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, 26 November 2013

Autumn Colours & Misty Landscapes

I had spotted one stretch of road between Whipsnade and Dagnall where the trees still had some leaves and the range of colours in the right light were worth trying to capture, so after a short stop along Bison Hill, where I took a shot of a misty valley with Billington church in the misty distance, I searched out a spot to park the car so that I could walk along the road beneath the arches of trees to capture the hues in the milky sunshine.
The gallery is really a series of experiments in composition, orientation and I shot the views both with cyclists and cars and empty, as the sun varied in intensity with the shifting movement of clouds and mist.

Then I travelled to Aldbury where sadly the sun had disappeared as had the autumn golds of its trees, and on to Wigginton, and the canal, before heading back.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Discovered a Late Autumn Surprise at Stockwood

I rarely travel anywhere without a camera or even cameras! Such was the case when I returned from a meeting at the University of Bedfordshire, where I had been demonstrating the opportunities offered by Camranger. I decided to pay a visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre to say thank you to Jan one of their Gardeners, for providing the earlier opportunity to photograph the Aston Martin Virage.

Rather than leave my camera bag in the car, I took it with me and found three gardeners working in the main greenhouse, amongst them Jan, so I was none to surprised to learn from Bridie that there was not much left to photograph. However, it was Jan who proved me wrong, by pointing out some berries which I had failed to spot, and having taken out the camera and the Tamron 90mm macro, I found there was yet more to be found if I troubled to look, so both Bridie and I were wrong!

After a brief chat with all three, Sam the trainee being the last of that number, I took my camera around and found enough material for some sixty shots that came into view illuminated by the low-angled sun, and the surprisingly bright, and clear blue sky. The contrasting hues on individual autumn leaves and the sharp edges of variegated holly leaves was simply hard to resist. The earlier rains had flattened the grass so individual golden leaves provided an interesting colour counterpoint as did the shades of brown with their strong veins against the blue of the sky, and the backlighting of green leaves against the deep shadows of beds beyond.

Jan had also pointed out the early catkins, which by being fooled by the recent mildness were likely to become victim to the frosts that would come long before the Spring that they would normally herald. This deviation to give thanks was rewarded handsomely by what I managed to capture in the short time I had spent.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Day of the Visit to Canon


The day started for me at 4.40am, when the alarm I had set at around 12.30 the evening before gently sounded from my bedside table. I had shaved before retiring, laid out my the clothes I had planned to wear and downstairs the place was already set for breakfast. I was out and up and brushing my teeth within the first minute of finding and switching off the alarm on my iPhone.

I rarely start a day without breakfast and this day was no different, having finished I gathered up my camera and briefcase and was out of the door mentally ticking off the checklist I had in my mind and that the keys and wallet were in my pocket before closing the front door behind me. The car needed all windows and mirrors wiping of rain before setting off for the M1 and my meeting with Adam Woolfitt in Muswell Hill. I made good time in typically heavy but moving traffic, and so on arrival in London and ringing Adam’s doorbell, I was earlier than planned. This meant that Adam had to open the first floor window and let me know he would be awhile! We had a chat and I joined him with a cup of tea, before making our way to the bus stop for the journey to Highgate where we took the tube to London Bridge.

We navigated the maze of passages to the main concourse where in the time we had spare before our meeting with Geoff Dann and our train, I took out the camera and experimented with trying to capture an effect I had once used for a brochure for Barclays International to tie together a series of their Banks across the continent – people blurred to capture there sense of speed as they hurried to work. I remembered that I had found one particular speed to give me just the right effect, and I set about seeing whether it still held true – and it did (I leave others to find just what shutter speed that was!). I also took some shots from the base of the Shard in the dismal light of a rainy London day, and Adam needed to find something to eat, so for a while we both went downstairs to walk around in the comparative warmth and then we returned to wait for Geoff and then we all set off for Reigate.
There upon arrival we found there to be no taxis in sight, but after a short while we found the taxi’s office and were soon on our way to Canon, the fare was remarkably inexpensive, but we learned later, there had been an intention for a shuttle service from the station provided by Canon! The building is splendid adjoining and connected to the former Woodhatch House set in wonderful countryside. We all signed in and were shown to where we were offered refreshments and informed where everything was to take place, everyone was welcoming and cheerful, and we sat down for a spell to decide which demonstrations we would visit, and our first was to learn about Flash techniques. This was hosted by Andy Kruczek and Dave Newton and featured model Louise and owl, Peanut, and proved to be both entertaining and informative, so we also joined for round two later. Interspersing our day with visits outside to practice taking shots of some wild birds brought along for the day and we were able to use a variety of different long lenses.
We also listened to to a talk by Marc Aspland, Sports Photographer for The Times, but we somehow managed to miss the talk on Landscape photography by David Clapp, which was a shame. However, it was a splendidly enjoyable and productive day for which we were very grateful to Canon, who were fantastic hosts. We phoned the cab company for a lift to Reigate station, but after a wait during which we spoke to one driver it was then we learned that Canon had laid on a Shuttle bus to and from Redhill! However we were far from alone in not learning of this because the driver informed us he had only had one taker and had just returned from taking him back to the Station, so we clambered aboard together with a charming Indian who turned out to be part of Canon’s Localisation team.

I did however have one disaster; as I managed to leave my briefcase in that vehicle but only realised once in the station, which caused a drama so Adam left for London without me and Geoff stayed with me as we tried to contact Canon and the driver – very fortunately all turned out well and after several phone calls I learned that it had been found and would be sent on to me, but not that night. I was very grateful to those who sorted this all out, and I now will wait for its return by post. Phew! Geoff and I got separated at the Underground, because I needed to top up my Oyster card, and I journeyed on to Adam and Penelope’s where I was treated to dinner, somewhat later than planned, but thoroughly enjoyed. After bidding then farewell, I headed home. A memorable day.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lilley Bottom, Sheep and Kites

The Sunday was promised to be bright and sunny, but chilly, so I had travelled with several layers to allow me to spend a good time at the chosen location, that I had already visited twice before.

I parked the car as carefully as possible to ensure the farmer and workers could still reach the field with ease, and I set up the EOS 5D MkII and 300mm plus 1.4 Converter on the Gimbal head atop my tripod, and set off up the hill after passing through the kissing gate. I knew the field to be steep and very wet, so wellies were de rigeur, as were fingerless gloves and a scarf.

The right of way led up a winding just visible track, and I knew from my last visit that it headed towards to a plateau and beyond to another gate that led to a track through the woods. I stationed myself just below the plateau for a while, before moving to the plateau where I spent the rest of my time  there.

Although I had been overflown by a pair of kites as I prepared my gear, they flew beyond the valley and for the first half hour I was entirely alone with only a distant sight of kites, the occasional crows and pigeons, and no animals in sight, but I knew that sheep would be making their way across to this end of the field as the day wore on, and soon I saw a few leisurely heading my way. With their arrival also came first one, then a pair of red kite, but they were soaring way too high for me to capture anything more than a dark speck, so I watched Ryanair and Easyjet aircraft and a few private jets make their way to land at Luton Airport, hoping that they might pass close to the faint moon in the sky beyond, but they were far lower, and the moon was moving higher, so no chance! I did grab a shot of the moon itself in case  I could use this later.

As the sheep arrived I alternated taking shots of them and the kites, and continued doing this and watching the sun cast ever longer shadows in the valleys around me. Ironically, the constant sun did actually raise the temperature just a bit, such that I actually felt warm, but as the valley grew darker, and the sun lowered, the thermals that kept the kites aloft presumably died because eventually I saw them no more, and I gathered my kit and returned to the car. I had watched the sheep appear from one end of the field, meander past me, and they now were headed back in the direction from which they had first come. They had fed, I had taken pictures, all was well in our world. It was hard to reconcile this with the terrible desolation and destruction that faced the Phillipines after Typhoon Haiyan; our recent skirmish with high winds was but a whisper compared to what they had faced.
Photoshop is a handy little program when it comes to making wishes come true! I had hoped I might capture a kite within the same piece of sky as the moon, but that was not to be; however using Blend If and a flipped version of one of the shots I did realise my small wish!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Town & Country Sponsor Caddington Fireworks Display

I arrived at Caddington School way too early as I thought the Display would likely start at 7 or 7.30, so having set up the tripod, I had a long wait before the fireworks started. Where I parked happened to be over a blocked drain which was not visible when I pulled up, but was very obvious when I emerged from the car as it was probably at least six inches deep, so before I had been but a few moments my shoes and socks were soaked through, and my feet were to remain that way for the duration as I donned my wellingtons!

The rain had abated, but the grass of the playing fields was muddy underfoot, but this did not dampen the spirits of those who came along, children of every age seemed not even to mind if they fell over in the sodden grass as they played with their multi-coloured light sabres in mock fights, or simply waved them around to delight in the strobing effect.

Cadets seemed to have been detailed to curtail gatecrashers and minor misbehaviour in the gloom. The air was alive with the incessant chatter of children enjoying themselves and the numbers steadily increased as the time moved closer to the start of the show. The temperature slowly dropped as the wind rose, and I begun to regret not having worn a sweater below my anorak. I had not anticipated that I would have to constantly wipe the lens of condensation between each shot, which meant losing a lot of shooting time as I selected exposure times from eight seconds to twenty to try to get the precise effect I was seeking. I also moved to three different locations to add variety to the end result.

I was using ISO 400 when I started, but eventually settled on 800, and I used apertures of f/8 to f/11 and exposure times from five seconds to twenty seconds, and the lens I used on the EOS 5D MkII was the Sigma 12-24mm and I also varied the focal length over the time.

At the end as I was packing up the camera I met with the School's head, Sue Teague, who shared an interest in photography, but I saw none of the staff of Town & Country, but there again I must have been all but invisible during the time I was shooting. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Aston Martin Virage


It is not every day that you get a chance to photograph an immaculate sports car in ideal lighting conditions by simply being in the right place at the right time. Without at that stage even meeting the owner, I learned that he had granted me permission to take photos of the magnificent machine. There it was, in the shade, with autumn colour all around, and dappled sunshine filtering through the trees and bushes; there it was in all its white pearlescent serenity, without any signs of dirt, perfectly positioned to allow me to capture its beauty.

I took a total of sixteen photos and none were wasted. It was some time before I learned the name of the owner, and managed to speak to him and thank him for the privileged opportunity. He would be only to delighted for me to show him the shots I had taken, so we arranged to meet. He is an extremely busy man, but he suggested I visit and show him some prints. I had to wait patiently until he was free enough to give me the time to take a look and he was thrilled with what I showed him, and gave me an order for some enlarged copies. A few days later I returned to present him with the shots he had ordered; one of which was a collage of the pictures I had made into a Web Photo Gallery within Lightroom initially, for which he had been equally thrilled.

From that meeting, he asked me to please keep in contact as he would very much like me to take further shots of the interior, and of the engine compartment. He was able to proudly tell me that he had taken close friends and family to Gaydon to see the car being prepared on the Production line, and to meet some of the engineers who were working on his future dream possession. I feel sure from his enthusiasm at that time, there would have been as much pleasure for those technicians, as for his own entourage, since they would have known the person to whom it was ultimately to belong and realise he would appreciate the skills they had brought to bear in the car’s production.

What a coincidence that his name bore the same initials as the Car Manufacturer’s founder, David Brown!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Cricketers, Caddington Fire Pics


A minor fire develops in a chimney at the Cricketers Public House to which the Firefighters attend with some serious Fire Appliances, because it had to be tackled from above. The men put up an impressive and colourfully lit display with a tall extending platform from which to tackle the fire.

I had come across it by pure chance as it occurred right outside my front garden, and I spotted the bright and flashing lights and was fairly assaulted by the loudspeakers as Control were speaking to the firefighters over the appliance radio. Had I not come down at that precise moment from my office, I would have missed the show entirely, so it was a bit of excitement to end the day so I grabbed my widest lens, the 12-24mm Sigma and popped it on the Canon 5D MkII and set it at 3200ASA and grabbed me some shots!

So here 21 shots later are what I captured.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Luton Hoo Arts Butanica – Preview


I was invited to the Preview of the Weekend’s exhibition of Botanical Illustration being held in The Conservatory within the Walled Garden at Luton Hoo.

I got there early to capture the build up of guests observing the works on display and discussing what they were seeing. I also took advantage of the opportunity to give another airing of CamRanger, by placing the iPad on the end of the bar so that others were able to see the images I was capturing shortly after I had taken them. This gave me an opportunity to discuss what exactly I was doing and how it was being achieved. It also gave me an idea as to whether shots were sufficiently sharp as I was shooting on the borderline of acceptability due to the low level of lighting overall and the high ISO I was having to use. Many of the shots were as low as a shutter speed of one-fifth of a second!

I certainly was not expecting to produce large prints from the shots considering I was using neither a tripod or flash and I was using ISO 2500 or greater to give me the best chance. I had some interest in CamRanger from some members of staff from Luton University which I am hoping to follow up in the future.