Vivid Sydney, a Festival of Light, Music and Ideas. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Memories: Capturing the Illuminated City at Vivid Sydney

Capturing the illuminated city at Vivid Sydney, a festival of light, sound and ideas was a great excuse to visit my old hometown of Sydney. The city is just as beautiful as ever.

While I’m not really into long exposures on tripods these days – well, unless it’s a restaurant photo shoot – it was fun to capture the stunningly illuminated city while covering this festival of light, sound and ideas. The lighting installations were spectacular, particularly the one projected onto Sydney Opera House, pictured above.

What really took me by surprise was not just how many people were out looking at the brilliant displays, but how many people were wielding tripods! I didn’t know Sydney had so many photographers with so much great gear.

Just as incredible as how many there were was how enthusiastic they were about capturing the illuminated city and its vibrant and highly creative installations.

There was everything from point-and-shoot cameras on dinky tripods and iPhones on various mounts to enthusiasts with mid-range DSLRs and sturdy tripods sharing tips as they snapped away at this Sydney icon with a new set of clothes. Photographers were showing each other the backs of their cameras and sharing tips as they made their exposures and some cases sharing equipment. Casual visitors taking in the event would look at the backs of the cameras stunned and often asking how the photographer was capturing that.

It was wonderful to see how a public event can capture imaginations and inspire such creative participation in a city’s people. If you’re a keen photographer and thinking of visiting Sydney, mark your calendar, it’s a great time of year to visit this beautiful city.

Details: Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 D Nikkor @ F5.6 @ 0.6th second @ ISO800. Camera was on a tripod and shutter was cable released.

Vivid Sydney

We visited Vivid Sydney as guests of Destination NSW


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Terence Carter is an editorial food and travel photographer and infrequent travel writer with a love of photographing people, places and plates of food. After living in the Middle East for a dozen years, he settled in South-East Asia a dozen years ago with his wife, travel and food writer and sometime magazine editor Lara Dunston.

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