After my initial coverage of the Vivid Sydney 2012 preview and opening night, it seemed that it had fallen off my agenda. Well, that is partly true, because I have other things I need to do, but at the same time, I have been building up some photos through the weeks, and now, just days before the close of the festival, I present my last photos of the wonderful show of light.
The 2012 festival has been very popular: most nights have seen countless people walking around Walsh Bay, Campbell’s Cove, The Rocks and Circular Quay, and I know some photographers have also taken the chance to run classes on night photography at Vivid.
The number of visitors poses challenges for many photographers: there are some approach others have taken, such as going bokeh-licious with close-ups of elements (a very valid method: it gives the crowded event a very peaceful and quiet feeling). Others opt to include human interaction, giving their shots a more documentary/street feel.
My personal approach is a bit more brute-force: go during periods of absolutely atrocious weather, and use very long shutter speeds (as explained, there are some caveats in regards to using long shutter speeds: it’s not an absolute solution and doesn’t work for all the artworks). In some instances, I boosted shutter speeds by using a ND filter.
This part of my coverage consists of two main sessions: one, where I used a Leica Elmarit-R 28mm on a tilt adapter and the Sony NEX-5, and the second, where I used my standard D700 + 17-35mm combination.
Going wide and getting in close is my preferred approach, so the majority of the shots were achieved with the latter combination, but the shots from the NEX-5 provide an alternative view of some of the artworks, and the real tilt effect doesn’t hurt either.
I deliberately skipped areas which I had covered already (such as Walsh Bay, the MCA projection and the Customs House projection), and in fact, as the festival went on, a number of artworks have gone down due to the weather, or from public abuse.
Overall, I am pretty happy with the results. Some of the shots actually look conceptual, which is a result of the long exposures, the effect of the artwork on the environment, and processing in Lightroom 4.1 (which allows a much more HDR-looking type image, even if it’s not HDR).
This year, my favourite artworks in terms of sheer colour gorgeousness are Seagrass (Kathryn Clifton, Martin Bevz), Pack Intelligence (Joe Snell), Digital Wattle (Angus Muir, Alexandra Heaney, Steve Ward, James Pendergrast) and Colour3 “Colour Cubed” (Mandy Lights).
[Over Vivid Sydney Facebook gallery] (includes Walsh Bay installations)