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, 31 August 2010

Trip to Bosham and Beyond

I have been looking forward to this trip for some time now; Bob Marchant had asked Adam Woolfitt and I whether we would join him and go sailing – sadly, Adam was not available as he was going to be at Aldeburgh. Bob introduced me to another sailor who would be joining us – Brock. I came down to Bosham from Luton on Thursday and we went out to a local fish and chip shop to collect our supper, where we met another photographer, who seeing my camera started up a conversation with us both.

One of the amusing moments on the first night was setting up ‘PooCam’ – Bob had created a camouflaged video camera and was setting it up to catch the persistent dog owner who had been allowing their dog to mess on Bob’s verge. Sadly it was not a conspicuous success, as when it was on, it completely swamped the broadband preventing any connection to anything else, as well as having a very poor image quality.

The following morning we collected our gear and once Brock arrived we set off walking to the Sailing Club to catch the tender to take us to the boat’s mooring. It was not long before we were making our way along the channel under power,. Once we were well clear of the moorings Bob and Brock showed me how to help ready the sails, and it was not long before we were pulling past West Post and seeing Portsmouth and making for Priory Bay.

The sky which had started as edge to edge clear blue sky soon gathered clouds, but for most of the outbound trip we had sunshine and just occasional cloudy spells, we had a great lunch at anchor before setting sail for home, during which I was allowed to take the helm, with only one minor mishap. Both the sailors were happy to entrust me with control for probably a quarter of the trip back, which was gratifying. After an enjoyable supper, a good read, and a night’s rest, I set off for Beaulieu, and then home.

Thanks, Bob, for a great two days – I enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tringford Pumping Station

Unlike many reservoirs the Tring trio of Startops, Marsworth and Tringford serve to ensure that the Grand Union Canal has enough water at its highest point, so the three reservoirs are used for storage and Tringford Pumping Station supplies the canal.

Originally the means by which this was done was by a Beam Engine, later supplanted by a diesel engine and now by electric pumps. There is therefore a large volume of free space within this Grade II listed building which British Waterways plans to use to house free standing offices that do not rely on any structural support from the original structure. I felt that photographs of the interior prior to the installation would be a worthwhile record, and am hoping that this can be arranged, so today I took the first of some external shots.

I then took a stroll to the nearby end of the Tringford reservoir and at the hide took some shots of a typical pastime for the lake, the walking of dogs, and a view from the hide before returning to my car parked at Little Tring bridge, where I took a quick shot from a tender belonging to one of the moored narrowboats of the bridge itself, over the Wendover Arm of the canal.

Whilst in the area, I met up with Billy the Baker, and Bob the Bailiff who was fishing from the bank and was able to record the catching of two rainbow trout, both of which were returned to the lake. Although showers were forecast, it was simply very windy with fast scudding clouds, and no rain.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Cat-sitting Week Starts

After acquiring a cat for a week’s sojourn with me, I just had time to pay Stockwood Discovery Centre another swift visit, before going off to Clophill for an afternnoon’s photographic trip around historic Clophill. I spent less than an hour yet spotted a furry hoverfly and flowers that were still in their prime and others that were hanging on for the end of summer. Shapes and patterns still caught my eye, hence the cycle rack as an endpiece.

Remy the cat I shall be looking after, sadly has to remain indoors, so I have to me more careful to keep doors and windows less open that I’d like, I just hope he can appreciate the less regular feeding pattern he may have to endure.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

An Afternoon Walk around Clophill

It is not every day that you get invited to tour around an area with such a knowledgeable guide as I had this afternoon, in Andy Fox. Andy knew the names of the birds we came across, the history of the places we visited and the types of aircraft that flew over. He is both a keen fisherman and a skilled photographer, and we had a great day with interesting conversation and a good deal of exercise,  punctuated by a fair amount of laughter.

The weather surprised us both because when I arrived, it was dull and overcast, with a warm wind blowing, but as it turned out this gave us great lighting, often fleeting, which sometimes meant one or both of us darting up or down hill to be in the the right position for a particular shot, which despite the vast open space often meant we crashed into each other. We met only one other person at Cainhoe Castle, and a family group at old St. Mary’s Church, during our three hours in the country.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Putteridgebury on a dull day

I knew that the chances were low that the sun would be shining, but nevertheless I took up John Sentinella’s offer to show me around grounds of Putteridgebury in his lunch hour. It is a College that is now part of the University of Bedfordshire, and he is connected with the Knowledge Hub.

The grounds are extensive with lawns, an ornamental pond, and numerous trees planted by dignitaries and royalty over several years. There are two mulberry trees, rather than bushes, but sadly one has suffered badly with a large branch having been brought down by recent winds. John offered me one of its fruit as I had never tasted one, and very sweet it was.

 My guide was showing me around and passing on some of the history, and took me to its very own observatory used by the local astronomical society. during our walk John mentioned they had Muntjac in the grounds and I even managed to catch sight of one, albeit in the distance.

They have beehives, rabbits and numerous birds, the only missing feature was sunshine! But I enjoyed the fleeting visit and the splendid Lutyens architecture and Jekyll landscaping.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Wendover Woods Trip

I met up with Lizzy and Tim for a walk in the woods. Wendover Woods is a vast tract of Forestry Commission Land that is beautifully organised and maintained. The road is in good condition and it is a fair drive to reach the centre, wending its way through the trees with occasional laybys and some automatic ticket dispensers before you arrive at the car parks, Café and toilets. When we arrived, there were plenty of parking spaces still available.

The café staff are young, numerous, cheerful and helpful, and we dropped in for some drinks before setting off. We strolled in dappled sunlight past the car parks and through a grassy area with several groups setting up gazebos, tents and barbecues, with families playing football and all thoroughly enjoying the warm weather and open spaces.

Soon we took a left through the trees and entered a long winding gravel path with wild flowers, weeds and bushes either side, and it was soon time to take out the camera to record the abundant insect life. The dragonflies like miniature helicopters flew around us at one stage, but never settled in our sight and travelled at incredible speed. I was not lucky enough until much later, to get a shot of one, and even then it was at a distance and incredibly well camouflaged.

There were several different species of butterfly, and some specimens were showing distinct signs of wear on their wings, presumably from the high winds and rain we have experienced of late. There were not too many aphids, but ladybirds abounded as did hoverflies and what seemed like a battle-tank style fly, full of barbs and armour. I am presuming from a slight similarity to the smaller hoverflies that several I shot were female – their eyes were separated in the middle. In one part, there were several crickets and grasshoppers, all congregating on some dry dead leaves.

On our return, the numbers of people had increased substantially. We stopped at the café for a meal of toasted panini, and drinks, before having a last twenty minutes walk in a different area where we larked about testing our balancing skills. Since Lizzy and Tim were planning to watch the Liverpool-Arsenal match on Sky at a pub, we parted and I spent a pleasant last hour at College Lake, where I got shots of a fly becoming supper for a damselfly.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Caddington Leaks

In just over a week the village has sprung two Water Mains leaks, the first outside the Fish and Chip shop, the second right outside my front garden. I was working when the Balfour Beatty two-man team arrived to trace it, but they had yet to find it when I started to make a photographic record of the work. The sun was low on the horizon, and fortunately it had stopped raining.

When I spoke to ask whether they minded my taking photos, I got to learn that it had been they who had last year repaired my stop cock, and they had no objections so long as I ensured that if they transgressed Health & Safety regulations would I warn them and make sure I did not attempt to take any photos until they once more complied.

For being allowed to photograph Joe and Ivor at work, they were duly rewarded a cup of of tea and coffee midway through the evening! By the time they had found the leak and capped it, it was dark, and they had three more jobs to complete, all in St. Albans, before they could call it a day. Fortunately they told me all were far simpler than this one. I bade them good night to offload what I had taken.

The picture story is in the galleries to the right.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Three Counties Afternoon

I went to Tringford Reservoir first because a friend John was fishing at Marsworth, and as I returned to Tringford I took a look at Startops reservoir and spotted that due to the  low level it almost resembled a muddy beach, and a heron was perched on one leg on a branch over the stream entering the lake.

Bob, the bailiff for Tringford, was taking the opportunity for a spell fishing, so I took a couple of shots in case they were of use to him later in the month. I stayed awhile before setting off to Maydencroft Manor to meet up with Tom Williams to collect a camera I had lent him and to let him try out using my 80-400mm Sigma on his newly-acquired 550D.

He had friends around, so after a cup of tea and a chat; with lens handed over, I asked whether he objected to my taking a wander round the gardens again. He was fine with that, so I strolled around and spotted some discarded peacock feathers before I caught up with the owner, he was very quiet for a change! I came across a lovely cock strutting his stuff, looking as if he had fluffy boots. I then drove off down Maydencroft Lane towards Charlton, birthplace of Charles Bessemer, the inventor of the Besemer Converter.

I stopped for a while in the lane where I came across first a really tatty butterfly and fleetingly a beautiful and tiny blue specimen. I tried in vain for a while to get a shot of it and meanwhile found a similar sized butterfly with a beige underside with beautiful spotted detailing, only to find that when it opened its wings, it was the elusive blue one! Whilst following the butterflies I also spotted a cricket.

I took some shots of straw bales in a sloping field and later caught sight of a family taking to the field with children on their bikes. I called in at the Windmill pub for a swift half of cider by the stream in Charlton where they were rearing some ducklings, before returning to Bedfordshire near Wandon End as the sun was low over fields of ripe wheat.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

An Entire Gallery of Hoverflies

As a direct result of helping Adam Woolfitt to solve what looked like a terminal situation with his computer, he asked me to meet him to collect a present to say thank you for saving him from having to pay out a hefty sum for a new motherboard. We met on a garage forecourt at Hemel Hempstead where he gave me a pistol grip and electronic cable release that he had personally made up in his home workshop.

At the handover we both practised using the grip to take macro photographs of some local hoverflies, and he learnt just how hard it is to capture these, sharply focussed and free from motion blur, but it proved the grip would work. That was Sunday and so today, Tuesday, I spent a break from the computer to give it a full and thorough-going test in my garden, first with his loaned Sigma 180mm macro without optical stabilisation and with the smallest extension ring and then with my Canon 100mm with stabilisation.

The first row were taken with the 180mm, and the rest with the 100mm. If the longer lens had had stabilisation, it would be easier to work because of the extra distance from the subject, but it is far heavier and the lack of stabilisation is really noticeable.

I was operating using a standard Canon 550EX Speedlite which meant it was very easy for the flash to be inadvertently shielded by intervening leaves above the hoverfly, resulting in lost frames due to severe underexposure! However, the grip proved its worth in allowing me to have a more balanced camera platform, and I am pleased with the gallery of images I succeeded in capturing. I will add, some images have been cropped for compositional reasons.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Tringford Herons, Ducks and Geese

Not all the pictures this time are mine, and I think it should be obvious – colleague John Sentinella was down at Tringford for a spot of fishing earlier on and returned, and when we met up he suggested he’d give me a hand whilst I photographed from the opposite bank for a change. I lent him one of my cameras and he turned it on me!

Between the times when he left and returned, Bob Menzies took me out in one of the boats so I might be closer to some of the herons, and even he was surprised by how close we came, I was lucky to get quite a few shots and I now know a little bit more of their habits.

I shall also be working on a series of images of the fishermen’s landing stage and moorings and the lake to create a panorama. Whilst we were on the other side, I managed to get low down by the overflow to take some of the shots of the greylag geese and also a swan and a Grebe.

Before leaving I went towards the reeds where I captured damselflies, and finally a group of ladybirds.