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The Changing Seasons: Sydney – June

Waiting to escape Stormageddon, Gate 60, Sydney airport.

Waiting to escape Stormageddon, Gate 60, Sydney airport.

I wasn’t in Sydney for most of June, so my Changing Seasons entry this month is the “single arty photo” version. This is Gate 60 at Sydney Airport on Sunday 5 June, waiting for the flight to Suva (Fiji).

That weekend, Sydney (and much of the east coast of Australia) was ravaged by a weather event dubbed “Stormageddon”. This violent superstorm flooded buildings and streets, knocked down trees and power lines, left tens of thousands of people without power, and destroyed beachfront properties. Waves as high as 8 metres ripped out swimming pools and gouged land as if with giant claws.

Selfishly, my concern was getting to Fiji: in the end, the flight was two hours late in leaving, but it did go! I took the feature photo during the long wait before my Fiji Airways plane pushed back from the gate.


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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: May

May in Sydney this year has been warm, dry and sunny. As changing seasons go, autumn is looking a lot like summer!

Smoke gets in your eyes (and your hair, and your lungs, and your drying laundry … )

Sydney is flanked on three sides by national parks (and an ocean on the fourth), which means a LOT of trees — which all pose fire dangers during hot, dry summers. So in autumn and winter, “hazard reduction” is carried out. On the day I took these shots around the harbour, the pre-emptive fires were in the Blue Mountains, some 125 km (80 miles) to the west. A weather phenomenon called an ‘inversion’ helped to keep the smoke sitting over the city.

It did make for days of glorious sunsets and sunrises, and interesting skies.

Smoky skies over the harbour bridge, 3pm

Smoky skies over the harbour bridge, 3pm

Hunters Hill Arts Festival

Festival of Art

Festival of Art

My goal on the smoky May Saturday was an arts festival in Hunters Hill, the smallest local government area in Metropolitan Sydney. Founded in 1861, it is one the oldest European-settled areas on the north side of the harbour and retains a number of large and impressive stone mansions. For the past 60 years, this Sydney suburb has held an annual arts festival.

Night comes early now

After the smoky ferry rides and the arts festival, and a friend’s birthday drinks, it was time to head home. It gets dark early now, and looking at this deserted train station you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d been out partying until the wee hours of the morning. However, it was only an extremely respectable 6:30pm when I took this photo.

Waiting for the train, 6-30pm

Waiting for the train, Erskineville station, 6:30pm

Mother’s Day

An occasion firmly associated with May.

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

An afternoon of wine in the sun

Mudgee comes to Pyrmont

Mudgee comes to Pyrmont

Mudgee is a renowned wine producing area 265km north west of Sydney. I don’t know what the connection is between Mudgee and the harbourside suburb of Pyrmont, but I heartily approve of this festival! What a marvellous way to spend a sunny autumn afternoon.

Red wine, and white! My two favourite kinds.

A good time was had by all. 🙂

Raise a glass

Cheers! Raise a glass

Markets in May

Markets in May, Martin Place

Markets in May, Martin Place

I walk along Martin Place to get to/from my office and the trail station, so it’s easy to keep up with the ever-changing program of events on this pedestrianised street in the heart of the Central Business District. During May, a different Sydney market set up each Thursday. A great excuse to escape the office for a while.


Season Markers

It’s not even possible to pretend that sunlight is still hitting the west end of Martin Place at 5:30pm.

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Over at Sandringham Garden in Hyde Park, the 1pm shadow gets longer and longer. The wisteria is still looking lush and green.

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Whew, and that’s it for a busy May! Despite the sunny days, winter is definitely coming. Nights are chilly (dropping below 10C/50F) and I’ve swapped my light bedding for my snuggly down/feather duvet, and sweaters and jackets (and even scarves!) are the fashion statements now.

I’ll be away from Sydney for most of June, so next month I think I’ll opt for the version of the challenge that only needs one photo. 🙂


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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: April

Overflowing gutters on my apartment building.

Overflowing gutters on my apartment building.

All my other shots for April have blue skies and sunshine, so I thought I’d start off with some rain to be sure you didn’t get the wrong idea. No cruise ship for you this month: the season is winding down but they are still visiting, but I didn’t get down to Circular Quay when a new one was in. In fact, I was very lazy this month, so have only two things to highlight for the April Monthly Challenge.

Biennale

Biennale

Biennale

The Biennale of Sydney is an art festival held every two years in several venues around the city. I checked out the displays on Cockatoo Island. This small selection gives an idea of the art and also the buildings. (You can see more of my photos about this island here.)

Anzac Day

25 April is Anzac Day, when Australians and New Zealanders remember the hardships of WWI and honour their military service people. The day begins with a dawn service — “pre dawn”, actually, as it’s held at 4am, long before the sun rises! It is wildly unlikely that you will ever see photos by me of that service. 😉

The highlight is a three-hour parade with marching veterans and current serving personnel.

The small children marching with their grandparents, or in place of a relative, look uncharacteristically solemn.

And what’s a parade without marching bands?

This is the 'massed bands' -- about 100 bagpipers, plus drummers.

This is the ‘massed bands’ — about 100 bagpipers, plus drummers.

Two Up

Anzac Day is one of the few days in the year when “two up” can be legally played in pubs. The rules are simple: three coins are tossed into the air, and the winner is the person who has bet on which face (heads or tails) lands UP on TWO of the coins. In the image below left, the man in the background is holding $50 and $20 bills — more than I would bet on coins!

Season Markers

There’s not even a hint of sun now in Martin Place at 5:30pm, and look how long the shadows are now at 1pm in Sandringham Garden.

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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: March

Queen Mary 2 at Circular Quay

March’s cruise ship is Queen Mary 2, so big that it moors “backwards” (stern first) at the Overseas Passenger Terminal rather than bow first as most ships do.

“Australia’s seemingly endless summer”

That’s how weatherzone.com.au described the first couple of weeks of autumn in Sydney. 1 March marks the change of seasons, but you wouldn’t have known it from the temperatures! On 10 March, weatherzone reported that “Sydney has recorded 33 consecutive days above 26C [79F] and the forecast shows the warm weather is set to continue for at least another week” and the next day it said, “The 11-day streak of March nights failing to dip below 20 degrees that Sydney is currently in the midst of is unprecedented in over 150 years of records.” This followed on from the sunniest February in 40 years, so we Sydneysiders can be forgiven for leaving our blankets and long pants in our closets. 🙂

This couple has the right idea! A bottle of wine in the late afternoon sun, on the shore of Botany Bay.

This couple has the right idea! A bottle of wine in the late afternoon sun, on the shore of Botany Bay.

I took advantage of the lingering lovely weather to explore Cape Solander in Sydney’s south.

However, there’s no avoiding autumn

Try as I might to ignore them, signs of autumn are everywhere. “The leaves they were crispèd and sere— | The leaves they were withering and sere” (from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘Ulalume’).

At this time of the year, the sun is at just the right angle at 8:00am to cast interesting shadows of people waiting for the train at my station. Which one do you think is me?

Only in March

World's Greatest Shave 10-13 March

World’s Greatest Shave 10-13 March

The Leukemia Foundation runs its World’s Greatest Shave from 10 to 13 March. People were having their hair coloured or shaved for charity.

Season Markers

The seasons don’t seem to be changing much yet in my two regular locations. In Martin Place, the leaves are beginning to look pretty tatty. In Sandringham Garden, the flowers in the tiered beds have been changed.

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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: February

Here is February's cruise ship. Compare this beautiful blue sky with the imminent storm over January's ship.

Here is February’s cruise ship. Compare this beautiful blue sky with the threatening storm that hovered over January’s ship.

The season of summer continues in Sydney. After the storms and humidity of January, February has been generally delightful: clear blue skies, normal humidity and lots of warm but not scorching days. Today is different — although the sky is a flawless, cloudless blue, the temperature is climbing to a forecast 39C (that’s 102F). As you can imagine, the beaches will be mobbed even though it’s a Thursday!

Hot summer day at Brighton Beach

Hot summer day at Brighton Beach a couple of weeks ago. This wide sandy reach runs along the western edge of Botany Bay.

This February brought the beginning of the Year of the Monkey, and Sydney (as usual) threw a party. You can see my other Chinese New Year photos here.

Chinese New Year flags and lanterns, Martin Place

Chinese New Year flags and lanterns, Martin Place

In the run-up to the The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, ANZ Bank gets into the spirit and converts some of its ATMs to GAYTMs.

Dance flash mob!

I was walking down Martin Place to the train station to go home on Monday, when suddenly music started thumping and apparent passersby began to dance.

Dance flash mob, Martin Place

All together now, big finish! Not sure about the guy in the red shirt, though.

If you can remember the opening sequence of the film “Footloose”, you’ll know why I took these two photos. Well I had to, really, because that song was playing!

Season Markers

These two locations will appear regularly in my monthly posts. As I said in my January post, it’s hard to tell what season it is in Sydney because there are no dramatic changes such as snow and ice. However, these plane trees in Martin Place do lose their leaves, and as I intend to take this shot around 5:30pm each month you’ll see it get darker and darker, and then light again as spring and summer creep up. And while I don’t think any trees in the photo of Sandringham Garden in Hyde Park lose their leaves, the wisteria certainly does, and the flower displays change with the seasons.

Martin Place, 5:30pm

Martin Place, 5:30pm

Sandringham Garden, Hyde Park, 1pm

Sandringham Garden, Hyde Park, 1pm


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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: January

"Voyager of the Seas" moored alongside the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

In Sydney, summer means cruise ships! This is “Voyager of the Seas” moored alongside the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

I wasn’t sure how to approach Cardinal Guzman’s “The Changing Seasons” monthly photo challenge. Two problems arose. One was that by the time I learned about the challenge on 27 January, all the things that characterise Sydney in January (the festival, the outdoor concerts, Australia Day) had passed. Second, and perhaps bigger, is that the seasons don’t really change in Sydney! Oh yes, in winter the non-native trees lose their leaves, but we have green grass, flowering shrubs and palm trees year-round; there are no dramatic snowfalls or ice storms or frosts to contrast with gentler weather. As for the first problem, the cardinal reminded me that there’s more to life than just highlights; as for the second, well, maybe Sydney will have a freak snowstorm this winter!

Yesterday I had a couple of hours to kill between social engagements, so I decided to see if I could capture some January photos. I was in the Opera House-Circular Quay-Rocks areas.

Australia Day may have come and gone, but some banners remain.

Australia Day banner near the Museum of Contemporary Art

Australia Day banner near the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Now here is something you don’t see every day: a pop-up gin bar. It’s associated with an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art and runs all summer.

If gin’s not your thing, you could just chill on a deck chair and watch the world go by.

Or perhaps you prefer a blue-striped deck chair?

Or perhaps you prefer a blue-striped deck chair?

One thing has characterised our season this January: violent thunderstorms. The hot, humid days mean torrential rain and driving winds hit the city almost every day, usually around the early evening rush hour. They cause power outages, wind damage and traffic chaos. 30 January was no different: by 5pm, it was a case of when, not if!

Very ominous sky over the harbour bridge.

Very ominous sky over the harbour bridge.

Umbrellas up! These are security guards by the cruise ship.

Tourists and Sydneysiders alike headed for home — but at a leisurely stroll. No need to panic.

Wet paving stones gleaming in the first fall of rain.

Wet paving stones gleaming in the first fall of rain.

The heavens opened and it was no time for waving a camera around. I took shelter at the Overseas Passenger Terminal along with a few dozen others. Now was the time to panic.

Do you really get less wet if you run?

Do you really get less wet if you run?

Those deck chairs don’t look so inviting any more, do they?

Blown-out deck chairs in the storm.

Blown-out deck chairs in the storm.

I had never noticed this statue on the roof of the art museum before. I like how it’s pointing up at the storm!

Hey look, it's raining! Again!

Hey look, it’s raining! Again!

Perhaps the only good thing about these violent January storms is that they don’t last long. The sky soon brightened.

A patch of blue sky!

A patch of blue sky!

“Voyager of the Seas” was down to only a few mooring lines, about to head off to sea. And I had to head off to meet my friends.

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

That’s it for January in Sydney. I just squeaked in under the deadline!


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