How were you expecting to feel after four days with us?
"I expected to feel as tired as I am. Because I know these things are always getting up early, staying up late, and then running around through the middle of the day — and just mentally exhausted from learning so much. But it’s the best way to do it, the only way to do it, to make the most of it."
How were the boat trips?
"The boat trips were amazing. The first boat trip was incredible. That second boat trip blew my mind. I did not expect that from down here. It’s my first time down here. It looked like something from King Kong, something you’d expect from the northern hemisphere, like the Greenlands, the Icelands, that kind of style, those cliff faces, I’ll never forget that."
How did you find the other shoots?
"Especially the lighthouse, I really had a great night that night. Chasing the sunset, and running around, and everyone had smiles on their faces everywhere, they knew they were nailing some shots, so it was good, I learned so much from the astro stuff."
How was the food and accommodation?
"It was perfect. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the Lodge is amazing. If you wanted to go have a rest, there is plenty of space, you can go have some quiet time. The room down the back is really good for socialising. Even here at the big long table, having dinner with everyone, a bit of wine after it —was great. And being with all these like-minded people, there is never a lack of conversations, always bouncing off each other. It was really good."
How was Luke?
"Especially the post processing stuff that we did, I learned so much stuff, I’m excited to go back to a lot of my old shots, especially the masking tools and that, really really excited to test them out with some old shots."
What did you think of the tour structure?
"I think the fluidity of it has been the best part, because if it was set in stone, and we had the boat ride on the Saturday, it would have been terrible. Having the option to bring that forward, and work around that, doing all the post-processing in one night, it was perfect — because we got to do what we did — otherwise, you’re out there in the rain and it would have been miserable; instead, being able to do this is amazing."
"This is a huge and sincere thanks to you and the team for what’s been a thoroughly enjoyable and truly inspirational experience.
From the group’s first breakfast on the pier in Hobart it was obvious this was going to be a fun few days. However in every subsequent stage things kept getting even better.
The cruise from Hobart, especially for newcomers to Bruny Island, really creates a sense of adventure and reinforces the fact that they’re visiting an island. Something that it also provides is an earlier opportunity for everyone in the group to chat and relax in each other’s company. When we arrived at the Lodge, we’d established a rapport that wouldn’t have been so developed if we’d driven down in separate vehicles (‘though that would be a great wet weather option).
The chance to take some photos as soon as we arrived was welcome - definitely by me and seemingly by all.
Our first dinner together just added to the excitement - we realised the food was going to be a highlight too, and it continued to exceed expectations, daily. Better still, every meal provided more time to chat, share and learn. If we weren’t provided so many regular opportunities to do so, I think we would have missed out on a significant portion of the education we’re returning home with today. I honestly believe we learned as much at the dining table as we did in the field.
The locations you and the team selected were not only visually beautiful, but they’re clearly the results of local knowledge, and I really appreciate that we’ve been entrusted with it. It feels like we’ve been afforded a rare privilege and are now guardians of an important secret. I doubt such feelings could be achieved with larger groups.
A chance to meet and learn from Luke is something many people will seek and pay for, but there was a seamless collaboration that made our experience as much about Bruny Island as it was about him. It seemed like he’s a part of the Bruny Island family, who also happens to be an exceptional photographer. Most importantly of all, his talent is balanced with humility. The trip would have felt quite different without the latter - less questions would have been asked and answered, and the value we’ve received would be less. With thanks to him I’ve learned a great deal, but am also excited to visit years’ worth of previous images with fresh eyes and new skills.
This has been a first-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and one that’s not only fuelled my passion for photography, but even more so for Bruny Island. My first visit was about its landscapes, flora and fauna; however, my next will be as much about its people.
Thank you all for a truly special gift."
What did you expect and how do you feel?
"When I first looked at the itinerary, I think I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everything and I’d be totally exhausted carrying the backpack and hiking everywhere. Actually it turned out to be ok, I felt fine. I’m just kind of surprised that every day was actually better than the previous day, the experience, the shots, the weather. We had the first boat trip, and then the second boat trip was even better, then the first sunset shot, the first night shoot and the third night was even better at the lighthouse. We were running down the cliffs and trying to catch the light, it was just amazing. Every day just improved and we got the astro shots as well. Just totally amazed."
How did you find Luke’s processing classes?
"I found his classes was just at my right level, I’ve got basic processing skills already but there were some really good things I didn’t know about. I understood everything he said but there definitely some new things I picked up which I will incorporate in to my own stuff. So it was just at the right level for me."
How was the group?
"Everyone has been fantastic, everyone’s been really friendly, and everyone’s willing to share. You ask anyone a question, “How’d you do that” and they’re willing to share. A good group."
What were the highs and lows?
The outstanding parts were the cliffs on the second boat trip, it was just amazing, and the view and I think I said to you, people would just pay to go on that boat trip alone. That view of the foggy top and the sheer rock faces was pretty spectacular. The lighthouse trip the last night, that really good, having a group having a bit of fun in the dark, even though it was pretty cold, but it was a really good experience. So those are the two highlights for me.
What did you expect — and how do you feel?
"Well I think the thing for me, is, it’s just been really fantastic being around other like-minded visual creative people who all have a passion and love for photography. The whole experience has been about enjoying that same passion and love together. A lot of the conversations all through the day and in the evening talking about depth of field and shutter speed and apertures and looking at other people’s photos from other trips that they’ve done — I think having that theme across all four days has been really good and what’s linked everyone together. On top of that, just being in such a beautiful, rugged, natural environment. Everywhere you look it’s visual. It’s a new experience for me, it’s been good. For me, I’m quite rusty, I’d put my camera down a long time ago and picked up my phone, to take photos all the time. It’s inspired me to get back into photography, even with all the post-processing work which is a little bit ahead of where I’m at — but it’s inspired me to go home after this and start looking into it more and following it up further — so that’s really good. I’ve certainly picked up so many things along the way. I think everybody has added, the whole group together. I can go to anyone — and if I have a question — people have been able to help, so it’s been good."
What were the boat trip high and lows?
The boat trip on the way down was fantastic — normally, I get a bit sea-sick — but it was very smooth, so that’s good for me. Just how remote and isolated and rugged that coastline is, I think that was great.
How was the second boat trip?
Definitely seeing Bruny from the water gives you such a different perspective and then to follow through and go up to the lighthouse, and see it from a different vantage point, when you are on the water it just makes you realize how huge those cliff faces are. And seeing the wildlife and the dolphins. The dolphins were great.
How was the food and accommodation?
The food and accommodation were fantastic. I really like the fact it was local produce, so coming home to the Bruny Island cheeses, all the Tasmanian wines, the Pinots which I really enjoyed, and cab merlot was good as well, and there was just so much food, the food just kept coming, so for me that was just amazing. Every time we’d come back in there was just more food, and keeping the energy levels up is really important, you get very hungry on the water. It’s amazing how being out on the boat the whole day just makes you starving. The food was just fantastic.
What were your expectations and how did you think you would feel on the last day?
"Actually, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wouldn’t classify myself as a photographer — so I think it’s been really great that it’s been quite customizable to everyone’s kind of skill level and interest as well. I’ve found myself picking up the camera a fair bit to take photos, because everyone’s so inspired and I didn’t want to miss out. Some beautiful locations. It’s been incredible."
And there wasn’t too much travelling between shoots?
"It’s all been really quite close, even the travel between the shoots has been interesting. It’s not like there is a lack of anything to look at, there’s been a couple of times when in transit the staff have said 'If you see something you want to shoot, just let us know and we’ll pull over and you can shoot it'."
How did you find doing shoots on the property?
"I actually really love where the property is located. It’s secluded enough so we’re not hearing traffic go by, or neighbours, there’s nothing like that. You’re right on the water, and you’ve got the forest there and all the animals are around — it’s really well located."
How was the accommodation and food?
"Beautiful. Food was the next level. I didn’t expect that. Especially when you mentioned all the food is bought on the island. That was five-star food, definitely. The accommodation is beautiful. I was up the top, as you know. I was warm all the time. I expected it to be a little chilly, but not at all. Maybe that’s because I was over the kitchen. But the location and the lodge are beautiful."
Did the experience tick the boxes for you?
It exceeded it. I knew roughly what to expect on the boat, because I’ve done it before, but the conditions and the mist were incredible. Absolutely wouldn’t ask for more. Great boat. Beautiful boat. Having been down here before, I knew the layout, so I was excited to come back again. The staff, I’ve met you guys before, so I knew I would be absolutely knackered at the end of it all. But its really nice, you guys are really inspired, you are obviously passionate, and it’s not just a job. It really comes across big time. It’s easy to get excited, no matter how tired you are, you’re ready to go and really looking forward to the next thing, so it was wonderful. As far as expectations, the master class gave me a headache, because I’m not quite up as everyone else with it, but I have a lot of stuff that I’ve written down, it’s exactly what I wanted to come for, to me the most important thing was to learn this post editing skills because I think you can take that anywhere. It doesn’t matter, you can use it in the future, for me that was the thing I was hoping to get and by far exceeded.
How were the food and staff?
The food’s great and I love this lodge. It’s really good. The only thing I would add is a coffee machine that is not so noisy down the other end so you don’t feel guilty waking everyone up. But apart from that, great, lots of space, lots of bathrooms, you don’t have to queue up for a toilet. It’s really nicely done.