Sydney has one of the most recognisable cityscapes in the world and as an Aussie I can be a little bias and add the most beautiful too. I made this composition across the waters of the harbour at Milson’s Point which is a parked area underneath the base of the northern pillars of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s a great place for photographers to shoot the city with their telephoto lenses and you can pretty much choose any spot up and down the shore line for about 1-2 km’s as there is a footpath along the waters edge. It’s also a great place to exercise and the path goes right passed the front door of luna park !

Waiting and watching the scene I was surrounded by the sounds and smells of the harbour from the seas tides lightly caressing the sandstone path to the songs of the local birds, not to mention the strong scent of the salty sea water. The harbour is a rich tapestry of life and it thrives at this time of night….

The thing which makes this scene so iconic visually though is the glowing spread of the sails of the Sydney Opera House. They are an artists vision on a grand scale and steal my attention whenever I am in the area, even though I’ve seen them 100’s if not 1000’s of times. I love being up close to them and exploring their shapes and textures and feel a little like alice in wonderland.

Software Used:

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

– Perfect BW A Black & White filter program from OnOne.


This might be an edit that photographers wish to mimic themselves so I will go into it in a little detail for you. It was achieved by firstly shooting a bracket of images on my camera, I made 5 images but only used 4 of them as the 5th was too blown out. You can use 3, 5, 7 or however many your camera can make and then take them into a HDR software program called Photomatix Pro. You can buy Photomatix Pro by clicking the link BUY PHOTOMATIX HERE for a discounted price by using the code LukeZemePhotography to get 15% off !


After you have made your tonemapped image in Photomatix you then will need to use a program called Perfect BW which allows you to add a tone to the shadows as well as the tone of the paper. The reason that this is important is that you subtly change the colour of the highlights too by changing the tone of the paper 🙂 You can purchase Perfect BW 2 as a standalone software program from onone or you can purchase it in the suite of software they sell called On1 Photo Raw I own the suite and it comes in super handy and has a bunch of programs I use on a daily basis.

I then used another program from the On1 Photo Suite called Perfect Effects to add some glow selectively to the image. This helped me to give a bit of richness and allure to the scene and was an important part of the workflow.

Image Location:

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Thanks, Luke.

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks :-) Thanks, Luke