PHOTOS: How a top photographer took these amazing images for Vivid Sydney

Entitle. Photo: Richard I’Anson

Richard I’Anson is a freelance photographer who’s spent three decades travelling around the world capturing its beauty, marvels and humanity. The Sydney-based photographer has produced 10 books, including Australia: 42 Great Landscape Experiences and India: essential encounters.

He got his first camera at 16, and just three months after shooting his first roll of film, he’d converted his bedroom into a darkroom. By 1982, he was freelancing, shooting weddings, portraits and commercial work, before he hit the road and hasn’t looked back.

I’Anson is a Canon master photographer and shot Vivid using a Canon 1Dx. We asked him to take us through the photography process, from choosing what to shoot and how, as well as the technical aspects of shooting at night — one image has a 15 second exposure.

Here are his beautiful images:

The moon rises above the Opera House

Richard says: The Opera House still takes centre stage but is shown here in a Vivid context surrounded as it is by multiple layers of light from the glowing green installation, the child playing with a light stick and the jetty lights to the rising moon. TECH: Canon 1Dx 24-70mm f2.8 lens 8 secs f8 ISO 100 Tripod

Affinity & city building

Richard says: The viewpoint, tight framing and vertical composition were chosen to compress the two installations and make them appear as one. The connection was further enhanced by waiting for a train to pass so that the blurred lights filled the black space between Affinity and the city building. TECH: Canon 1Dx 24-70mm f2.8 lens .6 sec f6.3 ISO 400 Tripod

Mechanised Colour Assemblage projection on the façade of the MCA

Richard says: The symmetry of the MCA is emphasised in this composition but softened by the wash of colours and the random coloured shapes in the foreground created by people walking by with light sticks. TECH: Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 2 secs f5 ISO 100 Tripod

Tidal Reed Garden, the Rocks & city skyline

Richard says: The Reed Garden was constantly moving with the ebb and flow of the water so I used a slow shutter speed to allow the ‘reeds’ to blur to show that movement. The placement of the ‘reeds’ was chosen to integrate them with the city skyline adding an additional dimension to a classic Rocks viewpoint. TECH: Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 1.6 secs f13 ISO 2500 Tripod
Richard says: This second shot of 'Affinity' eliminates the context and focuses on the strong shapes, lines and colour of the installation to create a more intriguing, abstract image. TECH: Canon 1Dx 24-70mm f2.8 lens 2 secs f18 ISO 100 Tripod


Richard says: Arclight offered many compositional options but I concentrated on accentuating the strong shapes and colours by eliminating other lights, objects and distractions by shooting from a very low viewpoint to use the black sky as a clean background. TECH: Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 3.2 secs f16 ISO 100 Tripod

Enchanted Sydney projection on Customs House

Richard says: Enchanted Sydney was mostly a bright, joyful experience for the audience, but there was moment when it appeared almost spooky which I have emphasised with a tight composition to eliminate other lights and context. TECH: Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 2 secs f6.3 ISO 400 Tripod

Couple having wedding photos taken in Kaleidoscope installation

Richard says: This is actually a reflection in the mirrored ceiling which I have flipped. The Kaleidoscope was one of the more difficult installations to shoot as it was single file and the attendants kept everyone moving. So pre-setting the camera’s settings and working fast helped get the shot of the couple without anyone else in the shot. Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 1/60 sec f4 ISO 2500 Handheld

Life Story

Richard says: The Argyle St tunnel provided the most spectacular location for a Vivid projection so it was important to capture the unusual shape and scale. As fascinating as the location and projection was it was just as interesting watching the reaction of the visitors watching and photographing, many of whom enjoyed it lying on their backs. TECH: Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 0.6 sec f5.6 ISO 2000 Tripod

City hi-rise.

Richard says: A tight composition accentuates the dramatic projection on the hi-rise buildings of the city skyline. TECH: Canon 1Dx 24-70mm f2.8 lens 1/6 sec f5 ISO 1000 Tripod

Enchanted Sydney projection on Customs House.

Richard says: With the projections, which are mostly fast moving, it is quite challenging to capture sharp images of the individual elements in the design such as flowers and leaves. A faster shutter speed, high ISO and timing the expose at the moment there is a slight pause does make it possible though. TECH: Canon 1Dx 16-35mm f4 lens 1/6 sec f4.5 ISO 4000 Tripod


Richard says: The water in Campbell’s Cove glows green from the Submerged installation. I didn’t have to wait long to match the colour of the water to the colour of the Opera House sails. The rising moon added perfectly to the otherworldly atmosphere. TECH: Canon 1Dx 24-70mm f2.8 lens 15 secs f16 ISO 400 Tripod

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