Sydney May – June 2017 (21 photos)

This is part 6, the final part of my Vivid Sydney 2017 series of posts.

Despite the numerous light installations in various locations on and around Sydney Harbour, the main attraction each year is the Lighting of the Sails, the lighting display upon the western sails of the Sydney Opera House. As usual, my yearly Vivid Sydney series ends with a selection of scenes from this display.


This year’s event was entitled, Audio Creatures. Artistic inspiration and direction by Ash Bolland, music by Amon Tobin, visual content and animation by Spinifex P/L Sydney.


Scenes that evoke the pulsing sea creatures, eye-searing bird-plumage and iridescent plant life of an organo-mechanistic future were projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House — and invited audiences to take a unique dive into a world of colour and light during Vivid Sydney.

Bolland, who was a pioneer of precise 3D artistry and striking graphic design before working as a writer and director for Nintendo and then some of the world’s biggest ad campaigns, has often colluded with Tobin — whose career in electronic music and audio manipulation spans over 20 years, most famously through his spikey, propulsive work for Ninja Tune and on the Cannes Palme d’Or nominated film, Divine Intervention.

This year, the pair collaborated with Olympic veterans Spinifex on a work that transposed the admirers of Utzon’s ineffable ‘sails’ to a parallel universe beneath the Sydney Harbour line and beyond the jungle walls of a predatory CBD.


A wide view of the Circular Quay precinct for Vivid, from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, past the Museum of Contemporary Art, along the Bradfield Highway above the ferry wharves and then around to the Sydney Opera House. This covers almost every location for my photos in this post.

Vivid Sydney returns next year for its 10th anniversary. Perhaps a good time to consider travelling to visit Sydney.


This is Part 6 of my VIVID Sydney 2017 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 2017: Audio Creatures


98 thoughts on “Vivid 2017: Audio Creatures

  1. I would have loved to see this in person. Your photos are an awesome representation, however I bet the ‘awe’ factor was the fact it was so large. I’ve not seen anything like this near me… I’m near Chicago, if there was a place to do this art, it would be there.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you very much. I guess the wow factor very much depends on the canvas. The Sydney Opera House is unusual enough in design to make it a very interesting canvas and there are so many potential viewpoints, given its location.

      I’m happy to bring this show to you. It definitely brightens up our winter down here.

    • Thank you very much. Each year I try to find a different vantage point, but it gets harder. 🙂 Apart from the actual show, my aim is to play with capturing the direction of projected light. It’s a wonderful event to photograph at.

  2. Thanks so much, Draco, for bringing this remarkable series to us. Just like the other parts of the series, I soaked it up. There is so much artistry and creativity going on here, not only in the light show, but also in your perfection of photography, your descriptions, and angles. I have been to this sight several times, always marveling at the Opera House sails: the individual panels, the immensity. So to see it lit up in all these wild patterns and colors is fascinating. I enjoyed seeing all your different perspectives too, appreciative of the distance you covered. Truly marvelous human ingenuity.

    • Thank you very much for your generous comment, Jet. The Opera House is a wonderful canvas, and the interaction of it with the projector lights is what I try to catch each year. I’m always looking for a different angle. For the shots with the beam passing directly over my head onto the Opera House, I had to wait 20 minutes before the photographer who was already there moved. 🙂 It was worth it.

      I don’t think I will ever tire of photographing it or this area. There’s always a new angle to find. Have a great day ahead.

    • Thank you kindly. If you can prise yourself away from the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, there is a lot more to explore and discover in between, including my favourite almond croissant cafe. 🙂

      I may have to wear a hat next time I do that selfie shot. My silhouette may become too familiar otherwise. 🙂 LOL

    • Thank you very much, Lisa. It’s always a fantastic spectacle for the eyes. I love the various designs the artists come up with each year.
      Have a great week ahead, too.

    • There’s a lot to see. I’m lucky that I live here and can go on several nights to see most of it. The Opera House display is always interesting.

      Thank you very much. Have a wonderful week ahead.

  3. Beautifully done for the finale, Dragon. Certainly can feel something primal yet elegant in these shots and the displays. Very crisp shots as usual. Sneaky selfy as usual 😁

  4. It’s such a beautiful display. I also appreciated the photo you included that shows most of the various display areas, gives a good feel for how the various parts would interact. I’d love to see this in person. I really liked the city when I visited many years ago.

    • Yes, that is the hub for the main displays at Vivid and there are so many fantastic viewpoints. The atmosphere is generally a very happy one. You’d definitely enjoy it. So many people wandering with camera and tripod. Canon runs numerous small group photography courses/walks each night.

      Thank you very much.

  5. J.D. Riso says:

    Thank you for another fine edition of Vivid photos. Your hard work is appreciated. The Opera House actually looks more impressive from afar than close up.

    • Thank you very much. It’s my pleasure. Photographing the direction and the intensity of the light beams is something I enjoy. The Opera House does stand out from its environs when illuminated the way it is.

  6. Pingback: Unusual | The World Is a Book...

  7. LB says:

    Just incredible! I am amazed at the color, the clarity, the distinctive shapes … and the vision of the collaborators.
    I’ll be with blogger friends in New Zealand next March, and decided last week that since I most likely will not get to the southern hemisphere again, I’d better visit Australia, too. I’ll only have a few days so Sydney it is! and while I won’t get to see Vivid, I’ll remember your images when I see the harbour.

    • Thank you. It’s always a great spectacle and I tend to forget how lovely the Opera House is simply bathed in white light, which you’ll no doubt see when you visit.

  8. I know I am incredibly late to this Vivid party, but I love, love, LOVE how you’ve captured it this year Draco! I have loved every Vivid post you’ve shared, but what a finale! Words can’t describe how dedicated and talented you are. Thank you so much for sharing!

    (and wishing you a lovely festive season)

The Wood Dragon is listening...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.