When I arrived on Neil's Beginners' Street Safari course I was quite nervous, as I had only just swapped my compact camera for a DSLR and had very little idea of how to use it. By the end I felt confident enough to use different apertures, shutter speeds and ISOs, and was brimming over with ideas for different kinds of shots. Right from the start it was clear that Neil was very supportive, infinitely patient and a real people person. He is a born teacher and, like any good teacher, knows how to get the best from his students and how to encourage them. I left that course, and subsequent ones, feeling energised, enthusiastic and eager to get out and practise what I had learnt.
One of the things I like the best about all Neil's courses is that he doesn't blind you with technological jargon. Everything is clearly explained, and he always welcomes questions and deals with them sympathetically and in detail. I have also found it really useful that he explains the reasons behind different creative choices, such as composition and lighting, in order to help everyone develop their own style of photography. For me, Understanding Flash was a revelation, while Marooned was an experience I'll never forget, as it was such a privilege to have a lighthouse all to ourselves.
Then, last year, Neil put the icing on the cake! His online club, Moments in Time, has proved to be a wonderful source of inspiration and friendship. I love seeing the wide variety of images posted by other members, all with their own photographic interests. It provides an endless source of stimulation and encourages me to try things I might never have thought of. I particularly like the monthly projects, which are optional, and set by Neil to encourage us to be more creative with our photography and to try new things. I have found them really thought-provoking and they have made me aware of what a powerful tool photography can be in all kinds of surprising ways. Neil's a great companion to have on your photographic journey.