Welcome

I am Rod Wynne-Powell, and this is my way to pass on snippets either of a technical nature, or related to what I am currently doing or hope to be doing in the near future.

A third-person description follows:

Professional photographer, Lightroom and Photoshop Workflow trainer, Consultant, digital image retoucher, author, and tech-editor for Martin Evening's many 'Photoshop for Photographers' books.

For over twenty years, Rod has had a client list of large and small companies, which reads like the ‘who’s who’ of the imaging, advertising and software industries. He has a background in Commercial/Industrial Photography, was Sales Manager for a leading London-based colour laboratory and has trained many digital photographers on a one-to-one basis, in the UK and Europe.

Still a pre-release tester for Adobe in the US, for Photoshop, he is also very much involved in the taking of a wide range of photographs, as can be seen in the galleries.

See his broad range of training and creative services, available NOW. Take advantage of them and ensure an unfair advantage over your competitors…



Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Frithsden Woods

At last some sun – but Oh Boy was it cold! The frost was only clearing in the direct sunlight; everywhere else retained its rime, but at least if I took a tripod, I could shoot at normal rather than extended ISOs with the Canon 5D MkII. So I set off for Markyate and the general direction of the Ashridge Forest. I drove slowly glancing around for meaningful images to capture.

At the top of Berkhampsted I took the signposted route to Frithsden, and found myself alongside the golf course, I took a few shots there using a tripod, but it was not really what I sought, so I drove on and caught sight of some deer very close to the road and seemingly quite settled, so before I left the car I set the camera back to a high ISO and fast shutter speed then set off. This time without the tripod. Once within range, I kept walking parallel to the small group of stags, just edging slowly closer, shooting whenever I was clear of some of the intervening branches.

Eventually they decided to move away so I returned to the car and drove back towards Caddington, by now the sun was low on the horizon and the mist had a golden glow, so I stopped to take a few distant landscapes. I also spotted a squirrel high in the branches of a tree with a carrot, but he seemed happy to remain half hidden and quite still right at the top, so took my shots and headed for home.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Boxing Day Visit to Orchard Poyle

Once Lizzy and Tim had left for their surprise in Liverpool, and I had settled back into my role of cat-sitter for their cat, Remy, I phoned through to Glory to take up her kind offer of a visit and lunch at Orchard Poyle.

I made a poor choice of leaving the M1 at the M25 and paid for it in lost time in the slow-moving car park towards the M40. the saving grace was the sunshine, and after initial chats withe everyone, I took the camera for a workout in their grounds, and later after our splendid meal I took a few more shots as we tackled a vast Christmas Crossword.

It was good to catch up with others' news over a delicious beef meal, and learn that nephew Alex was leaving the Rainbow Warrior for a short break and coming home. Having just come off the phone from Alex, I have learnt just how brief that visit was to be! He leaves for Copenhagen and his latest girlfriend later this evening. He does promise to meet up with me soon however.

The shots I took yesterday are in the gallery. I trust everyone had a great Christmas, and I wish all those who read this, the best for 2009 – Happy New Year!

Monday, 22 December 2008

An Early Start

Not all beauty is lost in the winter – provided that is you are up and about before the sun!

When I learnt that the following day was due to start out bright, I took a chance on the weather forecasters getting it right for my area, and even though I had still not gone to bed any earlier, I set the alarm for six thirty. As expected I was half awake before the alarm, so I dozed a while longer then switched on the bedside light and turned off the alarm, finally leaping out of bed like a drugged worm.

I fulfilled breakfast with a bowl of cornflakes and gathered the camera gear and coat and was soon in the car and driving out of the village heading for Harpenden and the Lower Luton Road; I crossed over that and headed up the hill as the glow on the horizon heralded sunrise.

I took a few shots of trees silhouetted against the skyline before continuing along towards Kimpton and eventually to a point near Ley Green where I was able to take some shots of rapidly changing light and shade across a valley in the direction of Tea Green. Whilst concentrating on a converted old windmill I was pleased to also capture a red kite swooping across a field between my position and the windmill. I also very much liked the winding road leading to the water tower at Tea Green, especially with the dappled lighting due to the scudding clouds across the sun.

That wind did more than drive the clouds it also chilled my hands till they hurt, yet the car thermometer read 7.5˚ – eight degrees warmer than the previous day which without wind had actually felt warm!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Tonal changes in Lightroom

Now that our English landscape has little beauty to offer in wintry sun, I turned some of the images I recently took to greyscale, and went for drama instead.

In the small gallery of images shown here I only made global changes. But with careful use of the various colour sliders, I was able to make changes that seem very local in their effect.

Some were targetted by the constituent colours within the original full colour image, others were toned afterwards. In every case my aim was to enhance the drama or mood of the image, where in full colour there was only the composition and crop to consider.

All these alterations were carried out in the Develop module of Lightroom, which was far more forgiving than using Photoshop, and each was made by first creating a Virtual Copy, (simply a different list of instructions for the interpretation of the raw data).

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Canon EOS 5D MKII – A few more thoughts…

British weather at this time of year is hardly conducive to picture taking. But here are just a few jottings. Overall the camera is a delight to use, and for me it means there is very little unavailable light!

The controls have subtle changes in the main, but one large difference is the deleting of the entire shoot; this is somewhat hidden, probably to avoid 5D users hitting the Erase button. To erase either a selection or the entirety is now a menu function, with just the single picture erase directly from the button. The Erase button is now removed to the side to make way for the larger Review screen.

One welcome change though small, is that the button for illuminating the top window is on the right making it more accessible.

The settings in the back window are accessed by scrolling horizontally along the tabs at the top, then choosing from the list vertically. Setting the focus point is now a two button affair, but is less fiddly, though it takes a bit more to remember.

The ability to set the ISO speed up to 6400 without resort to a menu selection and be able to shoot with minimal noise at this level is nothing short of magnificent. There is very definitely a certain 'feel' to MkII images taken under these conditions, it has to do with the clarity of the mid and highlight tones with very crisp blacks.

The review screen is not only larger but seems brighter and sharper than its predecessor, and of course there is the sensor cleaning which takes place at shutting down and switching on. This just gives you an added feeling of confidence.

A note of caution. If you use say Lightroom to import your files, and you have shot a short video, Lightroom mentions that it cannot read such files, so before you erase or format that card, do remember to offload that file – it is easily missed!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Canon EOS 5D shines in low light

How ironic, that when the camera arrived in my hands I was unable to take advantage of it to put it through its paces! Had it arrived earlier in the very day, I might have taken some pictures that day, but ever since, whenever the sun has shone, it was mocking me, as I had to have my head firmly glued to my monitor to get work done!

Yesterday however, whilst out with my younger daughter and her husband in an attempt to find presents in Milton Keynes, I managed to make some headway – to save weight and give myself a chance I used a 90mm Tamron and set 3200 ISO. The Lydian String trio and the stairs in the Apple Store succumbed, as did an oriental cut flower later in Harpenden!

Capturing all these at a motion-stopping 160th of a second with a variety of lighting was a challenge indeed; I was most impressed, but to have so little noise was just a dream come true. I cannot wait to capture more exciting images in the future. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The Lightroom Message

Twice in the last three weeks, I have had the enjoyable but nevertheless daunting and somewhat humbling experience of talking to two groups of expert photographers about Lightroom. The first was to a group of Wildlife photographers, the second, just yesterday a group of photographers possibly best described as photojournalists.

In both instances these were not hosted by me; I was invited to offer my services – in the first mine host was Chris Gomersall, and the latter, Adam Woolfitt.

I enjoy these encounters, because faced with a group of mixed and varied experience and prior knowledge of the program, I am challenged, and I learn from the sessions, which helps me to feed back what I find to the program developers at Adobe. Also, since I operate a one-man-band, it gives me welcome social interaction.

I strongly feel that with digital SLRs pervading a large proportion of professional photographers' working lives, and the cameras yielding ever larger initial raw files, this program is supplanting Photoshop for many people. Effectively, it has usurped the place Photoshop held in my heart for so many years, so I now feel very evangelistic on its behalf. Quite early on in my acquaintance with Lightroom I put across my view that the biggest competitor was not as the Press would have you believe, Aperture, but Adobe Bridge – I still hold this view.

Recently, Adobe have laid off many staff across the globe, and put this down to a disappointing take up of Creative Suite 4 due to the financial situation worldwide. I think it goes deeper than this, and would cite the withdrawal from major shows, and the high price set outside the US. To consider the UK version as 'localised' and suggest this is 'International English', yet pay no heed to actual 'English' spelling has been considered insulting to many, especially when software can now be distributed electronically worldwide this does not endear Adobe to its target audience. Another factor is the system of Activation is so draconian it hits the legal users of its software as hard as the cheats.

When you can therefore use a less than up to date version of Photoshop to do all you need beyond what Lightroom offers, there is a less pressing need to upgrade when you set the cost of Lightroom against that of the upgrade to Photoshop. I think Photoshop has now undoubtedly become more of a tool for Retouchers and Designers, and in these two Groups it is only the Retouchers who see the real need for the new features, and they are the smaller of the two. And I count myself a member of that group.

Very little explanation of Lightroom is offered by Adobe, partly because it sells itself, so it is often left to those selling the product, and I think in many instances some of its virtues are overstated, in particular its role as a Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool. Various web-based resources provide sound information, but the audience here is already fairly well-informed but small in number, so less-informed comment in magazines tends to prevail, and increasingly the writers are very aware of the effect negative comments will have upon their advertising revenue, so are less objective, apart from not really using the software on a daily basis.

I hope in my small way that I am helping to take up the slack and getting Lightroom's virtues and architecture better understood by today's digital photographers.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Sunday on the South Coast

I might have got down sooner, had I not foolishly considered that a non-bootable backup to my main hard drive was unnecessary, and plumped for a straight copy. But that is another story.

I decided that it would be a great idea to accept Nick Zoller's invitation to visit him in Brighton, and to call in on Pat Stevens in nearby Steyning on route. Pat and partner, John Alexander, an Architect live in a house full of art, and it was great to stop and chat over a cup of tea, but it was all too short.

I was soon back in the car and heading for Hove, but was completely unprepared for the sheer vehemence of the wind I encountered on my arrival – it took both hands to hold the door from being wrenched from the car! This did not seem a good omen, but in fact the sun came out for much of the day, and after another cup of tea and a roll and ham, Nick and I were out along the foreshore taking photographs of the gulls and crows.

Nick had been the Art Director for much of my work both as a photographer and when working in a Colour Lab, and he began by throwing bread the birds whilst in flight which gave me the opportunity to capture them on the wing.

The rest of the day till nightfall was spent in conversation as we strolled the promenade with breaks whilst I shot scenes that caught my eye, and the gallery 'Windy Brighton' shows some of what we saw. We returned to the flat to enjoy a further chat over supper, before I headed back home and Nick watched his beloved Spurs on 'Match of the Day'!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Slumdog Star – Virginia Holmes

Thursday evening had looked somewhat tentative on the weather front, but in the end proved to be dry but cold. I arrived in Leicester Square around five and contacted Glory Holmes the proud mother of our star of the evening, Virginia, the girl who with business partner, Natasha Nischol handled the Hair and Makeup for Slumdog Millionaire, shot in Mumbai.

We took up station close to the front of the Odeon, and soon attracted the attention of the BBC Asia correspondent, whom we managed to convince there was a story here of English Girl makes it in India Film Industry!

It was not long before this family group was joined by Rachel and Mike, friends of Virginia, and Richard, father of our star. It was getting slowly darker as we waited in the cold watching the arrival of the carpet layers prepare the all-important ground for the entrance of the stars. (Watch a trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiQU3Fg1VtY).

Then came Virginia and Natasha, and later the Director Danny Boyle and I managed to grab a few quick shots, sadly not the best, I do not see my becoming a paparazzo anytime soon, certainly not one earning any money at the game! But I do at least have a record of the evening and we all went off and had an enjoyable pizza in a nearby restaurant to end the day, with Richard presenting us all his plans on how to run the country under his governance.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Snow

Tuesday's weather forecast clearly stated that wintry showers were likely in the Chilterns, especially on higher ground, but that it would not settle. In this area they got it wrong, it gently settled and being very wet it stuck well and my pampas grass bowed down reverently by way of acknowledgment. It was nightfall before coverage was good. However, I did try capturing the effects in darkness with and without the assistance of flash.

Wednesday morning was bright and crisp, and I had set my alarm for a slightly earlier start, first wakening in lightening darkness and glanced at the alarm: it read 5 o'clock, so I closed my eyes and decided I would get the extra sleep. The next time I came to it was very bright and so I took another look at the clock, the alarm was still set, but it still read 5! Confirmation that my clock battery had failed came when I looked at the computer – it read 10.10!

All was not bad news, the view through the window showed snow barely melting. A few Grape Nuts and milk down to simulate breakfast and I gathered a few flash card, a camera and two lenses and I was on my way towards Peters Green via East Hyde where I stopped for a quick few shots across the dip and showing the melting snow on the distant hillside with long winter shadows of the trees.

In Peters Green the snow was still pristine, with streaming oblique sunlight giving a beautiful crispness to the snow with strong backlighting to leaves. I spent some time here, finally attracting the curious attention of a young lad home from School half-term, who asked what I was doing. He seemed satisfied by my reply that I was taking beautiful pictures! Before driving off, I knocked on the door and showed him a few images on the camera review screen, and he concurred they were good.

Although I took a few more images, before returning to process them, it was amongst these I felt I may have captured this year's Christmas card.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Luton Hoo Walled Garden's Pumpkin & Apple Gala

Great weather and good promotion brought large crowds to this autumn event at the Luton Hoo Estate. The extended car park between Harpenden and the Airport roundabout in both directions was testament to this! The warmth was not only from the sun, the atmosphere was one of jollity, and the children and parents seemed to enjoy the stalls and the entertainment provided by the Morrris dancers, band, singers and players. There was even a wandering Minstrel!

The Fire engine drew a steady stream of visitors where children were eager to climb aboard and to don a Firefighter's helmet.

The attendance must have surprised and delighted Charlotte Phillips and her team of volunteers, and helped swell the coffers to aid the restoration of the gardens to their former glory.

I have tried to capture something of the day, but photographs from ground level do not tell the story of the sheer number of visitors who attended, though for a short while I did manage to borrow a small step ladder to give me a slightly higher viewpoint, thanks to the generosity of the Fire Crew.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A new website comes on stream…

A photographer colleague of mine launches his new website on Monday showing some his images from working with corporates and magazines around the globe. Charles Milligan is a member of the Mono group, and we have kept in touch since my days at Longacre Colour Labs where he was one of our clients. You can follow his work from my links section.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A Switcher

Most of my fellow photographers and most designers I know, already use Macs, however I have been responsible for converting some Windows PC users to the Mac platform. This has undoubtedly become easier since the change of processors to the Intel chips.

Most recently a photographer fairly local to me, who hitherto had been considering a change, but seemed in no hurry to decide, phoned me in absolute frustration saying that that moment had arrived, and he was off to Milton Keynes to the Apple Store to finally take the plunge. Because I had been so instrumental in promoting the switch, I feared that without my joining him, there might be mistakes made at the last hurdle; I suggested I join him.

It did not take too long to complete the deed, and we were soon putting the box in the boot of his car for the return to base. The staff member who brought the box to the car then said that should my client be dissatisfied in any way there were seven days' grace in which he could obtain a refund, to which I promptly replied that should that arise, I would have failed (in my role as advocate and evangelist!)

The rest of the day was spent setting things up, downloading software updates (10.5.2 to 10.5.5) and loading Nikon Capture NX, then upgrading that to version 2.0. Some of the changes were hard to effect, since he had not had recourse to using his password for his ISP mail account for some four years, and had no clue as to what it might be!

When he saw his images coming up full screen via Leopard's Quick Look and later in NX, he was completely astonished by the quality compared to what his aging PC monitor had been producing, so I ventured asking him whether I should replace the 24-inch iMac in the box and return it to the store – the response was an ashamed smile, and 'No way, José!"

Although he said he was on a very steep learning curve, he seemed in no doubt that it was a road worth travelling, and he felt he had made the right call. He later made another call: to me, later in the evening once I had returned. I was able remotely to explain a few more Mac insights, and I learnt something I had forgotten, and that was that NTFS-formatted drives became Read Only when accessed by a Mac. I have since learnt that there may well be a piece of software that can overcome this. I am off to Google…

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A house near Preston

There have been several times that I have visited somewhere, and later tried to revisit, yet been unable to find.

A few years ago, I was driving past a white house with strong oblique sunlight on newly painted stucco – I stopped to take a picture, and shortly the owner came out to enquire what I was doing. Naturally I said that the lighting on the wall, and window were too attractive to miss the opportunity of capturing the image for posterity. I still have the photograph to this day, but although I have tried to find the house again, it eluded me till this afternoon.

I had driven beyond it having found it again, stopping further along the road to photograph a tractor working in the valley in the late afternoon sunshine. I soon wanted a new angle and walked back and found that the ideal spot was within the garden of that very house! I knocked on the door and asked the owner whether I could venture onto his land to take some more shots of the tractor, to which he acquiesced. Later his wife came down to see what I had been shooting and soon we all began chatting and I learned that the big house on the horizon of their landscape was in fact my old prep school!

In the distance we also saw a hot air balloon and a red kite, but both were too far away, but after leaving them I did capture a quick shot of the balloon, and also some views of the Luton Airport control tower. The shots taken this sortie are in the Indian Summer gallery.

Late Night / Early Morning Fog

After a day doing some more incidental photography at Luton Hoo's Walled Garden, and having created a gallery of those images, I happened to notice that fairly thick fog had descended on Caddington.

Remembering how effective such conditions were in rendering mundane street scenes more attractive, I succumbed to the urge to try to do something for my own locale. I grabbed a newly charged battery, loaded a card, and put the 12-24mm Sigma lens on the camera and walked up towards the shops, I deleted the first few attempts as having insufficient exposure before settling on an 1/8th of a second at full aperture and 1600 ISO, and felt the four shots in this Flash Gallery were of sufficient merit to upload.

In two of the shots, I made use of the headlights of cars passing by. So Caddington by street lights and in fog is not too unattractive!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

In search of Banksys

The day started with somewhat uninviting, inclement weather, but Sundays never start too early after a week of hard work, so my morning was spent reading and getting myself ready for rain, wondering whether my younger daughter might have changed her mind over her decision to go to a part of London she knew I knew well.

Lizzy and Tim had invited me to join them to take a tour around Clerkenwell and the nearby areas in search of mural graffiti by Banksy. We managed to find only four, since some of those we sought were either hidden by doors, had been painted over, or simply removed!

We left the car in Clerkenwell Green, and soon found the site of the first, just around the corner in Clerkenwell Close, opposite the church. Beyond was the sound of chanting, possibly from a local football match. We then returned and made for Clerkenwell Road, where I caught sight of a somewhat extended bicycle at the St. John's Street crossroads and noted that the rider was presumably colour blind!

We walked towards Smithfield Market along St. John's Street and I paused to add another shot to my colllection of knobs 'n' knockers, capture a striking pillar motif, and a simple paper artwork of dancers – I am never one to pass up the chance to grab images that take my fancy, so soon found the intriguing dripping of rain into a downpipe; part of some interesting ironwork to a modern office building.

We then were unable to spot two supposed locations of Banksy handiwork in Smithfield so headed to the Barbican, along Beech Street and into Chiswell Street, where we did find one just beyond the Brewery, now Sundial Court, so I took locating shots as reference points.

Whitecross Street gave us our third picture, then we headed back to Charterhouse Square, but failed to find one there or in Haynes Street, but was rewarded by a fallen fig leaf (I did look around for its owner, but everyone seemed fully clothed!) Then the pattern of holly caught my eye. Parking at the top of Rosebery Avenue, I took a quick couple of shots of the dark, wet bark of a plane tree, as the richness of the colours appealed to me.

Our fourth and what was to turn out to be our last was found in Scrutton Street, but it had been defaced, though it was probably the strongest of all the images we saw. Altogether, the three of us had a very enjoyable afternoon walking though areas, most of which I remembered from the times I had worked in that part of London, and I was able to add my own snippets of information, even though I was often just a bit out in terms of exact locations at first. I can certainly see myself making a further trip.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Goodwood Revival Gallery is now up!

Sorry for the delay. I exceeded my bandwidth, but hopefully, this situation will change soon. Some of the shots I took at Goodwood are now up in the Galleries section. I hope it goes some way to showing just what a spectacle this show is, and just how much I enjoyed the day, and the company I had.

Adobe Creative Suite CS4 Announcement

On the 23rd September Adobe announced the imminent arrival of CS4, their fourth evolution of the Creative Suite of programs. Now that the information is out in the public domain, I am allowed to talk about it. My main area is Photoshop CS4, and I am now able to talk about what is in this new version and even demonstrate it.

There are a number of quite exciting developments for those using Photoshop to retouch images, and they come about because Adobe are able to put out some of the processing to the graphic cards. This has two effects: it frees up the CPU (Central Processor Unit) for other tasks, and it brings in new ways of handling zooming; giving smooth rendering at more than just 25%, 50% 100% etc. It also allows continuous zooming, flick-panning and most importantly for those of us who need to brush or make paths at inconvenient angles, we can now rotate the canvas in real time.

Other developments are springloaded tools – the ability to swap temporarily to a different tool by holding down the other tools shortcut key. So by way of an example you might be creating a path around a subject zoomed well in, when you notice a blemish, you can swiftly hold down the 'J' key swapping to the Spot healing brush, remove the blemish, let go of the 'J' key and continue with your path.

You can now alter the size of the selected brush on the canvas – by the Ctrl + Opt/Alt key on the Mac and clicking and dragging your cursor to see the brush size change; moving leftwards to go smaller, rightwards to make it larger.

When zoomed in on a fine detail, there are times when it is handy to be able to see how your fine detail work affects the whole, hold down the 'H' key and you get a bird's eye view at 'Fit-to-Screen' size with a rectangle indicating the picture area which you can move to another part of your picture before letting go, at which point you will se that are at the original zoom level.

I mentioned rotating the canvas. To do this simply hold down the 'R' key and a compass rose appears, then drag to select the angle of rotation, and let go when you have reached it and carry on working at the new angle. One click of the 'esc' key and your picture is restored to the normal position within the canvas.

Changes that please me are that when you add a layer mask to a Smart Object it is now linked. The default setting for the Pen tool is now sensibly for a Path not a shape tool!

Designers faced with small changes in the aspect ratio for double-page spread magazine advertisements can be subtly altered simply using the new tool – Content Aware Scaling (CAS) sometimes known as Seam Carving. This new function intelligently assesses the value of different areas in an image and compresses or expands areas of least value before areas of greater value. Faces, figures circles and fine detail all constitute greater values, whereas skies, clouds and generally areas of lesser contrast are of lesser value.

Layer mask opacity can now be adjusted straightforwardly, Adjustment layers are now more accessible, and vector masks can be have feathers applied non-destructively, making life far easier for retouchers.

A new means of altering saturation that lessens the chances of colour clipping is introduced into the Dodge and Burn tools as well as an adjustment; this is Vibrance which is similar to the tool in Lightroom.

Because Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is the engine behind Lightroom, some of the localised corrections available to Lightroom also can be found in ACR, so simple and non-destructive changes can be made to images before entry to Photoshop proper and raw files can be brought into Photoshop as Smart Objects which allows that interpretation to be altered even after quite a lot of work may have been done in a multi-layered document on that image.

Certain changes to shortcut keys may well cause some confusion, such as Cmd+1 has been brought into line with other Creative Suite programs by making this show the 100% view, and this shuffles the other number effects one along, so accessing the composite RGB channel is now Cmd+2, selecting the Red channel is now Cmd+3.

Photoshop can now run in an Application window, with multiple images within separate tabs, browser-style, and multiple images can be viewed simultaneously for comparison purposes. This can be controlled via the new Application bar.

Bridge has undergone quite a change and been speeded up, some features have been moved around, and some have been dropped. Some of these can still be accessed from the DVD as optional extras.

For those interested in getting advance help to understand how Photoshop CS4 can improve their workflow, I would be happy to demonstrate the program to you – obviously for a fee! I can also give you an insight into the latest Lightroom as well.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

No Goodwood Gallery just yet

The next gallery will not be able to go up for a while as I have exceeded my bandwidth. This is such a shame, but I will attempt to resolve this situation as soon as possible.

Goodwood lives up to its sobriquet – Glorious!

One can only presume that Lord March has some divine connections – how else can he have had good weather on all three days of the Revival Meeting amidst the dismal weather we have had over the summer?

As on every occasion that I have been fortunate to visit Goodwood, the atmosphere was one of incredible good-natured enjoyment from everyone, visitors and staff alike. One cannot praise enough all those who were in positions away from all the excitement who nevertheless wore smiles of genuine enjoyment. I was a little disappointed by the amount of discarded cups and packaging that the members of the public disdainfully left behind for others to clear later.

I came down to Goodwood via Rickmansworth where shortly after six-thirty I picked up Patricia and Nick Rayner, and later met up with Keith Duerden and son in law. The trip was delightful as we watched the mist dispel and the sun rise, offering the promise of the good weather we encountered once we had arrived. As a result of being part of a loose group, the day was very varied and this shows in the disjointed nature of the pictures I took, but it was great to be able to work entirely with just the one lens all day long on the Canon 5D – the Sigma 150-500mm optically-stabilised zoom. For some shots however it might have been handy to have had another body with a shorter lens attached, so I could be found walking backwards to be far enough away to focus!

Now much as I love my Canon 5D, I am considering offering it for sale to allow me to step up to the MarkII version, which sounds absolutely fantastic. After raiding savings to buy that, my eyes are now watering for something in the middle of the range, but having generally been blessed with over-secreting want glands, I have to also consider other upgrades such as a MacBook Pro, but in keeping with everyone else, I have been totally unsuccessful in propagating money trees!

Anyway for my close family and a few colleagues unable to attend the meeting there is another gallery of images from the day. Do enjoy.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

A Warm and Sunny Afternoon Tempts Me Out

Yes, I could carry on working, but 'sunny' and 'warm' have not come together much of late, so after charging all my batteries, I grabbed my camera backpack and was off to see what I could capture at Marston Moretaine.

There is the Millennium Park there – disused quarries from brickwork days, and I was sure that I might just capture some dragonflies. I was lucky, I even managed one in flight!

I also spotted a rabbit, but the shot was nothing special, however the reeds and teasels, the pair of chinese dancers (fuschias), and the carvings did interest me; as did the reflections and shoreline. I hope they can be of interest to readers of this blog.

Tomorrow I join Patricia and Nick Rayner to pay another visit to Goodwood for this year's Revival Meeting, and we'll meet up with Keith Duerden when we arrive. I first met up with Patricia and Keith when they were the photographic department at Mobil Oil In Victoria, just a few years back – in the last century and the days of film!

Friday, 19 September 2008

A Quick Visit to Nexus Restorations

Grant Jenkins used to work for Metro Photographic in London, and now works with Nexus Restorations. I had cleared my work, and the sun tempted me out to nearby Kimpton to pay him a visit. Naturally the reason behind this trip was to take yet more photographs, this time of men at work.
I was made extremely welcome, and I quickly set up my tripod. It was amazing how quickly everything was covered by fine sawdust! I left the camera and tripod cases outside. There were going to be no changing of lenses today! Also I found shooting with the 80-400mm on the tripod was none too easy and soon dropped that in favour of shooting handheld, and upping the speed to 800 ISO.
I was also asked to take some pictures of Pickle, the dog, but that was done outside for reasons of Health & Safety. I shall put up temporarily a small gallery of pictures of her as well.
I tried to get a variety of different angles, which did rather favour Steve, purely because I could work all around him! I hope the shots give some pleasure; it was certainly fun to try to capture what went on in such a tight timeframe.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Gordon Hickie comes of age – Sixty!

I was invited to join Kit Greveson and James Greveson Hickie to help celebrate Gordon Hickie's sixtieth birthday party in a school gym in North London on Sunday 14th September. Due to being too busy sorting myself out and diabolical traffic I arrived late.
Fortunately for a change, the weather was fine and bright, with the sun streaming through the high windows for much of the time.

The room was crowded with small groups of chatting friends and families, so I grabbed some food and sat down to eat something before grabbing my camera to try to capture some of the jollity.

In the main I was taking photos of the band members and those friends of Kit and Gordon that I knew or that I knew were family, and anything photogenic that caught my eye. I was fully aware that most people were taking their own pictures, so really that was all I was doing, the only difference being that my lens was less intrusive (though conspicuous of itself!) as I was generally further away.

I have put up this gallery so others can share the moments I saw and captured. I hope that they give you as much pleasure as I got from taking them.

Gordon is currently the Director of Photography for Holby City, with shows like Silent Witness to his name, and feature films such as Leon the Pig Farmer and Clockwork Mice.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Artists' Day at Luton Hoo's Walled Garden

After a lengthy trip back from Durham, and a night's rest, I spent the morning getting myself sorted for the next photographic sortie – another trip just down the road to Luton Hoo Estate, where the middle of the day was designated a day for artists and photographers. Upon my arrival I pulled up to see Charlotte Phillips with a fork in hand busily putting the finishing touches to weeding and tilling a small patch just outside the octagonal wall of the Gardens.

I was determined to capture this moment so that no one could ever accuse her of not getting her hands dirty! Charlotte heads up the project to bring these gardens back into use and restore them to their former glory – a daunting task for which I hope some of my pictures may help to provide evidence of all those volunteers who give of their time to this never-ending onslaught against weather and bugs, and of some of the beauty already to be found from their hard work.

I went quietly around engaging with the artists and photographers to ensure that no one minded my taking their photographs, and tried to capture the spirit of what had turned out to be a glorious summer afternoon. I found myself chatting to several artists and one or two fellow photographers, and the results of this sojourn are also to be found in the Galleries section on the right.

Sunday will see me visiting friends of mine, Kit Greveson and Gordon Hickie, and their son James, to celebrate Gordon's 60th! Gordon is director of photography for Holby City, who also directed Leon the Pig Farmer and Clockwork Mice. I think I see another gallery coming on…

Next weekend another photographer friend of mine Nick Rayner will join me to visit the Goodwood Revival Meeting as a guest of Lord March, so hopefully another gallery of images…

Trip to Durham

On Thursday, 11th September, Jane and I took a trip to Durham, arriving a minute before the time she predicted – fairly remarkable for a journey of two hundred and forty-eight miles, and although I did take a short detour to a garage no longer selling petrol, and went twice around one roundabout to check my bearings, I can only conclude that she expected me to make those mistakes!

The destination was the Marriott County Hotel, and incredibly, a space beckoned in the crowded car park. Two trips later, my impedimenta were lodged in my room, which I can only surmise the staff mistook for a sauna - it took me nearly a minute to turn it down to 16˚C, and more than half an hour before I could consider it moderately cool!
I was there to do a workshop on Lightroom and Photoshop CS3.

I then set off to find Caroline Smith, Craig Richardson and Jason Candlin my contacts within IMI, none of whom I had met before. It was not long, partly due to everyone being tethered to mobile phones, I also met up with Stephen Owen, who was anchored to an iPhone (I think just to fill me with envy! Or perhaps it was to remind me there are earlier adopters of technology than me!) Steve was in truth Apple's Man for the Show. All were bubbling with vitality, keen to help and determined to make the Show a success. I was made to feel completely at ease straightway.

The first event from my standpoint was to grab my two cameras and walk the short distance over the main road and up the cobbled road across a bridge to a waiting boat, Caroline was to be the last person aboard, and then we would cast off.

Here was my chance to capture some images that would be used in Friday's workshop – we were lucky enough to have some weak and milky sunlight, so after a 'banking' shot of the boat at the river's edge, I focussed my attention on taking portraits of the more animated passengers or those whose faces were familiar – results are in the IMI Boat Trip Gallery on the right. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Lightroom workshop to photojournalists

The 1st of September sees me in West London for a day running through Lightroom, giving an overview and discussing workflows.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Image Nut

Bob Marchant will be launching a new site as a valuable resource for all things digital photographic on the 25th August:

http://www.image-nut.com

Transparent Overlay

Colin Thomas, a top London Advertising photographer, and founding member of London's Digital Imaging Group (see ProDIG.org) has been beavering away to produce a fascinating and useful small program for the Mac.

Overlay, as its name implies can contain an image in a transparent window that can be moved across images within say Lightroom or Photoshop to aid in composition, possibly at the capture stage. This allows a picture to be composed to a tight area with extreme accuracy easily.

The program is in the very last stages before being offered for sale in the coming fortnight. (Colin can be contacted at:
colin@colinthomas.com)

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Maydencroft

I now have a photography booking to cover some of the many Maydencroft Rural's Projects.

Institute of Medical Illustrators AGM & Conference, Durham

I shall be putting on a Workshop covering Lightroom and Photoshop and how this has altered the possible workflows of the digital photographer, more specifically in relation to using digital SLRs.

I will be in Durham on Friday 12th September at the Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County, Durham.

http://www.imi.org.uk/conference/conf2008/ProvProgAug08.asp