Day +38: Vivid Sydney, a photographer’s dream (or nightmare)?

The Vivid Festival is a festival of lights, held in Sydney once a year, at this time. For the first time, the festival has spread beyond the Rocks and the Opera House, with displays in Darling Harbour and Chatswood. I covered Chatswood in an earlier post, and last night, we made the journey into the city for a photographic exploration of Vivid Sydney. And so did everybody else in Sydney.

Let’s start off with the “standard photos”, like this one of the Opera House:


A few points:

  • I didn’t have a tripod with me (although that could be problematic- see the next point)
  • There were SO MANY people but absolutely NO ORDER. People were pushing each other trying to squeeze through the crowd, and people who found a good vantage point seemed to just stay there forever. This is one of my pet peeves: find a nice view, take the shot, and move on. Don’t loiter. People were loitering. And Sydney needs to take a few lessons from the folks at Disney when it comes to crowd control

So, I tried to get a few “normal” photos, but I gave up quickly, because I was not happy with the aesthetics (lack of a stable support, people pushing, slow shutter speeds resulting in blurred photos…). There were some very enthusiastic people who lugged their tripods through the crowd, and set up their rigs in the middle of the road- hopefully not too many heads in their pics!


So, the option was to either take some fairly mediocre images (with probably the same composition as everybody else, including those who don’t own a pro DSLR), or to use a different perspective or technique. I decided on the latter, and came up with the following:

vivid4  vivid5 vivid6 vivid7

Here’s a standard, very average photo of a light display. Tons of people, and no chance of getting anything decent:


So, I made a conscious decision to alter the photo by incorporating a slow shutter speed and therefore blur, whilst zooming the lens during the exposure. I prefer this photo much more:


Overall, it was an interesting outing. Finished off in a rather unpleasant manner when a crazy Asian lady ran at full speed with a double stroller, at my family, pushing them whilst racing to try and get on the train. Needless to say, it didn’t end well for her. Wait in line next time!