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…



Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Station Road Front Garden Flowers

Marston Moretaine’s Station Road has many front gardens that are displaying a wide variety of floral colours and on a visit to the Co-op and Post Office, it was very noticeable how the bees were taking it easily in the heat, in particular, the bumble bees, they would often stretch out a limb to the next nearmost flower, and then simply stroll across rather than fly, thus expending far less energy and presumably keeping cooler, the lighter honeybees did this less often again this was possibly because conserving energy was less of an issue for these lighter-framed, lissom bees.
I decided that rather than stay indoors and consume litres of liquids to keep cool, well-hydrated to remain compos mentis, it would be better to grab the camera and try to capture these pollinators at work; little did I realise that the the strain of holding the camera steady and trying to follow these hard working fellows would in fact mean I would sweat profusely and find my eyes stinging and have to keep mopping my face to keep my specs clean, I persevered and captured some reasonable images that told these insects’ story and gave me a few more images for card ideas. At the time I had no idea that two of these images would be put to this purpose so soon – I returned home to learn from my ex-wife that a friend of ours had just been admitted to hospital to have a bowel tumour removed, so I created a card hoping that she might bee(image of!) soon well again. How dull life would be without some healthy paronomasia! – A game I frequently play with my younger daughter.
In a very short time I had the makings of yet another gallery of images for the blog and for future card ideas – on this occasion I was using the 5D MkIII and the 24-70mm lens with the handy macro facility, although the combination worked reasonably well, a better choice might just have been the dedicated 100mm macro due its wider aperture and continuous focussing range, where with the 24 to 70mm I was just on the cusp of needing to switch between 70mm and the macro range, it was a marginal difference between them on this occasion.
I then had to return to the furnace that is a house which is well-insulated and, without a murmur of wind made a passable thermos flask, in which to process the images into a gallery.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Brogborough Lake – Abundant Insects

It was seriously hot, and impossible to work inside without air conditioning, or even a fan, so in the afternoon I took myself off to Brogborough Lake, expressly to try to capture Dragonflies, in flight – it was not to be, despite numerous failed attempts as they were out in great numbers, and from my untutored observations, they were mainly seeking mating partners, and few seemed to bother to hover, speed and interaction seemed the order of the day – some would have repeat patterns of flight, but these loops would vary in height, so there was no easy way to synchronise my panning. I settled for spotting those that took a break from flying and settled on reeds or the foreshore.
Two men took to the water with paddles, one of those with a young son aboard for the trip. The water was generally still and very clear and in the narrow channels between discarded bricks and paving stones streams of small fish darted by first in one direction then turn about and back in the other, and despite not using a polariser I was able to capture this activity with comparative ease.
Damselflies also abound here, but I was less interested in them than their larger cousins, and there seemed to be two discrete sizes, the larger being slightly less in number. There were a few butterflies, but they rarely settled for more than half a second, and the few bees that were around also spent very brief spells on any one flower.
I initially used the 100mm Canon Macro on the 7D MkII, but soon swapped to the 300mm with 1.4 Converter, and both were well-suited for what I intended, but I think an earlier visit would prove more fruitful as with the afternoon heat these dragonflies had abundant energy to keep flying, rarely settling for longer than a few seconds. Just before leaving a small breeze came for a minute or so, and I just stopped and let it waft by as I stood with arms stretched to attempt to dry out. One of the nearby preening swans seemingly felt the selfsame urge; one or other had discarded a pristine feather which had two water droplets and was also moved by the small zephyr, so I took a couple of shots in case they might one day be used in a card.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Brogborough Lake – Wind, and Sun!


This combination was a Dream Come True! Wind for the Windsurfing Experts and for the up and coming hopefuls, and Sunshine for the most part to allow me the best chance to capture the skills of the participants. I was not disappointed; the action built slowly, but as the afternoon progressed, a few of their number began to take to the air rather than the water. I was waiting, and slowly I began to see hopeful signs that my wishes might well be granted. I would spot a few tentative jumps, and take note of the sail colours and patterns, and pan in hope that I might be lucky.

I am fully aware that  the demonstration of skills is not there just for my pleasure, but for their own personal training and development, and for those I try to capture them putting their moves together and understand what it is they are practising, I have learned to watch when say a gybe manoeuvre is about to begin, but more often than not this can happen far too close for me to be able to capture the full sail, which is a shame, because the drama is definitely there.

Fortunately my presence behind a camera on a tripod does act like a magnet for some, and I rarely let such moments pass without making avail of the opportunity, even if I am frustrated by a chopped off sail or board, and some such shots never see the light of day; it is all good panning practice. This day kept on giving, and a smile was becoming a permanent fixture on my face, whilst at the time I realised I was going to pay dearly for the coming days stuck in front of a computer, straightening the horizons, doing my best to tame the highlights and so preserve the bubbling foam created by the violent wrench exerted upon the water by the energy of the sailor, whilst retaining detail in the inevitably black wetsuits. I also like to see the faces of those whose skills I am attempting to record.

Slowly, I took note of those who dared to sever their bond with the water’s surface, and as the afternoon progressed I found more of those out their willing to perform, at least partly for my benefit. One young, star performer was definitely playing to the audience/camera for which I was more than happy to play my part by freezing the action for posterity.

I must try harder to contain my urge to capture so much of the action, as this particular gallery has taken way too much time to produce to the standard I am happy to display, but last Saturday was simply too good to miss, and I hope those who view this gallery gain as much pleasure as I did in the capturing and processing. It would be good if some of the images were ordered as A4 prints which would prove rewarding, and allow me to buy more bacon butties and cups of tea from Emma and Sam.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Polling Day Visit to Stockwood Discovery Centre

The Day started with a visit to the Polling Station to cast my vote, then straight on to get food items in Bedford, offload those and head on down to pay a visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre. The rain which had been a feature in Marston Moretaine and the beginning of the journey to Luton had stopped by my arrival at the Centre, and a charming Chap spotting my camera seemed to be aware of who I was and told me he had just caught sight of a Chiffchaff in the gardens, but it had flown away after being spotted. When I asked about Jan’s whereabouts I learned she had told him I was coming down, so my camera was the giveaway!
I had by that time already spotted subjects worth recording so I continued adding to the tally. It was more than a quarter of an hour later when we met up. And she told me her news, she had handed in her notice and was retiring, she also told me how that news had been greeted; it had come as quite a shock to the management, as she is highly respected for knowledge, and her hard work, and will definitely be missed. I for one will find it less inviting as she has always been very welcoming and extremely helpful in alerting me to what is in bloom and of interest.
The earlier weather had definitely put off visitors as I think I spotted no more than half a dozen people as I wandered around, normally on a weekday there would be mothers pushing buggies or with young toddlers in tow, perhaps the election had also had an effect, and the sounds today were the numerous birds, and in particular on very strident blackbird, and every so often an aircraft taking off from the airport.
The effect of this calm, was that magpies and squirrels had come into the central area, and later as I was leaving I briefly got a shot of each amongst the empty tables outside the café. Jan had alerted me to some features of interest, and so I spent the time in the central area before moving into the greenhouse, and I was very happy with what I managed to capture before dropping into the petrol station to fill up at the economically priced garage just nearby and heading back up the M1 to Marston Moretaine. It was well worth the trip.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Silverstone – Williams F1 Racing 40th Anniversary Celebration

I had not seen photographer Mark Harwood for some time, and a chance occurred to meet up and for both of us go to Silverstone and to catch up while celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Williams Racing Team.

Mark came up the night before so that we might set off really early, which gave us time to fill in the gaps and our chatting ate well into sleeping time, and sadly he found the birdsong at dawn somewhat distracting, so did not have the best of nights. Our journey over to Silverstone was only marred by late calls or misinformation from the SatNav, but was otherwise without incident and we made good time, and joined a short queue that moved reasonably smoothly, and we found ourselves chatting with several friendly strangers as it progressed to the bag-checking and after that with more banter with both the Specials and Regular Police with what I hoped was only pleasant banter from the regulars when referring to the Specials.

We spent some time in one of the grandstands where we could capture a flavour of the cars being displayed, as well as walking to both ends of the allocated area being used for the event, we also managed to get separated, with Mark wrongly assuming I might have gone back to the car, but a call from him on the mobile brought us back together where I was chatting to one of the many helpful girls there to provide any assistance we might need.

We did then go back to the car to pick up some food and a change of lenses for me. A day like this provides me with handy material for greetings cards so there are occasions in the gallery of images from the day, where the same shot has been composed in different ways to give space for messages, as the galleries I create are effectively my personal Photo Library.

‘The Wave’ building at the end is a panorama stitched automatically within Lightroom from eight individual handheld images. So, no image has ever visited Photoshop in this gallery.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Brogborough Bank Holiday Lacuna

Or in plain English – I managed to miss these shots first time around. The reason is simple, the numbering of the images reached 9,999 and so the rest started back at 0001 but in a new folder. Guess who failed to spot this due to too many other distractions such as watching the Monaco Grand Prix? – Guilty as charged m'lud!
Here they are, with less culling so I could get them out in the shortest possible time.
For convenience you can click here, or as before, on the headline text for the missing gallery of further images from the afternoon

No Picture Here! Nor any link, that will follow

I am hiding my head in Shame!

For those who were surprised and disappointed at not seeing their skills immortalised in full glorious colour in these blog galleries from Sunday's outing on the water at Brogborough, please be patient as I am about to put that right – due to the kind intervention of Mr Roy Hill whose son was one of those whose images lay unwittingly unprocessed on a Compact Flash card. I have made my apologies to him, and I shall now set to to rectify the appalling situation – forthwith.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Bank Holiday Sunday, Brogborough

Sunshine and some wind. This brings out a fair crowd on the water, and when I arrived the wind direction meant for a while the windsurfers were heading for the Club’s near shore at an angle with the sun at a reasonable angle; the wind direction did not favour jumpers, but certainly helped for speed.
I set up the camera and took advantage of the sun, moving right up to the foreshore after a while to keep my viewpoint as low as possible, later moving out onto the jetty. It was here that in a lull I spotted a girl taking shots of her boyfriend with a fairly short focal length lens, so I called out what make of camera Canon or Nikon? The reply meant I could offer to remove my camera body and let her take some shots using my lens, she accepted and so I put her body on and helped set it up so she could take a few shots. I hope it inspired her to consider a longer lens in the future. I hope also that I managed to get shots of him that he felt captured the spirit of his day on the water.
Cloud cover increased as the afternoon progressed and water does not sparkle in flat lighting and with no dramatic activity likely to occur my shooting came to the end, but not before being asked by one gentleman, whether I had managed shots of his son, so I made sure there were some. I also got chatting to a windsurfer who worked in Television, and I am fairly sure I had taken shots of him so my blog’s audience figures might also improve!
I returned home to face some time at the computer screen culling and post processing to create a gallery record of the afternoon’s activity, and also to try a second time to repair a puncture to my bike’s front tyre, so that I can cycle to the lake on occasion rather than bring the car, which will keep me active and breathing fresh air as with so much building going on in Marston Moretaine, the house is covered in fine dust which cannot be as healthy as the air around the lake.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tranquil Brogborough – Flora & Fauna

The idea of the afternoon visit to the woods beyond the Windsurfers’ enclave was to try to get some better shots of the native hoverflies, but this proved a failure, partly because the sun chose to hide behind increasing clouds, and partly because when the single hoverfly I attempted to photograph was only hovering for nanoseconds, and also because I was way too slow trying to focus on it.
But in walking past some hawthorn bushes by the lakeside before I entered the woods I spotted a damselfly that became entangled in the fine filaments spun by an absent spider, it crossed my mind to attempt its rescue, but felt this intervention was not ethical; and I feel the outcome I subsequently witnessed validated my decision, he managed to extricate himself and I witnessed him flying off to a nearby reed, and I rationalised that he now had gained valuable experience which might well serve him well in the future. I have the record of his success and I was pleased for him.
I did attempt to seek out other hoverflies but with no success, but I did capture a large fly searching in amongst the dead leaves from last autumn, and some of the varied colours of lichen on a branch and a minuscule single flower on a dead twig on the sunlit outer reach of the woods. All the shots were taken with the 100mm Canon Macro with a 1.4 Converter on the EOS 7D MkII, some with flash assistance where I changed from Aperture to Shutter Priority to limit the effect of a slow shutter speed blurring the ambient light with the flash exposure.
When looking out over the lake I don’t think I have ever seen the water so calm, and in the distance I did spot a couple lazily enjoying the warmth on a paddle board.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Brogborough Photos – No Windsurfers?

The wind was so light that the Windsurfers at Brogborough would likely be practising their more subtle skills, or if less experienced simply making the most of a quieter lake to gain confidence, but for a change I was not visiting for their activity, but for something at a smaller scale involving skills in the air. When I sped through the woods carrying a heavy tripod with a long lens on my last visit, shafts of sunlight illuminated some of the gloom and the new season of hoverflies had arrived and were exercising their skills.
Most casual observers see them as dark insects occasionally hovering, then darting away at high speed. However, if you tarry awhile longer, you notice that the reason for some of the darting is caused by others of their species invading their space, and then both will spiral as if they were World War fighter pilots in a fierce dogfight. The other thing you might notice is that they are not black, but have the tiger stripes that emulate those of a wasp, however these beautiful insects are no danger to us, and in fact will land on your hand if outstretched beneath them in flight, or as one did on this trip actually landed on the barrel of my lens! They are exquisite flyers, and absolute masters of the hover. They have small un-muscled small winglets beneath their wings which counterbalance the motion of their wings to provide a natural damper (emulated, I believe in 2005 Formula 1 cars till banned, allegedly because Ferrari were never able to master their deployment, so protested their use by those who had mastered the technique namely Renault).
From my personal observations which allowed me to capture them in flight in the past, they will often hover for a while then with a flick move through 90˚, often cycling through the complete 360˚, oft times being rudely interrupted by presumably, others jealous of their skills!
On this occasion, the pilot I first spotted, was performing in front of me when without outside intervention he darted off, and somehow I got the feeling he was playing with me, so I swung through 180˚ and there he was, again at the same height as before, facing me once more! The more I photograph insects and birds, the more I am convinced they know more about us than we credit – kingfishers can often settle closer to us than we can focus with a long lens, tantalising us! Or ensure branches obscure our view. But as I have learned from anglers that have had kingfishers land on their rods, they have not necessarily learned about cameraphones!
I had arrived rather too late as clouds were increasing which resulted in fewer motes for hoverflies to exhibit their prowess, so overall I was not too successful, but I do now have a new venue. I also spotted what I described as the Central Flying School where the majority of the hoverflies were smaller, so possibly younger, and hovered with far less panache, with an occasional visitor larger in size and far more adept, joining the throng. The skilled ones seemed more often to be apart, and occasionally ‘bombed’ by other lone antagonists.

I did capture some in-flight shots, but far more numerous failures due to my inability to focus fast enough, so captured other items that intrigued such as the haunting face or new leaf and seed growth. I shall return, but as can be seen, I need the light to be on side for me to use the 100mm macro with 1.4 converter and ISOs which reached 3200˚K at apertures no smaller than f/7.1.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Brogborough – Sunshine on the Lake

In the morning, it was Choresday and a priority was ensuring I had clean shirts, and as I seem to have a problem of sediment from somewhere, possibly even due to too much soap powder, I tried to split the wash into two to keep the possibility of shirts suffering from the other items, but this added more time, and still the contaminant was present, so I was well behind schedule. I like to think of Sundays as restful, but sorting two washes was not helping. However, after the first wash, the wind seemed to pick up; certainly giving gusts that seemed harder than was forecast, so someone was on my side!
By the time the second set was ready to put out, at least one shirt was dry enough to be taken in, and suddenly I could contemplate a possible short visit to the lake at Brogborough; what I had not foreseen was that many of the regulars were on holiday, and scattered to all points of the compass, so as I arrived there were around a maximum of ten on the water, with actually less wind on arrival than I had left behind in Marston Moretaine, but there were occasional flurries and I decided it was worth a trek through the woods with a tripod, with the gimbal head and the Sigma 150-600mm atop.
Having made it to the far end of the woods and back out into the sunshine, the wind though still somewhat fitful did have some strength, and several of the windsurfers headed towards my location, so I gingerly clambered down the steep bank and into the undergrowth a bit, to give myself a reasonable angle of view clear of most of the trees and bushes. After a while the wind died down seemingly terminally, so I headed back at a brisk pace, with a young grouse zig-zagging across my path ahead of me for half the woods! I also noted that the recent warmth had brought out the hoverflies who as I had noted before would dance and hover in the shafts of sunlight that filtered through the canopy of leaf cover. I made a mental note that I should come back for this photographic challenge on the next warm, and free day.
I did get the opportunity to show some of those there a few recent prints, some of which windsurfers had been the subject.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Marsworth Visit with Andy Fox

Andy and I decided to meet up and visit Marsworth together, and despite mornings being more favourable, since he was tied up in the morning, we settled on meeting at Clophill around one o’clock to head on down.
Arriving at Tringford I parked up and we both set off towards Marsworth lake. There were numerous anglers out on both Startops End and Marsworth, and on the Grand Union Canal there were a few narrowboats going through the locks, one that was moored was unlike any other, so much so that Andy remarked that it was upside down as the superstructure seemed to be very smooth and resembled an upturned hull, made presumably in glass fibre.
We reached our destination and began setting up, and almost immediately Andy spotted a visiting kingfisher behind me, which we probably surprised and headed away from us. It was the last sighting we made for more than an hour, though we were visited by many other birds both on the water, and above us in the trees. The most frequent being blue tits, mallards, and wood pigeons. At one stage we heard a loud call, that sounded as if the caller was shouting “Nits!” which gave us a wry smile on several occasions, it turned out to be coming from what I took to be a lone mallard female, but Andy reckoned it was possibly a mallard/wigeon cross as it was speckled and differently billed.
We were also visited by the resident and beautifully groomed robin, whom I see fairly regularly, once again, in the lulls I attempted to entice to fly to my open hand for seeds, but today he made no effort. A while later we caught sight of a kingfisher doing a flyby who ducked beyond a fallen bush on the far bank. Then later still one landed in the bushes, but he was hidden from me by sunlit leaves, but in perfectly clear view to Andy as was confirmed by some three sequences of shutter firings. After that I saw another on a post beyond him, managing just two quick shots, one static and one as he flew off. Although we stayed on for some time we saw no more kingfishers, and since Andy was due for an evening out, we packed up and returned to the car, but not before I introduced Andy to some of the Tringford Anglers, and its Water Bailliff, Bob Menzies.
My visit was therefore less fruitful than my guest Andy, though enjoyable nonetheless.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Bamville Cricket Club – Home Season Opener

Sunday turned out to be moderately warm in the sun, and I certainly favoured sunshine for a Cricket Match, as the players always look good in their white trousers and sweaters when in sunshine, whereas under cloud they look somewhat drab.The Cricket Match I was due to cover was a team local to Harpenden, Bamville, which is a somewhat smaller club, with a small, but interesting ground, since it's pitch shares the space with part of the local Golf Course, which limits play to Sundays. All very English.


I arrived early to capture some of the setting up preparations, which included the Scorer for the day opening up the scoreboard to oust the resident spider, and using the manual for the new Coffee machine to learn about its as yet unfamiliar operation. After adding this talent to his vast experience as a top Product Designer and Cricket and Snooker Guru, he went on to fill the far less sophisticated Water Boiler — is there no end to this man’s talents? On a more serious note, Peter is one of a number of dedicated volunteers who help this friendly Club to run and provide enjoyment for those who play Cricket and socialise.

The visiting Team on this occasion was The Players and Jesters from Nearby St. Albans, and the opening batsmen were the Home team. I will let the pictures tell the story of the match as I am unfamiliar with the personnel, what I will say is the final result was close. I was disappointed that I missed at least two instances of the bails taking to the air, but I did manage to capture three others, as these are the moments that make a difference for a photographer.

I had arrived in just a shirt and welcomed the opportunity to slip into a pullover after the first innings, but even with this on, by the end I was starting to wish that the Home team put more bails into the air as the wind was by now on the back of my neck and had risen in strength and fallen in temperature!

I had managed to take several sequences that illustrated the shapes bowlers created and batsmen the contortions had gone through to find the ball and project it to the boundary. An afternoon spent in good company and providing me with the exercise of carrying a heavy tripod and camera, keeping my eye in, outside in the fresh air.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Caddington Front Garden – Riot of Colour

I returned to Caddington on my way back as I needed to get a bite to eat. The village is suffering badly due to ongoing diversions that have cut off the normal route north via Chaul End, and to avoid the worst section by the shops I parked a long way back, and as I walked along I spotted a couple of gardens worth grabbing a few photographs in, once I had collected some food. As I came closer to my old house, I spotted a familiar face, and Phil, whose name he mentioned whilst we talked, hailed me with: “I thought you had moved to Eaton Bray!” That brought me into conversation and the lady who had been with him took the opportunity to take her leave telling him she would catch up later. He was correct I had been looking initially in that direction, but I brought him up to date, and we chatted for ten minutes or so before I went for my food.
I put my food in the car, picked up the camera and returned to the two gardens and the majority of the shots were from this one front garden which simply looked as if someone had opened a hundred seed packets and spread them liberally in the front of the house, then taken a hose and sprayed them with liberal amounts of water and possibly fertilisers! I had simply never seen so many brightly coloured flowers in bloom in such a small area – it could only be described as a “Riot of Colour’! It cried out to be photographed,

I obliged.

Mainly Tulips, and a host of others to which I could not put a name, so now that I have managed to get the Stockwood Discovery Centre gallery up, I have put these up as a follow-on. I hope they will give others as much pleasure as I derived from capturing them.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

May 4th Gardens Visit – Stockwood Park

I had the chance to go down to the Stockwood Discovery Centre, despite the forecast showing only a slight chance of sun; what I did know was that a lot of growth would have occurred since my last visit, and I was unsure when the next opportunity might arise.
I made good time, though on arrival the gardener I was hoping to catch up with was nowhere to be seen, so I simply set to taking photographs initially with the 24-70mm lens with its macro facility, but after a while I realised that I could do with the 100mm, so I swapped over and carried on till the end wit that lens, using the 5D MkIII body.
I had taken quite a few shots when I heard Jan talking to someone else, and it was Bridey whom I had not seen for a while, I showed both some prints I had of the Grebe and its crayfish meal and the recent Kingfisher and its meal, then some of the shots I had just been taking, Jan kindly offered to unlock the greenhouse for me, and I went back to shooting, it was fully half an hour before I went inside the greenhouse, then started making my way out, Was able to thank Jan and it was not long before I felt it was time to make tracks, but no sooner than I had made that decision than a bush resplendent in white flowers caught my attention due to the amount of interest shown by bees.
I therefore spent some time trying to get up close and personal with these busy pollinators, and on shot which could be the parting shot was a bee who climbed away from a flower and came straight into my focus – shame he was flying away not towards me, but I am not complaining! I took a couple more shots on the way out and made tracks to Caddington hoping to pick up a snack to eat on the way back.