Welcome

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

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

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

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


View any Gallery by Clicking the relevant TEXT Headline

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Goodwood Revival 2018 – The Saturday Visit

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

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Needing a Fix – Take Showroom Pics whilst MOT…

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

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Sunshine on the First of September

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

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Aylesbury Parklife Summer Concert

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

Monday, 27 August 2018

Aylesbury Concert Band Rehearsal – Proms in the Park

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

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Stockwood Discovery Centre Visit

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

Monday, 20 August 2018

Brogborough with Some Wind


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

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Marsworth Reservoir – Afternoon Bird Activity

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

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

One Afternoon; Two Locations and Subjects

Either Click the Main Headline or the link above

Click Here for the second gallery of Birds at Harrold-Odell Country Park

I had set off to drive to Harrold-Odell Country Park, with the possibly forlorn hope of finding Kingfishers, due to the eponymous lake name, but along the way I was distracted by the signs of a Claas Combine Harvester at work. I parked up when I spotted it looking very much as if it had just completed that particular field, and walked over and learned my assumption to be correct! Fortunately the driver told me where his next destination was, and gave me directions, and he would be making across fields to reach it.
The directions took me to a spot just beyond the wonderfully evocative name of the village, Newton Blossomville, which I had visited on an earlier occasion. Having initially parked in a less than ideal spot, I walked further beyond the boundary of the village and found the obviously ripe field to which he had directed me and there was conveniently a far safer spot to park.
I got out my camera and lens and waited for the Harvester to appear over the hill, having grabbed a few quick initial shots, realised I could make a better choice of focal length on the next time the machine came my way. I also found out that with the prevailing slight wind direction in my direction, I was covered in dry husks that were in the clouds being created in the harvester’s wake! I stuck around till I felt I had covered the activity sufficiently to create a gallery of images, and headed off in my original direction to get to the Park at Harrold-Odell.
Fortunately by judicious means I have thus created two galleries from the one afternoon’s shooting, so will present them in a single narrative.
I knew that I was in for a fair trek, so rather than carry a heavy tripod in the stifling heat I chose my lightest one the Giottos Silk Road carbon fibre one, so that the 150-600mm Sigma lens could be my chosen lens, which by itself is a good weight! I headed into the woods on the right and followed this path anticlockwise around the lake, and was blessed with a tunnel of tree cover for at least part of my journey, stopping along the way to see possible viewpoints, finally ending up in a narrow gap that headed for a spit of land which lessened the distance from the far shore which was crowded by mainly preening birds ranging from Coots to Herons, but ironically my main interest was on a Great Crested Grebe and young Grebling, which originally were at almost the limit of my chosen lens.
A couple were already there, so I quietly erected the tripod and since they were not using the table, I managed to arrange it such that I could lazily sit on the end of the bench seat and have the tripod bring my camera to an ideal eye-level.
There was another table closer even than mine to the water’s edge, but I would likely disturb the three preening and sleeping swans, so I decided not to upset their tranquility by encroaching on their space. Perhaps also their peaceful presence might well serve to allay others’ fear of my being here. Certainly, the pair of Grebe that held my interest actually came closer to me as the afternoon progressed, so this was my reward.
Although I got some nice shots of the flights of the far less attractive Cormorants, my concentration was upon the fascinating interaction of the Great Crested Grebe and its young charge. Intermittently I followed the unfolding behaviour I was witnessing of this pair, and I am left intrigued by what I saw and recorded; I found it very appealing, and unless I was simply too far away to hear any sounds, I certainly heard none from either of the two Grebe I was so eagerly watching and recording.
I would very much to learn more about what I had witnessed, as a cursory look using the internet, there is an abundance of information on the courtship of Grebe, but I found nothing of parent / child relationship of this charming species of bird.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Brogborough Lake’s non-human Inhabitants

 
After the intense winds of last week, only a mere gentle breeze disturbed the calm waters of the lake, and where earlier there was an abundance of very active dragonflies and damselflies, this Saturday had but a few, perhaps resting after the frantic searches for mates. Certainly the few dragonflies I caught sight of, possessed the distinct signs of wear on their fragile wings. In the case of damselflies whose numbers a week back far outstripped the dragonflies, I spotted very few unattached males, and just a couple paired up.
There were three different types of bees still collecting nectar from the wild flowers that were along the field side of the bushes that line the banks, and only a very few hoverflies. Initially, I walked along without a camera in case it was not even worth setting one up, but I soon found that there were a few spots being visited by dragonflies which were the real target I sought, so after this recce trip, I decided that a handheld camera with a macro lens was the desired combination.
 Ideally, I should have considered bringing the 100mm, but the 90mm Tamron was what I had packed, so that was what I was going to have to use, which meant I was going to have to get rather closer, and rely to a degree on cropping the frame when post-processing, but since I was using the 5D MkIII, the crop corresponded to the 7D MkII using the same lens, so not a great loss. Had I brought the 100mm I would have had the luxury of not moving so close to my potential targets which would probably have improved the success rate. The foreshore is somewhat rugged, so trying to move in close with subtlety was a tall order, especially as I am not as nimble as I would like.
I spent sometime waiting or moving from one spot to another, but ended up with several quite nice shots, so the afternoon I deemed a success. It was very muggy, and trying to keep still and often trying to lean forward with camera held in front proved to be more energetic, so my shirt was soon soaked through, because trying to keep still whilst extended is actually hard work, but satisfying.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Wind at Brogborough Lake – at Last!

General Gallery - (same link as from the Title)

Jumps 1

Jumps 2


Saturday looked really promising for wind, surely a godsend for the windsurfers of Brogborough, after such a long windless spell, but it did look as if it would be likely to end with rain.
I tried to clear the decks of all my essential chores, and gathered my kit for a trip down the road to the Lake. There was activity, but rather less than I had been expecting, but it was deceptive, since the activity was preparation; rigging the sails, and donning appropriate clothing, which ranged from the summer minimal to the regular full wetsuit. I wandered towards the water’s edge and found there several already on the water, but all at different points of the compass.
I returned to the boot of my car, and started to put the Benbo tripod up at least firm enough to risk attaching the camera with lens attached, which would by the EOS7D MkII and the Sigma Sports 150 - 600mm. I had also brought along the 1.4 Converter to give it an airing in the bright light. 
Heading to the jetty with the camera and tripod assembled, then rest the tripod legs to a convenient height, with its feet located at the junction of the jetty’s slats to ensure maximum stability for I knew from past experience, that in high winds the jetty could move considerably. I started by taking a few preparatory exposures to judge the lighting levels and apertures I might expect to be using. It soon became apparent that I was not as fully prepared as I thought — I realised I had not got my hat, nor put some sun cream on my hands; I also took the opportunity to grab my 1.4 Converter.
Later, I did attach it to give me the extended reach, but twice, it threw up an error and locked up, so I decided that was far too risky so removed it, I also took that opportunity to move the tripod further out along the jetty so the reeds to my left gave me a clearer view into that bay at the end, since many of the sailors were travelling that much further.
I knew from past experience bright and windy weather such as this meant I was making a proverbial rod for my back, in that I was going to be spending an inordinate time in front of the computer in post processing, but I seem to accept masochism is all part of a photographer’s lot.
At least during the first day the wind and rain made the task acceptable as it was a comfort since the great outdoors did not offer an enviable alternative, and my family were otherwise tied up. However, I was beset by my hard disc disappearing for stints of nearly an hour at a time, and I was unable to fathom exactly what was happening and it was frustrating as Lightroom had to rebuild the catalog each time, but resolving that issue would have to wait till after the images were up on the blog.
I have split the day’s shooting into the three galleries, one overall, and the other two contain various jump sequences I managed to catch, mainly of Colin Hunt.
I hope they give a hint of the joy of the day’s weather.

Friday, 27 July 2018

I Pay a Second Visit to Bromham Lake

 
I decided late in the day to pay a second visit to the small Lake and Nature Reserve at Bromham, but my navigation skills were definitely below par, as I got somewhat lost o this occasion, but where I parked to take a look at the map, I was fortunate to meet a chap who knew it well from what he described as his earlier misspent youth.
On this occasion I met absolutely no one within the grounds, but there was sadly evidence that the spot I had shot from last time someone had carelessly left a lager can and two trays of spent charcoal, which unfortunately due to my load, I was unable to remove to a bin. I set up my tripod somewhat lower and to the right of where I had earlier, so that I could see more of the reed beds.
The sunshine was less this time as clouds were gathering, and rain was forecast. I was slightly luckier with both the damselflies and dragonflies, but ironically I did not even see any hoverflies. I moved closer to the water’s edge and came lower, allowing me to work seated.
I managed to capture a dragonfly laying it’s eggs amongst the reeds by the shore. After a while here, I then decided that I would not remove the camera and long lens from the tripod, but carry it and walk further round the lake, which allowed me to venture inside the two hides, but sadly I got no shots from either. But the heron that I had seen from my earlier vantage point I was able to take some shots when it moved to the small island habitats. As I was nearing the end of the return trip to the car, I caught sight of two lone pillars, remains of an erstwhile gateway incongruously standing in a field, which must give the farmer a few headaches!
On this trip I was not as exercised as the last, in that I did not get lost within the park as before, but I left with the darkening sky, and arrived home as the heavens opened, but it was shortlived, so I only had to listen to the end of the piece on ClassicFM, before getting out and unloading the car without getting wet.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

A Small Lake near Bromham

I have been looking for possible locations reasonably close by that have kingfishers and dragonflies, and are suited to being frequently visited by either, and preferably less frequented by other humans, especially those out to exercise their dogs by throwing sticks and balls; not that I bear them any malice, simply that the groups do not sit well together. I spotted a small sign to this particular lake and it was designated of Special Scientific Interest, and at first sight did not look too promising, but fortunately I spotted a lady returning from a bridge at the end of this lane with her dog, and on questioning her, found that it would probably be worth my while taking a look.
Sadly, I did not gain the impression that it would definitely be what I sought, so decided to investigate on foot, sans camera. This proved my undoing – for at the end of a comparatively short walk, I found a very promising spot, so I now had to return to the car and collect my camera, and I was now very much less fresh than before. To further compound my misjudgment, I failed to take the same route, and I had travelled twice the distance along the wrong path and had to return almost the distance back to my car before setting off in the correct direction.
I was now almost completely soaked through due to my exertions, and to compound my woes, met my nemesis – a mother and early-teen daughter with canine accompaniment and a seemingly unending stock of twigs and the desire to ensure maximum exercise for her ageing four-legged friend. I was also fortuitously completely unable to do anything more than use the time to gather my strength, whilst drinking copiously from my small bottle of lightly flavoured cold orange-juice. I bore them no ill-will, the situation was of my own making, but they had lessened my chances of further visiting wildlife, but I was in no rush to seek out a different location as in the prevailing heat, I simply had insufficient energy to travel deeper on this occasion.
A few dragonflies did return, but fleetingly, however instead I was rewarded by some hoverflies, which have long been a personal favourite due to their flying skills often offering me the chance for in-flight images. I had already in the trek to this spot seen numerous butterflies, but only two close by where I placed my camera and tripod; a cabbage white that only opened its wings when flying, and the far more interesting Speckled Wood, but once it landed was little inclined to fly elsewhere offering me little ongoing interest, being as I was, more interested in the prospect of dragonflies. I was though, pleasantly distracted by some energetic water boatmen, and lucky enough to capture one at the moment of leaping from the surface.
I had also to consider returning as I was later going to meet up with Catherine, my elder daughter and her twin daughters midway between Cambridge and myself at Ashwell, and I needed definitely to shower for the second time that day! What I had not allowed for was the onset of the visual symptoms of a migraine attack, and whilst resting my eyes after the shower rose to find I had slept for an hour, and the time of my arrival had now become to time of my departure, I had not allowed for a mother of teenage daughters though, since whilst apologising, I learned they were only just setting off! We did have a lovely evening!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Brogborough Breeze – Advantage Hydrofoil

 
 
Visiting Brogborough allowed me to watch Sam Barnes trying to extend his technique and skills with his hydrofoil Windsurfing. He came close to mastering a complete gybe while still clear of the water, but found the general lack of wind somewhat exhausting in the heat, having often to pump up the board to break from the water’s grip. The sunshine generally helped me to capture these attempts, but despite the numbers of shots taken, did not result in more shots published on the blog, because without gybes and the like, the general spectacle is not exciting visually, though with just a tad more wind is certainly easier for the participant to keep sailing.
As on many such occasions I found myself taking shots of a pair of dragonflies, and also splashes of colour reflections on the surface from a passing windsurfer. These come in handy providing backgrounds for other images, often for use in cards with emphasis sometimes on visual puns, such as ‘making a splash’, or ‘adding colour’.
There was another sailor sporting a hydrofoil, but I gather its purpose was more about drag reduction than actually lifting the surfboard clear of the water, but though I was hoping to capture this effect, it would seem that the wind was insufficient for the purpose on this occasion, there were also a couple of other strictly conventional windsurfers, and i have included those as well.
I long for more wind, but I fear that when this arrives it will also bring rain which though vitally needed will hardly contribute towards exciting windsurfing images, though should return the colour green to our landscapes in place of the present more autumnal hues.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

A Warm Walk – through Marston Thrift

At the small Wood End Car Park at the edge of the woods, that form Marston Thrift, there are two entrances, and since on my earlier visit I had chosen the left one, on this occasion, I decided I would enter the more shaded of the two, the one on the right leaving the Car Park, where I had swelled the numbers by one hundred percent.
Although there was almost no sound within, from either birds or insects for the first ten minutes of my walk, eventually I did hear sounds of human activity, from a teenage couple on bikes from the parallel route, who had stopped by some branch-slung ropes with loops that were there for the purposes of swinging. I felt slightly saddened that my presence disrupted their innocent pleasures as obviously they had expected privacy, so they moved off.
Later I would encounter several dog-walkers, and a couple with whom I chatted to find out the location of some lakes purported to be somewhere nearby. Certainly everyone I met was friendly and would extend greetings, some willing to chat, some content to simply exchange pleasantries and wander on. I did hear a strange single bird calling in a burbled sound, but overall the woods were silent, which for a wood, I found odd. Later I did hear that there were supposedly a large number of butterflies to be found, but I only spotted two in all the time within the shade of the trees, and one outside in the open, of which I managed to get a shot; a Meadow Brown. Perhaps this long dry spell had taken its toll, for I was expecting more signs of life than I encountered.
One really helpful family were able to point me in the direction of two ponds, but the lady said that the water levels were very much lower than she had known from past visits, so perhaps this accounts for the low level of wildlife I had been experiencing; certainly strangely for a Englishman I am actually wanting the onset of some rain to refresh the scorched grass I encounter in my travels around this vicinity.
I also spotted a tiny rainbow fragment in the clouds, but certainly despite a fair amount of cloud cover from time to time, no sign of rain. Can anyone spot the Penguin?