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 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, as well as Sales for a leading London-based colour laboratory and has trained many on a one-to-one basis, in the UK and Europe.

Still a pre-release tester for Adobe in the US, for Lightroom and 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…



Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Wilstone’s Winter Birds

I decided on an afternoon visit to Wilstone, despite the lateness, because the sky was so bright and Blue, I did not expect wildly exciting shots, but I met some very interesting people, and several others were out with their cameras.  As it was afternoon with a low sun, the light was good, but none of us expected really interesting subjects, so the exercise of walking and carrying a heavy tripod and two cameras was the greatest benefit.

The water level was very low, so a lot of the shallower parts of the lake were exposed which did mean the Grey Wagtail was busy at the margin, and I ventured down into the mud which at first was dry and reasonably solid, but as I neared the water’s edge it was decidedly boggy and I had to move back unless I fancied getting embedded, and with so few people around, that was foolhardy. I did find some rocks that gave my tripod some support, so at least I managed some shots of the Wagtail, later back on the bank I also was able to follow a Pied Wagtail in its foraging.

I spotted that one particular Gull spent its time on the water with occasional two-second flights to fish for tiddlers, unlike the majority who would fly and swoop to do their fishing, only landing after long spells in the air.

Later another photographer and myself found ourselves watching the successful landing of a Pike, and the angler certainly worked hard, and considering as he informed us he had both hips replaced, it was interesting to watch,. He had been dragging his catch a considerable distance from where started, so had to walk back to get his landing net before completing the operation, thus not all the afternoon’s images were of birds, as I took the opportunity of recording his labours. Later, though I walked past the corner leading eventually to the woods and the path to the Hide, I turned back without any more pictures till I returned to the promontory with its bench and later watched the evening feeding by numerous Fieldfare darting between two favoured trees laden with berries.

Twice I watched a hovering Kestrel, but I was bitterly disappointed by the poor quality of those particular shots, but overall it was an interesting afternoon’s exercise.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cherry and Ian's 50th Wedding Anniversary




Cherry and Ian celebrated fifty years of married life with their family and friends at the Aegeas Bowl in Southampton at the Robin Smith Room. Getting down there was in pretty miserable weather, but this did not deter the spirits of anyone attending; and, as if in equal celebration, the weather day after was simply glorious.

In many instances the last time I had met many of the guests was only a decade less, but in most cases the years simply melted away as we were able to recall memories from those earlier times.

I met up with Diane and Tony in the lobby of the Holiday Inn who had already introduced herself to Judith and her husband who were now all ensconced and chatting in armchairs just beyond the foyer.
It was not long before Lizzy, Tim, Catherine and Jonah and Holly and Poppy joined us. I was hoping to reeky where we going to be for the celebrations which were to be in the Robin Smith Suite at the Aegeas Bowl within the same complex as our two hotels; the Hilton and Holiday Inn. Since no one was free to join me I made the journey by myself which meant later I led the way for our group in confidence. It did allow me the bonus of getting some night shots of the arena. The result is a series of scene-setting shots prior to the main event.

Once I had met up with Cherry, it was warming to hear that she was very pleased I had come armed with a camera, as she had toyed with the idea of actually asking – maybe she was unaware that my camera is to all intents an extension of my right hand, and finally may have to be surgically removed!

 It was a very joyous occasion with much laughter, reminiscing and storytelling; I found myself expanding on some of the 'Memory' bag snippets to Poppy at the dinner table, but in a couple of instances I needed reminding as recall was not instantaneous – surprise, surprise!

I enjoy taking shots in poor ambient lighting without additional flash so that I preserve the atmosphere that prevails, and also because flashes popping off can be completely disruptive to the moment and to the event, but it can have its pitfalls, so I do have to apologise to a guest at one of the tables due to my failure at the time to have her in the picture – more especially as we had been in conversation during the evening.

I hope that the shots I have taken are a reflection of the proceedings, and on this occasion I hope I have not spoiled the chronology by headlining a few images out of context in order to give a feeling of how much went into the preparations for the evening by Mandy and Jo. They had undoubtedly ensured the success of the wonderful evening.

I took a walk the morning after because although I hardly touched any alcohol, I stayed up late and managed to sleep through my alarm set for 8 o'clock to be woken at five to eleven, and hastily get myself out of the room, whilst Lizzy kindly grabbed me some breakfast. I needed to calm myself and also charge my phone enough to use it both to phone an aunt I had planned to visit and use its SatNav to reach the village where she lived, hence the shots of autumn colours and finally my aunt and her husband.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Briefest Brogborough Visit – Poor Sailing Weather

The Sunday morning was crisp and bright, so I was deceived into thinking it was less cold than it turned out to be, but I decided to take a chance and by the time I was ready to leave, the sun was definitely clouding over, and on arrival at the Lake at Brogborough, wiser men had decided this was not going to be worth heading out for. However, there were several brave souls who were beginning to rig their boards, so I felt that I could hardly disappoint them.

I did disappoint myself, by failing to really concentrate fully on the job in hand, and so missed several shots where one more adventurous young man was grabbing every opportunity to get his board free from the shackles of the water.

I did think it likely that the water itself would be warmer than the biting wind, and I heard one sailor make just that comment, so I risked dipping my already cold fingers in the water to check it out, and indeed it was considerably warmer than the air, but I had to immediately dry my hand in my jeans back pocket for fear of it getting even colder!

The sun did show a few nanoseconds at a time, but every so often there would be a few drops of rain, and the wind itself was fitful, so conditions for those on the water was disappointing, as a gust would die before they could gain something from it. One younger chap with a bright red sail was by far the most energetic and skilful, so once I had discerned this I found myself recording more of his efforts than anyone, so I apologise to those for whom I gave little coverage.

In the end, the rain defeated me and I retired to the rest area and was followed not long after as the rain had definitely started to set in, and I was already finding my fingers were seriously cold. It soon became obvious conditions were not going to improve and the wind had died almost completely, so I stayed and chatted over a warming cup of tea, before calling it a day, but at least there are some shots as a record of my visit.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Digi-Cluster 2016 Finale – Warner Bros. Studios

To close the Network Evenings for 2016, JB Cole, Clock and and with sponsorship from Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire LEP and West Herts College, the final Meeting for Digi-Cluster was arranged to be at the Warner Brothers Studios at Leavesden.

Peter Carr and I went down in my car and arrived we presumed well early, but found we were not the first by quite a number, and as we went through all the necessary Security procedures, we took the opportunity to look around the maps of the venue, and thumbed or way through the History book, but it only covered the US era, but later the more recent history was covered by Dan Dark in his opening welcome to us in the Presentation theatre.

We did not have long to wait, and in smallish groups we were carefully shepherded between Security staff at various gates till we arrived at the complex that housed our allocated Presentation theatre.

After meeting up with others to chat over pre-event drinks, we moved into the theatre and Josh Bolland handed over to Dan Dark who in a very relaxed and assured welcome, gave us a short resumé of how and why Warner Brothers came to be here. He also showed a couple of videos to illustrate his talk, and answered questions from the audience.

He related some of the location's history and the benefits that accrue from the sheer size of the plot and scale of the existing but derelict buildings, that were so perfectly suited for the needs of a Film Studio.

This was followed by three 90 second pitches by Helena Baker, Tom Shurville and Tim Parfitt, with Syd Nadeem questioning the participants to provide background and expand upon their projects.  Emma Stewart then followed to announce a new programme to support SMEs who work, or wish to work within the TV/Film sector and explained how 'Creative England' would be hoping to provide funding to help bring this about.

We then all adjourned for the customary and generous food and drinks to close the evening; chatting amongst both ourselves and the speakers. Once again grateful thanks go to our hosts at Warner Brothers, and to all those who behind the scenes put everything together to ensure the evening's success, and we were learned the next meeting is scheduled for March 2017.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Autumn Sun in Priory Park Bedford

Last time I attempted to capture the colours of Autumn, I was thwarted by the ever-shy English Sun – however when an opportunity arose again, I made my way to Priory park in Bedford; the only adversary on this occasion was my intransigent SatNav, which would bow out when I needed it most which involved me in more than one loop back to take the correct direction at a junction. Even when nearing the Car Park, it was insisting it would appear on my right, but fortunately I spotted it myself on my left, albeit too late resulting in a U-turn at a nearby junction.

I was greeted by a very milky sun, but as forecast, it slowly cleared and was pleasantly warm with not a breath of breeze to ripple the water on the lakes. After a brief conversation wit a couple of ladies by the map, I set off for a walk around the lake with just the 5D MKIII and the 35mm f/1.4 lens. I headed for the water's edge before crossing the green sward to a stand of multicoloured trees in the near distance. After a few brief glimpses beyond the frontage of cover, I headed back to the path that ran around the lake's edge, taking every opportunity that was offered for further trips down pathways into the woods to my left, which resulted in other small pools under heavy tree cover, and small bridges over streams or gullies.

I continued these forays throughout my trip around the lake before returning to my start and changing cameras and lenses at the car after taking the opportunity to eat a Scotch egg and a packet of crisps. I would have liked to have used my monopod with my long lens, but sadly, the 3/8th to 1/4 screw adaptor was stuck firmly and I had no tools to extricate it to attach it to the lens foot. I also swapped the 35mm lens for the Tamron 90mm Macro and took the anti-clockwise trip and returned the way from which I had just emerged with the 5D MkIII and now the 150-600mm around my neck. This time only retracing a third of that side of the lake before making a different route back to the car.

I had covered quite a lot of ground and had found the Canoe Slalom Course, but without its teams of canoeists and met numerous dog walkers and mothers and grandmothers of very young children with a mere handful of fathers, and countless joggers and strollers with earphones firmly excluding the sounds of the wildlife from their hearing. There were also the occasional young businessmen discussing their day's business meetings as they made their way around the lake as well as a few small family groups at the water's edge feeding the ducks and gulls, or using plastic ball throwers to keep their dogs exercised. It was only towards the end of my trip did I spot any birds that my camera could consider capturing.

It was a very relaxed interlude with several tunnels of trees to capture bathed in warm autumnal hues and casting long shadows through the branches of trees still fairly-well covered in their foliage, but as I walked I witnessed numerous flutterings of leaves falling to form the golden carpet that covered the paths I was following, every so often I would turn around and take shots from the opposing direction when I spotted the new view from the other side.

I wondered just how long before the wind and rains of the oncoming winter would be upon us. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

ABC – Autumn Bedfordshire Colours!

Why do free time slots occur when the sun is hiding? I had earlier seen some splendid autumn colours along the A421 in late afternoon sunshine, but when free to get out and try to capture the panoply of autumn hues, the sun was behind clouds. But to fail to record them at all seemed a poor option, so I headed out to see whether with a long lens I might be able to see some of that regardless, but the geography made that impossible, so I sought out areas that were more accessible from the countryside nearer me. And initially much closer – within the reach of the 90mm Tamron Macro!

Leaves, acorns, brambles, late roses, and puzzling holes in the verges – I am left wondering which small animals were responsible for these thinly disguised entrances, marked from the dying grasses. I found red leaves on roadside trees, and in a field, rows of cultivated bushes. Later, I even found some late roses and holly with berries; definitely greeting card fodder.

Strangely, also a small area of hedgerow literally teeming with energetic wasps of seemingly different ages to judge from the span of sizes, and they were intent on a very specific seed structure; that of ivy, which resemble a tiny World War II mine at normal viewing distance, but when close, resemble small green flowers on extending stems, obviously supplying an inviting taste to wasps. I had never seen such a number, other than when seeing a cluster of rotting windfall apples.

Altogether a fruitful time for the dying colours of Autumn. The American term: Fall, only describes the results of the action of the wind on the dying leaves from the trees, the English term: Autumn, describes so much more; the range of colours, the russets against the fading green, and the pale yellows with blotchy specks of black, the last warm winds that signal the end of summer and the rains that will herald the cold of the coming Winter.

I hope the gallery of pictures has captured something of an English Autumn, not simply the carpet of fallen leaves.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Briefest Early Woburn Park Visit

Waking early and fairly wide awake, I decided to take a chance to pay a visit to the deer at Woburn Park; just a few miles beyond the M1; it seemed it had rained earlier, so I thought it might stay dry for a while. Arriving at the car park, I was greeted by a red sky, but as I assembled my camera, it disappeared and was replaced by the familiar English shades of grey murk, before I had even reached the path through the woods!

I arrived at the small pond by the visitors’ gate and set up the tripod and before the deer were spooked by my presence took a few shots of them at rest largely in silhouette, and despite my moving slowly and carefully they began leaving towards the open space of the field beyond the pond, some had been in the water and they began jumping out which definitely added to the atmosphere of fear amongst the rest. I moved slowly towards the kiosk in a few stages, shooting when at rest. It was during this exodus that I spotted three stags that were lame, and mentioned it to a passing Ranger. It was very low light and therefore I was using  3200 ISO and occasionally 4000! So the quality is none too high.

A few early athletes came by and jogged along the lower path and we exchanged greetings as they passed; the most unusual passerby was taking a pony for a stroll, so he and his pony now feature alongside the deer. After watching some of the activities amongst the deer and choosing key moments, hopefully shown something of the story of what was happening – one stag for example was moving to protect his doe.

Soon after that I felt the onset of rain, my subjects were also disappearing into the distance and discretion was definitely the better part of valour, because I value my kit and it is a long trek back to the car! So I closed the tripod legs and headed back. Arriving back at base, a car drew up at the house and outstepped my accountant Penny, so my timing was spot on, but by pure chance!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Work Begins on Marston Moretaine Bridge

I have secured permission to don my PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and enter the site from the Contractors, T&W Civil Engineering Ltd, to take photographs of the works as they progress, so over the next few weeks it will be possible to see how things are moving by coming back to this blog from time to time.

It is a shame there is nowhere secure to mount a camera from a high viewpoint to take a time lapse of the work as it proceeds. Also I feel sorry for cyclists who would have liked to have some means of still using the route, but because of local roads layout any diversion has to go around the ex-quarry lake of Brogborough, or take to the pathways across the fields.

I arrived on site at around eight-thirty and started work taking shots of the brook itself as well as the start of the new temporary diversionary route that allows the men to demolish the bridge and later to put in the large concrete pipes that will take the brook beneath the road. The most notable observation was just how many services there are that will have to be carefully by-passed as they excavate before working out which have to be replaced by the appropriate service providers: Gas, Electricity, Street Lighting, Telephones, Water, and Sewage. What I learned was the sheer profusion was not foreseen, and presents further work, and potential delays.

It will be interesting to see how this resolves down the line.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Road Closure, Marston Moretaine

Station Road, Marston Moretaine is due eight weeks of lower through traffic with the closure of road, just short of the Marston Forest Nature Reserve. This is due to the removal and replacement of the existing bridge over the brook. T&W Civil Engineering Ltd will be carrying out the work. It will be interesting to see whether road users will find useful alternative routes that might lower Station Road's through traffic, or whether it will be a short respite before it increases exponentially. It does look as if there is another entrance to new houses being built on land to the left of the Forest Centre entrance which may compound traffic congestion along Station Road within Marston Moretaine.

Perhaps wisdom may have prevailed and this might be just an exit left, away from the village, though I will not hold my breath, as Bedfordshire is not renowned for outstanding planning decisions where roads are concerned.

I have noticed that numerous car drivers are either overly optimistic and that there is a way to reach the Nature Reserve and beyond from Marston Moretaine's Station Road, or they feel that with the road going nowhere it is an ideal spot to practice three-point turns!

Since it is but a short walk for me to visit, I may well take progress shots to give an indication of the road to completion (I know – pardon the pun!)

On my visit this morning I smelt a strong whiff of gas emanating from just before the bridge at the small brick building where the High Pressure Gas Pipeline is located, and reported it, because this could be an issue whilst this road and bridge work was being carried out.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

An Early Start for Marsworth Reservoir

Checking the weather forecast suggested a bright day, but either I did not see a mention of heavy mist, or there was not one, for I set off in a very thick mist that in parts was better described as fog, making winding country roads without white edge lines particularly hazardous in the early hours, and having had to scrape my windscreen of frost, my dashboard reminded me unnecessarily the potential for ice!

My route had many junctions and I almost missed one as its landmark pub was obscured in the mist. I arrived at Tringford with darkness still prevailing, I parked up and put together my Giottos tripod and  Lensmaster gimbal head, and had already put the Canon 100-400mm lens with 1.4 converter, and slung my 5D MkIII with 35mm f/1.4 around my neck and set off along the path that lay between Startops End lake and Marsworth lake. The Canada Geese or Graylags were hooting and Gulls swooped in and out of the mist over the waters of Marsworth, as I headed along the Grand Union Canal towards the reed beds.

 I made my way carefully and quietly down the bank to avoid creating a disturbance and began setting up the tripod, I had nearly completed when a quiet voice behind me said he had waited for me to finish before alerting me to his presence in case in fright I was pitched into the water! I don't think he realised how true was his statement, for had he spoken at normal volume, I would have jumped clean out of my skin! He introduced himself as Andy, and much later as Andy Brown, and I learned we shared a mutual friend in Mervyn.

My eyes have started to degrade more rapidly of late and this has resulted in my having two very different prescriptions for distance and close work, and today for the first time since my latest glasses, I found that the pair I had chosen which allowed me to view the review screen well were very far from being useful in spotting kingfishers on the far bank, and on this occasion I was indebted to Andy who was clearly able to spot them. I think I am going to have to bring both pairs with me in future, which was not the case before.

As the light slowly improved we both began shooting at high ISO and fairly wide apertures, and it soon became apparent that my decision to check out using a converter on the 100-400mm lens was far less effective than using my 150-600mm lens on its own, so that experiment was a failure! The main reason being that in this low light auto focus was both very slow, and sometimes simply not happening. The advancing light certainly improved the quality of images I was able to get – I was bitterly disappointed with the vast majority of the early shots, and only rising to barely acceptable towards late morning. Another experiment was using the onboard flash of the 7D MkII, again way under-powered to work efficiently, but it did seem to have a beneficial side effect, in that it seemed to make the kingfisher show interest in us!

After Andy had headed off to work for a Conference call, a pair of wood pigeons began courting, and since I had built up an interesting sequence, I have put these in a separate gallery. (click the underlined text above to link to the gallery).
I stayed for an hour or so longer, because it became apparent that the kingfishers had had their fill for our neck of the woods, so I set off back to the car, but along the way I did stop occasionally to record a few landscape shots and also got involved in a few conversations with others walking the footpath.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Brief Visit to Tring Reservoirs

I had not travelled to Tring Reservoirs for some time, so on a whim I phoned the Water Bailliff to find out if I was able to get my car parked nearby, but he was in a meeting and could not speak, so would speak to me in the afternoon; the answer suggested I might still be lucky, so I travelled down later on the offchance and was lucky, and since I found the gate unlocked, I phoned him, and learned he was down at the lake himself, so asked was it OK;  he told me fine, and I went along to meet him. We chatted about his wife who has been unlucky with her health. He broke off suddenly when he spotted a cormorant.

They are having a lot of trouble with cormorants that are very damaging to the lake’s fish, and Bob is constantly using a cap gun to scare them off, but it seems it is a battle that the cormorants are winning as they are increasingly taking no notice of his efforts to drive them away. Unlike herons that eat smaller fish, the cormorants go for the trout and often just wound them, resulting in many of them dying from their wounds, which leaves the anglers very angry, especially since restocking is so expensive. I left him to his task and set off with my camera and monopod, to Marsworth.

The water level was very low and the few birds that were there were gathered en masse on the shore close by the stream that fills Startops lake, there were several cygnet families, Canada geese, black-headed gulls, greylags and coots all together in the shallow water or the exposed foreshore. I spotted a Mallard drake making a beeline for two others, and it seemed he was exhorting them to join him and bring the duck along too, which I found intriguing as at first I had thought he was being aggressive. Awhile later I spotted first a small dusty-shaded butterfly I took to be a Speckled Wood, and also a Red Admiral, which surprised me so late in the season. In my walk along the canal towpath I met several couples out with their dogs and in the course of conversation learned of a pair of herons between the locks, but at this time I did not see them.

Later still whilst I was down at the water’s edge looking ahead expectantly waiting for sight of a kingfisher, I glanced to my right and there was a silhouette that looked very like a kingfisher in the dark dead branches completely still – putting the camera to my eye I realised my good fortune and slowly I focussed on him, and opened up two stops and increased the ISO and just hoped as I watched that it might be enough to allow me to brighten it later in Lightroom. I took several shots as he swung his head around every so often sometimes with his eye showing, and when I ‘chimped’ I thought they were going to severely lack colour as he was in such deep shade. Much later on the computer in Lightroom I was really amazed at how much detail I had succeeded in getting from the gloom in which they were shot.

Having been rewarded by the kingfisher shots I walked further along the canal, but on the outward journey failed to spot the youngster on the far side, however on my return, there it was perched on one leg absolutely motionless. I got some shots in profile by waiting for him to be distracted by some of the strollers, I thanked them and we chatted as I headed back to the car. We parted company at the junction of the towpath and the two lakes, and I met up once again with Bob and another angler and was treated to a snack of pork pie and a cup of tea, before heading back to Marston Moretaine.