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, 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.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Stockwood Discovery Centre's Garden Colours

The colours I experienced in the gardens of the Discovery Centre were not simply those you come to expect of Autumn, these were ravishing and in abundance.

Seemingly I am not alone in observing this as it was apparent that some young students from a local school or even a sixth form college were to be seen singly or in small groups,  clutching sketchbooks taking notice and sketching what they found; they were entirely unsupervised, but diligently working away responsibly. I had come down as I felt this was probably the last chance to capture the flowers before autumn winds and rain took their toll.

I took several shots in the greenhouse before venturing out into the cooler air of the gardens and learned from Jan, one of the gardeners that there was an exhibition of Garden Photography in the exhibition hall, so before I left, I vowed I would take a look, and I was impressed, the entrants came from around the world and some were of a very young age and the scenes depicted were very evocative and of a high standard throughout – I can highly recommend taking the time to pay a visit, it is entirely free.

At the end of the gallery I have taken some photos of the display, that show just how well they are organised.

I now have to travel further to reach the Centre, but I have never been disappointed in making the journey, and to have been able to the fine work of many others in the exhibition was an unexpected bonus.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Brogborough Stop-off and New Sun Roof

I have just had a sunroof fitted to the Insignia, and the delay I endured was because this new version of Webasto’s sun roof was the first into the UK for cars with very curved roofs such as the Jaguar XF and the Insignia, was somewhat late and the template had been delayed.

The Journey back from Hemel Hempstead took me back via the old A 421 as I had purposely made my journey back avoiding the M1 motorway as engineers were removing a bridge and had closed an entire Bedfordshire section, this took me finally past Brogborough lake the home of the eponymous Windsurfing lake, that I often frequent. As there was a reasonable breeze I decided to detour despite it being still morning. Only one sailor was on the water, but there were a few rigging their boards, and a few familiar faces greeted me.

Although the shots I took of the new sun roof are at the beginning of the gallery, they were taken just before leaving, the windsurfers all appear in correct chronology.

I took the heavy tripod with me and headed up the road beyond the car park in through the Angler’s field gate and as far as the second more impenetrable bushes above the beach so the windsurfers would head towards me before gybing and I would have the sun on them, if it stayed out! after seeing that the sailors were going beyond me, I back tracked a bit to give me a better span, and awaited the arrival of a few more on the water. Fortunately I did not have to wait too long as rigging a board seemed to take less long than my trek across the field.

Today I was informed was not likely to encourage any jumping, so sequences of gybing were going to be the order of the day. This gives me a lot of extra work in post-processing deciding to reduce the number of shots in the sequences and also ensuring level horizons, cropping and resizing to make the sequences have more constant sizing, so the number of shots per gallery is not a measure of how long I was taking the shots, but a measure of how long I spend later editing whilst sat in front of a computer screen.

On my return to the club car park I managed to get some shots of a a reddish orange dragonfly, sadly not in flight or against a smooth backdrop, but I did mange to get in fairly close which pleased my eye for detail.

 I did not stay very long, but stopped shooting when the wind dropped dramatically and the number of sails on the water fell to low single figures.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Spur of the Moment Visit to Gadebridge Park

A Product Designer friend was very kindly coming to collect me after I had taken my car to have a Webasto sunroof fitted, and whereas I had set off for an early arrival in Hemel Hempstead, I had expressed to Peter Carr that it was entirely sensible for him to leave after the end of the morning rush to minimise his loss of time, and I would find something to do once I had handed over the car.

Dave Sweetingham who runs Executive Autocare who had fitted a sunroof to my last car, and done an excellent job, when asked what places there might be offering photographic opportunities suggested I made my way to Gadebridge Park. I was very grateful to take his advice and found the gardens were being tended by no less than three gardeners upon my arrival, and the display was very well managed, and each of them greeted me warmly.

There were only a handful of visitors, but all acknowledged my presence, bar one gentlemen who was entirely engrossed, in the smaller Charter Garden, obviously happy with his own company in the warm early morning sunshine with its long shadows, I found the lighting very pleasing even before reaching the gardens themselves with the line of trees casting there striped shadows diagonally across the circular beds that lined the road to the entrance gate, which was the remains of the Charter Tower.

I strolled quietly around capturing the essence of the place, until the call came on my mobile to say Peter was arriving with my return trip, thus ending a brief interlude which provided me with a couple of gallery pages of the formal gardens, very satisfactorily filling the time. I can warmly recommend them as a place in which to relax and enjoy the colour and serenity.

I now look forward to collecting my car with its new sunroof, and taking some shots of the completed job, so Dave can show the quality of his handiwork to other potential clients, especially as this particular Mark 3 version is the first in the country, especially designed for the very curved roofs of cars such as the Jaguar XF or my more humble Insignia!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A brief Afternoon Visit to the Forest Centre

I felt sweating in front of a computer screen on one of the hottest and certainly muggiest afternoons in a long while was not the most productive way, nor the most comfortable, so a short trip in an air-conditioned car then sweating whilst trying to hand hold the 100-400mm lens steady on the 5D MkIII was preferable; the aim being to try to capture dragonflies in flight.

Foolishly I thought using a tripod was a good idea, but it really wasn’t and soon though I did use it on occasion as a monopod, it simply became a burden to carry with me! As I entered the steps to the reeds I spotted a tiny lizard, but I just watched it as it soon found a way to elude me, certainly well before I could have readied a camera! I carried on down to where I soon spotted a few dragonflies flitting and briefly hovering above shallow pools among the reeds. It took me fully a sweaty twenty minutes without ever reaching the point where I could press the shutter release, and during that period a couple from Windsor paid a short visit, which gave me a spotter, for the lady was able to point out a small red dragonfly stationary on a reed, so I got my first shot of the day, but I had my sights set on the larger species that were brightly coloured green and blue and hopefully hovering in flight long enough for me to focus and capture.

I persevered for some time and the couple continued further into the Reserve and later returned and in passing wish me success. Later another photographer came along and she mentioned there was a large family of rats below the bird feeder, so I decided to take a diversion from dragonflies and went along and took a few shots as the youngsters came out in the open for a while before being spooked and returning to cover. I then returned to my original spot as did the photographer and occasionally in the lulls between dragonfly visits we chatted, and on mentioning I enjoyed shooting kingfishers she told me her boyfriend chose the colours of a kingfisher for his canoe – I did wonder whether that platform might be successful in attracting our feathered friends, but I think not.

Eventually as the sun dipped further, I decided I might move to the reeds at the edge of the lake in front of the play area, and this proved marginally better and I did manage a couple of passably sharp shots of one in flight, but got some interesting compositions of one in the reeds, static. Then as I took a winding route back to the car I spotted another that alighted on a blackberry cluster and later still some bees among the flowers, so my journey was not wasted, so there was to be a gallery in the end, and it meant the perspiration had been worth enduring.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Goodwood Revival Meeting 2016, with Martin Evening

Friday involved a very early start for me; in darkness and drizzle, as I had first to pick up my generous host for the day, whose guest ticket I was using to visit the Revival Meeting. This leg of the journey was scheduled to be an hour, to arrive at six o'clock at Ashridge Forest, but fortunately I made good time. With Martin Evening aboard, we set off for the M25. It did however remind me that although many might also be heading for the Goodwood Revival Meeting, for most it was just the end of another week's work, and if they were hoping to leave work early at the end of the day, then an early start was 'de rigeur'. Once we met the M25, this was very much in evidence, I did not help the situation, for I took a wrong roundabout exit which involved a trip down the wrong road and back to take the correct one which meant we hit the trail of cars further back than was necessary, delaying our arrival even more!

Since Martin wanted a comfort break, he set off, while I gathered my kit together, and looked around for markers for when we returned to the car later. We agreed to meet up at the Old Control Tower as this was to be our base for the day. I was already very warm despite my attire being a summer-weight suit, and so far there was very little refreshing wind.

Some of those staffing the entrance to the Control Tower were vaguely familiar from a previous visit, and brightly welcoming, and soon Martin and I were relaxing upstairs discussing our plans for the day.  One idea I had was to go to a part of the track I had not visited since a chance visit a year before Stirling Moss had had his near fatal accident. I had been taken by a neighbour from that time, rally driver, Peter Morley in his modified Triumph Herald, PM3. 

We headed anti-clockwise around the outside of the circuit in the general direction of St. Mary's. We stopped at several good vantage points on the way for a chance to take shots of the cars as they headed towards what would be our turnaround point, where we could return a short distance back to one of the bus stops. We chatted whilst the first two stopped without offloading any occupants and alighted the third for our trip back to the marshalling assembly area.

The subjects of our photographs were very different; Martin's were characters in extravagant outfits mainly groups of entertainers, in informal posed groups, where mine were snatched moments, both of us were capturing some of the practices going on on-track, but in Martin's case, this was a lower priority, he was far more interested in the people, and these were more evident close by the centre of activities in and around the Start/Finish line and the Pits complex, so after our walk to St.Mary’s and the Tractor return trip we split up for a while, but that did not mean that I failed to capture some of the entertainment provided by groups of Acapella singers such as the Doo Wop Mommas.

I also met some interesting engineers at the Richmond Enclosure by the Chicane, and at lunch a husband and wife publicity team from the Horse-Racing fraternity at the Lunch in the Old Control Tower, where I also briefly encountered Rowan Atkinson in Revival attire and white racing overalls. Later Charlie Settrington, Lord March’s son came to to the Tower similarly attired having had a spell in the A35.

We had an enjoyable day and set off for a journey back involving the unavoidable Friday M25 Crawl, but at least for us it was not the weekly fixture. The end of yet another enjoyable day at Goodwood and later spell in front of the computer sifting through the day’s images, but that was not to be for at least another twenty-four hours!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Woburn Park Late Summer Afternoon

Just carrying the 100-400mm Canon zoom and without a tripod I made my way from the Car Park opposite the Church into the woods via the gate by the Cattle Grids. I had taken a few shots of leaves but soon caught sight of several dragonflies, but they were particularly flighty, so it was a while before I managed  to get some shots, but at quite a distance making handholding somewhat hit or miss, but I did get a few static shots and a single one in flight and despite waiting around for a short spell, that was it.

I did however manage to capture a few small butterfly shots of Speckled Wood, it was the only species I spotted, which I found surprising. I did find a few examples of interesting lighting on leaves and serendipitous shapes formed by grass, and moved into the small lake by the entrance to get a few shots of single deer, the only different image was when I saw an Albino deer running with a fallow deer. Having taken a few shots by the lake, I returned through the woods, taking a few shots on the walk back to the car. I spotted a pair of butterflies which I took to be mating as one pinned the other beneath it in the grass and then it seemed to release the other, then linger awhile before flying off on its own.