Surprise birthday paddles with Sydney by Kayak

I love paddling around Sydney Harbor Bridge and in front of the Opera House at sunrise. Before the ferries start, the water is flat, sometimes glossy and glassy. It is quiet, except for the sounds of our paddles slicing through the water, and the occasional peals of laughter and excitement as our groups of paddlers push their kayaks beyond Luna Park and drink in the view of the iconic Opera House glinting in the golden pink hues of the early morning rays.

What makes it even more special, is when paddlers arrange for surprise paddles for their friends / significant others. Sometimes, it takes a bit of coaxing to get them out of bed before 5am in the morning, especially when they have no idea what’s in store, but always, their faces light up when they come to the boat ramp and see the colourful row of kayaks at the water’s edge.

And that’s only part one of the surprise! Part two is when we pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and float peacefully in front of the Opera House. That’s when Laura sneakily lights candles on cupcakes and then skillfully maneuvers one-handed to the surprised paddler. 😀

Totally worth those early morning calls!

Three Reasons why I Love to Photograph Cloudy Sunrises

ONE: Color, color, color!

When you get high cloud cover at sunrise, that’s pretty much the recipe for brilliant hues of pink and orange, not just in the sky, but spread all over the landscape – the water, the Opera House, people’s upturned faces.

Sunrise Paddle Friday Oct 6 2017


Sunrise Paddle Sunday Oct 8 2017


TWO: Drama, and texture

Clouds add a layer of depth to the landscape. Those billowing, menacing shapes are mesmerizing to behold.

And you never know what they can yield. Lightning (though hopefully, not while you’re out on the water), or rainbows.


THREE: Giant reflectors

Even on days where the clouds are so low and voluminous that they block out the sun, they help accentuate the landscape or subject matter, by acting as gigantic reflectors.

Sunrise Paddle Saturday Oct 7 2017


Sunrise Paddle Monday Oct 9 2017

Epic Sunrise on the Harbor Front

As a paddler and photographer, I live for beautiful sunrises out on the water. And once in a long, long while, the clouds align at sunrise and the sky just bursts into vivid colors of brilliant pink and orange. Friday was one such morning. As our group of paddlers with Sydney by Kayak pushed off the little beach on Lavender Bay towards the Harbor Bridge, we could see the Opera House catch the beginning rays of golden light.

In mere moments, the colors spread to the rest of the landscape. I was laughing in delight as I exhorted the kayakers to quickly take their positions in front of the opera house, because photographic gifts like that just have to be taken advantage of.

All too soon, the sun disappeared behind the clouds again, and it seemed almost inconceivable that we’d enjoyed such a stunning display. The rest of the day was shrouded in thick, low hanging grey clouds, but for the few of us who were out there at dawn, it was a beautiful day. 🙂

Sunrise Paddling in Spring

It’s been a fun past week of morning sunrises! The weather has been all over the place. Just earlier this week, we were shivering in 10 degrees; this morning, it was hot and humid at a very unseasonable 29 degrees. Not complaining though, it still felt glorious to be out on the harbor, enjoying the view.

Sydney by Kayak’s sunrise paddle tour was recently featured in Time Out too – very exciting stuff! It’ll also be in the print October issue, though I have no idea where to buy print copies. :/

Here are a couple recent sunrises where we popped underneath the Harbor Bridge to get closer to the Opera House. 🙂


Sunday Sunrise Paddle

Sunday morning – no clouds on the horizon, but the water was nice and glassy. Another beautiful and leisurely morning out on the water. It also marked the first day of our partnership with Sydney by Kayak!

Over the next few months, through the end of summer, ptanPhoto will be on hand on SBK’s Sunrise Kayak & Coffee tours, taking photos that paddlers can purchase as keepsake. Super pumped: more chances to be out on enjoying the early morning light and the peaceful gorgeous Sydney Harbor before the ferry boats churn up the water!

Sunrise paddle with Sydney by Kayak