Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve Sydney Style

My mother is fortunate to live near the water in Sydney... and it's only a short drive or a 15 minute cycle to a fab place where you can watch the New Year's Eve fireworks on the harbour. I grew up in this house and do miss it, particularly when it's party time, as it's a lot bigger than our little shoebox t'other half and I live in, and has a great balcony for parties. One of which I threw for some friends on New Year's Eve.

A muggy summer evening, the clouds had rolled away by the first round of fireworks at 9pm (for the kids, really). Because it wasn't raining we did the traditional thing and cooked a BBQ. I augmented this with a Tourtiere, the wonderful French-Canadian pork pie which is traditionally a staple on Christmas Eve for Quebecois (I discovered this recipe courtesy of an old Quebecois boyfriend). If I get my act into gear and it's not scorching weather I make it for Christmas Eve, but realistically we usually serve it on NYE/Hogmanay, when the Christmas turkey feast is long digested and our stomachs are ready for another round of amazing comfort food. I also offered a massive potato salad and green salad.

No celebratory Aussie BBQ would be complete without a Pavlova, the meringue dessert named after ballerina Anna Pavlova, and made in her honour when she visited Australia back in my grandmother's day. A Pav is a flippin' great round meringue decorated thickly with whipped cream and whatever fresh fruit takes your fancy. This 12" Pavlova I chose to decorate with strawberries, kiwifruit and blueberries. It was just delicious; and somehow not too rich or sickly either.

Then it was time for the fireworks and we loaded into cars and headed down the road. We hadn't brought the bikes with us - 2 cats, a dog, overnight stuff, and all the food to feed the hordes was enough we figured. I was happily oiled on Domaine Chandon NV by fireworks time but sober enough to hold a camera. I've photographed these fireworks every year since 1988. I've gone through film SLRs and digi SLRs on tripods, lugging my heaviest tripod in recent years in case of wind. I have so many photos of fireworks from this particular place they all blur together after a while. This year, I almost convinced myself to just watch the display instead of obsessively taking pics of it. I couldn't do it. I took more than 200 photos. I'm insane. Here are some of them anyway. These are all handheld on my compact digital, by the way, as I left the tripod at Mum's. So I used the 'take a deep breath and hold it' technique and the results aren't too painful. I won't be doing anything with them (I've entered competitions in previous years with fireworks pics).

Boats rock on their moorings in the gentle, almost non-existent breeze. You can't hear the tinkle of their rigging above the stomach-rattling booms overhead.
A myriad of colours. 3,000kg of fireworks went off over Sydney this time. Waste of money? Maybe - but damn it was good!
Blue and gold together.
That's the Sydney Harbour Bridge; it gets festooned in fireworks and traffic is stopped for the duration of the display.
In between 'Boom"s you could hear a chorus of "Ahhh" from the hundreds we shared our little not-well-known spot with.
Getting near the end now... more of them were set off together, and the sky became ablaze.
The mix of colours was enchanting; these pics almost capture it, but you had to be there, as they say.
Heading for the grand finale...
With fireworks exploding from the Bridge and this year a first, exploding either side as well. Not a great photo as I zoomed in and held my breath but it sorta kinda grabs the moment.

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