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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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.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Marston Moretaine – Front Gardens and Roadside Flower Boxes

             Station Road could be described as the main floral route through the village of Marston Moretaine, especially at this point in time, after the rains and following sunshine. April is renowned for showers, and as I took a walk at lunchtime with my camera, it was because of my observation earlier that a sudden spurt had taken hold of my privet hedge requiring a heavy pruning, that caused me to look slighter further.
            I brought along a small rubberised groundsheet, so that I could kneel to to choose a low viewpoint close to the flowers that were to fill my viewfinder. I had chosen the 100mm Macro, but in case I needed a wider angle lens, I took my camera case along to have access to a 24-70mm and hold the groundsheet.
            I had already asked permission earlier to visit one garden, and seeing a lady tending her garden, and seeing some likely floral colour, I enquired of her too, and she kindly also gave me permission, and having taken a couple of shots duly showed her the results on the back of the camera, I took a further couple of shots and was about to leave when she suggested there might be shots around the back, and there were two more subjects there, so I thanked her after showing those results, and moved further up the road looking for more signs of late Spring sprouting.
            There were a few more stops on the way to the house that I had spotted two days before and where the ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ were where I had already had approval to enter their front garden.
            The resultant gallery from this walk which took me up towards the shops and left, for a few gardens before the return trip to see whether I had missed any items of interest, and with a slight detour via a path to the far end of the Squire Road cul-de-sac and back in to create the gallery, the result follows.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Somewhat Late Stewartby Powerboat Photos

            I have finally found the time to correct a mistake I made in misplacing a whole tranche of images from the Sunday I spent at the Powerboat meeting at Stewartby, I am sorry that it is so late, but as they say: “ Better late than never!”
            I have had a lot on my plate in between, hence the prolonged delay, but I think there are some nice shots, so perhaps it was worth the wait, despite it seeming a long time ago now!
            The majority were in sunshine which always helps, especially when trying to capture water spray, and the new Benbo tripod gave me a chance to be really stable, and be able to shoot from a low angle. Once again I have to thank Sue Tassell for the opportunity to shoot from the shore, and to bring my best lens by being able to come by car.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Aylesbury Concert Band - Fairford Leys Church

In the past Fairford Leys Concerts by the Aylesbury Concert Band have taken place outside in the central Hampden Square in the Bandstand, on this occasion it took place within the church, which presented a few accoustics-related constraints for the Band, but this did not prevent the audience from enjoying the pieces played.
The architecture within comes as a surprise from its reasonably conventional exterior, and makes for interesting reflections from some of the bells of the wind instruments such as the euphonium being played by Robin Jarvis, who was soloist for the piece under the baton of the arranger, Eric Wilson, stepping in just for this piece from The Band’s Director of Music, Robert Wicks.
The spread of the players in Band, meant that whereas normally the percussion section is hidden from viewer behind all the other members, on this occasion I was able to see extensive array of the Drummer’s Toys on this occasion (that is not meant to be taken as derogatory in any way!) and the guest Conductor, Eric was equally intrigued by the boxing of the xylophone which added to its tonality and strength.
The observant visitor will notice the difference in clothing worn by many Band members from the start of the gallery, this allows me to take shots of the players because I can subtly change my viewpoint in Rehearsal that is not possible during the concert proper. The drawback is that foot-tapping is cut short during rehearsal – just as I succumb to the urge, that rhythmic section ends! I learned later from my daughter, that she had spotted my disappointment.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Stewartby Lake – The Sunday

                    On the Saturday, I would have possibly stayed longer normally, despite the onset of rain, but the location of the camera viewpoint was a long distance from my car, and I had several items beyond my camera and tripod with me that meant that more than just my camera would be soaked if I left it till it had become a downpour. I gathered everything together and headed slowly away from the lakeside.
                                       I left somewhat shattered as it had still been a long day, and I knew that I had to download all the shots from that day, clear the cards, and prepare for Sunday after making supper, and get everything ready food and drink-wise for the same all over again, also I had failed to unplug my phone from the charger, so needed to check emails, and reply to anything urgent and remember to have it with me for Sunday. I had mentioned to one of the brothers I had another long zoom lens he could use on the Sunday, and had to keep reminding myself not to forget I had made the offer!
                    By the time I had made myself supper, downloaded all the files, recharged the batteries and headed for bed, any ideas of a full night’s sleep had vanished, but I had at least prepared flasks of cold orange and decided what food I would take, and shaved, so the morning ablutions and breakfast would be a mere half an hour with twenty minutes for the car journey, so 08.15 was set on my alarm, giving me about six hours of sleep.
                    It had rained overnight and the day was not as bright, but I had remembered the extra lens, and everything was in the kitchen ready for the off; I was still certain there would be something I had forgotten, but on arrival, it seemed as if that pessimism was ill-founded. I visited the main office thinking I would need to sign in again, but learned that as I had not signed out, I needed only to sign out at the end of the day, and guess what? It was only after leaving having passed through the gate, I remembered that vital snippet and had to park the car, get back in and sign out!
                    There are far fewer images in the this gallery, and the lack of sunshine has not helped, but I had enjoyed the day, and it added to the record, even if not providing much exciting imagery.
                    My thanks to Sue Tassell for the opportunity.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Stewartby Race Weekend – Saturday

Here was an opportunity not to be missed. Sunshine and for me, a new experience amongst a very different sporting activity, with new people to meet. Everyone I met was easygoing and friendly, reminding me very much of the atmosphere I remember from my time as a Pit Marshal with the BRSCC at various circuits around the UK. Although the names of the drivers and the classes of boat were unknown to me, the mixture of purposeful work being carried out and the outward calm and the generally informal atmosphere despite the obvious background structure to the day ahead was familiar to me from my thirty years with marshals and racing cars and racing circuits. I left that community to allow me to concentrate on building ‘SOLUTIONS photographic’ from the early days of the involvement of computers in photography.
This was the first real opportunity to see how effective the Benbo tripod was in allowing me to have a stable platform at the very edge of the lake. Yes, I had used it at the other nearby lake at Brogborough, but there it was still very novel, here I put what I had learned there into practice, and felt far more at ease with its foibles.
I learned I had packed too little to drink for the Saturday, and put that right for the Sunday. I met up with a very keen and knowledgable family of young brothers from Lowestoft whose mother I learned had been a powerboat racer herself, and since they were keen on photography, I promised I would bring along my second long zoom lens as one of them was fortuitously a Canon shooter, so that he could play with that on the Sunday, later I also lent him the use of a monopod, which I learned he was grateful for lessening the effect of its weight! That was my mistake I had forgotten he wouldn’t need an Arca Swiss plate for it, so got that out of my boot later. 
I am afraid I did not write down their names, but they seemed to know every participant, so their knowledge was vital, but only a fraction was retained in my failing memory but for what little I retained I was still very grateful. One very obvious observation was just how young many of the participants were, I also gathered that the number of competitors was considerably down on the past numbers due to costs and regulations, but I believe that the numbers will increase if the age for entry becomes bolstered by the development of these young entrants’ undoubted skills. I have some grandchildren who could well become interested if they catch sight of the age of those I saw performing!
I was somewhat trigger happy as I explored the angles I captured, especially so on that first day, so that largely accounts for the delay in these images appearing on the blog; I hope the wait was worth it. I now have to get my Sunday shots done.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Stewartby Spoiler Alert!

                    I have not taken photos of Powerboats racing at Stewartby before; the closest from the past was way back in the days of black-and-white and a 5x4 Sinar – I took black and white shots on 5x4 sheetfilm on the Thames of a first test of a speedboat after being built at a boatyard somewhere beyond Henley; panning a Sinar is really not an easy task. So at least I stood a chance with a modern camera! Sue Tassell had very kindly allowed me into the compound for the opportunity, and I was blessed with ideal conditions on the first of the two days’ event.
                    However, being a two day event, the time taken to produce the galleries covering the weekend means that the post production effort precludes a full gallery today, Monday, so I am simply posting a single teaser shot whilst I continue preparing a fuller photographic account of the splendid weekend.
                    When the galleries come, I am taking this opportunity to let everyone know that normally clicking the headline TEXT takes you to the thumbnail gallery, where the click on any individual thumbnail will enlarge the chosen image, however there is no gallery here.

The other point I shall make is that all images are my copyright, but if I am asked, and informed as to the filename of a specific image selected, a SINGLE image may be used just the once on Social Media uncropped, and complete with its embedded copyright message with a byline of “Image copyright of Rod Wynne-Powell, SOLUTIONS photographic”. I print A4 colour prints on Premium Semi Gloss paper, should anyone be interested.
                    Meantime my head will be down preparing the rest of the record of an enjoyable two days at Stewartby Lake.



Friday, 20 April 2018

BNI-Breakfast Radlett Park Golf Course

Friday morning was scheduled to be yet another very warm after Thursday’s forty-seven year record for this time of year, and it did not disappoint. Around a week or so earlier a DigiCluster member, Helena Baker had spoken to BNI’s David O’Dell, the National Field Manager for UK & Ireland to invite me to their meeting at the Radlett Park Golf Club.
I duly set my alarm for 04-40, having shaved and bathed the night before, and within three-quarters of an hour, the car had been packed and the SatNav set and I was on my way, reckoning that even with heavier than average traffic, I would arrive well early. I had not reckoned on the SatNav indicating my destination was on the right as I was in the High Street. I took that turn, but it had to be wrong as the area was completely built up, I drove uphill a short distance and spotting a lone pedestrian asked her the way, she suggested I go up the hill take a right and it would be on my left a short way further – said with no hint of hesitation, so I duly followed the directions and was still within a built-up area, so I went a little further hoping to reach countryside or another person; those directions offered, were with equal conviction, but were as unhelpful, I managed to find three further willing helpers, one of which did lead me into a golf course past a security bollard, but it was all but deserted, but I found a workman who told me it was the wrong Golf Club and he handily gave me the exit code so I could follow his directions, which began by pointing me back the way I had come! I can only believe there were stooges out there to point me elsewhere employed by a BNI rival! I certainly had the place surrounded. I almost expected everybody to be leaving as I was entering, I was so late; it has only now occurred to me that I spent as much of my time in the Radlett environs as I had taken for my my projected time of 39 minutes.
As I entered, David O’Dowd introduced himself, correctly presuming who I was and immediately did his best to reassure me and asked would I like tea or coffee. I was made to feel welcome, and at least had not been peremptorily blackballed for my heinous behaviour – Phew! Awhile later he addressed the rest of the delegates and calling me ‘Rodney’ to which I corrected him with ‘Roderick - Rodney is a Plonker!’ which resonated with at least some of the audience with some laughter.
It was mentioned I would be taking to photos as a record of the morning so long as no one objected, which later made one member check if I had his best side, so I was sure at least he had no objections. Everyone made considerable effort to make not only myself but all of the firstcomers welcomed, and the underlying structure of the event meant each person would have an opportunity to introduce themselves and was asked to observe certain time limits, but many had completed their narrative well-before timeout was called, and for those who did reach this cutoff it was generally drowned out by well-meaning laughter.
The whole morning was well-run without officiousness, and the presentations were brief and succinct, and the food provided was excellent. I hope that in the few photographs I took it gives a flavour of the morning’s meeting. Thank you all for an interesting morning. The journey back was so straightforward, I wonder whether my SatNav had been sabotaged, it was so incredibly straightforward; virtually a straight line!? – I hope I got everyone’s ‘best side’ not just Lawrence Conway’s!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Brogborough Windy Tuesday

                    My car was collected to get a service, but there was sunshine and quite a strong wind blowing, so I packed my camera and three lenses, and took the camera bag to the lock-up and my bike; I had hoped that I could put the camera bag in the front basket, but sadly it was not possible, so instead I put the individual items in separately, in so doing did not add any extra compact flash cards as I was not expecting to have large numbers of likely images; it was after all a Tuesday afternoon. 
                    I returned the camera bag to the house, donned my helmet and folded my trousers into my socks and set off for Brogborough Lake, and the fact that I have had a cough and cold for a week now meant that I found myself noticeably weaker on the pedals and I was heading into the wind. Assuming that the wind was unlikely to shift through 180 degrees that at least was a crumb of comfort for the return trip.
                    On arrival, I found the gates were open, but there were not too many vehicles, however there were several sailors out on the lake and the wind was definitely of a reasonable strength, but the overall number of visitors was not large, so I was not reckoning on there being much photos ahead, but I got out my camera and headed towards the water’s edge, and having taken just a few shots on my general purpose 24-70mm, swapped it for the 100-400mm, and soon found some more enticing subjects for the longer lens. Having no support, not even a monopod, I soon drew up a wrought iron chair and sat down to shoot which was less of a strain, as the wind was strong enough to be noticeable when holding the camera to my eye for any length of time.
                    I was also having to take more shots due to the amount of wind that was affecting my framing, and this was where my failure to bring a spare CF card was going to limit  the time I was going to spend shooting. That lack of foresight really made me feel very annoyed with myself! The card had 32GB which in my pessimism had seemed more than adequate, but I had made no allowance for my taking more shots due to the wind, or that the weather might be conducive to my taking a greater number of images. That was poor professionalism and it really irked that I should make such an inexcusable mistake.
                    I soon packed everything back onto my bike and headed back with a following and very welcome wind behind me, and once back settled into levelling horizons, lightening deep shadows and holding highlights when I had been shooting towards the sun, it was certainly noticeable that shooting handheld did make for more out of kilter horizons compared to shooting from a tripod.
                    Altogether, a satisfactory afternoon’s shooting, with albeit more images left on the metaphoric cutting room floor!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Foggy Stockwood Discovery Centre

Ex-Stockwood gardener Jan and I met up to take photos in the gardens. She brought along her newly acquired macro lens and I had got a call earlier whilst it was still raining and I was about to set off, and I thought: Despite her desire to get more experience with the lens, she might be calling to say that the meeting was off due to the weather. I had misjudged her – the call was to see whether I might be calling it off due to the conditions. Both of us were willing to take the chance on it improving as it happened, so I started the car, and headed South, but I did choose to to use the country roads! By the time I entered the car Park at the Centre, the rain had stopped leaving just a foggy day, and one small benefit – there would be lots of raindrops on the leaves and flowers, and a soft light retaining more colour. The downside being that invariably we would need higher ISOs and steadier hands as shutter speeds would be marginal. Jan had arrived only minutes before and was just stepping out of her car as I initially came alongside, though realising the cars either side were perilously close, I took another slot with more space.
We both then headed for the entrance where Jan was greeted warmly by the staff, before we then headed into the gardens. At first we simply chatted as we walked around to see what was there that warranted photographing, I took out my camera and Jan then took the opportunity to catch up with a few of her erstwhile colleagues before returning and pointing out some plants of particular interest. That would often mean that we would get engrossed in one area and the other would wander further afield, time would pass and then we would find each other, share our captured images, then Jan would point out something I had not spotted. Members of the public who recognised her would chat and learn she had retired, or other staff members would involve her in conversation, it was obvious she was very fondly remembered and they were happy to see her back as a visitor. Every so often I would help her with some of the settings on the camera, or offer suggestions for framing. It is always a delight in offering guidance to those keen to learn more about improving their picture-taking and Jan has really enjoyed gaining a greater understanding of how to improve upon the pictures she takes, which I find particularly heartwarming.
Jan was very handy from my angle as she knew where to expect the new signs of growth, and headed for those, so I would look to see where she went next and head on over to see what she had found. This meant we found ourselves covering different corners, some I have rarely visited, like the chickens, where she recounted some of their history; we also visited the historical area where she explained how some of the horse paraphernalia on display were not all hung in the same orientation, an error which I found particularly poor on behalf of the Museum Staff, as this area is important educationally and should be displayed without ambiguity as this is a really vital resource which needs to be interpreted accurately, I learned that despite her making the point, no one had corrected these errors; that actually angered me as it devalued the display and history has to be reported accurately for it to be of value. Visual History is more powerful often than verbal or written history, so it is vital that it be seen to be correct. This section of the grounds was too dark to consider the taking of photos handheld, but I did make an attempt in the case of one small animal.
We returned to the gardens and by the exit took advantage of some of the items displayed for sale, before moving to have hot chocolate and Caramel shortcakes and a relaxing chat with my swapping out her card to my camera, so she could view her work on a larger review screen, and also for her to view some of my shots, before we both headed in different directions, having enjoyed our time together capturing the ongoing season in the gardens, one of Luton’s gems. On this occasion it was school holiday time, so was very much alive to the sounds of young children enjoying what discoveries they find; which in some cases was simply to run around in a safe environment!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

André and Home Brew Hydrofoil Board, Brogborough

I heard that André was back out on the lake at Brogborough with his latest update to his own design of hydrofoil, and despite it being both dull and cold, I got a message to him that I would dash round to get some some shots of the board in flight. 
The wind was fitful, and apparently had been stronger before my arrival, but since he was prepared to go out once more, I hastily set myself up using the Benbo tripod with the legs in the water, and when I was happy with its stability, I attached the camera to the gimbal head, which was the EOS 7D MkII and the 150-600mm Sigma Sports lens, and was ready by the time he had launched.
I took some incidental shots of one other windsurfer to set myself up, then kept André in sight following him out to the distance and then back in again, capturing a few occasions when he was airborne; each occasion was short lived, but what I noticed was he was successfully level once up.
The session did not last long, and once he had brought himself ashore, he Sam and I chatted about what appeared to be the limiting factors, André was very honest in his assessment of his level of hydrofoil experience and confidence being a factor, but we all agreed we were impressed by his board and his control, and seemed to conclude that it was the shape of the tail wing that might well be the weak point in the design, so he will be making this flatter in the next iteration, rather than being entirely curved throughout. This would seem borne out by the study of a commercial design.
I look forward to the next version, and we all hope that occasion will be blessed a more constant wind, and sunshine!