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 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, as well as Sales for a leading London-based colour laboratory and has trained many on a one-to-one basis, in the UK and Europe.

Still a pre-release tester for Adobe in the US, for Lightroom and 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…



Saturday, 28 April 2012

Stockwood Exclusive Viewing

Today the weather was decidedly inclement; drizzly and grey, and I was meeting a friend introduced by Priti, wife of another local photographer. I arrived early for the appointment, in order to see what I could find of interest in the new season’s plantings. I knew it was challenging with such a paucity of light, but an advantage sometimes with very flat lighting, is that it can be ideal to bring out the beauty in flowers. Having droplets of rain can also add a certain je ne sais quoi.

I strolled through to the very far end by a circuitous route, taking stock of the possibilities before opening the camera bag to bring out a camera, and drew up outside the long greenhouse housing the succulents and vines, but on the locked door was an explanatory sign as to why it was closed. Nearby there was a plant that took my interest and also there was a bench where I could rest the bag, so I took out my 100mm Macro on the EOS5D body, set it up for an aperture of f/9 at 640 ISO and as I chose the shot I wanted, I was distracted by a small group of visitors, and then, heard a hail from beyond – it was Sue; of bird-feeding fame, one of the leading gardeners, who greeted me warmly and asked was I interested in her opening up for me. I thanked her, welcoming the opportunity, and soon was inside, much warmer, and out of the drizzle! How could I possibly refuse?

We chatted as she inspected some of the exhibits for insect nasties and doing a bit of dead-heading also pointing out possible subjects as we chatted, and I explained my choice of venue, and that I was meeting someone. When my phone alarm sounded, I told her I had better hurry up with the last few shots and make my way to the restaurant. I bade her farewell to lock up and continue her rounds, and once back in the dry of the restaurant, I spent the last few minutes before the allotted time, looking through the shots – ‘chimping’! Helen soon arrived and we chatted for some time over her Americano and my tea, and in that time she met no fewer than three separate groups of people she knew. Just before we left, Sue knocked on the window, and it turned out – they knew each other! The last couple we met as we all headed for the entrance, turned out to be an Alan and Pauline, Alan is in the Building Trade, which was indeed fortuitous, as I am likely to need help in that direction as make the house more saleable – handy indeed. Altogether, a very productive afternoon undampened by the gloomy weather!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Two Studham Floral Displays

Driving through Studham on the way to Dagnall and eventually Ashridge Forest, I spotted two bankside garden beds awash with Spring colour and felt I just had to stop and come back to grab some shots they were just too good to miss.

I parked round the corner from the main road beyond the Pub, and decided that shooting with the 300mm although would be challenging to get close, would isolate individual flowers and show them against a strongly blurred background, and so it proved – I was a good distance away, and was lucky there was a narrow pavement to help me keep safe from passing cars!
As I moved across the road having taken shots in the first garden, the house owners returned, so I thought it best to explain what I had been doing, and fortunately the owner was more than happy.

The second garden bed was much smaller, and also sported a fine dandelion display! But what struck me here was a pure white daffodil alongside a yellow one that looked as if it had been sprayed with white paint. It is this pair that heads this piece.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Closing Stage of Construction

The atmosphere at the site was somewhat different, people without hard hats scurrying around organising deliveries; new unfamiliar faces of different workers, taking over from those of the main contractors, Jarvis and Toureen Mangan. There was an air of vibrancy, excitement and purpose, it did not seem like just another day, one of many; everyone seemed to know that this chapter was coming to a close and the birth of a new one was just beginning. Foresters was going to become a community of homes and shops, the shells were going to be filled, the sounds would no longer be those of construction, they would be the sounds of ordinary life, of new beginnings.

Although I found that in the retail units there was still work to be done, I realised that progress work was no longer with the main contractors, and that my visits had come to a close. I have felt very much a part of this development, I have been shown friendship and respect, and have always been greeted with cheerful banter, told which was their best side, as they struck poses when I passed by, and in return I have ensured that I took photos that always tried to show them in the best light, and it was flattering to be asked for my business card, so they could see what I had covered. Processes were explained to me; features I might be interested in covering were pointed out. It has been good to see how each trade has taken pride in the work they contributed to the whole.

It is interesting to think back to the earliest progress photos I took, during the construction of part of Imperial College, London – the shots were in black-and-white, the camera was a Sinar 5x4 monorail; everything was shot using a tripod and bulb flash, the numbers of shots was limited and far fewer than now where everything has been hand-held, bar the time lapse series taken of the dismantling of the tower crane. Everything has been in colour, yet ranged from the darkest recesses of the basement to exteriors in the brightest of sun. For the technical, I have used from ISO 5000 down to 100, and speeds from 1/4 second to 1/4000th, and everywhere between! And thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Getting Ever Closer to Completion

Jarvis Foresters, Harpenden – Less of a Building Site

Grass and finished paths makes the whole area look more and more like a completed development, and as I entered there were people looking to deliver some of the incomers’ fittings. The sun was shining brightly on the grass, round the back, blossom was appearing on the shrubs. Almost all the paths are now gravel composite where there was tarmac before, and only a few areas remain to be turfed.

Down below the basement is no longer a storage area, but has yet to be marked out for the parking bays, but the security gates are in place, but not yet motorised. Upstairs floor coverings are down in the communal areas, the lifts have their protective sheeting removed as have the glass panels on the staircases, so the next fortnight or so will soon see tenants moving in, and the sounds of construction will be a distant memory, and a new chapter will begin for the new residents.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Old Street, London Wood Carving Restoration

I chose the above image to head this piece partly because it was over the road from the frontage with the wood carving restoration and partly as an exercise involving the removal of people by using three handheld shots and a Photoshop technique that only used the parts of the image which were present in all of the shots I took. Since the cyclist and pedestrians were not present in all of the three shots I took, the technique only displayed the static element – CHANGE.

The technique involving Smart Objects and a procedure known as Median within the Stack Order allows a photographer faced with trying to capture a shot where the traffic of pedestrians or vehicles is constant yet it is necessary to capture a scene that is uncluttered and no single shot is without something or someone covering some part.

I had made good time on my way to visit a Clerkenwell photographer who was awaiting my arrival to help him with his installation of a new Mac and bring him up to speed with Lightroom 4 having skipped all the earlier versions and wanted to ease the transition from Photoshop. So grabbing a few images to use was helpful, and from a personal standpoint I was interested in a frontage of a building where they were restoring some exquisite wood carving that had somehow managed to escape annihilation from the ravages of World War II.

I have had to resort to creating the gallery of just three shots by hand-coding, because the smallest number of images that Lightroom offers is a grid of three by three images; but against all odds I succeeded, and despite frustration along the way, it was satisfying to achieve.

I had left the crowded Tube carriage and stepped up the ramp to Old Street at literally 08-59! I then headed along the north side towards Clerkenwell and soon came across a man cleaning up some incredible wood carving to a frontage from a long gone era. I am presuming it had been covered in black paint for the better half of the 20th Century, and except for the bottoms of the timber, was in excellent condition – the workmanship was outstanding, and entirely unexpected, yet this was a route along which I had travelled earlier in my career, many hundreds of times without ever noticing it.

I know nothing of what the building was, but considering how heavily bombed this area was during the Second World War, I was astounded that it had survived in such condition. I found it very reminiscent of Grinling Gibbons, and later that day I was to see work of this man twice more in two different photographers' homes – what a coincidence. Naturally I have absolutely no idea of who did this work or what lay beyond the leaded pains of stained glass, but it has me interested!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Jarvis Foresters – Grass Goes Down

I made a point of arriving early in order to catch the laying down of the turves as a continuation of the previous day, but learned that what had been done was all that was being laid this side of Easter, so I have shots of the first laying complete, so having captured that I moved to the basement which is much less crowded, but not yet clear enough to do the marking out of the parking bays, and I suspect the pavers outside will need to be completed so that vehicles can enter the underground car park to remove the remaining stored items.

Above ground the metal frames that render the basement skylights safe are mostly in place, the individual garages now have their up-and-over doors. The staircases in some instances have their glass panels, banisters and skirting, and in places metal trim is being fitted.

Wrought-iron black painted rails are being fixed in place, and now most of the exterior path lighting is in place. In some of the apartments the lifts are now having their protective plastic covering removed, more bathrooms have been tidied. Wooden balustrades have yet to painted or varnished, flat signs and numbers are now up – levels of completion vary across the site, and I have tried to reflect this. Toureen Mangan high viz jackets were very much in the majority with Jarvis and Balgard completing numbers.

It was a bright and buzzing area with evidence of the previous night’s rain glistening in bright sunlight, and it was pleasantly warm.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Jarvis Foresters – Paths and Pavers

Toureen Mangan are once again hard at it laying down the tarmac for the paths, which are due an epoxy bonded gravel top surface eventually, the topsoil is down for the grass turf which is due any day now, possibly going down upon the arrival of the forecast rain later this week.

I arrived somewhat late in the afternoon having been absorbed with other work in the morning and early afternoon. The entrance to the site was having the last of the pavers being laid at the service road end as I made my entrance. At the other end, they were also laying the last few blocks as I left the site; the area I had seen started on my last visit was now complete bar the edges. At the far end to the right one of the drains was being given a thorough check and found to be flowing well.

I managed to capture yet another kitchen being completed, and I was able to take some high-level shots from the balcony. And around the back the garden path was tarmacced, and the turves laid much earlier now looked like a lawn.

This is definitely the countdown. Somehow I need to get down to the show the final turf going down within a couple of days, and by that time the entrance to the underground car park should be clear so that it can be emptied for the various bays can be painted.

Warm Walk in the Country

April 1st – No joke, it is sunny and warm, with almost edge to edge blue sky and contrails from jets at high altitude supply the only clouds, and because I listened to the forecast for a chilly day, I was over-dressed and walking the circular route around Hexton near Hitchin with a camera bag and three cameras proved to be very warm.

There came a point in the walk where I arrived at a road and no marker of which route to take, and with the benefit of hindsight, I realise I chose wrongly so although I probably covered the distance, I think my second half was not along the correct route. However it did mean that the sun was no longer in my face, but on my back. I arrived back at where I parked the car, had a brief lunch and some orange juice, and spotted the entrance to Barton Chalk pits.

I decided that here might be a chance to spot local wildlife, but sadly these were not pits, just workings into the hillside, so no water, a very pleasant place to walk and admire the scenery, but with a high sun little in the way of picture opportunities, but I did have company; I met and chatted to someone who had hoped to find butterflies or birds, but like me was destined for disappointment.

I drove from there to Pulloxhill which had a charming cottage in its centre and on to Flitten with a splendid church, before returning via  Beadlow (where I spotted the bright yellow and pink blossom beside the road), to Ampthill Park. I wandered firstly to a small pond I had spotted from the main road, but was barely there a second before a single young coot disappeared into the reads and cover. So I walked back and over the hill to another larger pond that could just be classified as a lake where a few fishermen were still there, though I saw activity that suggested not for much longer! I managed to catch an equally fleeting glimpse of a squirrel that had made its mind up that I meant danger, and promptly scampered from one tree to the next to put a distance between us.

Certainly, this day was the longest day of exercise in the great outdoors since last year.