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…



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tranquil Brogborough – Flora & Fauna

The idea of the afternoon visit to the woods beyond the Windsurfers’ enclave was to try to get some better shots of the native hoverflies, but this proved a failure, partly because the sun chose to hide behind increasing clouds, and partly because when the single hoverfly I attempted to photograph was only hovering for nanoseconds, and also because I was way too slow trying to focus on it.
But in walking past some hawthorn bushes by the lakeside before I entered the woods I spotted a damselfly that became entangled in the fine filaments spun by an absent spider, it crossed my mind to attempt its rescue, but felt this intervention was not ethical; and I feel the outcome I subsequently witnessed validated my decision, he managed to extricate himself and I witnessed him flying off to a nearby reed, and I rationalised that he now had gained valuable experience which might well serve him well in the future. I have the record of his success and I was pleased for him.
I did attempt to seek out other hoverflies but with no success, but I did capture a large fly searching in amongst the dead leaves from last autumn, and some of the varied colours of lichen on a branch and a minuscule single flower on a dead twig on the sunlit outer reach of the woods. All the shots were taken with the 100mm Canon Macro with a 1.4 Converter on the EOS 7D MkII, some with flash assistance where I changed from Aperture to Shutter Priority to limit the effect of a slow shutter speed blurring the ambient light with the flash exposure.
When looking out over the lake I don’t think I have ever seen the water so calm, and in the distance I did spot a couple lazily enjoying the warmth on a paddle board.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Brogborough Photos – No Windsurfers?

The wind was so light that the Windsurfers at Brogborough would likely be practising their more subtle skills, or if less experienced simply making the most of a quieter lake to gain confidence, but for a change I was not visiting for their activity, but for something at a smaller scale involving skills in the air. When I sped through the woods carrying a heavy tripod with a long lens on my last visit, shafts of sunlight illuminated some of the gloom and the new season of hoverflies had arrived and were exercising their skills.
Most casual observers see them as dark insects occasionally hovering, then darting away at high speed. However, if you tarry awhile longer, you notice that the reason for some of the darting is caused by others of their species invading their space, and then both will spiral as if they were World War fighter pilots in a fierce dogfight. The other thing you might notice is that they are not black, but have the tiger stripes that emulate those of a wasp, however these beautiful insects are no danger to us, and in fact will land on your hand if outstretched beneath them in flight, or as one did on this trip actually landed on the barrel of my lens! They are exquisite flyers, and absolute masters of the hover. They have small un-muscled small winglets beneath their wings which counterbalance the motion of their wings to provide a natural damper (emulated, I believe in 2005 Formula 1 cars till banned, allegedly because Ferrari were never able to master their deployment, so protested their use by those who had mastered the technique namely Renault).
From my personal observations which allowed me to capture them in flight in the past, they will often hover for a while then with a flick move through 90˚, often cycling through the complete 360˚, oft times being rudely interrupted by presumably, others jealous of their skills!
On this occasion, the pilot I first spotted, was performing in front of me when without outside intervention he darted off, and somehow I got the feeling he was playing with me, so I swung through 180˚ and there he was, again at the same height as before, facing me once more! The more I photograph insects and birds, the more I am convinced they know more about us than we credit – kingfishers can often settle closer to us than we can focus with a long lens, tantalising us! Or ensure branches obscure our view. But as I have learned from anglers that have had kingfishers land on their rods, they have not necessarily learned about cameraphones!
I had arrived rather too late as clouds were increasing which resulted in fewer motes for hoverflies to exhibit their prowess, so overall I was not too successful, but I do now have a new venue. I also spotted what I described as the Central Flying School where the majority of the hoverflies were smaller, so possibly younger, and hovered with far less panache, with an occasional visitor larger in size and far more adept, joining the throng. The skilled ones seemed more often to be apart, and occasionally ‘bombed’ by other lone antagonists.

I did capture some in-flight shots, but far more numerous failures due to my inability to focus fast enough, so captured other items that intrigued such as the haunting face or new leaf and seed growth. I shall return, but as can be seen, I need the light to be on side for me to use the 100mm macro with 1.4 converter and ISOs which reached 3200˚K at apertures no smaller than f/7.1.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Brogborough – Sunshine on the Lake

In the morning, it was Choresday and a priority was ensuring I had clean shirts, and as I seem to have a problem of sediment from somewhere, possibly even due to too much soap powder, I tried to split the wash into two to keep the possibility of shirts suffering from the other items, but this added more time, and still the contaminant was present, so I was well behind schedule. I like to think of Sundays as restful, but sorting two washes was not helping. However, after the first wash, the wind seemed to pick up; certainly giving gusts that seemed harder than was forecast, so someone was on my side!
By the time the second set was ready to put out, at least one shirt was dry enough to be taken in, and suddenly I could contemplate a possible short visit to the lake at Brogborough; what I had not foreseen was that many of the regulars were on holiday, and scattered to all points of the compass, so as I arrived there were around a maximum of ten on the water, with actually less wind on arrival than I had left behind in Marston Moretaine, but there were occasional flurries and I decided it was worth a trek through the woods with a tripod, with the gimbal head and the Sigma 150-600mm atop.
Having made it to the far end of the woods and back out into the sunshine, the wind though still somewhat fitful did have some strength, and several of the windsurfers headed towards my location, so I gingerly clambered down the steep bank and into the undergrowth a bit, to give myself a reasonable angle of view clear of most of the trees and bushes. After a while the wind died down seemingly terminally, so I headed back at a brisk pace, with a young grouse zig-zagging across my path ahead of me for half the woods! I also noted that the recent warmth had brought out the hoverflies who as I had noted before would dance and hover in the shafts of sunlight that filtered through the canopy of leaf cover. I made a mental note that I should come back for this photographic challenge on the next warm, and free day.
I did get the opportunity to show some of those there a few recent prints, some of which windsurfers had been the subject.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Marsworth Visit with Andy Fox

Andy and I decided to meet up and visit Marsworth together, and despite mornings being more favourable, since he was tied up in the morning, we settled on meeting at Clophill around one o’clock to head on down.
Arriving at Tringford I parked up and we both set off towards Marsworth lake. There were numerous anglers out on both Startops End and Marsworth, and on the Grand Union Canal there were a few narrowboats going through the locks, one that was moored was unlike any other, so much so that Andy remarked that it was upside down as the superstructure seemed to be very smooth and resembled an upturned hull, made presumably in glass fibre.
We reached our destination and began setting up, and almost immediately Andy spotted a visiting kingfisher behind me, which we probably surprised and headed away from us. It was the last sighting we made for more than an hour, though we were visited by many other birds both on the water, and above us in the trees. The most frequent being blue tits, mallards, and wood pigeons. At one stage we heard a loud call, that sounded as if the caller was shouting “Nits!” which gave us a wry smile on several occasions, it turned out to be coming from what I took to be a lone mallard female, but Andy reckoned it was possibly a mallard/wigeon cross as it was speckled and differently billed.
We were also visited by the resident and beautifully groomed robin, whom I see fairly regularly, once again, in the lulls I attempted to entice to fly to my open hand for seeds, but today he made no effort. A while later we caught sight of a kingfisher doing a flyby who ducked beyond a fallen bush on the far bank. Then later still one landed in the bushes, but he was hidden from me by sunlit leaves, but in perfectly clear view to Andy as was confirmed by some three sequences of shutter firings. After that I saw another on a post beyond him, managing just two quick shots, one static and one as he flew off. Although we stayed on for some time we saw no more kingfishers, and since Andy was due for an evening out, we packed up and returned to the car, but not before I introduced Andy to some of the Tringford Anglers, and its Water Bailliff, Bob Menzies.
My visit was therefore less fruitful than my guest Andy, though enjoyable nonetheless.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Bamville Cricket Club – Home Season Opener

Sunday turned out to be moderately warm in the sun, and I certainly favoured sunshine for a Cricket Match, as the players always look good in their white trousers and sweaters when in sunshine, whereas under cloud they look somewhat drab.The Cricket Match I was due to cover was a team local to Harpenden, Bamville, which is a somewhat smaller club, with a small, but interesting ground, since it's pitch shares the space with part of the local Golf Course, which limits play to Sundays. All very English.


I arrived early to capture some of the setting up preparations, which included the Scorer for the day opening up the scoreboard to oust the resident spider, and using the manual for the new Coffee machine to learn about its as yet unfamiliar operation. After adding this talent to his vast experience as a top Product Designer and Cricket and Snooker Guru, he went on to fill the far less sophisticated Water Boiler — is there no end to this man’s talents? On a more serious note, Peter is one of a number of dedicated volunteers who help this friendly Club to run and provide enjoyment for those who play Cricket and socialise.

The visiting Team on this occasion was The Players and Jesters from Nearby St. Albans, and the opening batsmen were the Home team. I will let the pictures tell the story of the match as I am unfamiliar with the personnel, what I will say is the final result was close. I was disappointed that I missed at least two instances of the bails taking to the air, but I did manage to capture three others, as these are the moments that make a difference for a photographer.

I had arrived in just a shirt and welcomed the opportunity to slip into a pullover after the first innings, but even with this on, by the end I was starting to wish that the Home team put more bails into the air as the wind was by now on the back of my neck and had risen in strength and fallen in temperature!

I had managed to take several sequences that illustrated the shapes bowlers created and batsmen the contortions had gone through to find the ball and project it to the boundary. An afternoon spent in good company and providing me with the exercise of carrying a heavy tripod and camera, keeping my eye in, outside in the fresh air.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Caddington Front Garden – Riot of Colour

I returned to Caddington on my way back as I needed to get a bite to eat. The village is suffering badly due to ongoing diversions that have cut off the normal route north via Chaul End, and to avoid the worst section by the shops I parked a long way back, and as I walked along I spotted a couple of gardens worth grabbing a few photographs in, once I had collected some food. As I came closer to my old house, I spotted a familiar face, and Phil, whose name he mentioned whilst we talked, hailed me with: “I thought you had moved to Eaton Bray!” That brought me into conversation and the lady who had been with him took the opportunity to take her leave telling him she would catch up later. He was correct I had been looking initially in that direction, but I brought him up to date, and we chatted for ten minutes or so before I went for my food.
I put my food in the car, picked up the camera and returned to the two gardens and the majority of the shots were from this one front garden which simply looked as if someone had opened a hundred seed packets and spread them liberally in the front of the house, then taken a hose and sprayed them with liberal amounts of water and possibly fertilisers! I had simply never seen so many brightly coloured flowers in bloom in such a small area – it could only be described as a “Riot of Colour’! It cried out to be photographed,

I obliged.

Mainly Tulips, and a host of others to which I could not put a name, so now that I have managed to get the Stockwood Discovery Centre gallery up, I have put these up as a follow-on. I hope they will give others as much pleasure as I derived from capturing them.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

May 4th Gardens Visit – Stockwood Park

I had the chance to go down to the Stockwood Discovery Centre, despite the forecast showing only a slight chance of sun; what I did know was that a lot of growth would have occurred since my last visit, and I was unsure when the next opportunity might arise.
I made good time, though on arrival the gardener I was hoping to catch up with was nowhere to be seen, so I simply set to taking photographs initially with the 24-70mm lens with its macro facility, but after a while I realised that I could do with the 100mm, so I swapped over and carried on till the end wit that lens, using the 5D MkIII body.
I had taken quite a few shots when I heard Jan talking to someone else, and it was Bridey whom I had not seen for a while, I showed both some prints I had of the Grebe and its crayfish meal and the recent Kingfisher and its meal, then some of the shots I had just been taking, Jan kindly offered to unlock the greenhouse for me, and I went back to shooting, it was fully half an hour before I went inside the greenhouse, then started making my way out, Was able to thank Jan and it was not long before I felt it was time to make tracks, but no sooner than I had made that decision than a bush resplendent in white flowers caught my attention due to the amount of interest shown by bees.
I therefore spent some time trying to get up close and personal with these busy pollinators, and on shot which could be the parting shot was a bee who climbed away from a flower and came straight into my focus – shame he was flying away not towards me, but I am not complaining! I took a couple more shots on the way out and made tracks to Caddington hoping to pick up a snack to eat on the way back.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Brogborough Bank Holiday Sunday

My elder daughter whom I see less often sadly, as she is very busy and whose twin daughters are studying hard at Sixth Form College came over to see me, and I wanted to help her understand a bit more about photography and let her see a local venue at which I spend some of my time. For myriad reasons we were very late in arriving at the Windsurfing Lake, and I set up my earlier Tamron telephoto lens with my 5D MkII, so she could take a few shots herself. I set up my Sigma lens with the 7D MkII on a heavier tripod for myself.

The reasoning behind this was she would be capturing similar shots to me and she might even capture something that I missed! A little later in the year I know she would be happier with subjects such as bugs and flowers, and also this day was not the best of lighting nor conditions for the windsurfing sailors either, but we were both out together and we both had cameras.

At one stage a familiar voice spoke to me from behind and it was a windsurfer who had been instrumental in sorting out my pensions; he was promoting a show in Northampton and had been trying to get his posters in numerous and different locations, and had one affixed to his sail, so he wanted some shots of the poster in situ with a bit of activity, so here was a specific image I was to capture. Even an A3 poster is tiny when on a sail and in the distance, so much so, I thought it was a mere A4! 

Even though we were only there a short while, I still took a fair number of shots as several out there were practicing gybing and keeping control with little or no wind, so I was capturing sequences rather than individual moments, however they will be less exciting for others, but the participants themselves will likely find some value in them. The ultimate irony considering how little wind there was, was that the very first three shots are a jump, and I grabbed them without realising I had the compensation set for a two stop increase in exposure from when I had been taking shots of Starlings against the light! Lightroom came to my rescue! The third one heads this piece under the filename of Brogborough Marty McFly!!

Friday, 28 April 2017

A Friday Afternoon in Westcott

Dull Weather fails to dampen the spirits of Children or the Birds in Westcott at the end of another week and the beginning of the Bank Holiday Weekend. I had hoped to get some shots of Red Kite flying over the Park as the children charged around the Play Area, and parents sat and chatted, but it was not to be, and also the sun was hiding behind grey clouds that might just give a shower.

I also took shots from two angles of the rocket that stands at the entrance to the Venture Park, that hints at the erstwhile Airfield’s earlier role as a Rocket Research Establishment.

I did manage to later capture a Song Thrush and Jackdaw, and my persistence, (or patience!) was rewarded by getting a glimpse of a Red kite, some blossom and a couple of young lambs, I also learned that if I manage to wrongly assume the monopod is in the boot of the car, then the Carbon Fibre Tripod with just one leg extended can work reasonably satisfactorily, but note to self – Check more thoroughly in the future!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Birdlife at Tring Reservoirs

I met up with the Tringford Water Bailliff, Bob Menzies and a few Anglers at the Tringford Lake, and one of their number just leaving felt there was a chance of kingfishers along the Trout Stream, so despite never seeing any in the past, I decided I would fight my way through the nettles and see whether I might have better luck – to no avail. But, I did spot a Mallard Mum and her ten-strong brood keeping a low profile for safety in this secluded stretch of stream.
I then crossed the road to the path between Startops End and Marsworth Lakes, where I met far more of interest; a Crested Grebe that had dived with success and come up with a freshwater Crayfish that he spent some time with before consuming it. Later I was to see a pair of Grebes begin their ritual dance, but there was poor synchronicity and they seemed to mutually accept they were not meant for each other, and swam off in separate directions!
On the main Lake at Marsworth, a mother Mallard seemingly had been less successful in keeping her family safe as she was in close attendance to a single chick. I twice missed the noisy takeoffs of two pairs of swans, but placid singletons were easier camera fodder. Having spent some time by the lake at Marsworth, I returned to the car and found two Bluetits flitting between the branches of a Hawthorn tree and some tall spindly grasses, so I added them to the shots I had been taking on the lakes.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Westcott Park with Dog, Sam

I had some time to photograph an energetic dog called Sam, whilst at the Westcott Play Area, and despite no intention of emulating Eadweard Muybridge, I did find the running action equally fascinating. So, amongst the shots I took of this dog, there were actions that did not appeal to me aesthetically, whereas Eadweard would have included them as they told him more about the actions he was recording. Hence I offer them merely as attractive representations of a dog at play, not as a descriptive and authoritative series of defined motions!
The reason for my having the camera and lens was that I was hoping that I might capture some shots of the kites that often fly over the Play Area, but in this I was far less successful, as a singleton only flew over, once the thunderclouds had arrived and rain threatened, but I include the few shots I managed in the gloom.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Stewartby Lake Walk

In the past I have often tried to capture the patchwork fields of Oilseed Rape as an early sign of the end of Winter and the burgeoning flourish of colour to the fields and this has been a year when I have not taken any notice of  these cloths of gold, so when a chance came to go out and see whether there were some such fields, I found myself thwarted. There are few hills to give some height to view from, and in this part of Bedfordshire, the crop seems rare, but it had been my intention on this journey with my camera.

I did spot a singular large field, but it was not particularly accessible, and it was in very flat land, so at most would provide a slit of yellow against green and brown, with no undulations and the sky was boringly clear of clouds against the sky. Plan B beckoned. I parked the car by an entrance to the circular path around Stewartby Lake, where I thought there might be some activity on the water from those celebrating the Easter break, but the lake was a serene calm, so of no interest to the sailors of dinghies, so after a quick reconnaissance, I selected my 24-70mm lens and took a walk along the path, widdershins to essentially capture the Spring blossom and the young leaves which lined the way.

Occasionally, there were a few small white butterflies with a flash of orange, an abundance of midges that would find my exhaled breath an attraction, the brief sighting of small birds just darting across my field of view and a small hovering furry insect that defied my ability to record its presence, all around the songs of birds was ever present, but they were largely out of sight. I wandered slowly along keen to capture the small indications of red against the whites of Spring blooms, the textures of sunlight on the wrinkled young leaves and sprigs of blossom against the pale blue sky. The discarded bricks at the water’s edge that defines the foreshore of this vast wound where clay had been extracted for the brickworks whose signature four tall chimneys still stand in the derelict expanse that remains from that time.

It did provide me a small glimpse of a landscape –  in a  scene that caught my eye; a lone swan in the mirror-like calm of still water with a distant stand of tall trees, sadly with an arc of discarded cans in the shallow water, but a picture nonetheless. During the walk I was passed by a couple of cyclists and runners doing laps of the lake and two of those, exercising their dogs alongside for company. Altogether a not too disappointing gallery of images from the short trip.



Monday, 17 April 2017

An Early Morning with Martin Evening

I had not met up with Martin for quite a time and with his living close to some world-renowned Bluebell Woods, we decided that despite it being slightly too early for the best of them, it was a day we were both free, so I drove to his place and we set off to Dockey Wood.

Out taking pictures in the low morning sun gave us an opportunity to catch up and indulge in an activity which gave us both pleasure. These woods have now been fenced off to help preserve them from the public entering all along the roadside, so now there is a designated entry gate and within the woods, branches have been laid to form ‘hedges’ to try to keep the public to the paths and so lessen the flowers from being trampled thoughtlessly.

Initially we stayed close to the right hand edge of the woods, so we had the the low slanting morning sun streaming in and forming stripes from the shadows of the trees. Martin took several different viewpoints whereas I at this stage kept close to the same spot as I was experimenting with using the long telephoto lens to try to compress the distance and in transferring my gear from my car to his had left the ideal head behind and was suffering somewhat to get the best stability. The reality was that I should have opted for a shorter focal length lens!

We returned to the car after a while and headed to a different location, and I used my 24-70mm to capture some gnarled tree trunks which gave me far more fun with searching for shapes that my imagination found as animals, and that occupied me for quite a time, before we moved to yet another location – this time with some very wispy almost floating young green leaves set against a stand of tall tree trunks. sadly by this time the sun was hidden making it difficult to capture in the very flat lighting.

We then stopped for a lunch break at the Visitor Centre before heading back. It was an excellent way to spend some time together since we last met up at the Photography Show at the NEC. It’ll be interesting to see whether viewers of the gallery can spot the ‘animals’ I saw in the gnarled shapes of the tree trunks! I found a horse, an elephant with Snoopy on his shoulders, a lizard, a camel, a ram and an old lady in a green scarf, holding hands with a young girl with blonde hair! Sorry – no prizes!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Brogborough in the Sun, and Later, Wind!

At the beginning of Sunday there was little wind and the slight chill was soon swiftly dealt with by the sun from a cloudless sky. I had trimmed the side and front lawns the day before, so I strimmed the edges first, hoping that the small back lawn would be dry enough to be cut once that was done, I also trimmed the bush at the side to give it a chance keep that tidy.

I saw the occasional gust of wind spin the whirl line, and ruffle the buddliea, so began to wonder whether the lake at Brogborough would be windy enough to excite a few sailors to take to the water and more in hope than certainty, gathered my camera gear to go over there to see whether there was a chance of some action. Earlier I had put out one batch of washing, and bumping into my aide-memoire of the laundry bag, realised the second batch was sitting in the drum, having long-finished its cycle and should also have been outside in the drying sun!

Out in the garden again, I noticed that there was now a distinct breeze, so it began to look a tad more promising for some windsurfing activity. I returned to the task of putting lenses, tripod, and gimbal head together and laid out some snacks, which happened to be exactly as I had left them, when I returned several hours later, from my time at the lakeside! All down to an excess of Anno Domini!

With the car loaded, l set off, and on my arrival at the car park found there were several cars, vans and trailers, and enthusiastic people rigging; even some keen types already out on the lake, and there was definitely more wind here than back at Marston Moretaine, but it did not seem strong enough, to bring out the jumpers. It did however promise good strong lighting.

I did not immediately start setting up, but wandered to the slipway to see who was out there, and noted that several were simply going up and back, which was a direct result of the relative calm. There were also some on stand up paddles. I returned to the car and got out the gear checking to see whether I could manage with just a ball head, but it was not as easy as using the gimbal, so reverted to that. As the day progressed, the wind, though always fitful did get stronger, and a certain Colin Hunt did start jumping, which was a bonus I had not expected! I was caught out twice, only managing to get the end of the action and not centred!

I also returned to the car when there was a lull, to put some suntan lotion on my exposed arms.

There was so much activity on the lake that afternoon that getting the pictures up on the blog is somewhat later than I had anticipated…
It will take quite a lot of wading through, but not nearly as long as it took me in the preparation, but I hope the the sailing participants feel the wait was worth it.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Last Weekend’s Final Photographs, Using the 24-70mm

Having had a weekend checking out the weighty 150-600mm Sigma lens, I continued the round trip from Marsworth Reservoir to Welwyn Garden to return it to Sigma and having friends living in Letchworth, returned via them to Marston Moretaine. We had a long chat to catch up on all the news over cups of tea and biscuits, and as the sun lowered we went out into the garden, where I was shown a very neat way of capturing rainwater to fill two large butts for watering the large number of flowers and plants that graced their garden.

This was too good an opportunity to miss, and so once again out came the camera, this time with the 24-70mm f/4 with the macro facility. During this time Stuart was discussing what was planned going forward, and was about to remove some reeds by a pillar when he realised they were several duck’s eggs in a nest hidden within, I then heard the story behind the duck’s visits to the garden – now he knew the reason why!

I continued capturing for cards several groupings of flowers that I came across as I walked around, and the gallery of twenty images is the result, but till now I have not had the time to process them due to examining all the long lens images from the weekend. It was good to see Pam and Stuart to catch up and I hope there will be a time when both of them can come and visit me, in the meantime I have several nice pictures for use in cards of varying shapes to remind me of this busy weekend.