Vivid Customs House 04

Sydney May – June 2016 (15 photos)

This is Part 2 of my 8 part VIVID Sydney 2016 series.

Vivid Sydney has returned for 2016. One of the highlights each year is the display at Customs House, an historic Sydney landmark constructed initially in 1844-1845. It has become the new home of the City of Sydney Library.

Vivid Customs House 02

This year, the faΓ§ade of Sydney’s Customs House at Circular Quay plays host to the fantastical wonders of Sydney’s Hidden Stories, perhaps taken from one of the books inside the library.

Vivid Customs House 05

Our hero is a blue-tongue lizard who leads us through a magical journey.

Vivid Customs House 20

Along the way we meet fire breathing dragons…

Vivid Customs House 27


Vivid Customs House 07

encounter warty witches

Vivid Customs House 08

meet assorted wildlife

Vivid Customs House 09

venture underwater

Vivid Customs House 10

discover hidden treasures

Vivid Customs House 21

battle mysterious wizards

Vivid Customs House 12

marvel at garden fairies and friendly gnomes

Vivid Customs House 17

This show was pure fun and entertainment.

Vivid Customs House 15

The show lasted about 5 minutes. I saw the show several times and walked past it at other times. Without fail, there was a spontaneous round of applause at the conclusion of the show each time. Take a bow, guys.

Vivid Customs House 16

There are eight million hidden stories in the city. This has been one of them.


Now in its 8th year, this is the 5th consecutive year I have photographed Vivid. The festival concludes this coming Saturday night. However, I am flying out of Sydney before then and am not sure how reliable my internet connection will be away from civilisation, under the stars. This series will take a short hiatus until my return late next week.


Vivid 2016 16

This is Part 2 of my 8 part VIVID Sydney 2016 series.

All of my photography from this series and previous years of VIVID Sydney going back to 2012 can be found here:
VIVID Sydney page

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Vivid 2016: Hidden Stories


66 thoughts on “Vivid 2016: Hidden Stories

  1. Amazing, Draco. I really must put VIVID Sydney on my list of must do things… to do when we finally get home ”for good” – or at least ” for good ” until the next travel for work bug comes along! Absolutley loved the last shot of Sydney too, a wonderful night shot of that amazing city.

  2. Love this set. Very crisp. The fourth photo looks like the ground’s wet, like it has been raining. But from all of them, it looks like you were front and centre for the show. Presumably good luck. The fire breathing dragons look like characters out of Pokemon πŸ˜€

    Looking forward to the rest of the series when you get back. Safe and happy travels πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. Yes, photos 4 and 10 were taken after some rain. The time on the clock in the centre of the building’s faΓ§ade reveals my strategy for getting relatively unobstructed shots. Patience and planning to get the right spot is required. πŸ™‚

      I’ll try and continue the series next week, if possible.

  3. Enjoy your short hiatus and leave us marvel at the bold fluorescent lights on the facade of the stately mansion.All was vividly narrated,magical the tales,you gave life to all the characters involved.Take care Draco πŸ™‚

  4. Your photos capture a delightful tale. Prague has a yearly festival like Vivid, but I didn’t go last year. I heard there were way too many people to be enjoyable. 😦 Have a great time on your secret agent retreat, hopefully unplugged from “civilization”.

    • Thank you. Two weekends ago, Vivid was closed due to severe storms. Predictably, there was a human crush last weekend as everyone tried to catch up and see Vivid.

      It’ll be good to get unplugged and recharged for a while, after these weeks of Vivid.

  5. Vivid, magic, beautiful, glorious… Most of all, the theme tells wonderful stories through you lens! Thank you Dragon for the grand tour. πŸ™‚ Happy travel

  6. immagino che anche lontano dalla civiltΓ  la tua sarΓ  una bella storia confortata dalle stelle
    queste immagini piacevolissime mi hanno fatto restare a bocca aperta come un bambino…del resto mi reputo ” mai abbastanza cresciuta” ha ha

    • Thank you, Lisa. One needs to periodically get away from city life to refresh. Somewhere where the earth is red and the nights are freezing. I hope the camera survives. πŸ™‚

  7. Now I know where our blue tongue went, he hasn’t,t been around for a while, I thought he was hibernating but there he was up on the big screen with you… It really amazes me the technology that is involved in these magnificent shows. I would be clapping too. I,m hoping we all come with you when you leave civilisation behind. I love sleeping under the stars. Will you be wrapped up warm in a traditional swag? Keep dry and take care. Will wait impatiently for your return

  8. Gosh those projections look amazing. I’m starting to think that I’ll have to shift a long-time habit of coming back to Sydney in the (southern) summer just so that I can catch it.

  9. LB says:

    Since I’m not sure when (not IF), I’ll ever get to see Vivid in person, I’m so thankful that you bring it into our homes each year. Thank you, truly

  10. That’s the way to celebrate a library!! πŸ˜€ It must be very exciting for kids to see their library light up like that. This kind of thing was only in my dreams as a child!

    I have to say, you have an impressive library! The lack of an historic library building is one thing I find very disappointing about where I live. I think there was a big old library at one time, but then they built an ugly 60’s one, that burned to the ground in the 90’s and now we have one called The Forum, which incorporates various shops, restaurants, a museum and a BBC radio studio. It looks very elegant and impressive, but I still like those old buildings, especially in cities.

    A very good start to your series of pictures on the festival! πŸ™‚

    • Yes, they put some magic into the library and the enjoyment of reading. A very active imagination created this display and we all followed along intensely. History and libraries go together well. New purpose built buildings just lack character.

    • There was a film and then a tv series called, The Naked City. At the end, the narrator would say: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” It’s a classic line.

      Thanks so much, Alex. You’ll have to see it for yourself one day. πŸ™‚

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