Monday, February 2, 2015

To the Streets of Sydney by Way of a Bus Ride to the Beach: There are No Accidents in Street Photography

Sideways Eyes (Sydney Australia February 2015)

I have had an aspiration for a long time now to photograph on the streets of Sydney, Australia's largest city. We've been in Sydney for about a week now and we're staying about 30 kilometers from the CBD in an area called the Northern Beaches. Until today, I've been spending a lot of time playing with the little dog we are caring for, gazing at the beautiful view to the sea out the front window of the house, and sorting out and catching up on postings to my site and other bits and pieces. But, today, I ended up on the streets of the city with my camera. But, to tell you the truth, it happened by accident (not that I really believe there is such a thing as an accident when it comes to my work-or in life for that matter). Anyway, here's how it came about that my long held aspiration has come to pass.

I thought I would go out and take the bus part way down the long peninsula that leads from north of the place we're staying in, past stunning beaches, through a dozen or more suburbs and on over the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge into the city. My plan was to jump off and on at a couple of different beaches; I had no plan to head to the city today (being a bit tired and it being a long bus ride).

Anyway, I did get to get off the bus at a beach called Narrabeen. Perfect surfable waves rolling onto a wide expanse of pristine white sand that headed for a kilometer or more in both directions. Really your stereotypical world class Australian beach. And I loved it. But, after a quick walk it was back on the bus for the next segment of my mini adventure.

Not long after taking my seat I overheard a couple behind me talking about buying a van, fitting it out and heading around Australia. As this is a topic and project close to my own heart, I butted in and we were soon into a wide ranging chat about this couple's plans: before the van will happen they are headed to Europe via South East Asia and India for seven months.

Isn't it strange how one can bump into people along the way (or in this case on a bus) who just happen to be thinking things you are thinking, making plans you are making or have made, or who have or are about to go to places you've been or dream of going to yourself?

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the rest of the roughly 90 minute trip vanished in a flash, as did my plan to jump off and on at random beaches. Before we knew it, we were in the city center. So, after saying goodbye and wishing each other bon voyages, I found myself on the sidewalks of Sydney.

Well, I thought, I'm here now, so let's go for it. So, out came the camera and off I went. I walked around for a couple of hours only, and didn't make that many photographs, but still, it's a start. I've been outback for a few weeks and it does take time to get oneself back in the zone, back into the vibe of the street. But, boy oh boy, I did enjoy it.

So, accidentally (not that I believe ... oops, I've said that already) I ended up on the streets of the city I'd aspired to photograph in. Of course, it would have been only a matter of time before I ended up there on purpose, but I know it's not a second guessing kind of game, this street photography caper: it always happens as it's meant to happen.

And, today, it happened as it was meant to happen by way of a very pleasant conversation about mutually shared interest on a bus with two complete strangers.

As I say, there are no accidents.