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…

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.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Fairford Leys – Saxes En Q Saxophone Quartet

I had the good fortune that there was to be yet another musical event – a Saxophone Quartet, called ‘Saxes En Q’ whose venue was far more sociable, for it was inside, with for many, warming mulled wine, so sadly I could not partake as I had the daunting return trip to consider, and did not need dulled senses for that trip! They played beautifully, though to an audience that except for the very young were largely unattentive and unappreciative. Unlike the first time I listened to this quartet, there were fewer jazz numbers on this occasion. When the evening came to a close I had to find my car, but my ‘memorised’ route failed, even though I was really close, as my daughter spotted me and we drove round to where it was parked. Note to self: write down ‘exact directions and street names’!

Fairford Leys Christmas Celebrations

I travelled cross country through torrential rain to reach the venue, and the route was often both twisty and with numerous dips where water could lie in deep pools or wash across in streams. In darkness and no streetlighting, these hazards are difficult to spot, so I was relying on a strong sense of topography to anticipate where the greatest problems lay, but often it was still all too easy to be outwitted, despite my care and reduced speed – be too cautious and you find your rearview mirrors fill with bright, less-patient driver’s lights and a reduced safety margin from the vehicle behind. I was very grateful to arrive safely, but still frustrated by the poor signposting of the heart of the area.

It took me a while having abandoned the car to walk around and get my bearings from the sparse few who were out in the streets, before I got a true sense of where I was and how far I was away from my destination, such that I could re-park the close to where the Aylesbury Concert band were due to be playing. I thought I had taken enough note of landmarks for me to make the return trip with ease. I was able to start capturing the scenes just as the Band began playing.

I had been taking a few pictures before a young boy hugged me from behind and I turned to see my grandson’s beaming smile and warm greeting, and as I turned more fully around there was my even younger curly haired granddaughter smiling at me; finally I turned fully around to see my son-in-law beaming at me. I had not expected them to venture out in this weather, but the pull of seeing Mummy playing saxophone in the band had finally won the day!

Wrongly, both my son-in-law and I, failed to spot that there is no link between the covered area in front of the building and the building, so we learned the hard, wet way, that the rain was just as prevalent behind the band as in front, in the open air!

The signal for the arrival of Father Christmas and his sleigh; the playing of ‘Jingle Bells’ had to be performed several times due to inconsiderate parking which resulted in several ‘encores’!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

HK ‘Family’ – a Celebratory Gathering

Out of the blue came an invitation to join Silva Keondjian at the family home in North London, because one the former staff members of her husband, Hagop’s company – HK Productions was in England from his Arizona home. Stan, was one of the many members of staff at the company I used to visit over several years. I was never a client sadly, but I was always interested in seeing what was being made there, and used to drop by in the main to meet up with Silva’s husband Hagop. I cannot remember when we first met, but Hagop was a man whom once met left an indelible memory, and from that time which was over thirty years ago when I was working for a London Colour Laboratory, I always felt welcome. I would even make time to pop in whenever there was half a chance of meeting this quiet genius. Over the years I met up with many of those who worked there, so there was no possibility that I would not accept the invitation! I just hoped that the streaming cold I had developed, would not be an issue.

I made good time and arrived very early so I apologised, but was told by Silva that it was not a problem as she greeted me at the front door. I had no idea that as everyone arrived instead of seeing the majority of strange faces, I found that close on all of them were known to me and remembered me by name! One of them even reminded me when I enquired as to what part of Wales he and his wife were living, pointed out I had even visited him at their home; he was correct, what I am now trying to remember was how come I was passing nearby, in mid-Wales!

My voice was not up to a lot of talking, but I did a lot of listening, and I was reminded why this group of people had so much of a pull on me, and now as I write this short piece I have remembered I was not a complete taker, I made the introduction of a talented Bedfordshire photographer, Kevin Calvert to Hagop, and HK Productions did sell him a FilmWriter for outputting his retouched cars to 14x11 colour transparencies. I certainly put the name around whenever the opportunity arose.

I hope that the gallery of images from the evening convey some of the atmosphere of the evening to those who attended, and hopefully those who were not there, who were also part of that family. HK Productions epitomised the very best of British engineering excellence; Hagop once said that the roller shutters would rise and lorry-borne raw materials would be brought into the factory and a comparative short time later the same shutters would roll up and a finished piece of kit would be go out and be sent off to worldwide and UK destinations. This is what is now missing from this country – it is vital we do not continue to de-skill our own workforce, yet import finished goods, whilst we pay our former workforce Dole money, and those manufacturing countries acquire the skills we used t0 possess and become manufacturing powerhouses.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Wilstone’s Winter Birds

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cherry and Ian's 50th Wedding Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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