My image has appeared in Radar section of October 2016 issue of JetWings International, the in-flight magazine of Jet Airways (International sectors).
Waterfront Wonder – Opera House, Sydney
The infamous 1966 fallout of Australian Government’s project in-charge, Davis Hughes, and designer/architect Jorn Utzon, who envisioned the landmark Sydney Opera House, is widely known as ‘Malice in Blunderland’. Seven years later, Queen Elizabeth finally inaugurated the structure in October 1973.
Today, it is one of the busiest performing arts venues in the world with over 1,500 performances annually in its multiple theatres. Over eight million people visit this landmark annually. An unusual fusion of innovation and creativity in architecture and structural engineering, this Sydney icon was accorded a UNESCO World Heritage Site listing in 2007.
In Travel Photography, nightscape is a desirable shot. Many-a-times, for lack of a vantage or opportunity, it doesn’t work out so well. Not so for my visit to Sydney. Even before booking a hotel, I went to Google Maps and figured out a hotel with a great vantage, as being there would surely accord me the opportunity. Shangri-La passed muster and that’s where I went.
Here’s a 10-sec exposure, shot from the 33rd floor of Shangri-La that gave a superb view of both, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House (How I got a room on the 33rd floor is another story and you may read it here). I opted for long exposure since I wanted the ISO to be at 100 (the least). Additionally, I was clear that long light trails of traffic on the Harbour Bridge are a must!
ISO – The Dilemma
It is always a dilemma you face – to increase the length of exposure by keeping ISO low or to reduce the length of the exposure by pumping up the ISO, depending on which is likely to give you lesser noise. There are no easy answers. You just need to shoot and figure it out. Though personally, I veer more towards keeping the ISO low, you may take your own call.
Any suggestions that you may have on the ISO issue, are welcome!
While we face our summers, Melbourne down under is braving a wet, cold spell. One of the few remaining cities in the world where you still can ride a streetcar (i.e. a tram), local authorities also run the city circle streetcars free for tourists.
In fact, the streetcar network here is the largest in the world, followed by St. Petersburg, Berlin, Moscow and Vienna.
When compared with the other large cities across the globe, Melbourne is one of the youngest; it was founded in 1835. While you walk about, you’ll spot many period buildings. But what stands out is almost-maverick, contemporary architecture.
Glancing around Federation Square, on one hand you will spot heritage buildings like Flinders Street Station and St Paul’s Cathedral, while on the other, you’ll see zany buildings like SBS Studios and Eureka Tower (tallest building in Australia).
Economist Group’s Intelligence Unit has adjudged Melbourne the most livable city in the world in 2011 and again in 2012. Considering the lifestyle and leisure it offers, it is no surprise.
If you are fond of classical arts and other assorted indoor entertainment, Melbourne offers the Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne Recital Centre, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Comedy Theatre, Athenaeum Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, and many more. It is also the home of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
For the sports lover, Melbourne will again prove to be delightful as it hosts the Australian Open (one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments), the Melbourne Cup (horse racing) and the Australian Grand Prix (Formula One). Additionally, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is always on the cricket calendar, no matter which cricket-playing nation is touring Australia.
I love seafood. The docklands area (the port) boasts some of the most-exquisite seafood fine dining in that part of the world. In fact, chefs who routinely act as guest judges in the popular reality show – ‘Masterchef Australia’, run many of these restaurants. And the view from these restaurants is to die for.
For children and adults alike, a day’s excursion to Phillip Island is a must. Though an island, it has now been connected to the mainland by a bridge. Once there, the place offers myriad fun experiences – speed boat ride to seal island, penguin parade on the beach at dusk, learning how to use a boomerang, riding a sturdy stallion or an ostrich, koala and wallaby spotting, etc.
And for those who may not have a day, a half-day trip to the Melbourne Zoo will suffice to see the local favourites like the kangaroo or the koala.
If you are bargain-hunting types, do not miss Queen Victoria market. Fifty per cent of the market is overflowing with fresh produce, with bountiful offerings of fruit, vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood and delicatessen products each with its own precinct in the market. The other half of the market is dedicated to clothes, home ware, café’s and specialty goods.
The city is gracious to its artists. There are many streets here, which allow street art like stencils, paste-ups and murals. Most notable of these streets are Hosier and Rutledge Lane, near Federation Square.
While all this makes Melbourne charming, the cherry topping is the river that flows through the city – Yarra. Calming walks along its banks in well-laid out gardens will be a welcome change for anyone, even in the unhurried pace of Melbourne. This capital city of Victoria is certainly worth a relaxed visit for anyone with wanderlust.
Travelove Series is about the smiles I have gathered during my travels. I consciously look for Travelove during my travels.
Travelove Series 8 – Smokeless Upgrade
I was heading out to Sydney. It was my first visit to Australia. As a travel photographer, I wanted to stay in a hotel that provided me vantage for shooting the Harbour Bridge and Opera House together.
My research threw up Shangri La as a perfect vantage. While booking my room, I made a specific request for a ‘Smoking’ room with a view, mentioning it was important for me, as I am a photographer. I received the booking voucher but it was silent on my request. I followed it up with another mail, repeating my request. Still, I received no response.
Soon, it was time to travel. Upon arrival there, I repeated my request at the check-in counter, only to be told that throughout Australia, the hotels do not allow smoking in the rooms. Apparently, it was because of the government regulation.
While I understood the law of the land, what I protested about was their complete lack of response to my request. The check-in lady went through my booking and earlier requests. She realised that the hotel had not responded.
To make up for this lapse, I was upgraded to one of their higher floors. I did not get a ‘Smoking’ room. But, she gave me a room on 33rd floor that offered the best view of the two landmarks. It accorded me the opportunity to photograph these iconic structures any time during the day and night. And made my 3-day stay there really worthwhile.
Every time I see any of my Sydney images, I end up blessing that considerate front office girl at Shangri La.
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