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…



Thursday, 29 March 2012

Olympics & Tourism, Google & Travel

This evening The University of Bedfordshire put on a Networking Event to hear from Victor Le Grand on the effects on Tourism from The London Olympics and Nigel Huddleston now at Google Travel, on measuring and understanding  the effects of searches upon the Travel Industry. Both talks were interesting and enlightening, however, I would like to have seen the opportunity of questions after each individual speaker rather than jointly at the end, as it is then still fresh in delegates’ minds, and would encourage more questions.

Once again, meeting afterwards for drinks and snacks allowed for further discussions and as always the standard of the refreshments was excellent, and the acoustics and lighting makes for easy conversation and provides me with the opportunity to capture some of the interaction without resort to disruptive electronic flash, only very occasionally was it noticed that I was photographing, and I think in the shots I have within the gallery, that I have captured a fair sample of what transpired.

I both put a question and raised the point that sadly Luton missed a golden opportunity to obtain funding from central government to make the most of what it could offer London in terms of accommodation for visitors to the 2012 Olympics, and vastly improve access to the M1 by separating the two traffic streams at the Spur Road roundabout so that there was uninterrupted access to the Airport, the Station, the retail area and onward travel to Hitchin, by ensuring the M1 Spur Road traffic is not interrupted by the roundabout with its local traffic. The Olympics provided the rare opportunity to gain Central Government funding for a major improvement to local infrastructure so that Luton could promote all the extra hotel space that London will need, and subsequently benefit from the massive improvement in traffic flow for its industries to be able to expand.

Glider Flying – Ivinghoe Beacon

Wednesday afternoon found me paying a visit to Kevin at Calvert Studios in Leighton Buzzard where I was able to introduce him to some of the features of Lightroom 4, and discuss other issues a busy Industrial photographer has encountered with Apple’s Lion operating system, some were similar to my own experiences, others were problems I had not encountered, and I was unable to offer any explanations, as they were not areas of my expertise. The short demonstration of Lightroom was very different, and Adobe may well now have another customer.

I took a wide sweep from Leighton Buzzard past Grove Lock on the Grand Union Canal and from Dagnall drove up towards Ashridge via Ivinghoe Beacon where I encountered a glider in the sky, at first I was unsure whether it was full-size or just a model, but soon realised it was radio-controlled and I then set myself a challenge to capture it against the Whipsnade Lion to give the shot a distinct location, then I wanted a shot of the man handling the controls with the plane beyond. As I watched the glider come ever nearer I sensed he might be landing the aircraft soon and was able to grab a shot of him reaching to pluck it from the air as it passed – he succeeded, so we got chatting and I learned he works at a local plumbing business, Novamean, and he was Patryk Halczak, so I took one last shot of man and machine.

So now I have a second gallery of model aircraft in flight, the first was of a Spitfire at:


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Foresters Ever Closer to Completion

Toureen Mangan people are more in evidence on the Jarvis development site again, now that soil is going down to add the finishing touches to paths and grassy areas to come. And inside the basement is lessening its grip as a storage area.

Upstairs many of the bathrooms and kitchens have been cleaned up, tiles are up on the walls and down on many of the floors, the staircases are looking far more finished and lighting is going in all the common shared areas, and outside lighting for the pathways are being completed.

My sense of humour baffled one of the men when I asked whether this was the Cameron apartment – he was fitting the number ten to the door with infinite precision! I had had to lean into many of the more finished rooms on my knees as much of the protective coverings were being removed and this led to an amusing encounter where one of the builders noticed I had removed my hard hat, since I was always insistent upon only shooting those properly attired I felt very sheepish, thanked him, and scurried back upstairs to retrieve it – I had needed it off to be able to take one of the shots, and was thus ‘improperly dressed’!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Sawston Village Concert, West Road Concert Hall

Catherine invited me to her girls’ first concert at their new school, where they would be singing with the choir, and other year’s students would be playing in various groups and in a wide range of musical genres.

We arrived at West Road Concert Hall on the Sidgwick Site in Cambridge with seconds to spare in finely controlled panic, Martin took the girls in whilst Catherine and I sought to find somewhere to park the car; once parked we half-walked and half-ran from one side of the site to the other and upon arrival took ourselves to the balcony overlooking the stage, which proved to be an excellent viewpoint from a photographic standpoint. It was also handy that the level of lighting was good and covered most of the stage area.

Catherine and I sat one box back from the front with me positioned at the edge. I was somewhat concerned that I did not obscure the view for the mother and daughter behind who were present when we arrived, but fortunately they were extremely accommodating, though I did apologise and hoped I did not spoil their view too often. The mother was very chatty and had been on a First Aid Course that day and was due to do so again the day following, so was mugging up in her textbook and hoping for a good pass later.

I tried to judge when I could take shots without being obtrusive, and that meant that I could not chance taking shots of the Recorder Group in case the sound of my shutter boomed across the auditorium above their subtle notes. Because the time set on the two camera bodies was different, the shots are almost certainly out of chronological order which is a shame, but overall I am happy that I have captured some of the spirit of the evening, in particular some of the humour of the show.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Photoshop Public Beta

Photoshop CS6 Public Beta is now out and available at: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/photoshopcs6.html

Take a look at the new blur tools which are not modal, and gain their speed of operation when you have compatible video cards because Adobe is using their processing power to achieve the heavy computational load via OpenGL and OpenCL. There are three distinct types of blur Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt and Shift Blur which offer different feels to the blur employed.

Then there is Adaptive Wide Angle which is a new way of dealing with how local elements within an image are transformed – straight lines that due to say the use of a fisheye lens take on a curve can be straightened, parallel vertical lines that appear to taper or expand can be restored to vertical, or horizontal lines that no longer lie horizontally can be pulled back to the horizontal. This is designed specifically to allow for creativity in how an image is projected by constraining local areas within an image to achieve the desired end result.

These two new tools are high on my list of changes in this latest version of Photoshop, but even more fundamental is the new way in which raw files are processed using the 2012 Process Version when passing through Adobe Camera Raw, and this has resulted in the controls being both slightly renamed as well as the way in which they now work is slightly different which may be disconcerting initially, but take the time to use them and you will see that they are ultimately easier to use to get the best result, and that result can sometimes be very much better than before.

Another change which may take a few moments for you to become accustomed is that Adobe have Split the Perspective Crop tool from the standard Crop tool, and once again the new way may take some time for acclimatisation, but it does ultimately make sense. The tools which employ ‘Content Awareness’ have been increased and improved. One new item here is the Content Aware Move tool found within the Healing tools section in the toolbar.

There are changes within the Layers panel, such as the new ability to search for specific layer types, but for me the most important change is that where before there was no indication that ‘Blend If’ had been used on a layer, there is now a symbol displayed, which hopefully will bring more users to this very useful yet little known facility within the Layer Style dialog box. There are other little tweaks in the Layers panel such as being able to colour code multiple layers in one go.

A Properties dialog box has been implemented to bring more order to Adjustment layers, the Print dialog box has been completely reworked to ensure that the chances of colour management changes are not applied twice and the end results are more predictable and well-controlled.

Under the Filter heading is Oil Paint which gives an interesting one-stop location to apply this style of effect, and it is very fast. Lighting Effects has been completely updated offering new controls and improved speed. 3D is now somewhat simpler and is completely hived off into the Extended version. Paragraph Styles and Character Styles have now come to Photoshop which will certainly impress the Design community.

The best way to understand what this latest incarnation has to offer is to download the Public Beta from:
and if you need more guidance, take a look here:

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Open Art Preview Evening

Luton Hoo Walled Garden Project hosted their 2012 Preview and I was invited along by Charlotte Phillips. As I entered the garden and walked along the path, the marquee glowed a warm welcome, and I was greeted by Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men being arranged by the mother of the creator of the piece (my apologies for chopping off Weed!)

Charlotte was there to greet the artists and invitees, I checked to see that she was happy for me to take photos, then strolled around, and was soon listening to a young lad playing a series baroque pieces on the violin. A short while later I began chatting to a trio of folk Singers, who sadly had been relegated to near darkness in front of one of the several industrial heaters, which was a true shame as they played and sang beautifully, and in such dim light it was difficult to take pictures that did them justice.

One of the most striking pieces of art I spotted was a tiny piece by an eleven year old boy, and like the folk singers it was not given any prominence, but it was very creative and beautifully constructed. Over the course of the evening I pointed it out to several people, because it deserved to be seen, and everyone I brought to view it was of the same opinion, and this elicited a similar gesture from someone who took me to a very competent and attractive oil painting which I was told was by a fourteen year old boy.

I met the proprietor of Artscape once again and he introduced me to one of the artists whose work was on display, Mick Miller, and later to Charlotte’s mother whom I had met one time before when I was shooting in the walled garden one summer afternoon. Councillor Richard Stay came up to me querying where he had met me before, but before I could tell him, he had remembered. Whilst watching and listening to the folk group who had found a better lit spot further down, I used a man who was obviously enjoying listening to them as ‘audience’  by shooting over his shoulder, and was pleased that he actually applauded them at the end of one number. We got to chatting and I learned he was a Lambretta fan and an erstwhile tearer of Telephone Directories which party piece brought him fish and chips for him and his mates!
One particular lady held my fascination because of her wonderful hand gestures while in animated conversation, her face and hands were overflowing with ‘life’ and I have only put two shots in the gallery, but I probably took a dozen and they would make a wonderful flickerbook compilation!Towards the end of the evening I found myself in conversation with the two girls serving drinks, one of whom is due to go to Brighton to take a degree in photography. Altogether therefore a very enjoyable evening. I have said little about the art on display but I was taken by some very good watercolours of classic scenes, but since I was specifically avoiding shooting recognisable shots of the displayed work, I hope anyone interested will go along to see them themselves over the next few days. Several people were taking closeups with their camera phones which I felt was in bad taste, as this is in total disregard for someone else’s intellectual property.

I wish the exhibition every success, and hope these shots may whet some people’s appetite.

Foresters – Countdown to Completion

Arriving in Harpenden, I found the traffic much busier than normal, and almost every available parking space occupied or had a car patiently queuing whilst the previous tenant was  gathering their shopping and wits in preparation for their departure. I had already driven around the islands between the High Street and service road, so pulled into the back of the development, hoping I’d be allowed to park on site. Fortunately that permission was granted, which meant I need not panic about Traffic Wardens for a change.

The first sight that greeted me was the power-jetting of the brickwork on the cottages, a sure sign that work is nearing completion. Then I spotted the last roof tiling being done, on the garages towards the front of the site, behind the existing shops.

Topsoil is now appearing around the front, so it will not be long before a new colour appears here – the green of grass; the frontage is beginning to look closer to the brochure picture.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Stockwood Discovers Signs of Spring

I knew that the sun was not due out till the afternoon, and that I might well have my desk clear by then, so I followed up on my emails and telephoning and by half past two I was able to grab my cameras and lenses and pay a visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre. I had spoken to one of the gardeners, Jan, and she had mentioned that the hellebore were out. I spotted some other attractive leaved plants, and later walked through to the lawn and was amazed at how many squirrels were gambolling around on the ground and over the several park benches.

I decided that I would put out some small piles of peanuts on the stones in the centre, but managed to catch my hand and sprayed almost the entire contents of my container into the air! Any animals or birds were due a bonanza, and completely unintentionally. I then walked away to see whether my beneficence was to be rewarded by attracting the squirrels, however only one came to the feast, and there was no way that one was going to broadcast the news to others, and for a long while it was alone. I took a few shots then strolled off and in flew a pair of magpies, and also a couple of crows, so I turned my lens on them, before retreating again.

Later I wandered slowly to the exit, and managed to find a couple of smaller birds before spotting the magpies again in the central area, and one was now scavenging amongst the bark paths for suitable nest-building material. Altogether a very satisfactory afternoon in cool spring sunshine.

Activity Creates Inactivity

Inactivity on the blog front is far from an indication of inactivity.

The time has been filled with completing the tech editing of Martin Evening's next book in the Photoshop for Photographers series, working on the design of a  versatile link plate to improve the mechanical advantage of working with a gimbal head when using shorter focal length telephoto lenses on such heads, meeting and discussing the concept with local precision engineers, and later bringing up the idea with manufacturers and distributors at Focus on Imaging at the NEC in Birmingham.

Then there was discussion with clients on the upgrading of digital equipment, and the implications of and interaction with new software. Carrying out some retouching for clients, and also helping one with tackling their own retouching; this was an interesting and challenging period that began as a discussion, but grew over several days into a full-blown remote training session involving mutual screen-sharing using iChat and my doing some examples on their three-screen setup a couple of hundred miles distant! More recently, I found myself helping someone recommended to me as the person to help in the move from Windows to Mac platform and in the choice of software for video editing. As was pointed out by another photographer, was this the best time, bearing in mind my personal experiences with Apple over the Lion transition, and the direction that company is taking and it's effect on its traditional business users. I am unsure on that particular score, because I do think Apple is failing to appreciate the differences between the controlled ecosystem it enjoys within its consumer products and the pre-existing open and diverse environment with minimal Apple control over its traditional Macintosh using marketplace. It maw want to dominate and control that as witnessed by the Mac App Store, but it is not there yet, and that is very much a place with many well-established third party players, and the end users are very happy with that situation. 'Third-party' is rapidly being expunged from the Apple dictionary.

My main objection to Lion is in its memory-handling, and assumptions being made in this regard, and its clear direction the system software is taking as evinced by Mountain Lion. Almost no thought is being given to its loyal users within the Creative community, as the numbers are insignificant in comparison to the purchasers of the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, now rapidly becoming derogatively described as iToys. I number myself as an owner of some of these, but I view them as tools, but I do not mistake them for workhorse Macs.

I have found some time to take photographs, but never in enough numbers to involve a gallery, and whenever the light has improved in the last fortnight, work has kept me tied to the computer or the telephone!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Foresters Development – Completion Less Distant

Visiting today showed much more groundworks coming on. Externally, the alterations to the pavements and the cable-laying is close to completion, inside, the Portakabin Site Office has gone, and the roof over the Electricity Sub Station nears completion, and many more external walkways have been screeded. Behind now the gardens are taking shape with the turf settling down.

The boiler room in the basement seems to be close to being finished. Upstairs many of the staircases are having the skirting finished and receiving a coat of paint, and overall much of the finished shapes are becoming apparent, and many more bathrooms are being fitted out.

Overall, the pace of change seems to have moved up a gear.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Great Amwell

Choosing a meeting venue with an English couple and Golden Retriever who have spent the last several years in Provence was a challenge I faced on Wednesday. The idea was to meet somewhere halfway between where I am located near Luton, and London where Peter and Diana have their English base.

A motorway service station was not going to fit the bill, and the direct link was the M1, so I chose a spot I had first been to some three years back when working for a whole day covering the photographing of a series of Hertfordshire projects for Tom Williams of Maydencroft Rurals – Amwell Nature Reserve, close by Ware.

The spot I chose was in the heart of the village; the George IV public house, and despite setting out from our respective bases in London and Luton at differing times, I arrived within a minute of Peter. The purpose behind our meeting was he was shedding his London home of several Bowens electronic flash heads, and they would add to my own kit handily.

The handover would take place later, for the moment we would take a wander through the nearby graveyard which was awash with a profusion of snowdrops, and as graveyards go, this one was charming as it was hilly with pathways winding through trees, and so quiet and peaceful. All three of us chatted as we walked around and finally made our way towards the New River, with its ducks, geese and coots, and the tranquil island with its massive Weeping Willow and beyond a redwood tree rising ramrod straight into the grey sky, with both providing serene reflections in the glassy surface of water. That was one side of the bridge, and on the other an old rustic cottage currently up for sale.

We crossed across a quiet road, and eventually came to a gated railway crossing whose sign implied we were required to phone to check it was safe to cross if we had a dog, however, when I did phone I was told patiently the warning was really meant to cover the moving of animals in groups across the tracks, such as sheep and cattle!
We walked alongside the canal, sometimes with Daisy unleashed, sometimes under more strict control, taking in views across the wetlands to the hides and the golden reedbeds. we looped around and finally back up to the pub, where we had a light snack lunch with wide ranging conversation covering Peter and Diana’s joint careers as photographer and stylist and life around the world, but they have a lot of decorating to complete before returning to France, so it was time to transfer the flash gear to my car and let them go back to painting ceilings.

For all of us it was great break, and we were soon back on the road.