropriate that while I was here that I’d pay a visit to The National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, a museum dealing with, not surprisingly, all things maritime & Australia’s love affair with the ocean. The museum was hosting a Titanic exhibition to commemorate 100 years since its sinking in April of 1912. This is a picture I captured of the exhibit’s Memorial Wall which lists alphabetically the names of the 2,224 passengers & crew on board the doomed liner when it sank. This section of the Wall shows the names of some of those who perished in the disaster. I spent a lot of time playing around with this shot, so much so that people seeing me probably thought I was mad. I wanted to deliberately kept the dof shallow in an attempt to highlight the name of Edward John Smith, the Titanic’s captain.

What’s Next?
Asia, part II. We’ve spent the last 73 days movin’ through parts of Australia & throughout most of New Zealand. It has been a blast. Tomorrow, June 13th, is day 100 of the trip (there’s a milestone there somewhere I'm sure) & it also marks, totally unintentionally I might add, the day we return to South-East Asia. Back to heat… back to noise… back to sweat. In the morning we have a flight to the Indonesian island of Bali where we’ll spend a week, followed by a week in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. So you, avid Mave On The Move readers, can expect a big change of scenery for the next entry, just as I do. I’m looking forward to it. I hope you are too.

Before I go I’d just like to let you know that you can see a few more pictures from my time in Sydney by visiting the Sydney entry of my personal photography blog and of course, & as I always say, you can keep up to date with my present whereabouts by visiting the dedicated travel page of said blog. Oh, and any & all feedback on the above pictures would be much appreciated!

Until next time.

David M

It always amazes me how people have differing opinions on pictures... which of course is the beauty of photography, is it not? Your choice is probably my least favourite of the 7 I chose! I was actually debating whether to leave it out altogether. I do like the blurred figures & the Opera House structure in the background... but I just can't see past the ugly black speaker to the mid-right of the frame. It's the proverbial elephant in the room!
It doesn't disturb me. My eye flows through the image bottom right to the opera house via the figures and then back to them. I think the railing and the yellowish poles are enough of a focal lead to take you past the speaker. Even with your comment I see past it with ease. It'll be interesting to see what the others think.

Grace under pressure.

I like the sunset shots of the bridge, CBD and "Nuns in a Scrum". I went there during Vivid and left as it was so crowded and busy.