Fireworks over Sydney harbour

Earlier this month, Sydney Harbour hosted naval boats from all around the world as part of the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review. The event was held to commemorate the centenary of the Navy’s first arrival into Sydney Harbour, and thousands of people flocked to vantage points all around the harbour to see the boats sailing in through the heads.

On one of the final nights, a spectacular fireworks show was staged, with several barges in the harbour setting off simultaneous displays of colourful sparks. I am biased of course, but I truly believe that there is no better backdrop for fireworks than Sydney Harbour.

sydney at night

It was my first time trying to photograph fireworks, and after doing a little bit of research, I knew that I needed a sturdy tripod and an exposure of around 1 to 2 seconds. Another article mentioned focusing manually, since the automatic focus would find it very difficult to find a focus point.

The result was a lot of duds, some of which were over-exposed at first before I pulled back the shutter speed. Others were poorly timed with the setting off of the fireworks, so I didn’t capture the full explosions. Many weren’t quite as sharp as I’d like. It’s rather difficult trying to manually focus through a tiny little view finder!

These were some of the better ones.sydney fireworks sydney fireworks

After around half an hour of fireworks display, the air was thick with smoke, but it beautifully reflected the colours in the air.sydney fireworks smoke

Sydney puts on a good show, doesn’t it?

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Vivid Sydney’s festival of lights

After a few years regrettably missing Vivid Sydney, this time I made a concerted effort to check out this year’s transformation of Sydney’s iconic buildings into canvases for lights and art.  [Working out in the suburbs, rather than the city, means that this sort of stuff requires a special effort!]

With nice balmy evenings and a festival vibe not far off new years eve, it was good fun wandering around and checking out some of the light/art installations dotted around Circular Quay and the Rocks.  Many of them required audience interaction, and the lights would dance to human movement.

vivid sydney harbour bridgeVivid Sydney Opera Housevivid sydney opera houseThe event was truly a photographer’s paradise, and I joined many others with their big tripods jostling for a good position to capture the spectacular light displays.

vivid sydneyvivid sydney customs house vivid sydney customs houseSometimes I forget how wonderful it is to live in this artistic city.  Sydney knows how to rock a festival!

Onesie funsie

Last weekend, I rallied my mates together for a pub crawl around my suburb of Balmain, but with a twist.

We dressed up in colourful onesies (alright, it was an excuse to again wear the onesies from our Canada ski trip!), visiting nine of the best local drinking establishments.  We drew a fair bit of attention from the Balmain locals, with quite a number of passing cars giving us a friendly beep as they drove past.

onesiesonesie pub crawlpolka dot onesieanimal onesiespolka dot onesie wedge moOf course, wearing a onesie and consuming many beverages is not an ideal combination, so toilet stops were a bit awkward, especially for us ladies.  It wasn’t particularly graceful or appealing having a pile of fleece around your ankles when you really needed to go.

One of the highlights of the onesie crawl was my friend Steve’s reciting of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart speech at the Sir William Wallace hotel, while standing on a bar stool.

braveheart william wallace onesiebalmain onesie pub crawlbalmain onesie pub crawlcow onesie

The night ended rather messily at the London Hotel, probably much earlier than a typical Saturday night, at around 9pm.  However, considering that we started the day at midday, then it was a long enough session for this 30-something!!onesiesonesies

The need for speed – my first Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix

I’ve been keenly following Formula 1 over the last two seasons.  I would never describe myself as a revhead or anything, but I found myself watching my first race on television late one night with a lot more interest than I ever thought possible for a car race.

On the weekend, I flew down to Melbourne for my first race – the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.  Saturday’s qualifying was a wet one, with constant delays while race control waited and waited for the rain to clear.  In the end, only the first session of qualifying went ahead with the next two sessions postponed to the morning of race day.  We ended up spending most of the day stuck inside the bar to escape the rain!

Sunday saw much better weather, with some light drizzle and a big downpour constantly threatening.  We walked the main straight in the morning, and watched some of the teams practise their pit stops.

main straight walk australian f1 grand prix boy dressed as lewis hamilton raikkonen garage australian f1 grand prix

 

Before the race, we tried to stalk some of the drivers.  This is the back of Sebastian Vettel’s head!

back of sebastian vettel

 

There was some fun around the place to keep you occupied outside of the race, including lots of classic cars and being entertained by the Roulettes.

vintage fire engine goggomobile the roulettes australian f1 grand prix fa-18 super hornet australian f1 grand prixdelorean

 

We had fantastic seats in the grandstand along the main straight, pretty much right on the start/finish line.  We saw all the cars and the crew on the grid just before the race, and saw the podium presentation following Kimi Raikkonen’s win.

starting grid australian f1 grand prix mark webber australian f1 grand prix australian f1 grand prix podium australian f1 grand prix podium australian f1 grand prix podium australian f1 grand prix podium

 

The appalling weather aside, it was a super fun weekend with an exciting race, a great vibe, and lots of fun events and things to see.  We’re thinking of going to another race in the Formula 1 calendar later in the year. Montreal anyone?

Why the thought of motherhood scares me

I previously wrote this post for my other blog Laugh Lots, Travel Often

Laugh Lots, Travel Often

It may seem crazy when we humans are biologically programmed to reproduce, but the idea of having children scares me. All those sleepless nights and sore boobs are definitely unappealing, as well as losing your figure, having your boobs droop down past to your belly, and the financial cost. Sometimes I think that the only real upside of motherhood is those 9 months when you can “eat for two” (although this is well offset by the ban on soft cheese, blue cheese, sushi, alcohol, rare steak, pâté and deli meats, raw shellfish, coffee, and the list goes on).

I know that I’m not alone here when it comes to denying our biological urges. A Pew Research Center study in the US from 2007 showed only 41% of couples thought that children were very important to a successful marriage, which was down from 65% in 1990.

Certainly there are many lifestyle…

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