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…

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.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Wilstone Grey Day – Mainly Ducks

Not the most exciting of times, early February, but it was to be dry in the main, so I gave it a try and drove down to Wilstone Reservoir,parking by the Cemetery Garden but I had no idea that the water level would be fairly high, meaning little chance of seeing waders across the water in front of the reeds at the near end. By the time I had reached this point toting the heaviest of my tripods it was too far to go back and change to a carbon fibre one.

It was a mistake that made travelling slow and I shall feel the effect on my back tomorrow for sure, but after taking a few shots of a heron amongst the reeds on the far shore, I decided I would make my way to the Hide (at the farthest point from where I started!) I did spot a young Grebe that was diving moderately close in shore, so stayed awhile to lessen the burden of the heavy tripod, before continuing.

I was alone in the Hide, and the least interesting birds, the Coots, were the closest visitors and the Lapwings the most distant, but eventually a few teal came moderately close as did some Wigeon, so it was considerable effort for little reward, so eventually having rested, I took the tripod and camera for the return trip, returning via the field path which was less muddy.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Forest Centre – Afternoon Sunshine

Trying to restore a damaged operating system involves long periods of waiting, and watching a mostly automated operation, and lacks any appeal, especially when the sun has made its first appearance for a while – today was such a day and the temptation to do something more meaningful was way too enticing, so I grabbed cameras and lenses and headed out to the nearby Forest Centre to see what wildlife was around. I had not brought boots, which proved a severe limitation as it was very obviously muddy which limited where I could go. There was birdsong aplenty, and none of it exotic, and despite my generously spreading birdseed in several attractive spots from a photographic standpoint, no birds seemed in any way interested, perhaps as worms were close enough to the surface and easy pickings.

After a walk that took me close to the turbine along navigable paths, I returned and made my way to the walkway through the reeds, checking along the way on whether my seeds had proved tempting, but they seemed intact. Perhaps out more in the open might prove more enticing, but there even the berries were still in reasonable abundance, so perhaps this outside larder here was well-stocked! I returned past the birdfeeder and spotted that a grey squirrel was out beneath it picking up the seeds dropped from the hanging baskets above by some of the visiting bluetits, so I took a few shots of it and them, though the area was largely in shade.

Whilst in that area, the clouds created a circular shape as if the thumb and forefinger of a hand were describing a circle, which I found was interesting, and later as I returned towards the car a robin was singing its heart out and being answered from across the walkway, which I found touching; I left him some seeds in the angle of a branch to say ‘thank you’ and wished him luck.

I returned to the more mundane task of continuing with trying to restore one of my computers.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

First 2017 Visit to Stockwood Gardens

Having recently acquired a new lens, the 24-70mm with Macro, I needed to give it a good test, and photographing flowers in the Gardens and Greenhouse at the Stockwood Discovery Centre was the ideal opportunity to see how effective this one lens would be in a real situation. Unfortunately the current spell of English weather was less than ideal – for most of the time it was drizzling gently with spells of slightly more continuos rain. There was also a sporadic wind which meant composing a shot was often fraught.

Also, sadly for several weeks one of the leading gardeners, Jan was off having damaged her hip whilst moving a large compost sack, and this was to be her first day back, and it was my last chance this week to get down to the gardens. Naturally at this time of year there is not exactly a profusion of pristine leaves and flowers, but I have never been completely bereft of subjects on even the briefest of visits, so I did do a good deal of walking.

I came across Jan whilst she was being brought up to speed with what were to be her priorities going forward, and I just said a brief ‘hello’ and asked whether it might be possible to take a look in the greenhouse, and she replied that would be later, and her briefing continued as I turned once more onto my tour, I did take a detour into the Fernery for a spell when the rain got heavier, which allowed me to dry my camera and take shelter for a spell.

Altogether using the lens proved very successful and despite the low light levels and my need sometimes to up the ISO to 3200˚, the 5D MkIII was able to handle that with comparative ease with just a minimum of noise. Later Jan’s briefing tour was over and we walked the length of the greenhouse as she took in what was needed and pointed out a few flowers she thought might be of interest, by which time she was off till the following day leaving me to lock up when I had finished.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Serene Afternoon for Marsworth Wildlife

I had cleared the decks and had the chance to be out in crisp winter sunshine, sadly not quite as attractive as the day before which had magical mist lying at low level, but you cannot always be so lucky – it was already after noon, but I headed south for Tring reservoirs for the first time this year partly to meet up with Tringford's Water Bailiff and partly to satisfy my want glands for some photography.

Bob would would be down later as he was in Aylesbury for a while yet. I was parked along the wide paved area close to the path dividing Startops End from Marsworth Lake, and decided to travel light with the 150-600mm on a monopod, even though this made for a less than steady means of support, it did allow me more freedom, and I soon spotted a group of three swans, of which two showed early signs of amorous interest, there was tentative interest in mimicking each other's actions, and the lighting was good from my vantage point along the path; perhaps the third member of the trio was looking for hints as to how to proceed?

I stayed awhile here to see what I could capture and this did mean that a couple stopped to chat and watch alongside, and a single birdwatcher fixed his scope on the reed banks beyond and behind me in the hope of spotting a Bittern. The reeds were way too distant for my 600mm and a mere monopod.

Later I turned right and wandered along towards the lock and the small grassy area with a bird feeder slung from a tree above memorial flowers, to see a few bluetits and a robin. Later I spotted a brief glimpse of a grey squirrel and of greater interest a lone kingfisher, before returning to meet Bob and another angler at Tringford where we discussed Bob's fears for Silverstone Race track, and I headed back before sundown.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

New Year Concert – Eaton Bray

The Aylesbury Concert Band returned to a popular venue for this concert, and a pleasant afternoon concert was indeed why it proves popular for both the Aylesbury Concert band and the audience at St. Mary the Virgin, Eaton Bray; it was nearing full capacity by the time I arrived, and I was more than half an hour early!

The main reason I was able to get a good seat was because the front row was almost on top of the players! Because I was so close there was little call for a lens longer than 200mm, so the 70-200mm was on the 7D MkII and the 35mm f/1.4 was on the 5D MkIII. I did originally have the 100-400mm on the 7D MkII, but two shots with that was enough to tell me to take it off. Another really excellent feature of this church was the lighting, which was excellent. The only drawback was that being on the same level as the band meant a number of the musicians were obscured by the music stands. I did ask whether it might be possible at a future event that I might be allowed to shoot from the Organ Loft and was delighted that it would indeed be possible. Now if only I was in possession of a cloak of invisibility such that I could also operate from ground level as well!

The choice of pieces was very much to my liking with a number of rhythmic foot tappers, such as the arrangement for Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, as well as the beautiful and melodious, Romance from the Gadfly with a solo by Erica. One of the highlights of the evening was the irrepressible Rupert Johnston who played the Rondo from Mozart’s Horn Concerto No2 in Eb – for those who do not know Rupert’s story, I suggest you acquaint yourself, because he is remarkable, and inspirational. This is one of the reasons I chose the picture of him playing his solo piece with Conductor Rob Wicks to head this piece. (It is both very sad and yet heartwarming, Google his name to learn more.)

I had learned from my daughter that they had been rehearsing Radetzky’s March, but it was not on the programme – I learned why, when the concert concluded and the audience were told they were to be featuring as the Grand Finale. No one was disappointed!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Biddenham Anniversary Trail – An Investigative Visit

Even though it was a dull day, I thought it worthwhile taking a look at the Lottery Funded Anniversary Trail at Biddenham to see what possibilities of wildlife photography might exist there. I entered the trail opposite the Golf Club.

I took a stroll to the left when I had entered, going clockwise for a short distance before deciding it was a tad more promising in the opposing direction, and I followed the main track with excursions down to the riverbank every so often, but the only birds I came across at first were magpies, perched on posts on the right, and long before I got near they took flight to the high trees on the farther shore. 

I met dog strollers along the way and there were three anglers two of whom I did engage in brief conversation to ascertain what had been sighted in terms of wildlife and learned little beyond that it was not visited by many kingfishers, the most promising information was a sighting of an owl, in daylight; from a lady with two dogs she was training, one of whom spent a deal of the time running sideways – a trait she was trying to eradicate, though meeting with little success to date! The angler I did not chat to I did take a shot of as he was exceedingly well-camouflaged!

At one stage I thought I spotted either a butterfly or moth which came as something of a shock as the weather had hardly been conducive to their survival, but before I had a chance to get close enough to see exactly what I had seen it had disappeared. I stayed awhile to see whether I might catch a further glimpse, but without any success. I thought I spotted a distant swan slowly approaching, but as it drew closer it turned out it was a part-submerged, upturned plastic boat! 

Only after a trip to beyond the Mill bridge and back again did a milky sunlight break through the cloud cover, and it was at this stage that I spotted a fox a considerable distance away, since I only had my 300mm lens with me, it was wandering stealthily across the field and I tried to anticipate where it might come closer and walked in the general direction, but when I got a clear view of the field again the fox was nowhere to be seen. For this reason and the lack of colour in the few shots I did take, I converted them to black and white for the gallery.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Eve - Willen Lake

After three mornings with fog and frost, the last day of 2016 was dry, cold and grey without any frost or fog, so the great outside beckoned, if for no other reason than to provide much needed exercise – an opportunity I was not going to miss, though I had no plans beyond a slight lie-in before Shave and Shower. When the invitation to join some of my family at Willen Lake, Milton Keynes; this settled it. As if to further tempt me, the sun made a showing. It turned out that was flattering to deceive, for having appeared for some five minutes, it disappeared, never to return during the rest of the day!

What had I expected? After all this is England.

I breakfasted, then gathered what I felt would be the most likely lenses to capture any wildlife that might be present and family images of fun, my 35mm f/1.4 and the 300mm f/4.

They turned out to be entirely adequate, I failed to get the Phone’s SatNav to link to the car’s audio and having planned to use the M1 northbound to reach Willen Lake, set off; then completely forgot this decision and headed along the A421 for a few roundabouts! Fortunately I did spot my error and continued for a while before taking a right at one of the roundabouts  and finding a long slip road  that sort of doubled as a layby, I took a look at the phone’s map and picked up the originally intended A509, soon arriving at the car park.

I was early, so I took the 35mm out originally, but soon found that since there was a good deal of common bird life around, returned and swapped to the 300mm on the 5D MkIII. Everything else I left in the boot and headed for the lakeside where I had earlier spotted a bluetit and a magpie. This occupied my time well, till my daughter arrived with two bikes, one being ridden by my male grandchild, the other being carried by my son-in-law, whilst my female grandchild was being carried by my daughter! That was an ominous sign!

We adults did some chatting as we walked, whilst eventually both children duly did take to their respective bikes, every so often being discarded as other interests such as steep banks and precariously angled tree trunks appeared along the route. We headed for the Peace Pagoda initially, then when one of them needed a toilet, we split up as mother and daughter headed back the way we had come. The exercise was far from strenuous, but keeping on the move, the cold wind was less of a problem. We had a spell with liquid refreshments and some time in the play area, and the time passed speedily. My daughter had just a minute left on arrival at her car park with an attendant Attendant, just starting his rounds of their parking area. I collected a tub of Condensed milk from her and then we said our goodbyes and headed off in opposing directions, as I now had to walk back to my parking area with over an hour to spare on my car!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas to All

Here is a message to those who read this blog, and for those whose email addresses have changed or I have managed to lose.

The wishes and thoughts are no more diluted than when wished in the physical medium of a print; they are equally sincere. I hope it is a time for your families and close friends, to relax, slow down and catch up.

Even more than in past years, I am very concerned that we are now living in such a troubled world where it is very difficult to prevent the abhorrent treatment of so many helpless people around the world, most especially currently, those in the Middle East, within the area so inextricably linked with the season we now celebrate.

I created this card and printed it for family members. Do feel free to print it out for yourselves; I am sorry that it will not have the individuality of my handwritten personal signing.

I felt the golden candle was a symbol that might illuminate the Darkness.

Happy Christmas, and may 2017 improve and may it be less daunting than forecast; I sincerely hope so.

Christmas Day 2016

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Cactus Flowers – Against All Odds!

I don’t say this with Pride; I congratulate the resilience of the Succulent to flower despite the accidents that have befallen it during my custodianship! The latest ignominy it suffered was when I managed to articulate the ‘Sleepy Chair’ and knock over the jardiniere which had supported it over several years and through two different homes, the first of which we vacated twice during underpinning, so really I suppose I should add those two temporary homes. In no way could I be described as ‘green-fingered’, so this plant definitely has a strong will to live, and a mere human such as myself is not going defeat it. To be fair to myself, I was mortified when this last accident occurred, and I did put heart and soul into giving it resuscitation to ensure I was not going to be labelled ‘Succulent Slaughterer’.

 I genuinely wished it no evil, I felt I should put every effort into ensuring its survival and it had every care I could muster during its convalescence; I gave it Baby Bio, sparingly; I watered it more frequently though in very small doses, and as some parts recovered, I started to prune the dead parts.

Slowly over the months since its accident, I saw it reviving, and then around two weeks ago, I saw the shoots of new flowers tentatively start appearing, and now in the week leading to Christmas two full flowers have bloomed and died back and in the sunshine this morning, I was moved to record its efforts for posterity as it has one full flower, another on its way and a shoot just peeking out, so perhaps it has forgiven me and is happy to once again bloom in my home to welcome the coming festivities and the arrival of my two daughters’ families to celebrate Christmas and the fast approaching end to 2016.