One thing I really appreciate about bigger cities and something I am acutely aware of not having at home is anonymity. There is a big difference between the freedom of photographing people that are forever destined to be strangers. The city I live in has about 80,000 people, but it is amazing how often you run into people you know and the smaller place does have a feel of being much smaller (often manifesting in suspicion or a heightened awareness of thing "out of place"). The two problems I face with this are directly related. The people you are dealing with are more aware of you, because people doing anything overtly tend to stand out (especially in less busy streets) and conversely, they tend to act in a more contained and conservative manner. Melbourne has all sorts and they are just as happy to be themselves as they are happy to let you do your thing.
This shared anonymity is an almost friendly barrier to judgement.
Could I have taken the images below at home? Probably. But it would have been more strained, and stressful* and it would have taken longer than the half an hour or so these took. To be honest it would not have felt worth the effort.
This unfortunately has resulted in my photography becoming sporadic, limited to travel.
Within the last year, I have been verbally abused for including (just) a Harley Davidson motor bike in the front corner of an image of a building, had a Tarrot card reader (doing readings out in the open) chase me through a market to ask what I was up to when I took a wide angle image they were barely recognisable in (I did not even notice them when I composed the shot), had someone in the street stop and demand to see my "peeping Tom" images while photographing flowers in a nearly empty park and been honked at while photographing a leaf pattern on some cracks in the road edge!
Compare this to 5 trips to Japan and dozens to Melbourne without incident.