One Of The World’s Great Urban Centres That’s As Photogenic As It Is Famous
Atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge. June 8, 2012
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, the capital of the Australian state of New South Wales & one of the world’s great urban centres. This is my second visit here and first since 2003. Not much seems to have changed in those (almost) 10 years. There’s lot to do & see here; one could stay busy for a long, long time, if that’s your thing. But it’s also a great place to just do nothing and coming off a 6-week road trip around New Zealand that’s exactly what I did for the past week. Nothing, except take a few pictures. It was great. I loved every minute of it.
– Baz Luhrmann
Port Jackson || Sydney Harbour
Sydney for a photographer is a treat. What’s not to like? That natural harbour, rivalled on the world stage maybe only by Rio De Janeiro, needs no introduction; it & its iconic bridge & Opera House are as photogenic as they are famous, especially when the weather plays ball. I walked across the iconic Harbour Bridge one afternoon and sat by the northern shore of the harbour in the Kirribilli district of the city for a few hours watching the sun setting & the city lights springing into life. It was a simple excursion but it was, and will always be, a travel highlight. It was there, not long after sunset, that I captured the above and below pictures, both 10 second exposures captured exactly 1 hour apart.
– Bill Bryson, Down Under (In a Sunburned Country), 2000, pp80-81
Sydney Opera House
This is a picture I captured, on my first full day in the city, of a worker abseiling the distinctive sails of the Opera House roof. I think he was cleaning the roof tiles although he didn’t, if you’ll pardon the terrible pun, seem to hang around very long.
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:
Timing. 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 as I attempted to capture in the above picture of revellers on Opera Quays with the sails of the Opera House in the background.
Harbour Bridge, a.k.a. The Coathanger
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 did the BridgeClimb when I was last in the city in 2003 & didn’t feel the need to do it again.
I loved photographing the bridge and found it very photogenic. Of course I did. But it’s not to everyone’s liking.
– James Michener, Return to Paradise (1951)
Boasting over 100 beaches, including some of the most famous in the world, Sydney is almost unrivalled in the world for the number and quality of beaches available. Manly is just one of Sydney’s many beach suburbs. It is located in northern Sydney, about 17 kilometres north-east of Sydney Cove near the CBD.
– Baz Luhrmann
Back To Asia
Tomorrow I return to Asia. I’ve spent the last 73 days Australasia but tomorrow I’ll be on a flight to the Indonesian island of Bali. I’ll miss Sydney. Twice I’ve visited now but regardless, it’ll be staying, & will always be high up, on my bucket list.