Vivid Sydney 2015

Hey y'all.

Been a (slight) while but life has been starting to fall back into place so I've found more time to take photos and edit them recently. Not going to lie, I feel quite deprived of photography as of late. I guess it's to do with the increasing load from Uni, and just the typical case of 'too-much-on-my-plate-syndrome' that I always seem to be suffering from. Sometimes I feel like I'm actually getting out of touch with my photography, and it bothers me. I've been trying to make more time to take photos, though this isn't always easy. But this time, I did!

Also, I had an excuse because it was Vivid Sydney time, once again.

All photos taken on the Nikon D7100 w/17-50mm f/2.8 Sigma lens.

Ever since the first Vivid I went to (all the way back in 2012), I loved it. It's one of my favourite times of the year (to be in Sydney) and makes me really appreciate this city. For such a popular city like Sydney, there really isn't a big 'festival' event that I enjoy as much as this (though, Biennale is a close second, too).

I guess there's something about the lights and the interactive installations (which are always my favourite). And although I'm never a big fan of the cold, Vivid always seems to make it acceptable (except when it rains). Despite the cold, despite the darkness, despite the exhaustion (especially after carrying around my tripod and camera all day), I still manage to find an entire new packet of excitement each time I approach a new installation. There's something about exploring all the installations and what they have to offer that always fills me with wonder.

But, before we go into detail about Vivid, a bit of detail about the pre-Vivid.

So, with the rest of the #selective crew, we decided to check out Milson's Point and take some Golden Hour and sunset photos (as well as some decent time-lapses). After meeting up in the morning, playing pool, and having a nice meal at Pepper Lunch, we finally made it to the location. And we were still heaps early.

So, we spent a large proportion of our time taking self-portraits.

"I need a new DP" a frequent quote

After taking a bajillion of these and finding boredom again, I tried a few jumping shots. Need I even say how embarrassing it was? There seems to be something always quite embarrassing about taking jumping shots over and over, but I did it regardless.

The most successful shot

... And of course, many failed attempts
I guess taking photos with friends around (who understand the nature of self-portraits and are also doing it too) makes it a lot more comfortable. Doing anything with friends around always seems more comfortable, really.

After a good hour-and-a-half, the sun finally decided to set, so we rushed to gather our timelapse gear and take a few decent long-exposures.

The night was quickly growing chillier, and as soon as it had gotten dark enough, we caught the ferry back to Circular Quay to meet up with some other photography friends and explore the night away.

I have to admit, this year's theme was to my liking. 2013's was also really great (I actually made a video of Vivid 2013, back in my day. You can watch it here). This years was quite... colourful. It was somewhat child-ish and seemed to have an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it (especially the projections on the Opera House).

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to watch the entire Opera House projections, or really explore the MCA and Custom's House ones either (mainly due to time shortages), but from what I saw, it seemed quite a unique touch.

This year's was generally filled with a lot of colour-pop and interesting animations. Kind of abstract, too, but enjoyable, too!

Spent most of our time taking landscapes and some long-exposures of the Opera House. Unfortunately didn't have many opportunities to take much street-photography (and my lens isn't exactly the most discrete, nor suited, for street-photography).

The colours!! So beautiful.

Also managed to take some videos with my DSLR and GoPro, here and there, though a large focus was on photography and long-exposures. I mean, I didn't lug my tripod around for nothing, you know? (Trust me, my arms ached the next day).

More MCA
So, according to our plan, we were to head up to Cahill Expressway and try and take a hyperlapse up there! I'd actually never been up to there, so it was exciting to check it out. It was a surprisingly nice location for some long exposures, and to generally have a nice, wide view of Circular Quay.

While LQ took the liberty (and great effort and time) to capture the hyperlapse, some long-exposures were taken on my camera with light trails from the streaming cars. Never really done many of these photos in the past, so was really excited to give it a shot! I'd always wanted to, but just never found the motivation or opportunity to stand next to a busy high-way and take photos. 

More proud of this shot than I ought to be
With the clock striking 10PM, we hustled our way quickly to Canon HQ, which had set up at Vivid this year. I'm told that Nikon and Canon regularly set up at Vivid, but this is the first year I've noticed it or entered inside.

Not going to lie, it was impressive.

My friend, LQ, actually had rented out gear from Canon HQ, so at 10PM we were to return it. We also took advantage of the 'free photo printing' system they had (which is such a great idea!!).

Needless to say, returning the equipment that LQ borrowed was a tearful goodbye. 11-24mm f/4, you will be missed dearly (once you see the wide angle, you can never go back).

"Every photo you want to take, LQ has probably already taken, and at a much wider angle" -- JV
The lens was beautiful. It truly was. Many screams of excitement were released into that night because of it.

Also managed to take my first DSLR panorama! I'd never tried stitching panoramas using DSLRs. I guess a main reason for that is because I never knew how to, but after a tip-off from Leo and a quick Google, oui-la! (Click on it for a bigger image!!)

The view from Cahill Expressway.
Regardless, it was a cold night (no clouds in the sky!) and we were pushed for time, but many laughs were had. Despite the (surprisingly high) number of people on a Tuesday night and the countless times we lost each other, it was a great night for catch-up and much long-overdue photography.
The saddest thing about Vivid 2015 is coming to terms with the fact that it'll be an entire year later before I get to experience this again. But, I guess till then, I'll wait with anticipation.

Bright lights, colour, and laughter with friends on cold nights truly warms the heart.

Have a great weekend.


  1. The colour in your photos are absolutely stunning! (I apologise if I've missed the main points because I don't speak photos haha)

    1. thank Sarah!! and pfffft you speak photo just fine ^^



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Hello! I'm a student from Australia. I like photography, am aspiring to be a Doctor, have fallen in love with many things that life has to offer, and hope to see more of it. I've been blogging for a while and over the years what it means to me has changed. Currently still trying to figure that out, but here I am in a weird hybridisation of photography, film, blogging, and the confusion of a young adult, you'll find me here writing about my experiences and life. Or whatever tickles my fancy. Whether that's entertaining or not is yours to decide. Stay hydrated, kids.