15 August 2014
with kind permission of AirPano
Let us introduce an updated virtual tour of Sydney. In addition to the old photo panoramas shot in 2008, we added new high-resolution images that have never been published before.
Some time ago, I spent a night in Sydney on my way from New Zealand to Moscow. In the evening, despite the gloomy weather, I hired a helicopter pilot to fly over the city and pick a spot with the most interesting view of the harbor.
The following day at sunrise, I went to the same pilot again to fly and shoot the famous Sydney Harbor. However, a flight dispatcher told the pilot that we couldn't fly to the selected location. I was surprised: why not? We were there last night. The pilot explained that yesterday it had been okay; but the wind (or some other conditions) had changed, and so passenger aircrafts were now required to use an alternative corridor for landing - exactly where I was going to shoot today.
"So, what are we going to do?" the pilot asked. "Should we go home?"
I replied, "No, I spent 24 hours on the plane just to photograph that spot! Perhaps, they can think of something?"
"Wait", was the dispatcher's response.
We spent about half an hour hovering in the air above the other side of the Harbor Bridge where it was free of airplanes preparing for landing. Then, finally, my helicopter pilot received a message.
"There is a window. You have 3 minutes to shoot". And, a couple of seconds later, "Hey, guys, make sure you send us the picture!" And so we went for it. Suddenly, there was a boat sailing out of the port, and the sun was illuminating the clouds beautifully... Snap! The picture was ready. So, now you know the story about how this photo panorama was created.
What is common between Moulin Rouge, Finding Nemo, Mad Max, Superman Returns, Star Wars and Matrix? Don't hurry to find it in the list of directors or actors. One of the most beautiful cities of the planet, Sydney, unites these and more than 200 other works of modern cinematograph.
As many people think, Sydney is not the capital of Australia at all, though it is its oldest city. It couldn't become the capital because of its competitor, Melbourne, which is the second megalopolis of the country. In 1901, when they were choosing a capital, both Sydney and Melbourne had a claim on this title refusing to stand down. The foundation of a completely new city as a capital, Canberra, which is far away from the both competitors, could put an end to an uncompromising struggle.
However, precisely Sydney is a visit card of Australia. There are its most recognizable buildings: the fantastic Sydney Opera House and the grand Harbour Bridge.
Sydney is a relatively young city. During many thousand years only aborigines lived there. Even James Cook, who investigated the eastern seaboard of Australia, couldn't reach it. The city was founded by Capitan Arthur Phillip who sailed there in 1788 with a dozen of ships and hundreds of prisoners, who were devoted to found new colonies of Great Britain.
The city that was born as New Albion grew completely from nothing: houses and streets were built, roads and bridges were constructed, fertile soil for crops was searched for and harvests were grown. Some time ago New Albion was renamed in honour of Thomas Townshend who was a British Home Secretary Lord Sydney and who sent the exiles there.
The British flotillas went on to come in Sydney but the main purpose of these expeditions still was the transportation of prisoners from the British jails to the recent founded colony. In spite of the fact that in the beginning of XIX century such a phenomenon as free immigration was formed, by 1820 about 40% of Sydney's population still stayed convicts.
The crucial pint of the colony's history became May events of 1851, when one of its inhabitants found first 120 grams of gold and Sydney's criminal population mixed with gold diggers. Although the gold can't be found there now, for visitors Sydney is still nearly the most attractive cities of the world. People of almost all nationalities live there, but in spite of this fact Sydney is one of the most friendly and hospitable megalopolises of the world.
Australia is rarely in the centre of public interest because of its geographical remoteness, but after the Olympic Games of 2000 Sydney could attract it and in several years it became a different charts' TOP 10 member from "the Most Beautiful" till "the Most Stylish" cities of the planet.
This city is impossible to be seen for one day. It is the city of architectural contrasts, where modern skyscrapers of business centers are closed to ancient buildings of Mediterranean style. This city is full of gardens and parks, lively beaches and numerous places of interest. It was built chaotically, that is why its streets are of different length and width, and some of them are too close to each other, another have a visible sheer slope. Sydney's relief is similar to a big plane dish with river valleys in the North, in the Centre and in the South. In the times of Ice Age the ocean level rose by more than 100 meters and inundated the valleys with water. These river valleys can be perfectly seen from the height, for instance, on this panorama.
In the opinion of both locals and tourists, the most beautiful place in the city is a coastal harbour. The most visited and closed to the centre is a Rich Harbour. There is a whole complex of hotels, museums, souvenir shops, restaurants and entertainments. Sydney's symbols are the Sydney Harbour Bridge which joins the north and the south parts of the city and the wonderful Sydney Opera House which is seemed to be going under sails.
"I despair of being able to convey to any reader my own idea of the beauty of Sydney Harbour. I have seen nothing to equal it in the way of land-locked sea scenery", — the classical English writer Anthony Trollope wrote about Sydney. It is the truth: what's for to read about Sydney? It's worth to be seen.