Atlassian’s corporate headquarters is right in the heart of Sydney. It’s a beautiful location in the old Bank of New South Wales. As one could expect, we make extensive use of HipChat, our group chat platform. HipChat supports persistent rooms were groups of people can gather around a particular topic. Sydney has a group for the budding photographers known as “shutterbugs.”
The group often goes on photo walks. Photo walks are hour-long outings to take in the environment and have some time with your camera. Surprisingly, each of us had a different way to take pictures. Some were Nikon some were Canon. Some shot with telephoto lenses. Others shot wide-angle. There was one point and shoot camera, a number of SLR’s, and one medium format film camera. Wide-angle lenses photograph vertical scenes well. Vertical lines in a wide-angle scene converge near the top of the scene. This makes them excellent for exaggerated perspectives of vertical distance.
I’m holding to my wide-angle lens as it’s such a different perspective for me. One of the guys on the walk used a wide angle lends and then backed off of it. He cited all the reasons I was struggling with my new found lens. He went with a 135 mm telephoto. The funny thing with a wide-angle lens is that you have such wide perspective but need to get so close into the scene. I’ve not spent so much time on foot since I was last here in Australia. Not having a car means you walk everywhere. You walk to the train. You walk to work. You walk to fun. You walk to the grocery store. I really do enjoy walking, but that silver button notes the dividing presence of cars. While pedestrians do have the right-of-way, it’s a car dominated world.
When walking around, I kept seeing these rhinoceroses all over town. Each of them had a different design and were raising awareness for environmental conservation. It reminded me of all of the boots in Read Wing, Minnesota throughout the town. Each one was unique and after a few minutes, my eye was definitely out looking for more of the rhinos.
I find the blending of new and old architecture in Sydney awesome. Walking around the town you’ll see buildings from the early 1800s right next to buildings made in the last 10 years. The wide-angle lens gives wonderful field of view, but I’m still struggling with great composition. Urban photography has not been easy for me. I don’t have a ton of experience and I appreciate the photo walks to grow my skills inside of cities.
The fan of the lower right building was pretty cool. I tried to get the right balance and perspective of the entire building but wanted to duck into the escalator and see the view from inside.
I’ve taken a lot of photos of flowers over the years. It’s easy to open the lens wide up for a very narrow depth of field. You’ll have one or two flowers and focus in the rest of the plant will have a soft blur highlighting the flowers in focus. What’s nice about the wide-angle lens is that you can capture more of the scene using the same technique. At 50 mm I might have only seen the sidewalk. Whereas at 16mm, I’ve got a great view of the overall scene. Aperture is the size of the hole in which light can reach the film. In the photo in the middle, the aperture is set at f/2.8 whereas on the right it set f/22. Notice in the middle photo most of it is blurry. On the right, focuses is crisp throughout the photo.
I really like how these two photos came out. The photo on the top really utilizes the wide-angle quite well. The building’s awning on the left was in a tight space. The wide-angle complemented the curves in the awning in the black and white accentuated the scene. On the bottom is an Australian court of law. Multiple layers of glass fascinate me. Black and white adds to the simplicity of the scene and hopefully if I play my cards right, I won’t have to be on the other side of that glass.
I’ve always taken notice of Australian military memorials. After visiting the Anzac War Memorial on my last visit, my eyes were opened to Australia’s role in world events. Not having traveled internationally a lot in the past few years it’s easy to see the world from your home turf. There are a number of spots in Sydney dedicated to Australia and New Zealand’s sacrifice in keeping the world a better place.