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…



Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Brogborough a Warmer Day on the Lake

Warmer in the sun, but the biting wind soon drove it away, before dying down and causing the windsurfers to come in for a break. I had taken the opportunity before heading for the lake to take advantage of the wind to take to the lawn by the side of the house and cut the grass further back than I had managed earlier in the week when it had been the highest since the end of last year.

When I arrived at the club car park, I took stock of the wind direction and having put the camera together headed back out of the entrance and into the field beyond the brook and found a spot where I would be able to take shots with the sun on my subjects as they came towards me to gybe – it was at a point where I could set the tripod a bit lower down the bank and stand with some support from the bank behind me. Although there were times that I had the lighting helpful where they actually turned I was often looking straight into the sun, which did put the sailors in silhouette!

I did lose some time because unbeknown to me my spirit level had come adrift from the levelling head and dropped into the long grass at some time in the journey from the car park, so after setting up the tripod safely, I then retraced my steps to search it out, from where I last knew it was still attached. I then made my way back to the camera looking to right and left and finally just fifteen yards from where the camera was I finally found it and re-attached  it to begin shooting. I was very relieved, but knew I had to find a way to ensure this never happened again.

Once again I tried to take sequences of the gybes, and was also lucky to capture a few jumps from some of the number, and I have separated one sequence performed by one of the younger members of what I described as ‘bunny hops’ – I believe performed specially for my benefit, I have created a separate gallery of that sequence, so once again there are two galleries from this blog entry.

Since I had been lulled into setting out in the warmth of some sun, when that disappeared and the windsurfers with it, I headed back to the car park, and packed up as I only had the early afternoon to shoot as I had fellow photographer Adam Woolfitt coming over as we were both going to the NEC, Birmingham for The Photography Show early on the Monday with yet another photographer, Andy Fox. The galleries and the write-up are therefore somewhat delayed. The trip to the show was very worthwhile for all three of us, in particular for me as I discussed the spirit level issue with the designer of the product!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Marsworth Afternoon Birds

It was warmer, and here at Marston Moretaine the sun came out briefly, so I thought it might also do so at Marsworth, and despite the lack of leaf cover, I might just get a chance to capture a shot or two of a kingfisher, however, though I did see the sun occasionally and on three occasions I did spot kingfishers in horizontal flight, but I suspect I was too visible and they passed me by or went behind the shrubs on the opposite shore.

As I walked between Startops End and Marsworth lake, bumble bees and midges were in abundance, and then as I came towards the Grand Union Canal I spotted a pair of courting swans – but, fleetingly! There were a small number of anglers but being a Monday only a handful of dog-walkers and one other photographer. As I settled to shooting in the hope of spotting a stationary kingfisher, I was visited by a Grebe, who came reasonably close and every half minute or less he would dive, but although I attempted to catch it as it dived, I was always too slow, but I did discover its ‘tell’ – it would fold its crest flat just a moment before diving, but knowing this I was still too slow! But maybe another time.

I caught sight of a Chaffinch and was lucky enough to get a single shot uncluttered by twigs, and a pair of Coots in a noisy chase, and later the Grebe achieved success and well within my field of vision, and I have created a gallery entirely to cover the event; I was pleased for it and felt equally rewarded by being able to record it.
So, on this occasion there is not one, but two Galleries.

Click Here for the Grebe's Success Gallery

Monday, 13 March 2017

Beancroft Road Floral Bonanza

Spring has definitely arrived in Marston Moretaine and as I walked to the Co-op to collect a roll for my lunch, I asked of two residents whether I might capture the splendour, and met with a favourable response from a man in one and a lady in the other, both were happy to oblige me, and so I returned for the camera, forsaking my lunch for the half-hour so I could do the shots justice before the sun moved, (or disappeared knowing my luck!).

I chose to take the 5D MkIII and the 24-70mm with macro lens and the 200mm f/4; this lens to ensure that with the longer shots I could obtain a soft background, and possibly capture some of the blooms on the trees by the bus stop, before they died. This was where last year I got some good shots of the Starlings and Sparrows, with an even longer telephoto – the Tamron 150-600mm, a whole month later than these shots on similar blossom! I used both the standard range and the macro facility for today’s shots when using the 24-70mm.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Two Intrepid Aberdonian Bikers Head for France

I have known Gordon Burgess (sorry Professor Gordon Burgess!) for many years and I learned from him that his son, Nick was planning to go for The Grand Tour of Europe with friend and fellow biker Chris Lamont. I therefore suggested that he mention to them that they would be most welcome to spend the night at Marston Moretaine before heading for Dover the following day to catch the Ferry – the offer was accepted and they arrived in the dark and I got them to put their bikes in my garden as it is high-walled and would mean they were secure from prying mischievous eyes. They were far later than planned as they had not anticipated that much of their motorway route is down to 50mph in the Midlands and Southern Counties due to almost incessant roadworks.

I made them coffees and we sat and chatted into the early hours after I had cooked a couple of pizzas, and in the morning they took up my offer to shower with relish, and I prepared further cups of coffee and porridge for Chris, and just Frosted Flakes for cereal for Nick.

For the delectation of my younger daughter and her husband, past bikers themselves, I got Nick to write down the details of their machines, and in so doing learned Chris had been riding for short of a year whereas Nick had four and a half years’ experience – Chris’ ride was a 2016 Yamaha MT07 Tracer, and Nick’s was a 2011 Kawasaki ER6F (CBF650).

They could not be described as travelling light and certainly seemed well-equipped for the rigours they will face over the next few months, and I wish them every success, Nick seemed interested in my suggestion that he try to put together a blog so that others can follow their progress, and dare I say it? – their adventure! They very generously left me with a bottle of wine a packet of After Eights and some White Chocolate Magnums – Gratefully received and most appreciated.

Perhaps the gallery of images of them packing gear onto their bikes will serve to whet the appetite of any followers they attract as they set off on their journey – Bon Voyage!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Marston Moretaine Crocuses and Daffodils

Tuesday heralded the arrival of sunshine and walking to post a letter I caught sight of crocuses and a couple of daffodils on the triangle of grass by the flower box, and so on my return I grabbed a camera and two lenses to take shots to add to my collection of images for use as greetings cards, where often I create space within the composition to carry the relevant message – seasonally relevant images are always handy, and those composed with space for text is always useful, and this group was no exception, some also lend themselves to squares where any message is carried above or below. The challenge was to keep low and close-up, so lying down was essential since it had rained the night before, and I used two lenses: the 300mm prime and the 24-70mm both with and without using its macro facility.

They were taken before the visit to Peter Carr, but those took precedence purely because in bringing them into Lightroom meant they could be dealt with straightway, and I could return to these later, which is what I have now done. If it helps others with ideas then the gallery will have served a purpose.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Harpenden Visit for Engineering Technical Help

I needed some technical help from Peter Carr, a Product Designer in Harpenden as I was trying to ascertain why my levelling head was not going fully into the base of my gimbal head; I was unsure whether it was down to the levelling head or the gimbal and I knew he had a micrometer so could get to the bottom of which item was the issue – the conclusion we drew was the gimbal head base was domed internally, so the flat end of the male thread was stopping the pair from closing fully. I had come across the problem on Doris Day at Brogborough when the pair were loosening whilst I was shooting. On my next visit to the Lake I solved the problem by cutting myself a cardboard washer, now I knew the reason.

Peter needed to walk his dog, so we both went out and chatted as we took a circular route from his place around the Park at Batford Springs and back. Not unnaturally, I took my camera and just the 24mm f/1.4 with macro, which allowed me to take a few shots and create a single-page gallery, and also explain how useful this recent purchase had been in hopefully resolving which of my two dedicated macro lenses I put up for sale to help in the purchase of the Sigma 150-600mm lens I was considering buying. I think I will be parting with the Tamron 90mm MkII, so should any reader of this blog be interested, do not hesitate to contact me, it is mint condition, but since I have the Canon 100mm and this 24-70mm with macro facility it is an extravagance to keep all of them!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sunny Saturday at Brogborough Lake

After the serious ‘Doris Day’ wind, a light breeze and sunshine brought out more windsurfers onto the water, but it also meant I would not be capturing any jumping as this was a day for the larger sails, it also meant that I tried to record sequences of shots and they were longer which meant that within the gallery, they would often be across a page boundary.

I also took many more shots than appear in the final gallery, which is why it has taken longer for them to arrive on the Web, but I hope those featured feel it was worth the wait.

During the time I was at the water’s edge a pair of Canada Geese decided there was too much activity for their liking so they took to the air, and I was lucky to capture them with a windsurfer beyond which was pleasing. I also spotted some beautiful clouds, so I made that the first image rather than let it be lost in the true timeframe several pages in.

It may have been sunny but standing by the tripod and not moving much meant I was well covered in layers as the wind still had quite a chill, however those with large sails worked so hard they were very much warmer!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Very Brief Visit to Stockwood

Returning from Marsworth, I needed to warm up and I was close enough to Luton to consider going there via Caddington, so that was the route I took and came across a recent accident on the distinct right hander before the village; the Police and Ambulance were on the scene. My only thought was it was a bend that demanded respect and the offside of the car going in the same direction as myself was damaged badly, so may well have been wide rather than tight to the kerb…

In the village I parked up close to my last home to check on progress and after more than a year, I could see that  it must be close to completion and is now considerably larger than when I last lived there! I picked up some food from the Co-op and headed for the Discovery Centre Gardens, to visit one of the gardeners, but despite my last visit being only a few days, I armed myself with the camera in case. There were far fewer visitors now that the School Half-term Break was over and the weather was deteriorating, and after my meeting I took a few moments taking close-ups of the evidence of new life heralding Spring 2017. Just as I was leaving the Greenhouse, what I can only presume was a Robin shot towards me and disappeared to the far end in a blur as it passed; I was too slow to see where it went despite a quick look around out of piqued curiosity, but it did give me a wry chuckle as I locked up  and headed home in a slight drizzle that became sleet by the time I was back on the M1 northbound.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Early Start at Marsworth – Brrrr!

The forecast tempted me by suggesting there was a good chance of sunshine, so I togged up with layers of clothing to ensure that I could withstand an early start and be down long enough to get a chance of getting a shot of a kingfisher at Marsworth, despite the lack of leaf cover. Not only did I take the long lens (150-600mm), but I also took along the recent acquisition the 24-70mm with macro feature, and since the first two and a half hours a kingfisher only gave me high speed flypasts, some of which he ended by diving behind the few bushes that have leaf cover, then often as long as ten minutes would pass before he emerged and continued in the direction he was initially headed!

As forecast the sun arose and for a period it kept the light levels reasonable, then clouds would intermittently pass in front so I was kept busy pushing up the ISO speed, then trying to remember to bring it back down as they cleared. When the kingfisher arrived he stationed himself on a branch that was just out of sight from the camera on the tripod, so I had to hastily up the shutter speed and release the camera, and shoot handheld, and my hands are never steady in that situation, with the added problem I was shooting almost directly into the sun, so he was largely in silhouette, but he stuck around and was successful, and dived a further two times after devouring the somewhat slimy fish – I am not sure whether it was its innards or something from the water, but the bird was still trying to clear the slime after down the fish itself!

I kept myself energised as best as possible by photographing some of the other birds that came into view, (Mallard Duck and Drake, Robin, Wren, Moorhen and Coot, either with the long lens or the short, on the 5D MkIII. When I finally set off I met up with another photographer clad in all the proper camouflage gear and we had a short chat before I headed back to the car. I took the opportunity to drop by the Stockwood Discovery Centre Gardens on the return trip, calling in at Caddington to see progress on my old home, buy a roll for my lunch and some veg for a casserole later in the week.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Doris Blows in at Brogborough

Waking to warnings of high winds, meant that after a long wait for winds of sufficient strength to encourage Windsurfers to make or find the time to leave work on a Thursday, at last that day was here. I phoned Sam to check whether he had heard from any sailors, and learned three were scheduled — that was promising! I checked when they might arrive and gathered early afternoon, so I let him know I might see him later — that was hardly the full truth, I had made up my mind to definitely make it!

I then assembled the camera and lenses I planned to take along, but put the 70-200mm on the 5D MkIII and the 150-600mm was already on the 7D MkII, taking along a 300mm and a couple of other primes to cover the distances that I might need to cover, but as it turned out my first choice proved to be those I used — the 7D on the Gitzo tripod, and the 5D MkIII slung around my neck, for handheld closer shots.

The wind at home was fairly blustery, and fairly strong, but later on the road to Brogborough Lake it was considerably stronger, I presume to it being less built-up than within Marston Moretaine. When I met up with Sam, he reckoned it was the worst he had ever seen it, and he was not exaggerating! I drove over and on arrival opened the boot to assemble the tripod and gimbal head, and Doris blew the boot lid down on me!

I spotted Sam and he told me three were getting knitted up and one was already on the water, so picked up the gear and headed towards the bank, but since the wind was directly on the shore and the larger breakers were sending the slime inland, I put the tripod down a fair way back! It was not long before there were generally at least two out on the lake, and for a change I operated on the basis of shooting as often as I could because with the best will in the world shooting was very hit and miss, because I had to keep one shoulder against the tripod as the wind threatened to blow it over. Also, I had to keep resetting the levelling head as one or more tripod legs dug into the muddy, water- sodden ground — it certainly was not easy keeping the surfers in shot.


Every now and then a squall would come up, and I had to break off to keep my kit safe, but as one passed, I'd be back out and shooting again, also,if my subjects came in close, I would forego the camera on the tripod and shoot handheld, which as I find it hard to accurately synch the two bodies some of the true chronology is awry. I did get a few jumps and sequences, and was reasonably satisfied with what I did capture, but at least half of what I shot was binned, but I am really glad I made the effort, so I hope they give those who had braved the weather some pleasure.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Stockwood Discovery – the Gardens and Wildlife Exhibition

One of the first semi-professional Digital camera bodies I bought was the Canon EOS 10D, and at around the same time I bought the 70-300mm Macro for it and now it has been lying dormant in a rawer for some time, only coming out when my daughters' children and I go out with a specific intention to spend the time taking photos.

As a result of finding one of the gardeners at the Stockwood Discovery Centre has been inspired by seeing some of the shots of flowers she has tended, she recently expressed her desire to buy a digital camera for herself and take up the hobby. Since she has generously allowed me unprecedented access to the greenhouse over the last few years, when I learned of her intention I let her know that I would let her have the camera body, memory cards, battery and charger, but that she would need to buy a suitable lens herself.

Today I fulfilled that promise, then took a further wander around the Discovery Centre and learning from her that the British Wildlife Photography Winners' Exhibition was on, I also took a quick look at the images taken by numerous very talented photographers that were on show. Two stood out for me, one incredible shot of a dragonfly emerging from its pupa, the other a simply wonderful underwater shot of a Mallard Duck taking a look beneath the surface at a fish swimming by. I reckoned the standard and variety was even better than last year's submissions.

All the shots I took this morning were using the 24-70mm with Macro facility, and it only let me down very slightly when using it at full aperture at 24mm in the exhibition area; the minimal barrel distortion was corrected in Lightroom when in Develop mode and was a mere +5% which means it would be a few seconds work creating a correction preset for when working on architectural images, which was not really what made me purchase this lens, it was for flowers and leaves where such distortion would never present a problem.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Marsworth – Early Signs of Spring

The first bright day for a while, and fairly warm with it, after three dismally grey days.

I knew I had left it rather late if I thought I might get a chance to take some shots of kingfishers, another photographer whom I had met before had taken some shots before my arrival, but though he stayed a further hour or so, neither of us had any further luck – I did twice see one fly by, so instead I thought I’d try getting a friendly robin to take seeds from my hand. He made three tentative flights toward my hand, but spun away at the last minute; on the fourth he did land, but just as swiftly spun round and again headed back to the nearby branch!

The Mink that lives in the hollow of a nearby tree trunk leapt noisily from the water  early on, and headed home on the surface, then disappeared from view, and a very skittish Grey Squirrel tore along the half-submerged tree trunk and disappeared up a tree to my left. A Wren paid me a fleeting visit and twice a Magpie came for a short spell.

Surprisingly for long periods there was no birdsong at all, just the gentle swishing of the trees interspersed with the noisy flapping of Wood Pigeons, I caught a few glimpses of a Bluetit, but he gave me no chance to get a shot.

I tried in vain to get the Mallard drake to take seeds from my hand, but he did not trust me at all, though if I dropped any seeds, he would dart closer just to grab it, muttering all the while. I left soon after and the couple came up to where I had been sitting and feasted on the seeds I had put down for the Robin. As I returned to my car a shot of a lady and her dog presented themselves in silhouette against the setting sun, as did a different Robin as I walked along the path between Startops and Marsworth lakes.