The Joy of Photography

December 14, 2016

Event Photography of St Mary's Cathedral lit up with the Christmas IlluminationsEvent Photography of St Mary's Cathedral lit up with the Christmas IlluminationsEvent Photography of Sydney Christmas Displays and St Mary's Christmas Illuminations Even though I do this for a living I still get real joy from my photography and I know a lot of my family and friends do too. If you are reading this blog, chances are you also get a kick out of creating nice images and sharing them. It's an activity none of us will ever perfect so it is fun to learn and to constantly try new things. For most of us, Christmas and New Year is an ideal time to get in some practice and to store away some special memories of people and places.

Last weekend my wife and family wanted to head into the city (Sydney) to see the Illuminations at St Mary's Cathedral. I went along happily enough but without great enthusiasm or anticipation. I've shot the last couple of Vivid events and really didn't expect the Illuminations to offer anything quite as grand.

We drove in early and walked though the city to view the Christmas tree in Martin Place, then onto various other locations including the magnificent QVB building. I just carried my little Fujifilm X-E1 and took some tourist snaps. Doing this my enthusiasm built and soon (as usual) my family were waiting for me at every turn. The QVB is a beautiful space and offers so many photo opportunities (but don't try to set up a tripod as security will be onto you very quickly).

Sydney event photographer photographs the Christmas tree with Swarovski crystalsEvent Photography of the Christmas Tree at the QVB in SydneyChristmas Tree - QVB Building Sydney

We dinned at a beaut little sushi restaurant and then onto St Marys via Hyde Park.

We do live in a very beautiful city and sometimes it is easy to just not "see" it. Taking a bit of time and lugging a half decent camera helps you slow down and really "look". This is great practice - working on compositions and working through exposure and lighting considerations. Seeking out the interesting detail!

Then the Illuminations, finding a good position and waiting for the best light. Choosing the best compromise between shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings. There is no single answer, but I chose to use a wider aperture (focusing on the cathedral's wall) and an ISO of up to 400 (to minimise "noise" with a shutter speed of around a fifth to a tenth of a second (the images move). I definitely wanted to expose for the highlights here. The camera light meter is likely to lead you to over expose in this situation so watch for this and learn to read the camera histograms. Of course a tripod is essential in this scenario.

Event Photography of St Mary's Cathedral lit up with the Christmas IlluminationsEvent Photography of St Mary's Cathedral lit up with the Christmas IlluminationsEvent Photography of Sydney Christmas Displays and St Mary's Christmas Illuminations

You soon find yourself in conversation with other photographers and people around you. This then another source of joy - finding a reason to reach out and make contact with other people - again something that in big cities is easy to forget (or avoid) to do. A man set up next to me causing me some "camera envy" while he assembled an Alpha architectural camera complete with a PhaseOne 100 megapixel digital back - probably some $60,000 worth of gear (not counting what remained in his bag). He wanted to take a shot in front of me. I let him on the proviso he showed me and talked to me about his gear (maybe in my next life - or the lottery).

The evening couldn't have been better. We even had some lovely low level cumulus cloud filling the sky lit by the city lights.

Yes joy indeed.

I hope you enjoy some of my images. You can view all of them at here