"A Christmas present from my wife - one Photo Safari with David Simmonds - so I contacted David early in the New Year with a little trepidation. A most pleasant surprise was in store - David was most affable and offered lots of options. We settled on a January 7th shoot but didn't allow for the weather! It was forecast to be an extremely hot day so David reorganised so that we started later and shot in an old forest at first to avoid the heat.

I found David to be a great motivator and instructor and when we'd finished in the forest it was still too hot to shoot on the beach at Johanna so we retired for a 45 minute lesson in Lightroom which I had just purchased. David was a great help in getting me into Lightroom - I'd find it quite difficult to learn but with David's demonstrations and enthusiasm all concerns soon departed.

Shooting with David at Johanna Beach was a fantastic experience! Use of ND filters and Polarizing filters with long exposures were the order of the day and I took some great photos. When my tripod proved inferior David offered me use of his back up which was markedly better than mine! I took a few marvellous pics that night.

Overall the experience was a great one and I've gained a lot of confidence in using Lightroom now (I've managed to tweak a good picture of my daughter into something that even she finds wonderful!). Seeing David at work and the way he shared his knowledge was a real growth experience. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their photography."

- Richard C.

Dusk at Johanna Beach © Richard Conway

Johanna Beach © Jessie C The Otways...

"What a fun and inspirational weekend away delving into the world of landscape photography. Surrounded by the beautiful Otways, armed with my Nikon SLR and expertly guided by David Simmonds, I managed to capture some truly breathtaking images.

David did an amazing job creating a one off experience that was tailored to my artistic style and personal learning pursuits. His technical knowledge and practical "bag of photography tricks" would give any budding photographer the tools to master the fundamentals of photography.

Most importantly, David's passion for photography is absolutely contagious. I'm more excited than ever to use all of my new tricks and techniques to capture the world around me; one click at a time.

An absolutely priceless experience; thank you so much David."

- Jessie C (Occupational Therapist)



Black Cockatoos Trio - before (© Robyn Stewart)

Black Cockatoos Trio - after (© Robyn Stewart)

"I am passionate about wildlife and love to photograph the many magnificent animals and birds in the Otways. Black Cockatoos fly high over my property and have been challenging me to capture them in flight. At last I achieved a photo of 3 birds close together as they flew overhead which was a pleasing composition. Whilst I was happy with the composition of the shot, I was frustrated that I could not sharpen the silhouettes as distinctly as the vision I held in my head. David introduced me to the High Pass tool in Photoshop and taught me how to use it to sharpen specific parts of an image to achieve my desired result. By converting the image to black and white, and heavily sharpening the contrasts of the birds to the background, we worked a good photo into a great graphic image, which I am very pleased with. I am now experimenting with using this tool for many of my other wildlife shots. Thank you for your mentoring, David."

- Robyn Stewart (Commercial property & business consultant, Melbourne)

Ancient Tree, Maites Rest, Otways (© Sandra Curtis)

"Being married to David I get lots of constant photo mentoring. On this walk through the beautiful forest at Maites Rest in the Otways I wanted to photograph this ancient hollow tree. The low light only made the shadows inside the tree even deeper, but I loved the textural interest there.

David suggested I use flash to photograph the tree to give some fill light, then coached me in post production to open up the tree interior, and then use noise reduction techniques, to get a more satisfying result."

- Sandra Curtis (Studio Manager/Artist/Designer/Musician, Melbourne)

Elephant on the banks of the Chobe River, Botswana (© Sandra Curtis)








"On this trip to Africa I used my little Ricoh Caplio 100GX. Whilst David was doing lots of long lens shots I concentrated on a different way of seeing, that worked with the limitation of the camera I had.

Setting it to capture the largest size RAW files it could, I trusted to post-production and cropping to make the most out of my image. I liked the monolithic shape of this elephant but the light was getting low at the end of the day. So I had a lot of noise to deal with in the file. I also wanted to give it a treatment to make it look more dream-like and dramatic.

I took the file as far as I could go in Lightroom, then David helped me with using noise reduction, sharpening and layer techniques to reclaim more detail in my image. It was an interesting process to choose just how much noise to reduce vs loss of textural interest."

- Sandra Curtis (Studio Manager/Artist/Designer/Musician, Melbourne)







Leopard (© Robyn Stewart)



"On a recent trip to Africa for my 50th Birthday, I had the pleasure of some valuable photographic mentoring from my dear friend, David Simmonds, on the journey.

I have been a passionate amateur photographer for many years, but was able to learn so much more from David on this trip about the use of various settings on my camera to maximise the shots of the many wonderful animals we saw.

In particular, I learnt how to capture moving animals much better, as well as how to work with low light levels."

- Robyn Stewart (Commercial property & business consultant, Melbourne)







Elephant dustElephant dust (© Claire Filson)




"Three weeks on safari with David Simmonds was one long photo shoot. 

On David’s recommendation I switched to shooting in RAW and now using the software he suggested I haven’t looked back, being able to manage and manipulate my growing photo library. 

By following David’s lead, taking advice on camera settings and watching how he framed his images it was easy to take some fab photos.  With my enthusiasm whetted I have since upgraded from a Canon 300D to a Canon 5D to capture even better quality images. 

I'm looking forward to my next safari, confident that my photos will be even better than last time."

- Claire Filson (Lawyer, Melbourne)