Sydney Harbour at sunrise + smoke filled skies

Sydney Harbour dawn-4

Last night I was about to sit down and post a small series of shots from my recent visit to Cambridge when I decided to have a cup of tea and biscuit. I sat on the lounge, consumed my hot beverage and then… promptly fell asleep. I woke up at 5am and rather than drag my weary bones up to bed for a couple of hours, I thought I’d head out with my camera. Its been a while since I’ve taken some sunrise shots.

I also thought my chances of getting a decent sunrise would be good since Sydney has been battling severe bush fires over the last week and smoke particles really contribute to beautiful sunrise and sunset colours. In addition to this, we’d had a little rain overnight and those residual clouds would hopefully light up in the approaching dawn.

How did it turn out? Unfortunately, not as I’d hoped. Goes to show that even when probability would seem to be in your favour, things do not turn out as expected. Clouds were too dense on the horizon obscuring the rising suns rays and the light rain we’d had earlier that night seemed to have washed the skies of smoky particulate.

I suppose there’s always the next time…

Canon 7D | EF 24-105L & EFS 10-22 | Tripod | ND 9 stop filter | Post: Lightroom 5

Sydney Harbour dawn-2Above: Sydney Harbour, Blues Point Reserve. ISO 100; 55 sec exposure at f18. EFS 10-22 @ 16mm.

Sydney Harbour dawn-3Above: Sydney Opera House beneath the Harbour Bridge. ISO 100. 61 sec exposure at f18. EF 24-105L @ 75mm

Smokey Sydney Skies

This last shot was taken a few days ago during the height of the firestorm in the Blue Mountains. I snapped it at 4pm in the afternoon (remembering that sunset in Sydney is after 7pm at the moment). It shows just how smokey the skies were that day. The fires are still burning fiercely despite starting a week ago. Take care to all those battling the fires and those who may still be in harms way. Summer is really shaping up to be a hot one this year.

Sydney Harbour dawn-1



14 Comments Add yours

  1. Leanne Cole says:

    I have seen some incredible bushfire smoky photos. I do like these though, I like where you have taken them, and there is still a surrealist effect to them.


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Cheers, Leanne. They do look a bit painterly or surreal; just the long-exposure I suppose. I didn’t have to do terribly much to these in post – just a bit of clarity on the buildings and exposure adjustments.


  2. Nikitaland says:

    Incredible! Absolutely stunning photographs! WOW!


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Thank you so much, Val. Very kind of you to say.


      1. Nikitaland says:

        You really truly do wonderful and stunning work Distan!


  3. drawandshoot says:

    They are gorgeous even if not what you were striving for. So sad about the fires, I hope they settle quickly.


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Thanks, Karen. Well, it took a little over a week but the majority of fires are now under control. Thankfully the weather is forecast to be a bit cooler now (low 20C rather than the mid-30C we were experiencing). Its certainly shaping up to be a long, hot summer down here.


  4. Well, I can definitely say it was worth not going to bed. You have some terrific images here Distan with the first and third image really grabbing my attention because of the composition and the emphasis upon the bridge being used as a frame to the shots. Hope you managed to get some sleep before reviewing the Cambridge shots….lol!


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Thanks, James. I’ve done the Cambridge shots but they keep getting put off in favour of my recent spurt of local sunrise shots. Plus, I’m in two minds as to post them as a single series of spread them over a couple of posts. I get a bit stuck like that sometimes and occasionally don’t even post any photos in the end. I’m strange like that.


      1. I really understand as I too am often in two minds and then do not post but just add the images to the website. Have a great weekend.


  5. speeddemon2 says:

    I too leave many mornings hoping for a dramatic sky only to find that things are not going to work out as I hoped. Like you I adapt and use what is in front of me to create something that exploits the conditions. Thanks for sharing your images and your thoughts.


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Cheers, I know what you mean. The trials of early morning photographers everywhere, huh. Appreciate you taking the time to comment too – and my apologies for taking so long to reply. I really enjoy your work Speedy!


  6. Great images Distan. Your photos are will composed and I like the processing.


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