sydney opera house at night

The Sydney Opera House is the world’s 32nd most visited tourist attraction and not even the most popular in Australia (that’s the Crown Casino in Melbourne) but it’s been on a personal short list of mine. Not to visit – but rather to photograph – and I got my chance late in 2012.

Completed in 1973, the Sydney Opera House took over 13 years to be built, about the amount of time I thought it would take to get a decent picture of it. I captured this picture on my second ride searching for the right angle, zooming away on Harbour City Ferries. Aside from serving as a picturesque foreground and photographer moat, Sydney Harbor’s saltwater provides another use – as a coolant for Opera House’s air-conditioning system.

The idea was the work of a Danish engineering firm, complimenting Dane Jorn Utzon, who designed this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Utzon never saw the job completed however, leaving the project in 1966 after a change in the New South Wales government. The new Minister for Public Works, Davis Hughes, wanted changes in the management and aspects of Utzon’s design. When Utzon refused, Hughes cut off Utzon’s funding, after which he left Australia – never seeing the completed Sydney Opera House in person before his death in 2008. Only part of a story with enough drama deserving of its own opera, that couldn’t be told anywhere more appropriate.