Sydney Vivid is a spectacular city wide light show that runs for two weeks in May and June each year. Vivid uses many iconic buildings as canvases, displaying colourful combinations and moving graphics across them. There are also many interactive elements to the event, with displays and stands set up in parks and buildings across the city.
The two main centres of Sydney Vivid activity are Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, although you can find other displays throughout the central city area, including Town Hall and Martin Place.
Sydney Vivid Darling Harbour Light Show
Darling Harbour hosts regular Vivid light shows after dark that use a combination of smoke, fire, water fountains and lasers that dance in time with a musical score created by electric music artists, The Presets. Nearby buildings including the Novotel Hotel and the Star City Casino are also in the act, lighting up in a variety of changing hues. There is also a renewable interactive light display in nearby Darling Quarter and an Antarctica themed light show at the Maritime Museum.
Starship Vivid Cruise
Another great way to experience Sydney Vivid is to take a Vivid Cruise. There are a variety of options available and most of them include a buffet dinner. This year we took a cruise on the Starship, a large glass windowed pontoon style boat that had a large open upper deck that was great for viewing closeup views of the Opera House and city skyline light displays. Our tickets cost $80 each on Groupon which got us a two and a half hour cruise and included a satisfactory buffet style meal.
Museum of Contemporary Art
During Sydney Vivid, many people make the walk up George Street to Circular Quay, where they are greeted by a various themed and interactive displays in the park and within the arts center. The real stars are the buildings however, the Museum of Contempary Arts and the Opera House are amazing, while the surrounding city scape provides a colourful background.
Nowadays everyone has a camera, of course. This type of photography presents challenges though. The Arts building is easy to photograph, as it is so big, but the highlight of the show, the Opera House was difficult to get right in such low light conditions from the best vantage points.
Sydney Opera House Vivid
I had a few people approach me and ask how to set their camera to get the best shots, but really the only way is to rest your camera on something stable, preferably a tripod. Even getting close to the buildings will give mixed results. Surprisingly, I saw better attempts with some of the latest phones compared to smaller cameras, maybe because the phones are tailored towards taking pictures in dark environments.
At each of the Sydney Vivid sites I visited in Circular Quay I took a short time-lapse movie. I set the camera to take a shot once every second, then slowed down the result by 50%. It gives an interesting overview of the different lighting effects used on the Opera House and Arts Building during the show.
Sydney Vivid Slowlapse
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