Best of Vivid 2016

Sydney Vivid 2016

G’day Travelers! It’s that time of year again where Sydney lights up for Vivid. I’ve been lucky enough to get there the last few years. But I’ve always said it’s so big it’s hard to see in one night.

This year was no different, being even bigger again, so I managed to organise a couple of nights to go down to Sydney to try to make the most of Vivid 2016. Unfortunately it was also the couple of days where the weather turned torrential, with rain and strong winds over the weekend.

That said, with dark and moody skies, I kicked off my Vivid exploration from Mrs Macquarie’s chair with an amazing view of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. I was kind of hoping their might be a break in the clouds and I’d get a sunset that would do something amazing, but it wasn’t to be.

I did manage to get a couple of photos of the harbour and the city that I liked as it go darker and the evening moved into blue hour.

Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016

Starting Mrs Macquarie’s chair, the plan was to walk back through the Botanical Gardens over to the Opera House and check out the new display’s in the Botanical Gardens, celebrating its 200th anniversary. However I didn’t realise that they locked the gates on that side of the garden at 5:30pm. I ended up having to walk the long way back around to the Opera House.

By the time I’d gotten back to the Opera House there was quiet a crowd built up and trying to get into the Botanical Gardens, which was to be expected. I spent a bit time trying to look for a gap in the crowd to get a decent photo of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then just like that, the rain started and the crowd dispersed and I managed get a spot along the railing to get my shots.

Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016

This was the first year that this side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up. In previous years it had been the other side, so it was good to take advantage of the new lighting configuration and get some unique shots of both the Opera House and Bridge in all their colour.

As the rain eased there was still quite a queue to get into the Botanical Gardens, so I ditched the idea of heading in there and getting some more photos. Instead I headed over to Circular Quay to get a couple of my favourite shots between rain showers.

Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016

Again it was good to get photos that featured the colours on both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. As well as the activity of the ferries moving around Circular Quay. It’s also great vantage point to get shots of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Once back down at street level it gets quite crowded with people.

The rain really kicked in when I was heading over to the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Luckily I did plan for it and brought an umbrella, but I was really focusing on trying to keep my camera gear dry, more so than myself. The rain broke briefly and I got a couple more shots of the Opera House. I’ve got a favourite spot on that side of the harbour, but for some reason access to it was closed off this year and I couldn’t get access to it. So I found this spot that wasn’t as crowded to get some shots.

Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016

With all the umbrellas around it was all but impossible to get photos of some of the smaller lighting installations. In fact the rain was so heavy at times that people were using them to try to keep dry. And I was trying my best to keep my camera’s dry.

Next stop was Martin Place. In previous years Martin Place had been decked out in an immersive world of light. This year they’d taken a little bit more of interactive approach with life sized arcade games, bars and food stalls. I manage to quickly grab something to eat between rain showers.

Vivid Sydney 2016

Originally the plan had been to get over to Darling Harbour in time for the 8:30pm Fireworks display. But with all the rain and stopping for shelter I didn’t quite make it in time. I did manage to make it there for the 9pm laser light show and got a few more photos before the rain really kicked in.

Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016
Vivid Sydney 2016

At that point I decided to call it and head home, as the rain showed no sign of slowing up for the rest of the evening.

The plan was to return Saturday was to go back and see the Vivid display at Taronga Zoo, Chatswood and get some photos from the Northern side of the Harbour. But with rain much worse and the wind howling not only did I have to abandoned my plans. But Vivid’s organisers had to scale down the light shows to just the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House to discourage people coming into the city.

So unfortunately that wrapped up my somewhat soggy trip to Sydney for Vivid 2016. It would have been nice to be able to spend a couple more nights down there and get a little more creative. I guess that will again have to wait for another year.

In the mean time you can check out some of my blog posts from my previous visits to Vivid

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About the Author: Rhys Vandersyde

Traveler, Photographer, Content Creator. I've spent the last 10 years exploring all over the world, but there is still plenty more to see.

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