We love feedback and we love our students. Here is a slice of life from students past and present. Feel free to contact us to send in your own testimonial.
"A fine photographer and genuine contributor to the medium."
"I’ve finally returned home and I’m having difficulty adjusting to the normal, boring routine. I’m missing the peace of the mountains.
Thank you for a wonderful week of enrichment and immersion into the environment of the Blue Mountains. As a visitor to the area I would never have had the opportunity to visit so many out of the way places without your expert local knowledge. Your gentle approach to all activities allowed me to move at my own pace both physically and photographically. I had a truly wonderful week and know I learnt so much about my photography in all aspects. I believe I have improved some of my skills and hope to continue to use and develop those techniques you have assisted me with. Thanks for the opportunity to use your equipment and experiment with various lenses etc.
It was such a thrill to come home with printed images to show off where I had been. Now I need to work on the other hundreds of images I took on my travels……
My week in The Blue Mountains has inspired me to get out more frequently and use my camera at any opportunity. It will be a bit more challenging to find so many interesting places around Perth.
Many thanks and kind regards,"
"I wanted to write and thank you so very much for a truly wonderful week. We saw Cradle Mountain in all its weather systems and you made sure we were all able to capture its uniqueness. It is certainly a stunning part of the country and the world and I was so thrilled to finally make it there after years of wishing! You were such a fabulous tour leader and looked after us so so so well!!! I never saw you show any sign of anything other than care and concern. Thank you! It was a wonderful tour and a great group. We certainly experienced some fantastic wildlife and some stunning scenery. The weather was fabulous and to have had the chance to experience the frost and that special fog / mist rising was amazing! I just hope I have a few photos to do it justice. It was lovely to get to know you better and to have the opportunity to have so many great chats. Thank you for being so attentive and supportive and for your guidance and advice both when taking photos and when processing them. I learnt so much. I just need to write a lot of it down so that I don't forget it! I have been able to upload all of my photos which is wonderful. I loved seeing you fly your way around Lightroom and absolutely adored your processed images! WOW!!!!! Just stunning! You must have been thrilled! Looking forward to seeing you next week. Again, thank you for such a brilliant experience! Kind regards,"
“The course this year has been fabulous. When I reflect on what I have learnt, it is very difficult to describe. At one level it is easy. I have learnt many new techniques and I have connected with a much broader photographic community than previously.
The aspect that is more difficult to put into words, is the way I have grown and matured as a photographer. Your course has given me structure, it has challenged me in ways that I have never been challenged before, it has made me think in a new ways and it has given me the confidence to take risks with my photography.
In your own quiet way you have allowed me to discover a photographer within that I had not previously been confident enough to recognise. I am now attempting different types of photography than before. You have helped me discover what my strengths are, or more importantly, what my photographic strengths can be. I find myself speaking about my work with more confidence than ever before. I'm not afraid to use photographic and artistic language in discussions about my work. You've given me language I can use and you've believed in my photography enough for me to feel pride in what I've produced this year. This in itself is a major outcome. I started the year knowing I loved photography but not knowing if I had the potential to be really good at it.”
"Hello Len, First and foremost, I would like to thank you again for a wonderful week in the Blue Mountains. I enjoyed myself immensely, had a great time, learnt heaps, and we had lots of laughs and fun. You definitely have a happy client that will be returning for more.
Loved the workshop format and being able to immerse yourself in nothing but landscape photography and everything that goes with it, was just tops. Everyone has different reasons for doing photographic workshops, mine is to learn and to go places that I would not otherwise go to on my own. And we certainly did that!
In fact, this is the first 'photographic workshop' that was actually a real workshop and I learnt something as well, that I have done - and I have done quite a few so-called 'workshops'. So please keep the workshop format.
You have renewed my vigour, interest and motivation for photography - so thank you for that too. Hope all is well with you. Cheers"
Pam Handyside - Landscape Master Class
Marilyn Norris – Lens Workshop
“A most informative practical course on photography in the bush. I came away from the course with a new inspiration to pursue creative photography.”
"Many thanks for your help, feedback & thoughts to my photos. Inspiration!!!
Aldo - Portfolio mentoring
"Thank you, Len.
It's been a wonderful week in your beloved mountains. You've been the perfect Pied Piper - a mine of information, freely given, a knowen of beautiful places, an unobtrusive and supportive teacher, sensitive to everyone's needs, onve of life's truly good people.
I hope to stay in touch with you and come along for the ride again sometime.
With very best wishes, and thanks again."
Sarah Fitzherbert - Blue Mountains Tour
"I would like to thank you very much for your help in getting up steps etc on the Tassie trip, and for looking after us all. I certainly enjoyed the trip.
I went yesterday and collected the photos I had entered in an exhibition run by a camera club at Gulgong. I received a first in Mono open with a B/W sunset from Stockton Sand Dunes (Port Stephens photo tour) , taken when I was sitting in the vehicle, (the sky came up well in B/W) also a highly commended for one I took of the sunbeams off the balcony at Soldiers Point in Mono. "
"Thanks again for a very enjoyable and informative workshop and the individual assistance you gave me during the week and picking me up in Sydney. Much appreciated. I’ve also received nice compliments on the photos you printed for me and on your tree. I’ve said to people that while it was a landscape photography course, I see being in the Blue Mountains, seeing and experiencing it close-up as a bonus from the workshop. I hope this makes sense. Kind Regards,"
Graeme Masterman - Blue Mountains Tour
"I just wanted to tell you how wonderful the trip to the Flinders Ranges was for me. I can not thank you enough for your patience and tutoring during the trip. Every time I look at those photos I remember how many times you stopped and waited for me to get the photos I wanted and helped me with composition and techniques.
I have been doing the aperture exercises you suggested and I am having a lot of fun with it.
I look forward to seeing you again sometime in the future, hopefully on another tour.
Kerri - Flinders Ranges Tour
"I spent a wonderful morning with photographer Len Metcalf yesterday. Len was very generous with his time as he shared his knowledge about photographic printing and showed me many examples of the different types of prints and finishes available. Len has a good soul and is a patient and knowledgeable teacher. If you are in or near to Sydney and you are looking for a creative workshop or a one to one teacher then you might like to give Len a call. He is very approachable and has no ego. How refreshing. Thank you Len."
“Len’s fantastic ability to make everyone feel comfortable was vital, especially when critiquing other people’s work. The bond between the class members is very strong and supportive. This was even more apparent on our outings. The days were not just for learning and sharing knowledge, but were for having fun.
The homework and projects that were set not only enabled us to use the information learnt in our own work, but allowed Len to guide us to produce some outstanding work throughout the year. This culminated in an end of year exhibition. This was daunting at the beginning of the year, but with the extra knowledge and confidence gained throughout the year, it became an exciting prospect.
Len’s teaching and leadership has helped me to create a style of my own that I am comfortable with, but I’m also willing now to try different ways to communicate with my audience. I have learnt to watch the light more and be patient, both with myself and the subject. I believe I will continue now to grow as a photographer thanks to Lens class. I cannot thank him enough.”
“Len is a master of adult education to the point where you assimilate information without even realising it. I was guided to focus in new areas of photography revealing strengths that I did not know I had. It challenged and stretched me well beyond any of the photographic courses I had done before. I am completing the course with a much greater depth of knowledge; of skills; of confidence and a vibrant excitement with photography. The dynamics of the group, gently guided by Len, contributed greatly to the best course I have ever done.”
"Hello Len, Well the wonderful break is behind you and now embarking on more adventures to be fully supported by photography. From your newsletter all sounds very exciting and potential for a blossoming future. I just wanted to send you a note wishing you the very best for this afternoon, evening and the same again tomorrow - Master Classes. The year spent with you has been one of the highlights of my life and corrected the photographic dead-end I was on, not realising it but the road was getting narrower and would probably have petered out. Boy have things changed - the full joy and pleasurable challenge has returned; I have made a Learning Contract and 5 weeks into it am going energisedly (if that's a word) strong. So again thank you and warm wishes, and I am pleased for your participants as they are in for a wonderful time. See you in the future."
"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the two day “course” I attended last week. You took me to some wonderful places, gave me some really clear helpful guidance in how to improve my photo’s, gave me an opportunity to see how some larger format equipment works and last but not least were great company for the two days – Thanks!”
John Alexander – Individual Photographic Tuition
“Just a short note to say thank you for such a wonderful week-end of photography. I feel far more confident in changing settings and exploring more – you were patient and generous with your time and I thank you. At present I am still going through my notes trying to absorb all the information. Many thanks and kindest regards,”
Marilyn Norris – Lens Workshop
"Just thought I would drop you a line to say how much your course helped me. I’m even trying b & w shots now, and taking more manually rather rely on automatic. I have had a handful of photos published in the Morning Bulletin up (not paid unfortunately) and they even sent their photographer around to get a shot of me as well as publishing a bit of my bio. Next Tuesday a producer from ABC Open is coming to interview me about my photos, of which a number have been published on their web site. Have bought a mat-cutter etc and am going to start selling my wildlife / nature photos, especially the sunrise and sunset photos which people seem to particularly like."
"I'm still persuing the learning journey which commenced in Len's Master Class and enjoying the rewards."
"I spent two full days recently with Len, learning to use a Fotoman 617 panoramic camera and an Ebony 4x5" view camera.I had never been to a photographic workshop or had any photographic tuition, and I really wasn't too sure what to expect.
We started by spending a morning at Len's place, going through the ins and outs of large format and panoramic photography, and then spent the afternoon in the field taking photographs of waterfalls and bush scenes.The next day, it was overcast and raining at 7am when Len picked me up, and I expected that the morning's field trip would be replaced by a classroom session.In fact, Len was even more keen than ever to get out in the bush and take photographs.
"You've got your rain gear haven't you", he said, "The light's perfect and the rain just makes the colours glow"We walked a kilometer or so down a bush track by a stream, and proceeded to take a series of interesting shots of moving water with the 4x5", with Len holding an umbrella over the camera and me at the controls.During this time we had extensive discussions on composition, lens selection, focus, depth of field, exposure, camera movements, film selection and many other subjects.
Later, back at Len's place, we developed the transparencies - critique with loupe and lightbox completing the day's tuition.Len impressed me with his extensive knowledge and mastery of various photographic techniques.He communicated well and was flexible enough to accommodate any request.I would have no hesitation in recommending Len to anybody wanting to take their photography to the next level, and with the added bonus of the Blue Mountains as the setting, you couldn't really ask for more."
Richard McLean – Designed your own workshop
”I found the mentor sessions incredibly helpful and Len very insightful. Prior to this my photo-taking had been rather haphazard and I had difficulty critiquing my work. I now concentrate when I go out with my camera, visualise what I want in the photograph and more often execute a striking image. I also feel more centered on what I hope to achieve from my photography and on what appeals to me as a photographic subject. This has rekindled the passion that first made me take up photography and led to the freedom of having more than one project on the boil at a time – keeping the momentum and enthusiasm alive for each one.”
Cynthia Coghill – Mentoring Program
"Had a fantastic time doing the Master Class, sitting around a table with other like minded individuals discussing photography and getting critiques was a major step in taking my photography to the next level. Thanks to Len for all his help and support."
"I enjoyed the Master Class very much, I learnt a lot, and I met a great group of people who have inspired me to take my photography further........I hope to do more with this group and Len in the future........."
"To all who wish to learn photography at Len's School - Len is a fantastic Mentor, Teacher and a great Friend"
“Thanks for meeting with me yesterday. It inspired me all over again. Many Thanks”
Colin Gabriel – Len’s Portfolio Critique
“I have recently completed a Diploma of Photography course and some of my nature photography has been recognised by Australian Photography magazine and I even received a third placing in an A.P.S. Nature Division national contest (to my complete surprise). I don’t see competitions in any significant light but I hope it does indicate that I am getting something right. However, I still feel there is so much more to know and with all the workshops etc I have attended, I have found your input the most effective and I still refer to things you taught me. Although I have studied still life, portrait, photo journalism, etc, my passion is still with nature and wildlife photography. Looking forward to catching up”
Colin Gabriel – Landscape Workshop
I truly want to thank YOU for such an amazing weekend. You were so generous with your time, your expertise, with sharing your work and what you think makes a good photo great, and particularly generous with yourself. That might sound a bit strange but you gave so much of yourself on the weekend and I so valued that. It's a unique experience to be able to feel the energy and the passion that drive a creative talent - and you shared that with us too. Thank you!!
I need a bit of time to think about all that I learned on the weekend (things are a bit crazy for me at the moment) but I feel very sure that I'd really like to work with you again. Many people are great photographers - but you are also a particularly effective teacher as well - and that's rare!! I'd really like to continue in some way to work with you but I'll be in contact about that once I've thought a few things through.
I'm so glad to read that you enjoyed the workshop weekend too. It was a great group of people and we were so so so lucky to just have five of us in the workshop. You were also exceptionally generous with what you charged for the weekend. No wonder there are so many containers of film still left in your fridge to be processed!!!!!!!
Hope all is well for you and thanks again for a truly inspiring, creative, thoughtfully-presented and beautifully-paced learning opportunity on the weekend. I loved every minute!!!!
Fiona Huddleston - Blackheath Art Society, Landscape photography weekend workshop
"I just wanted to thank you for a great weekend. The scenery, the food, the photography help,the learning opportunities and the organisation were all excellent. Thanks again."
Helen Smith - Southern Highlands Camera Society - Blue Mountains Landscape Weekend Tour
"Leonard critiqued my work and was able to give me some very useful tips and ideas regarding the artistic quality of my images which has lead me to grow as a photographic artist. He was able to describe and demonstrate the subtleties of matting, framing and presenting the final image. His knowledge of art photography is very well rounded and because of his encouragement and expertise I was able to organise my first exhibition at the Breewood Gallery in March 2008."
Mike Dingley – Len’s Portfolio Critique
“A most informative practical course on photography in the bush. I came away from the course with a new inspiration to pursue creative photography.”
Mike – Student – Landscape Photography Weekend
“As a ‘beginner’, I found the explanation of theory, followed by practical demonstration as excellent way to learn. The lessons from this course have increased my learning, and my abilities in photography.”
Peter J – Student – Landscape Photography Weekend
“The weekend was thoroughly enjoyable and educational. The course combined the best of camping, bushwalking and practical photography. I learnt to improve my skills in taking photos in many situations not just in the bush. What was a great value to me was some personal tutoring of my own camera that has allowed me to obtain better results. Len was very flexible in the subjects and theory we covered and the equipment (digital and film) we could use.”
David – Student – Landscape Photography Workshop
“I attended a full day photographic workshop with Leonard and asked him to concentrate mainly on my use of the camera and also the process of developing my black and white images. Leonard took me to some excellent locations where he observed the processes I followed, and gave some excellent advice regarding metering, composition and camera movements. The opportunity to process those shots later in the day gave me the instant feedback I needed. The locations that Leonard was able to show me, all within minutes of his studio, meant that the day was spent applying knowledge, not just talking about it. If you are looking for a guide to show you some of the unique locations within the Blue Mountains, I recommend Leonard for both his knowledge of the area, and his photographic knowledge. Leonard has also provided ongoing support and is always willing to provide answers to questions you may have. Many thanks for the workshop, and I look forward to the next opportunity to discover more of the locations in the Blue mountains.”
Craig Griffiths, Student – Individual Tuition
“Hi Leonard, I have just looked at your sites and your art is truly stunning. You may or may not remember me, I was one of your trainees in Assessment and Workplace Training at Mission Employment which concluded in 2000. It is time I told you how wonderful the course was and that it changed my direction in life. I am now a trainer/assessor in business, retail, frontline management and waste management – thanks to you; and thoroughly enjoying it. I would like to catch up with you sometime. Best wishes for Easter and well done on your sites and business. Regards,”
Christopher Brown -Certificate IV Assessment & Workplace Training
This email is to thank you for the professional care and expertise you demonstrated as facilitator at the recent teacher workshops: Professional Conversations for CGVE/Equity staff.
Everyone who participated in these workshops found the information most relevant and useful for their teaching. Furthermore, the workshops allowed us to have the opportunity to effectively reflect on teaching practice. Unfortunately, this process is often cast aside due to time constraints.
Finally, the teachers and youth workers who participated in the workshops have started the new term with fresh ideas, good networking principles and the knowledge that they are “on track” with their teaching programs. Many thanks Len.
Jann Dylon - Head Teacher
“As a partner, and observer of these Programs (Sequential Experiential Education Courses for Schools) their success was unquestionable. I observed significant development of the skills of all the staff involved and they themselves speak highly of the Programs. As supervisor and manager of the staff body, Leonard practiced what he preached, he always managed to bring out the best in his staff. They were comfortable enough to address their weaknesses with him, practice self and peer appraisal and come forward with initiatives when they had them. From my perspective Leonard was extremely successful at motivating staff – challenging them and giving them ownership of areas of responsibility, whilst always maintaining control over the quality of outcome.”
Matthew Jack, Managing Director, Adventure Education Pty Ltd
“(The course) was one of the most enjoyable and successful I have experienced. The instruction was first-class in all areas and the pastoral care work has resulted in a well-adjusted, happy and cohesive form. The success of the camp was in no small way due to the professionalism and commitment of yourself and the other Adventure Education instructors. The reports submitted by the students reflect a positive experience and a desire by many to continue the activities to which they were introduced. This is a strong testimony to the effectiveness of the instruction they received.”
Martin Pryor, Form Master, SCECGS Redlands
“…Leonard has acted as my mentor while I have been studying a B.Ed. in Adult Education. He has always shown great patience and has helped me through some difficult and confusing areas. Leonard has been inspirational and encouraging in my development of new teaching strategies and different ways of looking at problems.”
Judith Raft, Graduate B.Ed. (adult education) UTS
“Len’s skills as an Adult Educator are exemplary. He maintains a very high standard of work, and has shown this in his design of training courses and the delivery of training itself. Leonard is an extremely innovative and dynamic trainer.”
Sue Fielding, Training and Development Officer, InnerSkill
“Leonard is an excellent trainer and creates a supportive environment… This course has opened a lot more doors for me for employment… I have developed my confidence… Thanks Leonard.”
Mohammed Rabii, Student Certificate IV Training and Assessment
(Len is) “enthusiastic, happy, friendly, willing, dedicated, knowledgeable and genuine. He has good vocal control, is aware of timing, has a good style of presentation and lots of practical experience.
Keith Hurst – Student Certificate IV Training & Assessment
“Len was the unanimous choice of the interview panel and over the next year he played an integral part in a DEET funded pilot project which developed an enterprise-based approach to training long term unemployed people. Len’s contribution highlighted his skills as an adult educator, a Program planner and a course coordinator. His ability to work co-operatively with senior managers from DEET and the CES, with the staff and management at Inner Skill and with the client group was outstanding… Again, his ability to work co-operatively with all staff and clients and to adapt to the changing nature of Inner Skill’s provision and funding has ensured that the organisation remains one of the foremost vocational and educational training organisations for disadvantaged people in NSW…. As a current member of Inner Skill’s Management Committee and Board of Directors, I have come to trust implicitly Len’s commitment to his work, his dedication to his own development as a trainer, and his honesty in all his dealings with those he works with… His extensive background in adult education across a wide range of sites and across a wide range of curricula, and his extensive experience in working with many varied client groups and individuals places him in an unique position as an adult educator.”
Peter Holden, Senior Education Officer - Western Sydney Institute of TAFE NSW
“I would like to thank you for all the effort you have put in to ensure the Bachelor of Teaching ran smoothly. Your area of responsibility has always had a high profile, and has been essential the overall success of the project. We appreciate how well you fitted in with the rest of ‘the team’, and how you related to everyone on the ABO and School staff.”
Peter Brown, Kuwait Naval Force Project
“Dear Mr Leonard, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the efforts exerted by you during the last two years to pass your experience and knowledge on to us. Undoubtedly, I have learned a lot since enrolling in the school because it opened different areas of knowledge which helped me understand many issues which related to me as a person and to my field of study… I would like also to express my respect to you as a person for your good manner and excellent conduct in class. You have always abided by civilized manners when dealing with students and spoke with careful politeness.”
Hassan Ali Ahkanani, Kuwait Ministry of Defense, Air Defense
“(Len) was one of the best instructor (sic) which I meet in my life. During the course you treated us like adult learners and you give us trust. You was (sic) very professional in teaching and managing the classroom. I personally learned from you many useful skills and how to be a professional teacher (sic.).”
Jalal Jaafar, Major, Kuwait Air Force
“One of the aspects that I appreciated was the thoroughness with which Leonard prepared the course, with a logical structure and varied training styles. The trainer demonstrated a keen awareness of adult learning principles and showed respect and appreciation for the depth of knowledge and experience of the participants. This maintained interest in all the participants and we have been able to form a very lively learning group.”
Rein van de Ruit, Social Worker
“Len's artistic talent combined with his teaching expertise is a formidable combination. I have no doubt that we will hear from Leonard in the years ahead. I have great pleasure in commending this young man to anyone seeking a talent in these fields.”
George Schwarz, Head Photography Department, City Art Institute, NSW Institute of the Arts
“I found Leonard to be a dedicated and innovative trainer, whose novel and refreshing approach has renewed my aspirations for the future, in a positive and lasting way.”
“The past sixteen weeks have been a magical mystical tour; challenging my beliefs, introducing new and exciting concepts, valuing my experience, continual encouragement, pushing my boundaries and at all times feeling safe to experiment and experience the new. Len even has the ability to make the dull, dry and boring interesting and exciting. He is an extremely talented educator of vast experience – I have not yet met his equal in some thirty years.”
Christopher Brown – Community Development Worker
Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your facilitation of the Staff Development yesterday. The initiative games you deliver and the follow up of the experience always leave me with some insight into the work we do. I have spent some time since yesterday, actually at 3am when I woke up going wow, about the way the group, (Team) came up with what was written on the whiteboard and how the whole section operates within those thoughts. I know I push the boundaries and sometimes haven’t appreciated the way the whole team looks at our work so incredibly thorough.
I hope other gained as much as I did and again, it is a credit to you as a facilitator that I gain so much every time I experience your sessions. Thanks,
Ngulla Murrandah - CGVE Coordinator TAFE Blue Mountains
Thank you so much for your wonderful support in assisting us in making the recently held ISER Behaviour Conference at Batemans Bay a wonderful success this year. Your presence and contribution was greatly appreciated.
Cheryl Hartsorn - Department of Education