Raindrops keep falling on my head.

Welcome back!

Did you get a chance to check out VIVID Sydney since my last post? Did you get as soaking wet in the rain as I did?

If you prefer your winter nights warm and dry, or you're just too far from Sydney to make the trip, I have another dose of Sydney's annual festival of light just for you.

Look Up.

My second Vivid experience of 2014 was a wet one. The night looked great upon leaving home for the city but quickly turned uncharacteristically sour for Sydney. Having tucked into a tasty dinner at Kansai with a friend and warmed up with some sake, I geared up and hit the road.

Despite the inclement weather, the streets were packed with people. And despite making the effort to brave the cold and wet, most of them remained sadly buried in their mobile devices.

I like people who smile in the rain.

The rain presented some unique looks on the spectacular vivid lighting, so I grabbed a couple of quick shots of my obliging model Josie before she sensibly bolted for the night.

Martin Place

Having missed it the first time round, I checked out Martin Place in the CBD.

We were treated to a nice laser show and great blue ambient light. Some interesting smaller installations and some great food were also squeezed into the usually quiet street.

Above and below pictures were taken hand-held with my non-weathersealed 50mm F/1.4, which has put up with plenty of abuse, and stood up well despite the rain. Despite being the cheapest glass in my kit, it's easily the most fun to use. Everyone should have a nice fast 50.

Take it all in.

A final shot for the second visit, from a far less serious lens - the 8-15mm F/4.0 Fisheye.

Some great light trails from the boats in the harbour, and even some cloud movement as the rain started to ease. You can also see the projector (centre frame) used to display the images on the opera house (at my back). A decent bit of kit to be sure!

By this time (around 11:30pm) I decided to call it a night, and retreated to the warmth of my car heater.

Warmth of a smile.

My third trip to Vivid was almost by accident. But put me on the right side of town, on a beautiful clear winter's night and I can't help myself.

And with smiles like these (from the lovely Sky Terrace promo girls) to warm the 9 degree night, I decided to check out the Darling Harbour light show.

Photographers - We're a peculiar bunch.

The clear Saturday night had photographers and punters alike swarming the City. I personally love the hustle and bustle of the crowds, and once again the trusty 50mm comes into its own.


Despite the build-up, I couldn't help feeling a little underwhelmed by the showing in Darling Harbour. Some flashy fountains and a great little animation projection onto the water mist if you were in the right spot (Unfortunately I wasn't, and wasn't patient enough to hang around another hour for the next show).

Even in shots like this though, the magnificent Sydney skyline steals the show, and there was even a few stars out!

Something I had to see though, and with that under the belt I trekked back over towards the coathanger.


Obviously not the only one with this little spot in mind (just by the Sydney Observatory), I decided to snap a few frames of the other creatives out for the night.

A testament to the low-light performance and single exposure dynamic range of the 5Diii, this slightly overexposed shot was taken at ISO 6400 and F/1.8.

As a demonstration, I've deliberately left the light falloff that's all too characteristic of the 50mm wide open, but this is easily corrected with in-camera lens profiles or in any decent post-processing suite (I use Adobe Lightroom 4). I did apply some light noise reduction through lightroom, and though the noise is still visible, it certainly doesn't cripple the image as is all too common.

In short, it lets me catch a bit more than silhouettes of my pitch black foreground without completely blowing out the bright lights of North Sydney.

And with everything dialed in just right, it means nice sharp shots like the one below.

A longer post this week so thanks for staying with me. As always, if you have any questions or tech spec queries, drop me a line in the comments below.


Dailed in.

  • Katrina MW

    on June 18, 2014

    Wow!! Amazing images!! A thousand times well done :o)

  • Nev O'Brien

    on June 12, 2014

    Great stuff!

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