Friday, March 04, 2011

Sydney's Night Colors

Reese Moriyama '10

When I was a junior at Pacific, I decided to do a travel abroad semester in Australia. Why Australia? Well, first of all, I was very curious about the Australian culture and landscape, given its significant isolation throughout history. Secondly, Australians spoke English, which I needed since I wasn’t a language minor or major. Lastly, and most importantly of all, I wanted to meet Bianca and Bernard from Disney’s Rescuers Down Under (just kidding!).
All that aside, I must say that my experience in Australia completed my college experience. It broadened my vision of what was beyond my own country, and presented me with new friendships and experiences. I studied at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, and met a wide range of international students, while getting the chance to take some very specialized history courses in genocide and Australian history.
Before I flew back to Hawaii, I stopped over in Sydney for four nights. I felt like my Australian experience wouldn’t be complete without Sydney, and was determined to explore the city to the fullest of my ability during the four days. With camera and map I hand, I embarked on an adventure each morning, leaving at 8 a.m. and returning around 9 p.m. I went inside the Sydney Opera House, which apparently two-thirds of the world’s population can identify. I took rides on the famous Sydney Harbor ferries, exploring several beaches that give Hawaii a run for its money. I walked through downtown Sydney, watching street performers playing didgeridoos and selling CDs. But the experience that stood out the most to me was my night exploration of the city.
On Friday night, I decided to shoot long exposures of the Sydney Skyline from a remote viewpoint in the Botanical Gardens. I huffed it over to the location with my tripod and camera, just in time to get the turquoise dusk light. I took some 30 second exposures, but had to time them because boats would pass through the frame and ruin the shot. After I got the shots I wanted, I prepared to leave, but realized there was a tiny, little problem.
Security had closed down the park! I frantically tried to find a way out, but all the main gates were closed. Being locked in a park at night is one thing, but being locked in a park at night, in a foreign country is quite another. I was weighing my options when I saw a jogger going by. She must know the way out! I thought, and tried to see where she was going. Sure enough, a few minutes later, she went out a small, side entrance that only the locals would know about. I was overjoyed, and followed the path to freedom. As soon as I stepped out, I realized I was in a district of Sydney I had never seen, and spent the next hour and half, wandering past Friday night parties, trying to find my way back to the hotel. Got back around 11 p.m., totally exhausted, but totally stoked about the skyline images.

The next night went a lot better, and I was very fortunate to watch a fireworks show over the Opera House! I also got to see the colorful night lights of the Circular Quay, the central hub of night life in Sydney Harbor. My camera was snapping like crazy, but I also made sure to spend some time taking in the sights myself. Sometimes, you get so caught up in trying to photograph all the cool sights around you that you forget to savor the moment, the fleeting slice of time, in which you are surrounded by beauty. But I savored that moment. And looking back, I’m glad I did. 

Reese Moriyama '10 holds a degree in history and uses photography to become more observant and appreciative of the world. When he is not photographing weddings or simply daily life in Honolulu Reese is pursuing a graduate degree. More of Reese's work can be viewed on his blog Observe. Compose. Capture.

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