The phantom of the opera

As I ticked off the must-see sights in Sydney ( which really should start with the Manly Ferry)  I found myself faced with a dilemma that I think most amateur travel photographers will encounter at some stage or another on their travels. How do you photograph one of the most photographed buildings or sights in the world?

In my case this was the Sydney Opera House, a building as iconic as it is unique, crafted from architecture that is as compelling as it is unusual.As I walked up to the Opera House and impulsively dug my camera out and adjusted my settings to the bright Sydney sunshine. As I was about to shoot the Opera House on my approach I realised that all my photos would have the potential to look the same as everyone else's and I wasn't sure that was what an aspiring photographer should settle for. So I adopted a different approach. Literally.I approached each of these photos from a different angle and from high and from low vantage points. I bent down to lie on the floor, I stood tall on the tips of my toes just to see and capture the Opera House in a way that was slightly different and unexpected; a fitting way to honour its design I feel. Now I'm not sure if these photos are any "good" or if they even really achieve what I wanted to achieve but I do know that I had great fun taking them.So much so that I then went inside and did the same thing capturing some very different shapes and colours. I got so caught up taking these photos that I ran out of time and was unable to do the tour, yet my photographic adventures taught me a whole lot about the Opera House.

Inside and out the Sydney Opera House the main design features are either lines or curves and these compliment each other both gracefully and awkwardly. This is continued as far as the toilets (well the Ladies) which features a waving line of curved cubicles.Although the architecture is strikingly post mid-century, there is a real timeless feel to the Opera House and you can't give those responsible enough credit for having the vision to put it where it is in the form it is in.It's fair to say that there is a silent argument about which is more iconic or synonymous with Australia's largest city; the Opera House or the Harbour Bridge. I have to say that I think I am "Team Bridge", however I think the argument is redundant as the feeling I got was that the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge get along just fine and I for one like how they compliment each other. In some ways I see the Opera House as the little sister to the Harbour Bridge who acts as a protective big brother from some angles tucking her under his impressive span.

I also learnt, or rather I found myself believing that the Sydney Opera House would be heaven to any parkour enthusiast with sloping walls that plummet into the concrete ground, though of course I am not encouraging anyone to start free-running around and jumping from the building's mesmerising curves.

And finally had it not been for my photographic adventure I wouldn't know what this building, which is usually admired from afar, looks like close up. So thank you camera for capturing this iconic building  and what it's made of in a number of different ways and thank you Sydney Opera House for letting me get to know you a little better...

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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