Photographing Sydney | A Night At The Rocks
Photographing Sydney | A Night At The Rocks
I recently flew to Sydney to photograph The Rocks. For a long time I have wanted to photograph the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and some of buildings in this historic part of Australia. It was an interesting experience not just as a photographer, but as a born and bred Aussie. I have visited Sydney many times, this was the first time I have chosen to stay at and explore The Rocks. It was absolutely stunning, with so much character and charm. I am really disappointed that I didn’t stay longer. Not just to get more photographs, but to dine at the restaurants, visit the museums, and explore the shops and markets. I also learned that the Sydney Opera House does not permit the use of the it’s image for any commercial means, which includes selling prints.
Yes, that’s right! If you want to photograph the Sydney Opera House with the intention of using the image for commercial use there are some things you need to be aware of. Personal photographs are allowed and even encouraged by the SOH. Although you’re not allowed to use the image commercially, unless you have a commercial or sponsorship association with SOH. I applied for a permit and they turned me down. They said that my images were ‘lovely’ and asked me how I planned to use them. I then forwarded an email stating that I wished to sell them through my Print Shop which is serviced through Pixels.com (aka Fine Art America). They said:
Thanks for getting back to me with this info. Unfortunately, we can’t permit the use of the Opera House’s image for any commercial means, which includes selling prints. However, you can use these images for personal use on your personal photography blog.
That means that I can place them in the blog, although I cannot sell them. It also means that most of the images of the SOH that you see for sale on websites have not been approved. The only terms and conditions they could direct me to was their Image and Filming FAQ section: http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/about_image_and_filmingfaq.aspx
My Sydney Hotel Was Spot On!
I chose to stay at The Holiday Inn Old Sydney. It was located right in the heart of the area and had a fantastic view over Circular Quay. I will definitely stay there again, the accommodation was great and the customer service was fantastic. I also stayed at The Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders in June and they also went above and beyond to make my stay wonderful. I always have such a great experience with them.
One Night Was Not Enough
I thought that I would be able to get a couple of good photographs and that would be enough. Once there I realised that one night would not be enough. Ideas started coming to me when I was walking around and framing my shots.
Don’t get me wrong I was totally in my element and was loving every minute of photographing The Rocks in Sydney. Although I would have loved to capture the landmarks from different locations and the blue hour is unfortunately over before you know it.
I Found A Love For Long Exposure Cityscapes
When trying new things as a photographer I always learn something unexpected. This usually relates to the technical aspect of capturing an image. This time it had to do with my photographic style. I am new to night photography and my big discovery of the evening was that I really enjoy taking long exposure cityscapes. The smoother the Sydney Harbour was the better. This highlighted the vivid colours stretching across the water and gave the images a sleek and metallic feel.
How Did I Edit The Images
For the images shot before the blue hour I mainly opened up the shadows, took down the highlights and added a little sharpening and clarity. I did add a little split tone to one image.
With the night shots I created a preset in Adobe Lightroom. I applied it to all of the Sydney Harbour Bridge images bar one. I applied the same preset to my Sydney Opera House night image. Although I did make some slight adjustments afterwards.
When editing the photograph of Cambell’s Cove Jetty I had to work a little harder. There was a lot of noise in the image. I had to edit the sky with brushes and graduated filters to get the stars to stand out and the sky to darken.
It would have been great to capture this image during the blue hour. I will put that on the list for my next visit, which hopefully will be some time early next year.
Sydney Photo Gallery