Every travel photographer struggles with the iconic shot. When in Paris, you must come back with a shot of the Eiffel Tower, but how can you make an iconic photo unique? I struggle with this a great deal. I like to capture that postcard shot, but soon after taking it I do not find it nearly as compelling as an original interpretation.
We were approaching a long weekend after a difficult week at the shop. As we relaxed in a little office our conversation about the weeks events slowly died away to a tired silence. After a few minutes, someone asked what our plans were for the long weekend. Thirty minutes later we all had plane tickets for our families to travel to Sydney Australia for the weekend. Last minute purchases can lead to great deals and we found a terrific one that day.
What can be more iconic than a shot of the Sydney Opera House taken from across the harbor? It has become a symbol of not just the city, but the entire country. It's avant garde architectural style epitomizes the ability for a young country like Australia to shrug off the traditional and embrace the revolutionary.
What a lofty building indeed! And what a challenge to capture in a unique way... Sure the postcard shot of the building, at sunset or sunrise is an easy thing to capture, and I did. Shooting it from different angles, done. Shooting details to hint at the larger building, done. Shooting from a boat, bridge and plane...done. All looked tired and all looked like a post card.
Then on the last evening there, I went back to the Opera House and set up my tripod for what seemed like the hundredth time. As I took some night shots I wanted to try some long exposure with people walking around in the foreground. A tap of the tripod, and a blurry image resulted. Before deleting I saw something I liked in it.
I set the camera for a 10 second exposure, pressed the shutter, counted two seconds and gently zoomed into the the image. Three attempts and I captured my unique shot of the Sydney Opera House. Years later, I look back at the photos I took on that trip and this is the only one that stands out aside from some wonderful shots of my friends and family.