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LIFE:CAPTURED began in August 2013 when we held our first full-day workshop at RAW Space in Sydney, Australia. Our mission is to help people document their stories and create tangible keepsakes to be treasured for generations to come. We offer intensive design, photography, and memory keeping workshops, as well as interactive online classes. We are advocates of honest photography, minimalist design, and memory keeping that's simple, beautiful, and tangible. We are the pioneers of the story book, and we offer flexible templates that enable everybody to tell their story. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. LIFE:CAPTURED was founded by Rhonda Mason (of the Pink Ronnie blog) and Trish Chong (of Tealily Photography).

The blog

The official blog of LIFE:CAPTURED Inc, the modern school of memory keeping. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. We blog about design, photography, and how you can preserve your story with timeless, tangible keepsakes.

Family adventures: Sydney Tower Eye


| Written by Ronnie |

With four young boys (plus a baby boy) in our family, we love to get out and about whenever we can. Even when it is simply exploring a new bush track or visiting a local tourist spot, I like to think of these as our family adventures. Indeed, these outings make up an important part of who we are as a family, and they are, without a doubt, part of our story.

With this in mind, I am starting a new series called 'Family adventures.' The idea is to share images from these outings, along with a bit of information about the places we explore, what we and the boys thought about our experience, and a couple of tips for other families who are considering a visit. I also plan to share my thoughts about my images—the light on the day, the camera settings, and how easy or difficult it was to capture and document the experience...

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The Sydney Tower Eye (or Sydney Centrepoint Tower as I've always known it) is one of the most famous landmarks here in Sydney, Australia. Yet it wasn't until May this year that we actually paid this popular tourist attraction a visit. I think it was Angus who gave me the idea when he told me that his friend had been with his family. So on a random rainy Saturday, I googled Sydney Tower Eye on my iPad, proposed my idea to Rick, and within an hour, we were out the door and on our way.

The essentials you need to know

LOCATION // 188 Pitt Street, Sydney, New South Wales

ADMISSION // Like most other tourist destinations, tickets are always cheaper if you pre-purchase the online. For some reason, we didn't do this and ended up paying $86.40 for the seven of us (children under four enjoy free admission). However, if you do pre-pay online, it's only $58.00 for a family of four for a single visit to the Observation Deck. If you wish to also experience the SKYWALK, there are many bundled packages available for you to choose from. 

PARKING // We parked in a Wilson underground car park along King Street and walked from there. The city was rather busy on a Saturday, but we managed to cross all the roads safely. (Rick carried Bear, I pushed Lewis in the pram, and James was under strict instruction to hold onto the pram and walk next to me. The oldest two walked between Rick and me.) The parking ended up costing $20.60 for about three hours, which (in my opinion) isn't too bad. There are many other car parks that you can choose from, and of course, public transport is always an option.

FOOD // There is a large, modern food court at the bottom of the Sydney Tower Eye. There is a great selection of food options but be prepared for the place to be packed out. When we arrived, it was well after lunchtime and we were all rather hungry so we had no choice but to take on the food court. (Normally, we pack our own food but our eagerness to leave the house left us slightly empty-handed.) Somehow, we managed to navigate our way through the crowds to find a free table that fit all of us plus a not-so-compact pram. After everyone was seated, I took Pete with me and we ordered several trays of dumplings from Din Tai Fung. It was delicious, for sure, but I'm pretty sure that next time, we'll be packing our own food to avoid the long queues and the crowds.

Up on the Observation Deck itself, your food options are limited to coffee, chips, and lollies. So I would definitely suggest eating before riding that lift up to the top!

What the boys thought

ANGUS //  "I think it was really fun, and I thought it felt like it was swaying. I could see lots of other towers. My favourite thing was having the lollies."

PETER // "I think it's really tall. When you are at the top, it's really cool when you look down through the windows. I think the Centrepoint Tower is cool."

JAMES // "It was good. I liked that you could spy from it."

EDWARD // At the time of writing, Bear was asleep. But this very morning, when I asked him if he'd had any nice dreams, he told me that he dreamt of the Centrepoint Tower. Going on that alone, one might safely surmise that he has fond memories of our visit there.

What we thought

We arrived around half past three in the afternoon and we stayed for just over an hour. Apart from our food situation, Rick and I both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I loved seeing the boys' excitement, and Rick loved being able to talk to the boys about all the different places you could see in all the different directions. I also think that a tiny crash course on orienteering was thrown in there somewhere. It was not all that busy for most of our time there, so the boys had more than enough turns on the big binoculars, which they equated to spy equipment. However, as sunset approached, quite a number of tour groups arrived so we left pretty soon after that. (And yes, we did end up buying lollies from the lolly counter because it was the cheapest energy boost that we could find up on the deck.)

Would we go again?

Absolutely! Rick and I both feel this would be an excellent rainy day outing. However, we would pre-purchase our tickets next time, and we would definitely try to arrive earlier and stay for longer. We also think it would be cool to write down a list of places for the boys to locate to make the experience slightly more 'interactive' for them. And like I said—we will be packing our own food next time! 

Photography notes

 For most of our time on the Observation Deck, I set the ISO on my Fujifilm X100S to 400 and left my aperture on 2.0. It was only when the sun started to set close to five o'clock that I increased my ISO to 1250. The light inside the Observation Deck was rather soft, which made taking photos a bit of a treat. While I did snap a number of token shots of the scenic views, I actually found myself focusing more on the boys because I wanted to capture their curiosity, their fascination, and their eagerness to see the places that their dad was pointing out to them. As sunset approached, the light went from cool to golden in a matter of minutes, and I love how this is reflected in my images.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post—I'm honestly quite excited about this new series and can't wait to share more. (I have quite a stockpile of posts lined up...) 

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