2016 Through a Fish’s Eye


Christmas at the QVBSunday – today is a day dedicated to using my newest lens – a fisheye.  I must admit that it has been in my possession for a couple of weeks but there has never been the time to actually spend a full day giving it a test run.

The plan is to use that lens and only that lens (but I am still going to take my work horse with me – just in case. You understand?).  The day doesn’t look too bad although ‘they’ say maybe a shower in the afternoon.  Since when can the weatherman get it right?  Nevertheless off I go – catching the train to Town Hall and then walking to Circular Quay.

My first stop will be the Queen Victoria Building.

For the amount of time this building has been here and for the amount of time I have lived in Sydney I cannot for the life of me remember ever going into it.  I must have at some stage eh?  Out the front there is a regal statue of Victoria herself.  With all the noise and carry on that is part of the Light Rail project which has closed George Street, she seems to have a rather ‘I am not amused’ look upon her face.

Top floor - QVBInside I head straight to the top of the building – inside not out – to begin my journey.  I can’t get over how many shops there are and of course, the higher you go, the more exclusive the shop.  Loads of coffee shops that have their chairs around the railing so it is hard in places to actually look over – but there are enough clear areas if you look hard enough.

As you can see, the QVB has her Christmas clothes on already and it is not even November!  Still, the pretty twinkling fairy lights are lovely.  There are not a lot of people here – probably due to the early hour – it is around 10.30am and I heard that most of the shops do not open until around 11 so I shall make the most of it while I can.

Staircase Looking DownIt really is a lovely building and there are a lot of photographers here. Maybe tourists or maybe just Sydney-ites like me but then again, come to think of it, I am a tourist in my own city.

One floor downOne floor down – you can see the coffee shop tables – how would they go if it was crowded?  I certainly wouldn’t want to sit there – not very classy if you ask me.

The tables are so tiny, just enough room for coffee cups and I am sure that even a cake plate would have trouble fitting on it as well.  The actual place where they make the coffee is tucked away in the corner with a lass standing out the front.

Hopefully during the week is much busier for them than today.

Time to move on further down – I don’t think I have done too bad – unfortunately I forgot that everything on this lens is manual.  Manual aperture – manual focus.  I know in some of these photos I forgot the manual focus.  That’s what I get for having auto focus all the time – just another learning curve.

QVBQVBSwarovskiYou are most probably wondering about the photo on the far right – why is there no fisheyeing?  Truth is that I swapped lenses and this was taken with my work horse.  Yes, you don’t have to tell me – but still it is a better picture eh?  These are all Swarovski crystals that form the trunk of the Christmas Tree – and no – that is not my arms reflected in the photo!

Town HallI think that is about enough QBV-ing for today – time to find some other interesting buildings.  What about the Town Hall?  Just across the road and it certainly gives it an interesting look and with the width you can see some of the Light Rail work going on.

If I was a visitor who came half way around the world to visit Sydney I certainly would be ticked off at the disruption.  Aren’t I lucky to live here – it only costs me $2.50 all day Sunday on the trains, ferries etc.

St Andrews CathedralJust a short walk – about 50 metres and here is St Andrews Anglican Cathedral.  Tucked away amongst the brilliant jacaranda trees resplendent in their purple foliage it is not as ostentatious as St Mary’s but it has those wonderful spires reminiscent of Oxford in the UK. It is a shame that the bells are not pealing.

AthenaTo continue my plan for the day I head for The Quay down York Street, then down Barrack Street to discover this statue.  Fisheye off – workhorse on.  This is a copy of a 4th century BC bronze statue of the Greek goddess Athena attributed to the ancient Greek sculptor Kephisodotos.

It was given as a gift to the city from the Mayor of Athens for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.  Isn’t it incredible to discover these little gems just hidden away.  I’ll have to google up a few more when I get home – that’s another day I could spend chasing down statues.

Now on George Street – still major Light Rail Works – it is hard to realise that all the traffic that used this street is now on lots of other streets.

GPOMartin PlaceThis is Martin Place.  I have always loved this open area and spent much time here when I worked in the city in the 60’s and 70’s.  Home to the Cenotaph – quirky little restaurants that surrounded the area  like The Camelot (now disappeared) that had the best Prawn Cocktails (showing my age).  This building was formerly the GPO – a magnificent hub of city life until 1996 when it was privatized (sometimes not the best thing to do) and services were scaled back.

The MenziesI loved working in The City and I feel like I am back in my home territory so what could be better and more memory provoking than The Menzies Hotel.  The Jungle Bar – the News Bar – The Emperor Room – they certainly were great days – the memories of those places and the people which I would not trade for anything.  Then there was the Menzies Arcade which went between Carrington Street (where I am now) and George Street leading to Wynyard Ramp.

Due to the development plans of the greedy Brookfield corporation, The Menzies and the Arcade are to be ripped down to make way for office blocks.  A plan to develop Wynyard Ramp is also in the running.

Wynyard ParkAcross Carrington Street is Wynyard Park – a lovely refuge in a busy city.  This was always a great place to enjoy lunch if I wasn’t racing from one end of the city to the other.  I sit here and close my eyes and all of a sudden there is a dirty ibis who has come to perch on the back of the seat.  They must be the grubbiest birds under the sun and he doesn’t look as if he is going to move so I decide to investigate The Menzies Arcade.

Menzies ArcadeThis will be the last time I ever get to walk through this minefield of memories which all come flooding back – book stores, lunch time take-a-ways, chemists, coffee shops, cigarette shops; a real hub of action but now the shops are closed and empty, there are only a couple of people doing some last minute packing – how sad.

Sometimes change is not for the better but then I have not been here for years so maybe it was not viable anymore.

I am feeling sad and forlorn so it is time to head for the Quay.  Circular Quay always lifts my spirits – – here’s a couple of snaps taken along the way – –

CityBridge StreetThe morning, even though overcast is heating up.  No breezes just the humidity, I will be glad to get near the water.  Finally arriving – there still doesn’t seem to be a breeze – but the jacarandas are out and that is always a happy feeling.

The QuayThe QuayAs I get closer, the amount of people grow – tourist groups are out and about – there is a cruise ship in port – the Carnival Spirit – Captain Cook selling tickets for his cruises around the harbour – I decide to take the lift up to the Cahill Expressway for some solitude.

The QuayWhat a pretty view.  Lovely purple splashes and you can see there are some dark threatening clouds coming in, still, I do not think it will storm.

The cruise boat has a huge inflated redback spider hanging over the bow.  Halloween is tomorrow night so is this a Halloween themed cruise?

Still, not the best welcoming character if you are afraid of spiders, they could have had a witch.

Time now to venture through a bit of the Botanic Gardens and then head for home.

The QuayThe gardens are always a good idea – except today the Opera House is getting ready for some big shindig – chairs, lights, cables, big black speaker boxes all over the place.  Not a good deal if you are a tourist here for one day.

Due to the fact that there are so many people around this area I decide not to proceed any further than the Opera House and start to head around the harbour foreshores.

To add to the thousands of photos I already have of the Opera House these will make a welcome change to the ‘normal’ shots.

Opera HouseOpera HouseAs I walk further around I come across this friendly New Zealand fur seal who has decided to call Australia home for a while.  He is just swimming around near the Man O War Steps.

Now I lay me down to sleepSealSuch a clever thing – he says his prayers and then goes to sleep floating around on his back.

After a good wake up shake he does an impersonation of Jaws – applause please.  He is such a show off.

Shakin' all overJaws impersonationThere are a lot of people in the audience and I could stay here for ages just watching him – he is so much fun – and then for an encore he climbs out of the water to say hello.  His body odour leaves a lot to be desired but I stay and snap away.

Coming for a visitA bit of OperaHow exciting – a bit of Opera to entertain and then it’s up the steps for the meet and greet!

Meet and greetFarewell

 With the show over it is time to continue my journey. You will have noticed of course that Mr Seal was not a subject of my Fisheye.  Had to be able to zoom in on some of these shots.

My HarbourLet’s finish how we started – with the Fisheye.  The city is hazy so no lovely blue skies – it is still warm and humid and as I head back to the train – I am already planning my next little excursion.

I hope you have had as much fun as I have – and if you are in the city soon – go and say hello to the Seal – he may even sing for you!

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