For the last couple of years I have been watching social media come alive around May & June with photos of iconic Sydney locations lit up with some of the most spectacular light displays. I’d added it to my ever growing list of things to do in the coming year and I’m so thankful that I got to experience this festival with Olympus and some of my favourite people.
Vivid Sydney is an annual event held in Sydney over three weeks in May & June each year. It’s a festival of light, music and ideas, featuring immersive light installations and projections including the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is an outdoor gallery of beautiful lighting sculptures, music, creative industry forums and more. The city and the Harbour come alive and it’s a sight I suggest everyone sees with their own eyes at least once in their lifetime. I was shooting Vivid with the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, kitted with my favourite lenses to use 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens (24-80mm f2.8 equivalent), 7-14mm f2.8 PRO Lens (14-28mm f2.8 equivalent) and 40-150mm f2.8 PRO Lens (80-300mm f2.8 equivalent).
Whilst in Sydney I learnt how to use the Live Composite feature, one of the most exciting features on the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which makes taking long exposure photography much easier and means you can create some pretty incredible shots in camera. Basically a live composite image is one made of several separate photographs that are combined in the camera over a period of time. In Live Composite mode the camera shoots a series of images continuously using the same exposure time. All the images are combined together into a single composite, in camera. The first image is used to record the ambient light. After the first exposure, only the brighter pixels in any following images are used. If nothing becomes brighter in the scene, nothing changes in the picture. Which makes it perfect for Star Trails, capturing street scenes with car lights and for capturing Sydney Harbour at Vivid Festival time. Basically if you don’t have live composite in camera like the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II does, then you would capture multiple images, then upload them to your computer and then stack them in a photo editing program. The Live Composite feature takes away all of that hassle and let’s you do it in camera and the results are pretty amazing.
The colours, quality and stability of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II are amazing. You can hand hold for upto 4 seconds. Which means you don't have to lug that tripod around everywhere (and for me - someone who bushwalks most weekends to waterfalls and along coastal headlands), this is next level amazing. It means my kit is lighter and i end up staying out shooting for longer. Most of the time i don't take my tripod with me anymore, as i can hand hold waterfall shots and moving water shots to get that flow affect, all without a tripod.
We stayed for 3 nights right in the Rocks, right in the middle of it all, everything was within walking distance, so sunrise and sunsets were also easy to capture (a quick roll out of bed and a glance out the window at the sky). I think i could have stayed for 2 weeks! There is so much to see and do at Vivid, i am definitely going back next year to spend some more time immersing myself in everything Vivid. There are quite alot of interactive displays that are worth spending some extra time at.
Below you will find some of the images I captured at Vivid Festival and over the weekend at Bondi and around Sydney.
I hope it inspires you to goto Vivid next year and capture some beautiful images yourself.