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, 28 August 2012

Poulteney Bridge Environs

I thought I would take a chance on parking in Bath, so set off along the A4, a route I used to use when hitchhiking to and from RAF Yatesbury, I drove right through the tourist-crowded centre and almost out the other side and found a spot at the very end of the road that would take me towards Chippenham, and which meant I avoided a lengthy queue when I finally left later on!
I walked back the way I came, then along Great Poulteney Street till the Bridge, where I took the steps to the riverside. Having navigated those who were enjoying alfresco coffee, teacakes and chat and being bustled by half of humanity, I arrived under the shelter of trees where an artist was well on the way to completing his watercolour of the scene, I checked to see that he did not object to my capturing his work in the foreground, and later was able to capture a couple fascinated enough by his work to discuss how long he had been labouring on it.

I was also able to encapsulate the scene by having a Japanese man directing his partner as to how to take his portrait, a man gently feeling his future offspring kicking or moving within his spouse’s womb, a young mum sunbathing whilst her child slumbered in a buggy, a two-child family resting and a couple ‘chimping’ the most recent digital shot on their point ‘n’ shoot camera by the railings in the background. I promise I did not stage it! Everyone was in their own world, yet part of the whole – bustling serenity.

The roar of the water over the weir was as fascinating for the birds as the human populace who were being brought to the very edge downstream in a pleasure boat, there were two types of gulls and innumerable pigeons and a lone cormorant flew overhead aloof to the smaller birds below. I walked back up the steps and once again passed the couples oblivious to the mass of tourists squeezing past, and walked around towards the centre to choose a higher viewpoint of the weir and the bridge. I spotted that some of the gulls did fly close to the parapet, and hoped in vain I could capture one coming straight for me from the direction of the bridge. Since it was not to be I simply practised catching them in flight regardless, and was quite pleased with my improving success rate.
I spotted a man shooting with an iPad! Maybe, I should consider doing handheld shots using a Sinar P with my old friend Scheimpflug at my elbow! I three times chatted to a photojournalist, Christopher which added interest to my afternoon.

Later, I walked towards the Gardens where the Portishead band was playing in the central bandstand, paid my fee, and joined them to savour the atmosphere and yet a different viewpoint of the Poulteney bridge. My sense of humour came to the fore when I spotted two organic statues, the first which brought to mind Oscar Pistorius of Blade Runner fame in the Olympics, and then another who I imagined to be a black belt in Judo!

The sky had been clouded over for some time, so I chose to return to the car and set off home, so that I could look forward to post-processing  probably 20GBs of raw images from the weekend!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Bristol Harbour Walk

The Bank Holiday Weekend was the ‘Family Get Together’ arranged by Mandy for the Saturday, and I stayed overnight and then had the opportunity to visit both Bristol and Bath before returning.

As I drove in I spotted a great viewpoint for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, so parked up and took a circuitous route to reach the spot I had seen. It was difficult to get exactly the shot I had originally glimpsed, because the sun was too often obscured by cloud, which was a shame.

Bristol was vastly changed from when I last visited, and I decided to take a walk along the harbour front of the Cumberland Basin, and found myself talking to some of the residents in their front gardens. There was a very obvious pride in their gardens, and their floral displays, and one group were particularly happy to chat. One lady mentioned she was visiting and that her display was further along, so I made a point of photographing her balcony and double-checking I had the correct apartment!

It was surprising how many languages I heard spoken amongst the visitors; Japanese, French, German, Polish, Scots, and just occasionally English! After I had walked till I could get a good view of the SS Great Britain, I returned to my car to drive to Bath.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Watford Technology Cluster


Receiving an Invitation to visit the West Herts College to attend a networking event and be shown the facilities at the College was a great chance to meet others within the local creative community and the staff and some of the students. The aims seemed to be very similar to those of the Design Network Association of which I am a member, so it was very easy to accept, and I invited another member, Product Designer, Peter Carr, to be my passenger and navigator and join me for the evening. It was no surprise to meet Andy Coomar and John Breckley, two other DNA members, as they were local.

We were made very welcome by college staff and members of Clock a local Design Group who were one of the sponsors of the evening. We soon found ourselves in conversation with some of the students, one doing 3D design, one doing photography and another illustration. Duncan Murray announced that we should all find someone we had not yet met and discuss what we did and were hoping to achieve, in a two minute conversation – it seemed very much like Speed Dating!

Then we were invited to form small groups and we would be taken on a whistle-stop tour of all the facilities before returning to the Performance area we had been congregating, this gave us the opportunity not only to see the facilities, but also get involved in discussions with staff involved in those specialist areas. I for one, found this very interesting and the equipment was impressive as was the overall layout; it was very well laid out. We returned once again to the first area where there were now pizzas and an array of savoury nibbles, and a wide range of drinks, and then onto the presentations from Jamie Mathews, CEO of Initials Marketing, who gave a resumé of their six years to the present day to help inspire the students present, and a talk from Syd Nadim, CEO of Clock, one of the evening’s co-sponsors.

Then it was back to more networking, I took every opportunity I could to take a few photographs of the proceedings, the facilities we had been shown and when leaving a few quick architectural shots – too good to miss!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Tring Tern Time


On the hottest Saturday for some time, I visited the Tring reservoirs in the hope of capturing images of dragonflies; this did not happen, I saw only one very fleetingly, but with a bright sky there turned out to be a good opportunity to capture gulls and common tern in flight, and with any luck perhaps the terns in dives, something which has proved elusive in the past due to their incredible speed. I was luckier this day, but even then, twice the images were blurred despite shutter speeds of 1/1000th of a second and faster! I have every respect for the TV cameramen who manage to follow actions like this with such accuracy and quality.

A member of the public had discarded a whole slice of bread at some time and a hapless duck went towards it and was duly mobbed by a greedy flock of gulls who gave it no quarter. Flock seems an inadequate description for a collection of gulls, a ‘squabble’ of gulls would seem more appropriate. Terns seem on the whole to be better mannered, though I have seen a successful fishing tern subsequently mobbed and robbed in flight, by its compatriots.

Although I recognise the inflight turn of a tern, to a dive, it is still very tricky to follow the bird down and capture the dive and the result; the burst rate of the EOS7D is just able to capture part but invariably the critically important actions occur between frames. This day I was using the EOS5D II body, so I felt proud I had captured something of the dive because the rate is far slower due to the larger image transfer.

As I wandered away at the end of my sojourn I spotted a robin, and just by the stream saw some tiny fish swimming over the weir, and I shot that shot to show a small girl what her mother was trying to point out, earlier I had seen some slightly larger young fish swimming between tow tanks by the Grand Union Canal.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Late but Welcome Garden Visitors

Writing over four gigabytes worth of files to DVD takes time, so I got the chance to grab a camera and go into the garden and capture some of the more than welcome visitors to my budliea. Till today, I had seen no more than a single peacock and a cabbage white and those only in the last few days. The warm wind that has blown today was a godsend. Bees and butterflies were at last in my garden.

I had to write three DVDs, so that gave me two photo breaks, I made the most of the opportunity and used the 300mm with the 1.4 converter, then changed to the 100mm macro, and for a change I even managed to get some sunshine some of the time, and I now had a tortoiseshell join the peacock and cabbage white. The three shots of the bee in the gallery was a bee simply struggling to climb through the leaves, perhaps he was drunk from all the nectar!

I have been running one of my cameras in a box at a Shell Service Station which has been undertaking a three-week refurbishment of its retail shop, taking a series of time lapse images, hence the mammoth writing of DVDs.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Caddington Stroll


The Day had been cooler, and the threat of rain was forecast for the end of the day, so with email and work up to date, I took a look in my own garden, and finding that the lone peacock butterfly had taken its leave, I took a stroll with the 100mm macro lens along Manor Road.

I found some interesting variegated hydrangea, and a few bees working their magic, and went along Elm Avenue and on into the Crescent, taking the occasional shot, before a few raindrops made me consider whether I should head back, but it stopped after a few more desultory drops, so I continued slightly further before heading back, taking a few more shots along the way, on my return I also decided I should do something about the windfalls from the Bulis tree in the front garden which the wind had blown along the pathway for pedestrians to crush under foot, making a sticky mess, so before I could take a look at my images, I did the decent thing and cleared the path. Tomorrow’s rain can do the rest.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Brogborough Lake Activity

I had thought that there would be a fairly strong wind at Brogborough Lake, and that therefore there would be great opportunities for fast windsurfing, but arriving at the lake the wind was less strong than I had experienced at Caddington when setting off! The Windsurfing Club has changed ownership since I was last here, but the new owners were as happy as Tony had been that I could come along and take photos. Everyone was as friendly as it had been in the past, and I found myself in conversation with two photographers, one retired and one still working. It was a joy to be there.

Whilst there, I did set myself up with a low viewpoint, but because the wind was equally low, I spent much of the time just chatting with occasional bursts of activity. Whilst talking to Ian Jamieson, I would be mid-sentence when someone was getting a good wind, or some dragonflies would come speeding by, tantalisingly close, and so conversation would stop as I made attempts to capture the moments.

I was once again trying out the effectiveness of my ‘boomerang plate’, and I am firmly convinced that if it is put into production it will prove beneficial for photographers using shorter focal length telephotos with gimbal heads. I was using the prototype with my lashed-up pistol grip, and the balance was good, allowing me to follow the action with greater precision.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Tringford and Westcott – In Flight

I paid a visit to Tringford for relaxation and to use just the 300mm lens, I hoped for some glimpses of dragonflies, and the outside possibility of a kingfisher, as one had been spotted, but that was not to be, and in fact even the dragonflies were infrequent visitors, though damselflies were prolific and I caught sight of a lone demoiselle, and a lazy swimming frog. A spider had a well-stocked larder drying in the sun!

I did manage one sharp shot of a dragonfly in flight which was rewarding, in the afternoon as I parked my car I caught sight of a less flitty butterfly that was visiting a single lavender plant, and managed to capture it in flight. The compromise was high ISO making for a graininess of result, and the need for more accurate exposure, so I was lucky.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Slip End Rape Harvest

I am returning from my trip to the Shell Garage again having changed the memory card in the camera I am taking time-lapse images of the refurbishment, when I join a queue of traffic for several farming vehicles entering a field at Slip End, and I recognise the Combine Harvester.
It is the very same machine I photographed a few days back! Once again the late afternoon light is beautiful, so I park the car, grab the camera and follow the vehicles into the field.

I am early enough to see the blades being attached to the cab, much like the Mach 3 razors are clicked onto the handle! I am recognised immediately by the farmer, and we chat very briefly before I start to capture their work in this new field. Once the blade assembly is secured the farmer moves off to combine and the Blade holder is re-sited and then the driver of that vehicles shoots off to collect the tractor and trailer for offloading the rapeseed from the combine harvester.

I then take a few shots from the field and later hitch a ride in the tractor to capture some of the rest of the activity, before returning to process the last couple of days’ time-lapse images.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Evening Harvest

Returning to Caddington in a different way because of the roadworks for gas-pipe laying, I found that the farmer was out bringing in the oilseed rape with a new combine harvester, so I stopped, grabbed a camera and captured one lap around the field before the sun dipped below the horizon, thus losing all colour, and subsequent interest on my part.

It seemed a fitting end to the afternoon, so deserved a small gallery of images.

Priory Park Bedford


Andy Fox, who has now gained his LRPS for his photographic work, contacted me to arrange a visit to Priory Park, Bedford, which turns out to be close to Cardington, the last RAF Station at which  my father had been stationed, and ironically the first I went to when four years later I joined the RAF. The entire area close by has been transformed almost beyond recognition over the last few years, but the park is a vast haven of lakes, woodland and wildlife.

We parked up and Andy showed me on a plan where he suggested we walk to make a round trip of it. The first thing that you see is a carved wooden totem pole, and Andy said there had been another carving, but local youths had set fire to that, resulting in permanent night closure of the park. That desecration saddened me that anyone could be so wantonly destructive.

We headed for the the Labyrinth and its carvings, before moving to the river.  (See if you can spot the owl, the horse and the shapely lady – they are not carvings!) One of the first things that I saw were large dragonflies, but they conclusively evaded being photographed, but one particular brown one gave us both quite a few laughs, flying often tantalisingly close and always at high speed. Andy was closer to getting a shot than me!
Soon one species of damselfly, I believe to be a banded demoiselle soon turned out to be a very frequent habitué of the reeds and nettles at the river’s edge.

It was whilst we were concentrating on these close to the ford, that we heard a loud scream of laughter as one girl managed to slip and land on her backside before reaching the water whilst her children looked on from our side. After much further laughter the father made the attempt to cross and had no sooner got to the water than he followed suit! He was not quite so lucky, as he got a soaking and filled his trainers with water, which he had carefully removed beforehand! He was not very happy at the thought of sitting in his car in sopping clothes, so we suggested he might walk for longer!

Although we saw a few more dragonflies, and numerous damselflies, there were very few butterflies to be seen. We did watch a persistent tern diving for fish, and a grebe with a single youngster, before our return to the car. We were very lucky weatherwise, as no sooner had we arrived back at Andy’s, the rain came down in a sharp shower! Altogether a very enjoyable afternoon.