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…



Monday, 28 February 2011

Marsworth – Teeming with Birdlife

Taking a walk between Marsworth and Startopsend reservoirs on a Sunday morning in February, especially having got up early to have a haircut, is certain to be on the chilly side. Add to that a biting wind, and despite some sunshine, it was good to have fingerless gloves to hold a camera.

I spotted a chaffinch cheerfully chirping early in the walk, but was unable to see it clearly through all the branches, next I spotted  a robin and a pied wagtail, and learnt that the robin was distinctly territorial, so the wagtail was soon displaced from the fence top! The early part of my visit with its sunshine allowed me to take shots of various pochard (Click the blue text here to see some beautiful birds), both ducks and drakes and also the red-crested pochard, but as the sun was overtaken by clouds, and families with children threw bread to the mallard and coots, in swooped the jealous and greedy black-headed gulls, intent on stealing every last scrap by attacking en masse.

What was interesting about that is that invariably most of the gulls would leave the melée early and chase the first successful gulls for the morsel, leaving just a few of their number on the water to pick up the sodden remnants. I managed to capture some of the gulls who had the bread, who on being chased managed to lose a grip on their food; in one case because it decided it wanted to sqwawk!

Although I brought along some seeds for the smaller birds, none flew to my carefully prepared small piles strategically place in attractive settings such as stripped bark, fence-posts, tables and winding gear – at least not whilst I waited at a distance!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Bricklaying Begun at Jarvis’ ‘Foresters’ Development

Since my last site visit, Toureen Mangan has received another award – Sunday Times – Best 100 Companies to Work For. Not only that, but they have moved from 40th position 25th in the rankings; so congratulations are in order!

Also since my last visit bricklaying has begun, and the last level of concrete slab is under way. The entrance to the basement car park is now being cleared. The pictures in the gallery tell the story.

Sunset and the End of the Day

The day was slowly dying as we left Luton and headed for the Tring reservoirs; a frequent destination of mine, but a completely new experience for the girls. I had already received an enthusiastic “When can we go back to the Discovery Centre, Bumper?” so I was on a roll for the trip to Tring.

On the way they recognised the Pitstone Windmill where two summers ago we had enjoyed some time taking individual multiple images of each of the girls at different places in the same picture. I had shown them how to paint through masks in Photoshop and each had created their own composite pictures on my Mac, and taken away a small print at the time. We soon came down the hill and into Bulbourne where they had a fleeting glimpse of the Grand Union Canal.

In Tring, we turned off to Marsworth, over a humpback bridge and parked by the kissing gate entrance to the Marsworth and Startopsend reservoirs, but just before we entered I took them across the road to see the Tringford reservoir and the Trout Stream.
We walked along the banked path between the two reservoirs, and along the canal towpath, with a stop for creating ripple patterns in the water with small branches, making eyes and eyebrows (an eyebrow activity!)

I thought barge families were supposed to be ‘green’ but a Greenpeace-bannered narrowboat was chucking out great gouts of blue smoke as we walked along the canal. We were having a very peaceful end to the day as the sun set over the water, and ducks flew in overhead, to land on the lake.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Stockwood Discovery Centre – Family Visit

Due to an “it just came off in my hand” brake disaster with her own car, it was well into the afternoon before Catherine was able to arrive with her two girls for a planned visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre.

I wanted all of them to realise just how extensive it all was, so had decided on a plan to do a whistle-stop trip around everywhere before the girls were to decide which area they should come back to. I then spotted Janet who was carefully trimming one of the hedges and introduced her to my family. She then generously offered to take us into the currently locked greenhouse to show me some lemons and limes.

It was a privilege indeed as there were also some other stunning exhibits and she told us some of the stories behind rescues she had achieved with her green fingers, reviving some plants others had considered impossible; one that had needed a splint, but most that simply needed some TLC. Also, a cactus that had been left in a box by the greenhouse door by a visitor.

When we came out a short time later, it came as quite a surprise to learn that the Centre was due to close in just ten minutes! We had barely arrived – so much for my whistle-stop tour, but we did spend the last few minutes in the Play Area after a very short exercise on the press-up bars, and both the girls asked could we come back again. Then before the sun went down we headed for the Tring Reservoirs.

Marketing - Networking Event at the Knowledge Hub

Wednesday afternoon, early evening, found me breaking away from a day helping to retrieve a client's corrupted hard drive, and driving to Putteridge Bury to attend a marketing seminar at the Knowledge Hub; a department of the University of Bedfordshire.
Arriving early gave me few moments to chat to John Sentinella and one of the evening's speakers, Anthony Prior of Sheridan Global, before joining the rest of the delegates downstairs for tea, coffee, snacks and informal chats – in short: networking!
In those few minutes the numbers below swelled considerably, and it was not long before the room was a buzz of animated conversations amongst small groups around the central table of food and drinks. The room is somewhat baronial in style with wooden panelling and a magnificent fireplace at one end of the room with a hanging tapestry above, beyond and to it's right, stone window surrounds with just a hint of light from outside. After a while we were summoned by a ratchet-wielding Master of Ceremonies to move to an even grander room where the presentations were to be made.
There were two speakers offering two perspectives; the first challenging our preconceptions of 'Value' and 'Customer Satisfaction' the second by Anthony Prior given over to showing how his company records how shoppers behave by plotting their eye movements during typical forays into various shops and stores, then analysing their results, and presenting these to the commissioners of their work with their analysis of the findings.
The evening was well-attended, and I have tried to convey the atmosphere of the gathering and the animated discussions that ensued, hopefully without influencing any of what I captured adversely. I was the fly on the wall; but it was the meeting's buzz, not mine, that is shown in the gallery's pictures.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Catching Up with Developments at Foresters

The start of the day was forecast as being misty, with a slight chance of brightening in the afternoon, but it was a week since I had visited the Jarvis and Toureen Mangan development just off High Street Harpenden, so after a check with a colleague living at the far side of the town, I gathered my kit and set forth.

After only a short while, the sun shyly appeared with a milky appearance, so maybe all those working here were righteous! So that was indeed a pleasant surprise, and it soon mean that many of the tradesmen out in the sun began shedding outer garments and the guard rails became coat hangers!

The structures were taking shape, and areas previously used for storage were now being excavated, and the spoil being removed by the lorry load. Also with the basement floor nearing completion, this meant that this could now become a secure area from the worst of the weather.

I have tried to convey several of the different activities taking place, so the chronology is not strictly correct, but to gain a complete idea of what was taking place it meant choosing different viewpoints. One person cannot be in more than one place at a time, so if a task was being repeated, I would return later to capture the missing angles, so a more complete story emerges. The other aspect was this meant the lighting was vastly different, and in photographic terms this meant shooting at 200 ISO outside to 4000 ISO in the basement area, and shutter speeds outside might vary for trying to show movement using slower speeds at one moment and stopping motion at others. This was challenging, and I have to own up, I did make mistakes as a result!

As I left the site, I then found that not only had the sun come out, but so had the crocuses. Spring may soon arrive!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Quiet Tringford, Slightly More Active Marsworth

I had hoped to be taking a boat out on Tringford on the Saturday morning, but sadly it was not to be, largely due to delays in my leaving in the first place; down to frustrating phone calls to banks. There was not much activity on Tringford beyond a couple of pike fishermen, and likewise along the Trout Stream, so after spending a cold time waiting and hoping, I decided on moving to Marsworth where there was a little more activity, and I was generally not very lucky with the sunlight, so there was not much to show for my efforts.

I stayed close to the reeds and was occasionally visited by Mallards, and Coots and overflown by a Cormorant and Gulls, the Tern were concentrated mainly on the far end close to the Grand Union Canal, but never came close.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

John Miller – Handyman

In the winds of last week I lost my back gate and and part of my fence. John is well-known by my neighbours for his work, his reasonable prices, and his trustworthiness. So when I learned of the damage, I obtained his phone number and called him immediately. He was so busy that he would be unable to come and fix it till Wednesday, so with the winds forecast not to abate for three days, I was distinctly worried that unless I could do something to secure the gate itself, I would soon find myself once more having to fix the whole fence!

I jury-rigged a support eventually, by the use of a wheelie bin and and a judiciously placed brick. Far more fortunately the winds abated somewhat, and so the crudeness of my work was sufficient, and today, John arrived and set to removing the remnants of damaged fence and post, and started on the reconstruction and since I could not go out for fear of missing a delivery by City Link, I decided with John’s permission to capture the repair work for the blog. Only for a period of ten seconds or so did the sun come out!

I was at least some help as a spare pair of hands, but my most important task was to provide central heating in the form of mugs of hot tea! Not forgetting writing a cheque at the end of the work. The work is now completed; still no sign of the delivery and since the rescheduled visit came about whilst I went out to buy a roll for lunch, I shall probably have to forego that luxury today as well!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Foresters Harpenden, 8th February Visit

The morning began as promised by the forecasters – brilliant sunshine from the start. I gathered my camera gear together and set off for Harpenden. The shuttering I witnessed on the last visit was now a slab of reinforced concrete. Some of the foundations of earlier buildings were being excavated and piles cut back, and one digger was shifting the spoil around.

I watched the preparation of some of the ironwork, the removal of shuttering panels from completed columns, and took several shots in the basement area as this is really taking shape with staircase shuttering being prepared, and the last few areas were now being prepared with a black plastic membrane for the remaining areas of concrete.

With each new visit I see different facets of the construction, it is really interesting work; if the site was a book, it would be described as episodic. Jarvis and the groundworks teams of Toureen Mangan have been doing a good job and I have found everyone helpful and friendly.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Hertfordshire Hedge Layer

I was on the road towards Dagnall, and parked up because I spotted that some hedge-laying was being carried out, and I thought I would simply capture a few shots of the work, but, having parked in front of a gate, I spotted a red kite very low above some bushes across the road. So, my subject for the camera was in that moment no longer the hedge!

I then concentrated on trying to capture the red kite, but although I persevered, it and later its five colleagues, never came anywhere near so close. It was during this time that I heard the sound of a motor ticking over nearby, and I soon realised that my parking of the car obstructed a pickup hoping to leave the field. I rushed over and apologised to the driver and duly moved it out of his way. I returned to trying to capture shots of the kites. By now it was getting ever colder and also the sun was spending more of its time obscured by cloud, so I gave in and returned to the car.

I then noticed that the man to whom I had been talking was now parked up along the road I was about to return on, and he was the hedge layer! I parked against the verge beyond his vehicle and turned on the hazard warning lights and asked whether he minded my taking photos of him, he had no objections, so I tried to get a few shots as he worked the wood that was on the back of his pickup into the hedge. We chatted as I did so, and I learnt that he claimed to be no expert but that the style of his laying was known as Hertfordshire hedge-laying, and that the farm for which he worked had been doing a new section of the boundaries each year, and maintaining past years’ work; all in the aid of providing habitat for wildlife and keeping the fields secure.

I hope to return later on a finer day in the hope of capturing some decent shots of the kites and buzzards that seem to be local to that location.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Hello?

It has always intrigued me in these days of online communication, why people come to my blog, how they learn about it in the first place, and also, whether it is read at all or if it is just to browse through the galleries.

In the comparatively short timespan that I have produced this blog, I have varied the content and emphasis, and tried as best I can to analyse its reception. I have observed that very few people have left comments, and these have mainly been left by friends and acquaintances.

I have generally found that visitor numbers have been primarily from the US – Has this been because we Brits are essentially considered to be 'quaint'? Or have those visitors been expatriate Brits who feel homesick?

Platform usage has swayed back and forth from Mac and PC, but overwhelmingly, been predominated by PC users.

I started the blog with two functions, one was to display a bulk of images to clients and prospects with ease, and the other was to occasionally bring photographic or digital items to the notice of others, the latter has definitely taken a backseat, because it has been easier to tackle issues of that nature directly with those beset by a specific problem or has been so narrow that it has been tackled elsewhere or lead to my visiting the client for one to one guidance.

I have always been a 'detail' man and I do not see that changing, so I often find myself arranging Skype, iChat, or Adobe Connect sessions with people, and these links have been all over the globe. I have contacts in Australia, the US, Malta, Provence, Tuscany, Paris, India, Germany, Scotland…

Where are you? Do reply in a comment to this entry, I am intrigued; also, how did you find me, what interested you, will you come again? Was it out of commercial interest, or recreational?

My eyes and ears are open…