Several cities around the world are defined by a single building or structure. Paris and the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge and Sydney and its Opera House. Because of this strong association, the convenient location of our hotel and the terrible summer heat wave, I did little else in Sydney other than make short excursions exploring various views of the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Opera House Up Close and Personal
More than a dozen guards walk around the Sydney Opera House, patrolling the area. When photographing such a popular tourist site with a tripod, the serious photographer seldom asks for permission. Rather you go for it and hope not to be asked to leave or put the tripod away. Surprisingly, no guards asked me to pack it up. After it was abundantly clear none of the guards cared about me or my tripod, I asked them about this policy. Both guards gave basically the same answer. It is the Aussie way to not get too concerned about such small matters.
Contrast this friendly Australian attitude to Albuquerque, NM where a Bank of America guard came out of the bank building to tell me I could not take photos within 500 feet of his bank along scenic RT66, or Millennium Park in Chicago where all tripods are totally banned. This more laid back attitude is just one of the traits which made our Australian visit so pleasant.
The ceramic gold and the blue roof colors are possible due to the warm sunlight being reflected onto the center roof and the closer blue roof being in the shade. The complex design of the roof was just one of the construction problems surrounding this project. Construction took 14 years, from 1959 to the official completion in 1973.
The Sydney Opera House is in phenomenally great shape, especially considering its age. So many famous structures we have visited, for example those built by Santiago Calatrava, quickly show their age and are in need of repair. But not so with the Opera House. No tiles are cracked and it still looks bright and new.
In the Bridge Walkers photo above, notice the bumps on the top rail of the bridge structure. These are tourists who pay $363 to walk across the bridge, one way, on the top beam. Reservations are necessary. I considered this and would likely have done this walk until I read no cameras are allowed. You cannot carry anything across for fear of dropping items on the traffic below. This is a good rule since such a drop would seriously hurt my camera. Since it all comes down to the photograph for me, I did not do the special walk on the beam, just on the sidewalk.
Sydney Opera House from Across the Harbor
Some private residences were directly behind me at this photo location. What wonderful views these people have of the Sydney skyline and fireworks on those special occasions.
Walking across the bridge it is apparent how very busy this harbor is. All types of boats are going up and down this harbor and public transportation ferries provide rides from the left and right in the photo. Due to the summer heat, we took one of these boats back across the harbor after our bridge walk.
The Luna Amusement Park is the main tourist attraction across the harbor from the Sydney Central Business District. This park is closely surrounded by many high rise condos with balconies. While these homes would certainly have nice views, it would seem to me the endless carnival music and screams would get a bit tiring after awhile. Or maybe I’m not yet into the laid back Aussie attitude.
Around the Harbor
There are a few entertainers along the harbor walk, as well as this busy painter. He had a donation box requesting all photographers to contribute to defray the cost of this massive painting. He was busy so I did not ask the numerous questions I had. Is this 25 foot painting already sold? Who would buy a painting of such a size? Wouldn’t the fresh oil paint smear when it gets rolled up each day?
To show we were not the only ones bothered by the heat, the photo below shows people did what they could to get out of the sun, like crowding into the shadow of the tall, thin opera house sign. We learned the following day that Arnold Schwarzenegger was on the wharf posing with people and shaking hands. Too bad we were enjoying the comforts of the air-conditioned hotel room.
The Opera House in the Early Morning Hours
Over a month later we would see this very same cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska.
So goodbye to the Opera House. It would be nice to return one day and photograph the fantastic firework displays on New Year’s or some other occasion. But for now I feel I have thoroughly explored the famous building from every angle. We even saw it lit up for St. Patrick’s Day during our March visit.