Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aussie getaway Part II

Australia trip Autumn 2011
Chapter 2:  Sunny Sydney

After Melbourne, we took a flight to Sydney.  We flew with budget airline Tiger airway.  Tiger airway is well known for their cancelled or late flights.  To our surprise, our flight was on time.  The waiting terminal was small and crowded.  They seem to have too few boarding gates for the number of flights they have planned.  Things got a bit messy with several groups of people on different flights waiting at the same gate.  But apart from that things went according to plan.

The flight took about 1.5 hour.  I vividly remember the air hostess dressed in a tight white shirt, black pants and a thick belt with tiger skin print on it.  She yelled at passengers who have failed to have their window blinds fully open during take off.  The tiger print belt and tight shirt all sounded pretty sexy but somehow it did not really work for her.  She was quite a big lady too.

We have lots of friends in Sydney, who offered their homes as free accomodation.  We stayed with a friend who owns a city fringe apartment at Waterloo, a surburb that is a 20 minutes bus ride from city.

 The first place we visited was the iconic opera house, a must see when you visit Sydney.  From Waterloo, we took a bus to Circular Quay, which is right next to the Opera house.  Sydney was a lot warmer than gloomy Melbourne.  The sun was up high, warming up the harbour right from the early morning.

Everyone was feeling warm and happy.  A treat after few days of cold wind in Melbourne.  Happy people make good models......

My brother in law and his girlfriend went for a thrilling jet boat ride at Sydney harbour. They came back all drenched.

Very quickly came lunch time. We met up with a friend who brought us Yum Cha. The local always knows best where to go for good food.

The next day, we took a ferry to Sydney's Taronga zoo.  The zoo has  been operating for years, since 1916.  It is built on 21 hectres of land.  It is located in a surburb called Mosman.  You can drive there if you want to but we thought ferry was a good idea because it gave us an opportunity to have a nice view of the city and opera house while on the ferry, as you can see in the following photo.

The ferry made a quick stop at Fort Denison, a fort built on a small island, just north of the Sydney harbour.  It was first built as a penal site to house convicts.  Armed with canons, it was also used as a defense facility, against foreign vessels.  Today, it is merely a tourist attraction and a cafe.

Toranga zoo in my opinion was smaller than i expected. It certainly felt much smaller than Auckland zoo, which i like a lot.  The weather on that day was extremely warm.  We were dehydrated and exhausted by the end of the visit.  Highlight of the zoo trip must be seeing Koalas and the seal show.

The next day we, we spent our day at Rocks.  The market was on and buzzing with people.  We had morning tea at a french cafe called La Renaissance, tasting different cakes and tartlets.

La Renaissance has a neat little backyard where you can sit quietly, away from the buzzing crowd from  the market.  I got a cup of Mocha and a serving of Le Roi Soleil, a rich tartlet infused with Mango and garnished with golden chocolate chips, absolutely yummy.

Le Roi Soleil

I found an interesting item at the market. Have a look at the photo below and guess what it is.

If you have guessed kangaroo's testicles you are right. They bring good luck apparently. None of us bought any.

For the photo above i was trying to boost the melancholic feeling that autumn brings.  I added a hue/saturation layer, switched on the colorize mode and turns on a yellow hue. I then adjust the opacity of the layer to achieve the tone i wanted.  Lastly, i added another layer, this time a level layer. A little tweak of levels gave the photo more definition.

For the photo above, i deliberately over expose the photo a little bit.  I then added a gradient map layer, followed by a generous tweak of level adjustment to turn the trees and birds to ink black.  Here i have actually added another duplicate layer and i have done a gentle Gaussian blur on it.  If you want to create a very dreamy feel you can to be more aggressive with the blurring.  But i have chosen to go gentle on it.

I have enjoyed my vacation.  It is always hard to get back to work after such a nice holiday.  I hope you have enjoyed my photo journey with me.  Stay tuned for more of my future blog.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, love the photos! Sounds like you had a good time :) Next time give my friends a call if you need an apartment