5 Jun 2014

Vivid Sydney Memories in 5 Years

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, Sydney Opera House
Lighting the Sails - Vivid Sydney 2009

Vivid Sydney is one of the largest events being held every year at Sydney.  It's one of my anticipated events every year.  I've been attending straight for 5 years now since it inaugurated in 2009.  As the years gone by, there are many things to see and new attractions that pulled many visitors.  The ideas and creativity make you wonder: How did they thought of that!

Vivid Sydney is a light show organised at different locations in Sydney.  It all started at Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and some buildings that surround the area.  The vicinity became fully alive at night with interesting colours to capture everywhere.  


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, Sydney Opera House, 2009
The Rays That Sails 2009

There were only a few spots and some buildings that had lights in them.  The Museum of Contemporary Arts is one of the main attractions back in 2009.  It featured stationary patterns, colours and textures.  


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, Museum of Contemporary Arts, 2009
Museum of Contemporary Arts - Vivid Sydney 2009

Vivid Sydney 2010 had a variety.  Aside from additional buildings with lights, people now had lights in them.  They walk around Circular Quay and anyone is free to take photos of them or with them.  It's an interesting concept.  I got photos of them as they chat and pose for people.  My friends enjoyed this one as the lights illuminated them at night.  


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, people with lights, 2010
Couple in Pink, 2010


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2010, people with lights
Lighting Illusion, 2010

The sad part is after 2010, I don't see people with lights any more.  It's an interesting concept and each participants, every year, can think of another costume or theme that could add to Vivid Sydney.  I wish they can still be seen this year.

One of the things I enjoyed was the walk at Macquarie Street leading to St Mary's Cathedral.  They put many lights in that the street was in different colours.  Some buildings at Macquarie Street had lights in them, much light the Sydney Opera House.  The had lights in them that made it alive at night.


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2012, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Lights, 2010



But what I really love is lighting up the Cathedral.  It's where they put light patterns at St Mary's Cathedral.  The patterns were beautiful and fit the structure of the Cathedral.  But if you look closely, each pattern tells a story.  There are also sound effects that compliment the lights.  The whole light show is a story!  But sadly, like the people with lights, St Mary's Cathedral only participated once.  It didn't happen again... hopefully it happens again :)


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2010, St Mary's Cathedral, Macquarie Vision
The Maquarie Vision at the Cathedral, 2012


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2010, St Mary's Cathedral, Macquarie Vision
Maquarie Signature at St Mary's Cathedral, 2012

The buildings and areas that participated expanded.  In 2011, the Custom House became an attraction.  It features patterns taken from the building with various graphics.  I love watching the graphics as it spreads around the architecture of the building.  This is very convenient to Vivid Sydney goers as it's just across the street from Circular Quay.  It features colourful patters with matching sounds, much like what St Mary's Cathedral was.


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, Custom House, 2011
Custom House Pattern 2011

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, Custom House, 2011
Custom House Colors 2011

In 2011, this is were I'm fed up a bit with Vivid Sydney.  Probably because there were only a few new lighting ideas.  They're not exciting enough to pull me in.  Some people were always excited.  I don't know.  I just wasn't into that shooting frenzy back in 2011.  It shows in my photo collection having to capture just a few photos and went to a few places in Vivid Sydney 2011.  

In 2012, excitement went in my veins again!  I don't know.  I was just being pulled back to Vivid Sydney.  Probably the excitement-droop I felt last 2011 just went away.  I was excited and wanted to maximise this experience again.  I was so excited, I even shot photos even when it's raining cats and dogs:


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2012, projector, Sydney Opera House, raining
Vivid Rain at Vivid Sydney 2012
The most eye catching for me that year is that the patterns are already moving.  The patterns from the Sydney Opera House, Custom House and Museum of Contemporary Arts are moving like a show.  You're like watching a movie as the patterns transitioned from one design to the next.  Unfortunately,  I don't have an equipment to capture these moving patterns.  But I'm very keen on recording them.  Since I had no equipment, I just shot each pattern with still photos.

What I've also noticed as well, the patterns seemed very much alive.  They are more saturated than ever.  The patterns have more details that it was before.  You can see it distinctly.


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2012, Custom House, light pattern
Custom House Light Patterns 2012


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2012, Museum of Contemporary Arts, light pattern
Museum of Contemporary Arts Lighting Pattern 2012


In 2012, all the patterns I saw tell a story.  They are motion graphics and it's not boring to watch.  In previous Vivid Sydney events, the patterns are usually still.  They only have a brief transition, slides from Powerpoint transition better.  But in 2012, they promote moving patterns.  Most known structures such as the Sydney Opera House, Custom House and the Museum of Conservatory Arts have moving patterns on them.  If they can, they also incorporate sound to give depth in the experience.  It's like watching a short clip :)

2013 is probably my most photographed event in the last 5 years of Vivid Sydney.  I went 4 times in the event until late.  I wanted to cover as much area as I can and capture as many images in that area.  I'm so addicted, I don't know why.  

In my first day, I went straight to Circular Quay to see the Sydney Opera House.  It's not only me who was excited, many are.  We have difficulty finding a spot - you need to find and fight for your spot!  There are many photographers all over.  There are many visitors all over!  My friends and I went straight towards Hickson Road Reserve.  This is where we found our spot, and where the rain is starting to threaten.


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House
Cloud Visits Vivid Sydney 2013
The patterns that cover the sails is probably my most favourite among Vivid Sydney.  They are colorful, vibrant, moving and interesting to watch.  I tried to catch as much distinct patterns as I can.  There are so many and it might give justice if I taken a video of it.


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, blue, purple
Blue and Purple Streaks, Vivid Sydney 2013

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, hologram
Holographics, Vivid Sydney 2013

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, spring design
Spring Style, Vivid Sydney 2013

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, woven colors
Woven in Color, Vivid Sydney 2013

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, gadget
Gadget Light, Vivid Sydney 2013

This year, Sydney Opera House even features two faces of Luna Park.  Both are among the most interesting patterns ever featured at the sails, IMHO.

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, Luna Park, face
Face of Luna Park 1, Vivid Sydney 2013

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, Lunar Park, face
Face of Luna Park 1, Vivid Sydney 2013

I wanted to take photos of the Harbour Bridge lights.  I went to Luna Park. This area gives you a distinct perspective of the bridge, towering a much smaller Sydney Opera House.  If you're going to use this as a vantage point, below is a general view.

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Luna Park
Harbour Perspective, Vivid Sydney 2013

Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, one side
Only One Side is Lit, Vivid Sydney 2013

I can say the following:

  • Only one side of the bridge is lit
  • The lights on the bridge are controlled by a panel just outside Luna Park
  • There were no lights under the bridge
  • Also try Blues Point Reserve
  • You can't take photos inside Luna Park

Kirribilli is one of my favourite venues to shoot Sydney CBD.  It's awesome panoramic view including both the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House is spectacular.  For Vivid Sydney, you'll be limited to Luna Park's area as only one side of the bridge is lit.  There are no lights under the bridge.  Also try Blues Point Reserve to even out the perspective distortion of the Harbour Bridge.

I also upgraded my camera this year (2013) yeah!!  One of the most notable features is the addition of video capture.  I did have several videos of Vivid Sydney 2013, but it's not as professional as presented by others.  YouTube would be a better resource to find good videos of Vivid Sydney  :)  


Philip Avellana, Australian Landscape Photographer, Vivid Sydney, Event, CBD, NSW, New South Wales, Australia, lighting, long exposure, 2013, light pattern, Darling Harbour, light show, water show
Light and Water Show at Darling Harbour, Vivid Sydney 2013
My most enjoyable view is at Darling Harbour.  'Entertainment' better describes it.  That time, Darling Harbour hosted a light and water show every hour.  A spectacular arrangement of water bursting and light movements synchronized to awe the audience every hour.  I love  the show.  I'd suggest going on Saturdays because Darling Harbour has a fireworks display that day.  

Vivid Sydney is here again in 2014.  I expect more entertainment, more lights and more shows.  Looking at Vivid Sydney website, there are a couple of promising events.  I love the light show and fireworks display at Darling Harbour, the lighting of the Harbour Bridge and the many lights that go on at Circular Quay (including the Sydney Opera House).  It seems that Martin Place have lights too!

Aside from the lights, there are many events for Music and Creative Seminars.  A big part of the music industry livens this event with many local artist performing.  There are foreign artists as well.  I love the creative seminars.  It's a talk or forum regarding ideas, research and development, science, innovation and everything.  The ideas are modern and timely.

If you're planning on visiting or if you're around Sydney, it's best to participate in any one of these events.  This year's Vivid Sydney is from May 23 - June 09, 2014.  There are plenty of information in Vivid Sydney Website.

As a photographer, I'm really into those lights!

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