Welcome

I am Rod Wynne-Powell, and this is my way to pass on snippets either of a technical nature, or related to what I am currently doing or hope to be doing in the near future.

A third-person description follows:
Professional photographer, Lightroom and Photoshop Workflow trainer, Consultant, digital image retoucher, author, and tech-editor for Martin Evening's many 'Photoshop for Photographers' books.

For over twenty years, Rod has had a client list of large and small companies, which reads like the ‘who’s who’ of the imaging, advertising and software industries. He has a background in Commercial/Industrial Photography, was Sales Manager for a leading London-based colour laboratory and has trained many digital photographers on a one-to-one basis, in the UK and Europe.
Still a pre-release tester for Adobe in the US, for Photoshop, he is also very much involved in the taking of a wide range of photographs, as can be seen in the galleries.

See his broad range of training and creative services, available NOW. Take advantage of them and ensure an unfair advantage over your competitors…


View any Gallery by Clicking the relevant TEXT Headline

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Digi-Cluster Meeting - West Herts College

Having spent time at Brogborough Lake photographing Windsurfers facing the challenge of a fitful wind with at least the direction of light in my favour I headed back briefly to offload those images, clearing the cards and selecting a very different choice of lenses to drive down first to Harpenden where I would be picking up Product Designer Peter Carr, then almost immediately jump back in the car with the briefest of polite greetings to Sue so she could return to watching a favourite TV programme, and with Peter using his mobile phone to aid his navigation for us to head south through the increasing traffic.
It was my fault that we had no time to drink a cup of tea as I had left it rather late in leaving Brogborough Lake and I needed to download those images to ensure they were safely uploaded and the cards readied for the images I was to be capturing once we had arrived at the College for our Networking event. We timed our arrival with perfect precision, because towards the end of the journey there was only slight drizzle, just before we got to the College Car Park, the heavens opened and it was a deluge! Peter asked whether I had an umbrella and replying positively I got out of the car forgetting that the key was still in the ignition, so the boot was firmly locked, so that mean returning to the front of the car, removing the key from the steering column and then getting the brolly out and giving it to Peter who had just left the protection of the vehicle, I still had to retrieve my camera case and briefcase, and lock up, so really, there was not much point in me sheltering under the brolly, but nevertheless I did so, but I was completely soaked through.
Fortunately it was warm rain and I have a sense of humour, so my spirits were still buoyant, but my shirt was like a flannel and a shade darker than it had been when dry, but there was considerable concern for my wellbeing from staff from I believe Clock and I was soon provided with a towel which went a small way towards soaking up some of the surplus water, and several options were suggested as to how the shirt could be passed through a hand dryer in the toilets, but in fact my body heat and the dry atmosphere sorted things fairly efficiently – so quite an entrance bearing in mind our arrival was later than most! Ultimate irony  – two minutes after our entry, the rain stopped!
I put down all the gear and soon grabbed the camera and set to trying to capture the warm atmosphere in the voluble throng and occasional nobbles of crisps and sips of a drink with which someone kindly plied me; memory defeats me as to whom I owe thanks for that, but if you know who you are, my grateful thanks, it was appreciated. We soon moved from this entrance area into the long room where tables were arranged for us to sit for the presentations and I took the opportunity to get some shots of that informality and was then in a position to capture the introduction and the later presentations which were preceded by a couple of 90-second pitches. The most impressive of the main ones was undoubtedly the ongoing story of SwipeStation, and the participation of Seedrs and an explanation of how that worked. My apologies for a severe lack of information on the various speakers, as at the end of the evening the neckstraps were returned and I did not manage to glean all the names of Sponsors and Speakers from the inserted ticket.
Later food and drink arrived and less formal and often animated conversations ensued and my shooting came to an end. Thanks for a well-organised and really interesting evening, I was hoping that my lawn would have welcomed the rain, but it seemed to have given my home area a complete miss, my shirt earlier had received more than my garden!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Briefest of Brogborough Lake Visits

In Marston Moretaine the wind was reasonably strong, so despite only having a short window of time to pay a visit, I decided on a swift visit to see whether the slight and fitful breeze might just tempt a few sailors onto the lake. On my arrival I found just one sail on the horizon, as the wind direction meant they would heading backward and forth at a narrow angle towards the launching area, which favoured me from a photographic standpoint, so even though a single sail was not what I was hoping the chances of others venturing out was good, as I could see others making their preparations.
I decided that it was worth my taking a chance and setting up the tripod on the bank, close to the water such that there was a good likelihood they would often be heading almost head-on with reasonable side lighting, but that rather depended upon how much sunshine I might have and though when I arrived there was some, clouds certainly put that somewhat out of the question for most of the time.
When the sun caught the distant trees this did provide some colour as can be seen in the shot that heads this narrative. In conversation with a couple of the sailors I did reckon there could be some jumps if I was lucky but it would be difficult as it really need more wind, and on several occasions it would look promising only to deceive by disappearing in the very next instant!
Were it easy, where would be the challenge? I think at the height of the time I was there I think there may have been half a dozen on the water, and possibly had I been able to stay longer I might have taken a few more exciting images, but my time certainly was not wasted as I enjoyed chatting with some of those who had come along, and capturing a jump or two considering both the conditions and how brief was my visit; it was worth the visit.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Sunny Brogborough Lake – Only Light Wind!

Warmth and Sunshine Late in the year is still tempting even though the wind was light and somewhat fitful. When I arrived lakeside there was only one man on the water, so I wandered into the Clubhouse to see who else was around, rather than immediately ready my camera and Benbo Tripod, but I need not have been concerned; the temptation for the windsurfers to grab some of this autumn warmth on the lake, when the sun was still warm and the sky a clear but pale blue, was not going to be missed despite there being no more than a light zephyr to ruffle the water’s surface.
I set up the 7D MkII with the Sigma 150-600mm lens and originally headed very much to the left to put the sun as behind me as I could, but the vegetation was too restrictive, so I made for the jetty instead. Though not the steadiest of platforms the angle of view was much wider. There were only a mere handful on the water when at full strength, so the shots are more repetitive than for most visits I make, but I never  baulk at keeping my hand and eye in, but I do not think that these were my best shots, due to my selection of too wide an aperture and too low an ISO speed, and perhaps I might have been better turning off the stabilisation, but hindsight is always so much clearer!
Sam Barnes certainly featured strongly as I was trying to capture him when aloft on his hydrofoil-equipped board. It was however a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon and keep my hand in.

Fruitless Wait for Greylag Overflight

Due to the weight of my Benbo tripod, I drove along Station Road to be opposite the Kissing gate entrance to the Marston Vale Forest Centre.
I have been using the dusk to await the evening departure of the Greylag Geese from Stewartby Lake to their nighttime resting place, but their route is not entirely predictable, governed by the wind direction and the appearance or not, of the sun. On this occasion the afternoon and early evening was cloudy, with the occasional break to a misty glow. Quite early on a small group of birds came across, but I was unsure due to them flying at such a distance and away from me, I could not be sure whether they were Canada Geese or Greylag.
Later sadly it turned out to be Canada Geese, and they decided on the worst direction possible in relation to where I was stationed as not only were they distant, and their formation untidy, the background was of power pylons and trees, and this came way into my wait and was extremely scrappy and nary a single image was worth salvaging!
Up till that time, and beyond, I captured the fading colours of autumn brambles and blackberries, a small flying insect, and some of the cloud formations, so not entirely wasted time, but no Geese in Vee Formation!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

An Ampthill Park Visit

I wondered whether the small pond in Ampthill Park might hold some interest, so I parked the car and grabbed  the EOS 5D MkIII with the 24-70mm lens and before I even entered spotted a squirrel and thought it seemed reasonably bold, but found that had I chosen a longer lens then my distance would have been fine, but on moving closer the animal decided that was a step too far! He took to the higher branches of the nearby tree, and was soon hidden by the foliage, or certainly at least my eyes!
I had better luck with another a short way further, but if squirrels were to be the subject I would need to choose something longer from the car, and on this occasion, it did not hold much interest. I ended up capturing a few shots by the banks of the small pond which I believe is known as Westminster Pond, though why I have no idea. There was a lone angler there, but I soon learned he was actually packing up to leave after apparently a successful morning.
I did find that there were several very bleached dead trees set against the greener living neighbours, but the grass surrounding was still closer to hay in colour, but the sky was a brilliant and clear blue, fading somewhat in the distance. When I first arrived there were a few dogwalkers, but within a short while, it would seem the call had gone out for every dog owner in Bedfordshire to head for the park; almost every car that now drew up was disgorging at least one dog, but many with two or more. I suppose it was lunchtime, but I still found the numbers to be extraordinarily high considering it was a weekday.
I did more walking than picture-taking, which had not been my intention, but it gave me an idea as to what was happening in the park, I was very surprised at the abundance of Chestnuts, and the trees had yet to take on the colours of autumn, it was also pleasantly warm. In walking through the woods to reach the pond I came across a vast vent for the train tunnel that runs beneath, but I was surprised that it had no sign to suggest its purpose or give its date, though I knew it for what it was, and whilst I walked nearby was treated to the sounds of a passing train in confirmation, had I needed one.
I had a brief set of images to remind me of a warm early October afternoon walk, but nothing spectacular.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Brogborough – A Very Windy Friday!

         Brogborough Lake on the Friday beckons with a strong breeze, and it is a welcome invitation to all the windsurfing community, that is not ignored.
         I arrive early and sense the air of expectancy, and capture some of the preparations, so since the number of shots takes some time to create the galleries, I have split them up so that my task is made manageable.
Here is the first Gallery Link – the preparation:

         I found myself capturing some of the other aspects on offer, a cormorant passing close to one of the sailors, gulls fishing, a distant heron landing, and billowing clouds in a blue sky, as well as the waves breaking on the foreshore in front of where I was located with my tripod. I was using the 150-600mm Sigma Sports lens on the EOS 7D MkII, and the 24-70mm on the 5D MkIII — the long lens on the sturdy Benbo, and the other handheld.
         The gusts we’re often strong enough to make even this weighty beast to threaten my stability! Also, I altered where I shot from, but this was a mistake on this occasion as I missed some of the action; in particular one series of jumps made by a windsurfer as I re-established my tripod.
It was quite an afternoon, Here is the next gallery: 

            So, if you wish to keep the correct chronology, rather than hit the Headline text first, you could click the links within the narrative then the Headline Text – just to keep you on your toes!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Stockwood Discovery Gardens – Windy Yet Quiet

There always seemed the threat of rain from the clouds, ever on the move, yet sharing the time with bright sunshine. The light when bright tantalisingly transient making the taking of photos a challenge, yet the gusty winds driving the swaying Pampas grass, offering curving shapes to their height. Overhead, to a background of scudding clouds, the aircraft ferrying passengers to foreign lands, whilst the children sit in schoolrooms with dreams of their summer holidays past and their renewed focus now on lessons fresh.
I had set off for the gardens for a postponed visit to meet up with friend Jan a recent gardener for Stockwood. Upon arrival in the Car Park, I had not spotted a nearby car with someone aboard till, after opening my door and gathering my camera bag, a familiar voice called out; Jan must have arrived mere moments before me. Her car door was open, and she  glanced up from looking at her phone to greet me. On hearing her voice, I remembered I had brought three booklets relating to the camera she had earlier had from me, and brought them over for her, since I knew that had I not given her then, I was almost certain to be later leaving with them still in the back of my car!
We both chatted whilst collecting our camera bags and walking into the Discovery Centre. Upon arrival, Jan was greeted from all the gathered staff at the Reception Desk, all welcoming her and obviously pleased to see her and chat, before we both moved off and into the gardens, where there were several other staff all happy to see her and catch up. It was very obvious here was a very popular lady, so I soon had my camera out to see what I could record. I stayed nearby not wishing to interrupt, and looked around at the very definite signs of the passing season until Jan was free to lead me to where we might find interesting subjects on which to focus, and every so often making observations thus adding snippets of useful information that I hoped I might later recall.
Jan led the way pointing out items of interest, but we did not shoot either specific leaves or flowers, or even from the same viewpoints, but I did offer suggestions and reset some of her camera controls and explained why. I did on occasion suggest alternative viewpoints to help in separation of subject from background, and different orientations, such as vertical, to emphasise the length of a stem; I was only offering guidance not rigid rules. In return, I was trying to glean names and other facts, such as why the plum trees suffered a particular infection due to the adjacent Pines.
At one stage in our meanderings, I completely lost Jan, and went around the entire gardens searching, before returning to where we had last been when my phone rang, and I learned Jan was wondering where I was! She described her location where we met back up and after a short while of further shooting we headed for the cafeteria. There were far more people in here than outside. We sat and chatted, and Jan showed me some shots of hers on a tablet. When you consider how sparse are fresh new blooms, it is still amazing just how much there is still to see and capture. 
It was nearing the time to leave, and after a short last trip around and a farewell chat at Reception, but just as we headed for our cars, sadly I started seeing a blindspot in my field of vision, and recognised the onset of a Migraine. I asked could I have a glass of water and took a couple of Paracetamols and headed for the car where with closed eyes I sat till the episode was over and the pills had taken effect. I did however thank Jan for the afternoon and bade her farewell. Ten minutes went by as I sat in my locked car with eyes still closed before I opened to check whether full vision was restored – it was, so I got out, locked the car and returned to Reception in case I had not thanked them for the glass of water and having apologised finally headed out and before leaving, phoned a lady who had once worked with me on a part-time basis to see whether I might visit. I chatted with Shirley and her young grandchild, Tom before finally heading home.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Goodwood Revival 2018 – The Saturday Visit

It was a day when once again I enjoy some time with my elder daughter as I had earlier with my younger girl at the Festival of Speed, but where Catherine was really tired due to work and family pressures, Lizzy had been physically poorly. In both cases though there was some time on the journey down to get some shut-eye, with occasional times where we caught up on news of the associated families.
In Catherine’s instance it was mentioning the impending departure of one of the twins to London University, and the other’s coming driving lessons and ultimately the Test. We would be having a family get together in Cambridge which in the meantime since this trip I can report was absolutely wonderful; with wishes for both for their more independent futures and lots of fun and laughter.
We made surprisingly good time on the journey, on the M1, going around the M25 and through the byways of Surrey and Sussex to the Goodwood Circuit. As we arrived several of the small aircraft from the WWII era were flying overhead. We headed from the Car Park after putting the finishing touches to our period dress and suit and then threading our way through the outside array of marquees displaying a wide range of vintage cars, and period costumes (for following year’s events!), memorabilia and cars, bikes and accessories and all the fun of the Fair, before making our way into the event proper and the circuit.
I had been hoping that a new camera body might be being used by one of the many photographers in the Media Centre so we made for there as a first port of call, but that met with little success, barring meeting some very helpful people who said they would keep a lookout and report back. We made eventually for the Richmond Lawn and the viewing area for the Chicane. At various times we also ventured out to the Paddock, and the viewing area above the Pits. I also met up with a friend who had given me help with a section of the book I wrote on “Mac OS X for Photographers” whom I had earlier brought as my guest; this meeting proved to be less than straightforward, but did finally happen. Subsequent to that trip, Alasdair had become a member of the GRRC, as fortunately he lives fairly close to the Circuit.
On this occasion much of my photography was from the Pits Roof, where we met family members of one of the racers and several of his avid followers; Grant Williams is the name to watch, as he makes the entire race exciting! If they give added points for relentless trying, then he would have been well-rewarded, his third place seemed like a Win for those watching him!
Once again I have to give grateful thanks to the Duke of Richmond and all those who played a part in making this event such a friendly and enjoyable time on his estate. Each year these events change subtly thus making each visit feel fresh. As I have often joked about his having a great understanding with the man above, we were once again allowed some pleasant weather, despite the numerous darker clouds looking threatening. For anyone who has never visited, these two car-themed events occurring each year are not just about the vehicles; and the atmosphere is overwhelmingly inviting.

I will be watching the TV coverage coming shortly to see what else I missed…

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Needing a Fix – Take Showroom Pics whilst MOT…

          There are few times that I do not carry a camera, and since I was awaiting the completion of my car's first MOT inspection, I can sit down only a very short time, hence capturing images in a Car Showroom, which presents both clean architecture, gleaming new models of Vauxhall Cars, and challenging lighting, provides therapy, and keeps the brain active.
          Yes, the cars are lit to show how shiny they are, but they are also stuffed with added bumpf and are in a very non-photographic lighting environment. Without any additional lighting the range of exposure for the shadows through to the highlights means that extensive judicious processing is vital, so the therapeutic value offsets the time spent at the computer as that is at least productive, whereas sitting doing nothing or reading well-thumbed car and beauty magazines only serves to make the time pass more slowly. Keeping my hand-in balancing lighting within Lightroom on the other hand is far from wasteful, especially when paying work is diminishing, but the skills cannot afford to decline.
          Undoubtedly, capturing such images with additional lighting does bring out the nuances of the vehicles better, but to nevertheless present the images to a good level using only the ambient lighting and all handheld develops one's skills – such opportunities should never be missed as this can only add to overall experience.
          Someone considering the need for a photographer who can capture such ambiance at least must represent some worth in these images seeing the light of day, at least that is the way I view such opportunities.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Sunshine on the First of September

Initially, I checked on whether there was any wind on the Lake at Brogborough – there wasn’t, so on I travelled towards Newton Blossomville, and the nearby river, in case there was a spot conducive to finding the likely environs for kingfishers; upon investigation, that seemed unlikely, but where I had parked my car, I had noticed a digger at work, and after taking a few landscape shots of the river, I was sufficiently intrigued as to what might be happening, so I took just my 24-70mm on the 5D MkIII and walked to where the man and his digger were pulling away the bushes at the top edge of the field.
I surmised he might be trying to increase the area to be cultivated, but I was wrong. I had noticed wire fencing to keep rabbits out, and I learned that the work was to cut down on their habitat, as they were causing havoc, and this work was to clear the overgrown hedgerows to a degree to protect the farmers’ crops. As I approached the digger, the driver stopped work, and I learned he remembered me from an earlier trip to this area when they had been working in the fields with a large Claas Combine Harvester. We chatted awhile, and not having a card I wrote the blog address down for him, so that he could see those shots he remembered me taking.
On returning to my car I realised I actually had a print there so, rather than walk back, I drove closer to where he was working and showed him the shot I had taken, and he said he had seen it as when I left to go the car, he had looked on his phone and found them! He was more impressed when he saw the A4 print of the headline picture!
He was not able to give me any hints as to where I might find some kingfishers, but mentioned he had been fishing one time when on landed on his rod to keep his eye on any likely meals. I returned to the car and continued to Harrold-Odell Park where I did manage to get some shots of a couple of herons, one in-flight as he reacted to my presence.
I walked all around the lake after meeting a family lakeside, and the father began chatting, as he owned a Canon 5D, and he suggested I walk along the river as he felt it was far more appealing. On this occasion I found there was very little activity on the river compared to admittedly a larger though fairly mundane bird population on the lakes. That said I did see the two herons, and a grebe amongst the numerous swans.
The walk certainly exercised me, as I now do ache somewhat as I was not using my lightest tripod, and the Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens can never be described as lightweight, and I still also had the 5D MkIII with the 24-70mm slung around my neck!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Aylesbury Parklife Summer Concert

  
 
          Aylesbury Concert Band brave the drizzle, and are rewarded with an excellent concert that pleased the crowd that attended regardless of the conditions, and a wider audience on this occasion, as it was also streamed via Facebook. Headlining were the now married couple who have performed with the Band in previous years; Alison Langer and Lawrence Thackeray. 
          The Star for me, having earlier heard her perform at the rehearsal, was the highly accomplished fifteen year old on the violin playing the Tsardas by Monti, Shona Beacham. As can be seen from my picture of her whilst she played at rehearsal that I put in the headline image for that gallery, the two people in the background are obviously listening intently to her performance, in admiration.
          The violin is a notoriously difficult instrument to play, and she justly received a rapturous applause,  but to play that piece with such panâche, and at so a young an age is stunning. Keep an eye out for that name in the future. 
          I was really pleased that the rain which had drizzled throughout the entire rehearsal, began to stop soon after the concert itself started. The programme was packed with numerous pieces both enjoyable and familiar, which is always a challenge when my feet want to dance, and I am trying to hold my camera and often longish lens steady. The light level even before the light dimmed towards evening, meant that when the concert proper began, I was already shooting at ISO 2000° and at f/4! When the lights were really low I was at ISO 12,800° which is what I describe as ‘Unavailable Light Photography’ which is challenging when shooting handheld with hands as unsteady as mine! The Hit rate falls significantly, hence why I favour 32GB cards, and that can become an embarrassment when I do not have a spare empty card in my pocket. 
          In the Interval, I moved Stage left and took shots of the Drummers, which when their leader took to the grass to dance with another of their number, that was seriously tough to keep sharp!!
          I must apologise to anyone in the Band who has waited for these images to arrive on the blog, but life can sometimes supervene as I do have to do other mundane tasks, such as in this case, take my car for its MOT and wait four hours in the car showroom till it is complete, then shop for the mundanities of life such as food that was delayed due to filling the time taking the photos in the first place!
          However, here the images are, and I hope they give others as much pleasure as I enjoyed whilst listening and watching the show.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Aylesbury Concert Band Rehearsal – Proms in the Park

 
        Aylesbury holds an Annual Concert with a Fireworks Display to celebrate the August Bank Holiday Parklife weekend. This Year’s event is also due to be streamed via Facebook, which considering the weather was possibly a stroke of genius, as it meant the event will still reach a wide audience who might have otherwise been put off attending due to rain.
         As it happened, despite the rehearsal taking place in light drizzle, by the time the concert began, this had all but stopped. My camera gear is not too well protected, and if as looked likely it might rain, I decided to get in as many shots of the Aylesbury Concert Band during rehearsal in order to carry a gallery of images of the players even though they were in ‘mufti’. I knew my time was somewhat restricted for processing my images, so this initial gallery is entirely of the rehearsal.
         I hope that these images will be an appetiser for the concert proper which will follow in a couple of days. I will say that the Music for this event was really enjoyable, and for me the Star event of the evening was the astonishing talent of the fifteen year old Shona Beacham playing Monti's Tsardas. Get to the Aylesbury Concert Band’s Facebook page to hear and see it. The piece would stretch any player — this is really exceptional from one so young!
         My gallery for the concert proper will follow in a couple of days.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Stockwood Discovery Centre Visit

 
I had finished processing shots taken at Brogbourgh and the gallery of images had been posted, so now the next venue was the gardens at the Stockwood Discovery Centre on the outskirts of Luton. I had not visited for some time and I have two Birthday Cards to create by the end of the week so a couple of fresh leaves or flowers would come in handy. I phoned a couple of friends in Luton, one of whom must have been on holiday, and the second person did answer, but was going out, so my trip would have just the single purpose.
I would however take advantage of the slightly discounted fuel before the return journey. On this occasion I would be travelling somewhat lighter, since on this occasion I really only needed the one lens on the EOS 5D MkIII, the 90mm Tamron Macro, though should I need others, the camera bag held a couple of alternatives.
On my arrival, it was fairly evident that the School holidays had begun, as few spaces were left in the Car Park, and once inside, it was also evident that this was an ideal venue for young mothers to bring their young and to socialise! However, most stayed close to the Café and play area, or sat in groups on the lawns or in the shade of the trees. My venue were the gardens and the greenhouse. The clouds that greeted me originally, began slowly to dissipate, but on a couple of occasions when I did want sunshine, I had to be patient till the sun came back from behind the clouds. I spotted a lone butterfly and a few bees, to add to the leaves and flowers.
Although the dry spell had taken its toll of some of the plants, and many of the flowers had had their day, I still found ample subjects for the camera, and some will feature in cards, so my trip was fruitful and I was able to refuel as part and parcel of the journey.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Brogborough with Some Wind


I had two possible destinations on the Sunday morning to indulge in some photography, so I put every likely lens into the car for either option, and set off for the nearest, which was the lake at Brogborough; the plan being that if the wind was insufficient or coming from the wrong direction or the visiting windsurfers were not keen on the more energetic activities such as jumping, I could ascertain the situation, and head off instead to the Stockwood Discovery Centre, which I had not visited for some time.
Upon arrival, several keen surfers were rigging sails and a couple were already on the water, and although the wind was fitful rather than constant, it appeared to be enough to bring out those I recognised as experienced, so my plan was being made for me, and I learned that to capture the shots I sought were going to need being taken the other side of the woods. By the time that information came my way, I had already chosen my heavy Benbo tripod, so I was in for a tough trek to reach the position from which to shoot.
I made haste and withe the heavy gear over my shoulder set off at a brisk trot so that I was in position as early as possible. The spot was at the shore’s edge, but was considerably lower than the surrounding land, and I knew of old that it was very steep and not easy. On arrival at the top of the bank I took the camera off the tripod, and the pullover off my back, as I was now very warm. Leaving the camera at the top, I used the tripod to assist my descent to the water’s edge as a surrogate walking stick. Then returned to collect the camera and for added safety put the strap around my neck and gingerly made my way down, where I mounted the camera back on, and set it up. I took a few shots from just above the bottom, but after a short while moved the tripod into the water which was a better spot as it cleared some of the reeds, giving me a wider angle of view, and being lower meant I had a better chance of seeing clear air beneath the boards of anyone doing any jumps.
This was one of the reasons I chose this particular tripod, as the bottoms of its legs are sealed, allowing them to be in water to just below the top of the first section; in other words the legs can stand safely in around eighteen inches of water – quite handy in this situation.
In my haste, I did make one error which defined how long I could be shooting, namely I was limited to just short of 32GB of images because I made an error by forgetting to put another card in my pocket, as it transpired that was a slight benefit as it did mean I would have to either make a second trip through the woods with my heavy gear or call it a day to limit the amount of time spent in front of a computer screen, I chose the latter and after a refreshing cup of tea, headed back to sort the images into a gallery.
The gallery is now up before the end of Monday, so I hope that it provides some of the participants memories of a pleasant windsurfing afternoon.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Marsworth Reservoir – Afternoon Bird Activity

Since the weather was cooler, but still bright, I decided I would drive down to the  Tring Reservoirs, park up at Tringford on the offchance I’d catch up with the Water bailliff, Bob Menzies, then see what birdlife was to be found on either Marsworth or Startops End lakes. I saw little of interest on the latter, but the former looked promising, and so it proved as I set up my tripod and camera.
There was a young Great Crested Grebe family with both parents and four juveniles in their striking stripes of black and grey. Seemingly the male parent was fully committed to looking after the young, but the female seemed less so. Of the four youngsters, one seemed to be somewhat rebellious, often paddling away from the main group, with occasional returns for short spells. There was also a large family of Cygnets with their Swan parents.
There were more Herons around than on my earlier visits, and they seemed less worried by the closeness of humans too. There seemed fewer Gulls than normal, but way more Cormorants, presumably much to the annoyance of the local anglers. I caught no sight of Kingfishers and the area of Marsworth where they were often to be sighted was even more forlorn with fallen or felled trees filling the pools hitherto fished by the Kingfishers, which was really sad.
At one stage I walked through a tunnel of bushes to reach a secluded part of the shore favoured by anglers, to find a lone juvenile Black-Headed Gull relaxing on the foreshore, and so I approached very carefully so as not to startle it, and was able to take several shots as the bird behaved with total disinterest in my presence, which was very rewarding. This was the same relaxed attitude I had spotted amongst the Herons earlier and later. Despite my not considering the Cormorants to be beautiful birds whether on the water or in the air, I did capture some in flight which is obviously good experience. It was a quiet afternoon in School holidays on a weekday, but the few, but growing numbers of people walking the paths as the day wore on were often interested in what I was finding to capture and more than willing to involve me in conversation, so altogether, a very pleasant afternoon.