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…


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Monday, 18 June 2018

A Family Visit to Brooklands Museum

  
It is quite some time since I visited Brooklands, and the landscape is very different, though some of the Circuit Buildings I do remember, but the area now looks like and is a Business Park. However, the Museum Area is very much a family-oriented and welcoming venue. On Sunday it was Fathers’ Day and I was treated to the day by my younger daughter’s family, and despite a warning of possible rain, only a few very minor drops fell, with absolutely no dampening of the spirit of the day, and it passed without any adverse effect whatsoever.
Parking was no problem, and we walked from the car having gathered some food and other essentials, and it was at this point that my daughter realised that in concentrating on everyone else’s needs she had inadvertently left all food for herself, back at home, which was more than a little unfortunate as the availability of gluten-free fare and other non-allergenic foodstuffs is not readily available at such venues. Add to this a heavy dose of onion vapour in some areas meant she was never 100% well, which was very debilitating, and difficult to shake.
Although obviously my invitation was father-related, I felt this was a day for the children and my two grandchildren who had been before were thrilled to be there again and enjoyed every minute and were treated to a car each of their choice at one of the numerous stalls. Looking through some of the aircraft interiors on display and the buses, and later queuing to make an aircraft manned by one of the many volunteers. The buses and the aircraft proved of interest to the two children, although the simulator needed the length of legs of older children! There was an uphill race for youngsters, but sadly we only learned of this once it had started, it was certainly a serious challenge despite only being to just beyond where we were sitting picnicking.
There was one interesting occasion when a man driving his car just stalled inches before the finishing line at the top and needing several able-bodied men to stop him from rolling back, but the ignominy to follow was that his wife managed in the same car to complete her run successfully! I suspect she will be dining on that success for some while!
Altogether it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon; It’s just a shame that it is so distant as it really needs an entire day because there is so much to see.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable present to be sharing with my daughter’s family. On the return journey I was hoping to point out where I had once worked with Hubert Davey at his Photographic studio in Weybridge High Street, but although we passed right by, I failed to recognise its location. I have since realised why and that is because the building I knew has long since gone, and is now a Thai Restaurant, something I have since gleaned by looking on Google Earth!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

An Afternoon at Brogborough Lakeside

In the recent warmth I had begun to see a few hoverflies and dragonflies, so on this afternoon I set out with an intention to try once again to capture either species, preferably in flight. The gates to the windsurfing club being locked shut, I parked opposite the anglers’ gate, and initially put the 100mm Macro on the 5D MkIII body and slipped through the side of the gate and strolled to the water’s edge, almost immediately disturbing a dragonfly which flew over my head and over by the gate I had just passed! I thought this was a good start, but it soon simply disappeared.
There was a fair breeze between the gaps in the hedge that gave access to the water’s edge, and damselflies were flitting hither and thither either side, some already paired up with their buff-coloured females – there was no shortage of the blue males, and I only caught sight of a couple of singleton females for the rest of the time I was there. I think the wind was keeping  both damselflies and dragonflies from the open areas of the shore which was a shame as here the background was less fussy. I also caught glimpses of small brown butterflies and moths.
I spent some time here before spotting a build-up of vehicles by the entrance to the windsurfing gates, and wandered along and after the gates were opened, I brought my car inside and for a while changed lenses to the 100-400mm Canon lens and started taking shots of a lone female windsurfer who took to the water and a couple of paddleboarders, one of whom was to take a dachshund on a lead aboard for a spell on the water. 
So, though the majority of shots were of damselflies, and other small insects and bees, the gallery of images contained humans and their activities, but only one dragonfly almost hidden in the tall grass, but it was a pleasant way to enjoy the afternoon.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Forest Centre Late Spring Cycle Ride

The Forest Centre at this time is filled with Dog Roses and the many denizens of English Woodland flora, pollinators such as bees abound, and I took along the EOS 7D MkII and just the one lens, the 24-70mm with its built-in Macro switch, on occasion I did wish for something longer, especially when I turned a corner only to see the vanishing white bobtails of numerous rabbits, or distant small birds that sang all around me.
There was a lone foxglove and a single dragonfly, I briefly caught sight of hoverflies and a couple of butterflies, but much smaller insects were around in greater numbers. I spotted a pair of ladybirds, but disappointingly they were not our native species, and the pair  I found were intent on increasing their population.
The single tall Wind Turbine could be seen occasionally above the bushes and trees, and every so often its gentle whirring could be heard, as could a vehicle working on the nearby railway line. In the time I was there I saw only one train pass, and heard another. In this area it would be good to have a better service, but the nearby Millbrook Station has a paltry amount of space for the parking of cars, so is of little benefit, and the location is hardly a secure one. I spotted a notice nearby of some intended work, but there was no mention of any possibility of acquiring enough land to make this a possibility in the future, which is a shame for the numerous new homes being built in this area.
I had not really expected to be rewarded with a large number of images, so to find enough to fill two gallery pages was not too shameful, and several will make greetings cards at some stage in the future, and I needed the exercise.



Monday, 11 June 2018

Westcott Visit – to Lend a Hand

I was invited to my younger daughter’s so that her husband Tim could lay some boarding in the loft, and obviously enjoy some time with their family; I was to be downstairs in the garden measuring up the planks as directed from the loft, by Tim, and sawing them to the dimensions directed, then passing the cut lengths to Josh, who would then transport them indoors and up to Tim, who was suffering in the heat and the loose fibres from the insulation.
From my observation later of Tim when that task was complete, suggested that I might have been the luckier of the two, since I was in the open air, despite the mugginess, as Tim absolutely needed a shower, and was very itchy. I also had some breaks awaiting the next dimensions, so had grabbed the camera and caught some shots of his garden’s flowers before the sun left the top end of the garden.
Josh had taken one of my offcuts and was intent on trying his skills in the carpentry field, so I decided to step in to offer guidance, since I felt that my steadying hand could offer a degree of safety that would otherwise be lacking. Tim by now down from the loft, spotted the opportunity to pick up my camera and take a record of the event, hence the shots that appear in the gallery.

Later, despite having the wrong lens for the subject, I did get some distant shots of their Red Kites, whilst out with Lizzy, Tilly and Josh as they had a promised cycle ride, I was also able to capture a few more flower and insect shots, that can often be used for cards for Birthdays and other occasions. Since that meant I had fallen back from the others, I found myself confronted by one of the local cats in the middle of the road, and since it was surrounded by an expanse of unobstructed tarmac, I stooped low and slowly approached aforesaid cat taking a few shots with each few steps – at first it had seemed as if the cat was standing its ground to protect its territory, but in reality it was simply enjoying a stroll in the sunshine, but I was grateful for the opportunity it offered due to the expanse of surrounding uncluttered space.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Marsworth Reservoir Visit

After a meeting in the morning, I considered getting a few wildlife pictures, and finding Brogborough Lake closed, and later learning there was a windsurfing and other watersports activities up at Rutland Water which Sam was attending, I headed south towards Tring Reservoirs. On arrival, there seemed little activity on any of the three lakes, but what there was held some interest, I spotted a couple of Grebe performing their dance, but it lacked total synchronicity, and the pair parted after a while, but later I either picked up the same pair later or a new couple, but disinterest again soon set in.
Common Tern and black-headed gulls were swooping down on possible fish on Marsworth lake, but neither were around in large numbers, and I spotted a lone Tufted Duck, and also a Raven, which was very close by, on a very exposed branch. I got several shots of a single Lesser Black-backed gull as it came in to land. There were several Greylag geese, some with young families.
Later, a young Heron flew in from further along the Grand Union Canal and landed by one of the Lock Gates, then dropped down to a ledge at the bottom of the gates, and it was not overly wary of my presence which was a bonus, s/he did not abort the initial landing and later flew into the empty lock, where it seemed very interested in some nooks in the brick wall lining, but I never saw anything it may have caught. This was definitely the highlight of my afternoon as it seemed to accept my presence, so I had enough time to consider slowing the shutter speed to blur the leaking water that surrounded it. To try to discover just what was of such great interest, I took the camera off the tripod, crossed across the farther gates and lay down to avoid spooking the bird, to get a better view and try to learn what was so intriguing.
On my return to the car I met up with the Tringford Water Bailliff, Bob Menzies and a couple of other anglers, before setting of on my return trip, purposely avoiding the M1 and other major roads as I knew they were gridlocked.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Aylesbury Concert Band, Stone Fête

Proem
There is no gallery of images on this occasion, it is simply an illustrated explanation regarding one of the ways my images might be tweaked on occasion

On one of the very few occasions when I am not taking pictures of the Band in Concert, I found myself chatting to Ian who it turns out is married to one of the Band’s musicians; it is during this conversation that he mentions that he noticed that I seem to have somehow picked out an individual in some of the shots I have taken of the Band, but he somehow thought it was the way I had taken the shot. I had to own up that when taking the shot it was often because for me one person, or one group was what I envisaged capturing at that specific moment, and that when I am back at the computer and come to that shot, I realise why it was that I captured that moment and wanted to ensure others viewing were treated to what I had sensed at the time I pressed the shutter.
I use Lightroom for processing the images I take, and it is the reason I shoot in Raw, so have the ability to use the Develop module to subtly alter individual images that become those I then put into a Gallery and place on the server, to be viewed over the Internet from my Blog. I am often using a zoom lens, so frequently an image is used without further cropping and what I am then doing is ensuring that I capture detail in both shadows and highlights by altering the range to suit what I am hoping to project from the scene.
It is at this point I may wish to use the entire picture, but try to somehow highlight the area I want the viewer to notice. The Radial filter is what I then bring into play by making an ellipse around the chosen area and may also rotate it to finesse where I wish to draw attention, which on this occasion was to darken beyond the musician playing the clarinet, and rotate the ellipse slightly anticlockwise. The tool can made to operate either within or without the ellipse that has been drawn, also the subsequent mask that is being created can also be feathered to apply the changes I make with the required subtlety to hide how I have achieved the effect.
  Here is the image before I have made the alterations I have just described, and as you can see your eye is treated to several rows of musicians right through to the percussion section at the rear, and even though my focus is upon the Clarinet section, no person is noticeably more obvious than another, it is entirely egalitarian, however, when I took the shot I was focussed upon the lady in the blue jacket, so when I wanted to draw the observer’s eye to where I wanted them to look, I despotically lessened the contrast of those around and beyond her so that the observer did my bidding and concentrated on this individual player. I also lessened the highlights.
To get across my point, I have over-egged it a tad here, but it is still sufficiently subtle as to not look ham-fisted in my attempt at explaining the mechanics involved.

Note I did not tick the ‘Invert Mask’ box, so that the changes I made to the parameters I chose were applied beyond the selected area of the ellipse. I lessened the Contrast, because had that area been less brightly lit, it would lack contrast relative to the lit area, in addition I targetted the highlights and lowered these too for a similar reason, and lastly the feathering of the mask was just enough that there was no obvious sign of the ellipse that created the mask being obvious when the visitor viewed the end result.
Creating Galleries of images quickly, efficiently and effectively is the reason that I use Lightroom for the task, since to involve Photoshop to carry out retouching prior to creating a gallery adds way too much time to the process, and though the tools are less sophisticated, with practice ways can be found that mitigate the limitations and allow a large number of retouched images to be available to the Internet audience in fairly short order. Another beauty of working in this manner is that if I am approached for a high resolution image to be used in Print, the hard work is largely done, and the subsequent file can be despatched rapidly, and this leaves Photoshop for the more subtle or detailed work by exporting directly from the original in the Lightroom catalog.
One last point, despite my having exaggerated the effect to explain the technique, it does not show an ellipse to give away how I achieved the effect, and I might add that I am also able to deal with the extraneous highlights or shadows separately if needed.
Ian, I hope this explanation is helpful; I dedicate it to you and your wife. I hope it may help others who wish to use such tools in Lightroom when they are taking a large number of photos for display in galleries rather than individual images.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Watton at Stone Cricket Team at Bamville

The Cricketers from Watton at Stone visited Harpenden to play against Bamville Cricket Club on Sunday and the weather was warm and close, as was the match that played out in the afternoon with an end that was equally close.
I cannot claim to be writing about the match from a cricketer’s standpoint, I simply try to record what I find of interest from what I can capture, and this is strongly biassed towards my capturing the bails in the air and the stumps ‘akimbo’! That is challenge enough; to capture a fielder catching the ball direct from the batsman requires a thorough recognition of the characteristics of the bowler, the batsman, considerable knowledge of the game and the relative skills of individual fielders – my knowledge of the above can be summed up as limited in the extreme, or more honestly as zilch!
Now that the cataract in my hitherto dominant right eye has been rectified, my skill lies with my eyes and reasonable reactions to what they see and anticipate from my observation of the play. I have a weighty but very steady tripod, so moving around is slightly restricted, and every so often the fielders share my chosen viewpoint thus I have to wait a while before I have a clear line of sight on the batsman, or if they seem rooted to the spot, I have to move and reset the tripod level again. When deciding to follow the action of a bowler, it is well nigh impossible to follow the entire run-up due to the proximity of the umpire, and the batsman at the crease, so that often results in less than tidy images.
If the bowler is powerful, this makes inclusion of the wicket keeper less easy due to the distance he will be from the stumps, so I tend to favour the batsmen as my favoured subjects, and some can be right-handed others left-, so as play within an over progresses, my viewpoint which had one of the batsmen facing me, can change when odd numbers of runs are achieved. I therefore tend to err on the photographic and photogenic aspects, such as from where is the light coming, the composition and any drama that occurs. Crisp shots of the bails in the air and the stumps re-arranged therefore seems like a good measure of whether my photos are a success – I missed two such occasions in this match due to my attempts at concentrating on the bowlers in both instances, but hopefully the batsmen’s play of the ball helps to tell the story of the afternoon alongside the record of their occasional demise due to accurate bowling. My apologies for the total absence of the record of great catches of which ironically I did actually witness two, with my number one eyeball!
Play was interrupted by a friendly Golden Retriever, and I manage to get a few shots of an overflying gull, just to add to the day’s action, and thank you Peter for some sustenance, the end of the day however was less successful and ultimately very costly, I managed to pick up a sharp flint from where I parked my car, and with the air in my tyre only lasting to the far side of Harpenden, my journey home was delayed waiting for the AA, because, the puncture could not be repaired and the rest of the journey was completed using a spacesaver tyre, and the day following necessitated a drive to Luton to replace the tyre, as the damage was right at the very edge of the tyre.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Brogborough Busy on the Lake – Minimal Wind

The weather was warm and sunny, and with a lack of a brisk wind, I knew that the activity would likely mainly be Paddleboarding, but due to my arriving well into the afternoon, that was drawing to a close and a few windsurfers were taking to the water, amongst them André who was out on the latest upgrade to his own creation of hydrofoil, and I learned he was getting aloft more frequently, as he both gained experience of both the hydrofoil design and the handling of his craft.
For that reason, I have created a general gallery as well as two smaller single pages devoted entirely to his activity in order to help him assess his performance:
Click here for one, and here for the second.
As always, clicking the text headline takes you to the main gallery of thumbnails
I hope that the three give an account of the afternoon’s activity. I also managed some shots of some of the wildlife, swans, a cormorant and Canada Geese. In order to maintain as low a viewpoint I was once again using the Benbo tripod, which affords a really stable platform from which to shoot using the 7D MkII on a gimbal head, absolutely necessary since André was only able to find sufficient wind well away from the shore, so I was using the lens almost entirely at the full 600mm.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Stevington to Harrold-Odell Nature Park

Originally setting off to look for areas close by where abandoned quarry pits, might now be accessible and offer sitings of indigenous wildlife I surrounded one such area close by Stewartby, but it was surrounded by established hawthorn bushes, with no access, and even less chance of seeing what might lay beyond, so I ventured north towards Harrold-Odell Country Park, a Nature Reserve run By Bedford Borough Council.
On the way, I came across a small layby with a descriptive board describing local features, notably the reason I pulled over which was the distant sighting of a windmill. This was near Stevington, so I took out a camera and two lenses, and put on boots to make my way along the nearby path through long grass, and abundant nettles heading for the windmill, I had spotted a van close by, which seemed to render any photos from a distance out of the question. Once I finally arrived at the structure there was even less chance for a shot at this time as it was very much a work in progress, as the van belonged to Dorothea Restorations, a company that took its name from initial work the fledgling company undertook at a quarry in Wales, not as I imagined; the forename of an entrepreneurial lady who founded the company! There were steel guys supporting the structure outside, and a mass of steelwork supporting the entire mechanism within as this is an example of a Post Mill, where the main structure is supported on a single post, allowing the structure to be rotated around this central post.
Much of its vital woodwork has rotted, which is why it is being repaired to preserve it for future generations. The siting of the mill is very picturesque, and as I walked up to the building the wind came up and stayed for the entire time I was there, which meant it was not simply in that place for its visual appeal!
I returned to the car having taken a few pictures and headed for my original destination which was still some way further, and being a weekday was very quiet upon my arrival with only a handful of visitors, and even fewer cars, it would seem it is a natural destination for the area’s locals especially those with dogs. I went through the steel kissing gate away from the nearer lake to see what I might find and it was a pair of geese, that so far I have been unable to put a name to, it was the male that attracted my attention as it seemed somewhat haughty for a bird that seemed ever so slightly scruffy around the neck. I soon found it was not alone, and I edged ever closer to get shots that might later allow me to name the species.
Later still, I came across a lady with two dogs, the younger of which definitely had a passion for swimming for thrown balls, so I grabbed a record of its antics, but kept my distance when he came ashore, since he also loved a good shake, and I valued my kit!
Once the gallery is up, I shall take another look to try to ascertain the name for the geese, because my cursory glance through my references failed to find a match.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Stewartby Lake – Powerboats in their Element

Sunshine always brings out the best of Water, reflections off the surface, ripples, when disturbed, and when really exercised – Spray, and Spume – Powerboats tear water apart, and create the drama for those who watch from the shore; armed with my camera, a long lens and a robust platform from which to capture the excitement that the performers are enjoying, I spent the afternoon trying to do justice to what the participants are enjoying in full.
I parked up at the far end as close to shade as I could find, and put together my tripod, the Benbo and gimbal head, and my 7D MkII and the Sigma 150-600mm. Wanted to get as low as possible to gain clearance between the hulls and the water when possible, which meant setting up the tripod where there was a chance of my finding a sound footing for the tripod legs and a raised bank behind to allow me to sit, so that the camera and I was as low as possible, but the foreshore is an unstable jumble of bricks, so this was not as easy as I had imagined, but in the end I found three different viewpoints that were satisfactory, though the first was marred by a very powerful odour.
Only once I was settled did I realise, I was right in front of the family I had met on my last visit, and also later their mother when she arrived was parked alongside my car! On this occasion, I did not have my spare telephoto with me, but I need not have worried as he was shooting movies on this occasion.
The reason for the differing viewpoints was also related to the lighting angle and to vary the shots as much as possible, but the available angles were still somewhat limited, by  both the distance and that the enclosure itself limited the choices, so overall coverage is limited to one corner. On this occasion due to having been before, the number of shots is fewer than before, and I was more ruthless in what I accepted.

I hope that I have captured the spirit of the afternoon, and I hope the other inhabitants of the lake; the swans, their cygnets and the grey lag goose capture the overall atmosphere of the place.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Bedfordshire Outing in Excellent Light

Warm sunshine and crystal clear blue sky was ideal weather to spend an afternoon taking photographs, so I was easily tempted, and I found an abundance of different subjects to make it worth my while and create a gallery with a span of interests. It also proved to be a day with my meeting and chatting to several others, a couple of other photographers and villagers with whom I encountered along the way.
The verges along the country roads I travelled were all well-covered by having grown fast due to recent rainfall and a distinct improvement in the weather thereafter, which meant it was not easy to pick a spot to park as any potential hazards were hidden, so with no place to park when I wanted to take my first shots, I pulled into a farm to see whether I could stop for a few moments. This action proved to be fortuitous as it was the location of a car repair facility with a specialist spray booth, and in speaking to the only man present, he said the boss was not around, but if I was quick he was sure that would be fine. It looked a very professional outfit, and so I enquired whether there were possibilities of photographing their work and I left a card for the owner’s return.
As it so happened, my return trip took me past the same location, and I was able to meet the owner, and there does seem there might be possibilities; it turns out he was for several years employed by the Maclaren team, and I had a promising chat when meeting him.
The first shots were of a splendid house and its surroundings alongside a road that dropped from a hill down a dip before rising. Later I spotted signs to a village which might have been named in a romantic novel: Newton Blossomville, and I had met the name before, but never visited the village, so I put that right. On the way I spotted a pair of very ramshackle roofless cottages, and decided they were worth capturing, and I actually met the guardian and had a lengthy chat with hime and learned a bit of their history, and it would seem that after lengthy processes will finally be replaced and let.
The rest of the trip was spent in several locations involving shots of a vast field filled entirely with solar panel arrays, and another area of energy production; a series of Wind Turbines, set against young Oilseed Rape fields, and finally I parked in Newton Blossomville and spent the rest of my time with varied subjects from buildings, flowers, walls, knotted wood, to birds – altogether a very enjoyable afternoon of photography.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Dulwich Arts Week - Ben and Pip Rice Joint Exhibition

I have known and worked for Photographer Ben Rice over several years, and was invited to come to the Private Viewing Evening, being held at a wonderful venue at Bell House.
It is quite a trek on a Friday afternoon to head down to be there on time when coming from mid-Bedfordshire. I chose to use the M25 and then the M4 and thence through the southern suburbs to come in via the South Circular road. It certainly is not an unfamiliar area to me since I lived in Bromley many moons ago, and the route from Central London often took me through Dulwich, which this week celebrates the eponymous Arts Week.
However, the changes wrought since those times made this a very much slower and congested journey. However, one particular memory from a mere thirty years back sprung immediately to mind as I was driving along the afore-mentioned South Circular, and it was a scene of absolute destruction of Reliant Robin, which brought a wry smile as I remember the scattered fibreglass remnants of it, but it was obviously not as amusing to the unfortunate owner all those years back! What was surprising was that I should recognise the specific site having never been back to this area since; normally nowadays I cannot remember why it was I went upstairs!
I arrived at the appointed time and took out my camera before even entering Bell House to capture something of the area in which Bell House is situated, having ascertained that Ben did not mind my taking pictures of his and his wife’s exhibition. I was warmly welcomed by a tap on the shoulder and Ben darting behind me, before offering me a drink. Everyone I met was equally friendly, and considering Ben was the only person whom I knew, I was made to feel totally at ease, and became involved in numerous conversations with several of the other guests, and though there was one person who recognised me, sadly I failed to recognise him, which always makes me ashamed.
Ben was displaying numerous very large Prints, whilst Pip had a loop running in one room showing the making of some of her pieces, as well as another with her work either hanging or mounted on the walls, and was on hand to discuss how they were achieved.
Amongst Ben's photos two that were vertical caught my eye, and I felt capturing one person looking up to its full height told the story, I also spotted some who peered right up to them to check detail, andI bent the ear of one lady, by mentioning that for many photographers, how close they come when looking at a photo, is only limited by the length of their nose!
I will let the photographs I took during the evening tell their story, and for those attending, I hope they feel that my coverage does reflect the pleasure that all the guests felt towards the work on display by the two very disparate elements of the joint exhibition; I hope that it will be visited by numerous attendees of the Dulwich Arts Week who will share in the enjoyment of both the work on display, and the house that hosts the display of Pip and Ben’s work. I certainly did, and was very pleased I made the effort to accept the invitation and the travel involved. I can enthusiastically recommend that it is well worth the visit. I wish Dulwich Arts Week every success.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Bank Holiday Monday – Brogborough Lake Bright, and Busy

           I decided that I’d like a relaxing day just seeing what I could capture around the lake at Brogborough. I knew that without even the slightest zephyr, there would certainly not be any windsurfing activity on this bright and ultimately hot Bank Holiday Monday. I reckoned there might well be those who would take to the water on Paddle Boards, and on this I was correct; I was surprised how many would be taking to the water, and certainly I did meet a couple of people whom I would normally associate with windsurfing, but in the main the visitors today were young families.
          I decided that I would take a panorama, but as My bracket which would have allowed me to use a tripod, was carefully stowed back at the house, so I would have to take the shots hand-held as to get any height to the final image the camera has be in a vertical format. So this was my first set of images, and only when I was at the computer would I know how successful the composite image might be – it was certainly not perfect, but definitely it was usable. It was was assembled from twenty single images in RAW format in Lightroom. Later I might well put it into Zoomify, so it can be seen greater detail, but for now that is not the case.
          I had used the 5D MkIII with the 24-70mm lens for those shots, but swapped to the 100mm Macro thereafter to photograph anything I felt was interesting; in the main I was looking for insects, and found an unusual bee-like one that I had only rarely spotted before it tapers from an oval body to what would appear to be a fixed proboscis, and unlike normal bees it is able to hover, and it seemed to favour a clump of white flowers, but it was often very nippy, so I would lose it frequently.
          There were a few hoverflies, flies, ladybirds, and one such looked as if it were heading for a feast of Aphids, but then headed off in another direction, but in the background a hoverfly was considering an ambush! There were a couple of swans, so not a vast array of exciting images, but a challenge to capture, with a lot of watching and waiting! Altogether a very relaxing way to spend time with a camera in the great outdoors.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Ashridge Landscapes by Martin Evening

Reminder — The Exhibition is on this weekend, for those who missed it last week!
          Photographer Martin Evening Mounts an Exhibition of his photographs over several seasons, called “Ashridge Landscapes” – This exhibition takes place over two Weekends; this Bank Holiday Weekend and the following weekend only.
          Martin captures this fascinating Estate, its atmosphere and varying colours over several seasons covering his time since he left London to live in this rural idyll. The range is hopefully covered by my series of the gallery as he puts the final touches to mounting his panels, and in walk a couple who are one of the first visitors meet up with him just as we are leaving having completed the removal of his tools; it turns out this is not the first exhibition of his that they have attended, and the warmth shown by them as they enter is obvious, hence my capturing their meeting before packing away my camera, having lent a small hand to help Martin finish before the onset of the early visitors.
          I took images from several angles so that the gallery though small, shows how Martin has displayed his work to greatest effect. We later, whilst grabbing a tea and sausage roll before leaving, are greeted by members of his cycling friends who had broken off to take a view before continuing their ride; all were hugely impressed, and before we both went on our separate ways took one last look and it was obvious that the exhibition was attracting considerable interest from members of the public, despite the pull of all that warmth and sunshine outside!

Visit to Tring Reservoirs in Blossom

            I knew late morning was hardly the ideal time to be considering taking meaningful wildlife shots down at Tring Reservoirs, but nevertheless put out a call to Tringford’s Water Bailliff, to learn what activity there might be down at the lake, and he felt there might well be some interest. I indicated that therefore I would head on down on that offchance; I learned he was off to London to pick up his wife from hospital, but would be down later. A short while passed and whilst en route, I got a call back from him, that he may inadvertently left a gas bottle without switching it off – would I check, and remove it.
            On arrival I found two visiting brother anglers, one of whom was attempting, thus far in vain, trying to untangle his line, and so I took a look at the gas cylinder and its valve, and found it switched off, and Bob had asked would I remove it for safety. This proved to be less easy than at first sight to accomplish, but the brain cells of the three of us finally worked out how to achieve this apparently simple task, and for safety to avoid any contaminants entering I then carefully rested the valve assembly over the top. Since one brother was engrossed in line-unentanglement, I enquired of them, the swan Bob had mentioned, that was on the nest. Once Learned it was further along from the jetty at the water’s edge, I enquired whether while on brother was occupied, might I be cheeky and ask for a ride out on the lake to get some shots.
             He was more than happy to oblige, so I brought my carbon fibre tripod with the 5D MkIII and Sigma Sports 150-600mm lens atop the Gimbal head gingerly across from the jetty to the flat-bottomed boat, out onto the lake. We stayed a fair distance off so as not to disturb the swan and positioned ourselves so that we could drift gently by with minimal disturbance to either the swan or my platform, so that I could get some shots of her activity, as she put finishing touches to her domestic arrangements to her birthing reed nest.
Click here for the single page Nesting Swan gallery
            I took a series of shots of her efforts before returning to the shore and gathering my kit for a trip to Marsworth lake to continue my shooting, which later I put into two discrete galleries, one which featured the nesting swan, and a more wide-rang collection of shots at the second of the three lakes that form Tring Reservoirs, whose existence is to serve the replenishment of the lost water to the Grand Union Canal due to Lock use along its length.
            In this second group of images I capture Spring blossom as well as avian activity on the lake, in particular some you chicks, and a swan showing considerable aggression towards one of the more mild-mannered of geese, the Greylag. I only saw one lone Grebe, so, overall not a lot of birdlife activity, though much birdsong in the sunshine, and hardly a breath of wind to ripple the surface waters of the lakes.

            I later returned to Tringford and met up with Bob and the departing visiting anglers.