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…



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Marsworth – Last Day of Summer 2014

With the clocks going back an hour at two o’clock Sunday morning, and the weather apparently set fine for the Saturday, I set my alarm for an early start, but still managed to leave very little time for sleep! I think I will try to make a special effort to catch up on Sunday, when we have a family gathering in Cambridge that starts in the afternoon.

I headed for Marsworth with a very light rucksack with a cushion inside as I really needed a more comfortable seat, and so it proved. I also travelled light; with just the single lens, the 150-600mm Tamron on the 5D MkIII. It was not as clear as had been forecast, but as the sun rose in the sky, it did mean that what light there was not too harsh. When I arrived at my chosen location, another photographer had been there for a couple of hours already, but though he had seen some Water Rails, and glimpsed a fly through by a female kingfisher, none had settled.

As I had managed to capture a swan in flight at take-off from Marsworth, I had hoped our luck might change, but it was wishful thinking and although we were visited, the female stayed shyly in the trees which hardly made for an attractive and meaningful setting for a kingfisher, though there was one instance when I did spot her fishing way in the distance, but way too far even for 600mm!

I did spot the grey wagtail again and the squirrel, and we were in our friendly robin’s territory, but it remained too close to get a shot, but he did benefit from a few crumbs of my toasted sandwich. Merv left before me, but after a further hour, I too departed and managed to get a few more shots of departing swans and rounded off with a silhouette of trees in the field by the Trout Stream.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Canon CPS+ Wildlife Day – Lingfield

     
There are four galleries of images:
This was THE trip I had been waiting for in the series of CPS+ Days Canon has been organising, and the tribulations of the M25 disappeared as soon as I arrived at the venue, knowing the forecast for the weather was good and certainly the trip down had not suggested otherwise. Although I felt I had arrived reasonably early, the Registration area was already thronged with photographers in the de rigeur camouflage jackets with long wide aperture lenses equally camouflaged slung over shoulders all chatting in animated conversation. The only faces I recognised all belonged to Canon, I saw no familiar faces amongst the photographers themselves, but that may in fact due to my failing memory!

Upon registration we acquired wristbands designating groups to make the managing of the numbers work smoothly; we also each were given a timetable and a handy notebook and pencil, though with many of us toting either large bulky lenses, monopods/tripods and in some instances more than one camera body, the opportunity to also take notes was slim, but would certainly come in handy in the future.

The initial Introduction was given by Canon’s Frankie Jim who explained how the day was to be organised; a background to the CPS+ scheme and to let us know that the ‘Toy Shop’ was there to provide us with the full range of bodies and lenses with several staff members there to offer any technical help we might need.
      

My group were the first to set off for live action – the first port of call being the otters followed by followed by the foxes, red and black squirrels and a wild cat, after which we returned to the meeting area for coffee, tea and biscuits and the first of two talks by the speakers for the day, Danny Green and Mark Sisson.

The first talk was given by Mark with some excellent images and the stories behind them taken from his travels around the globe. Here was a man versed in the need to create images that could be used by designers with areas of background that were uncluttered by distracting detail to allow for headlines and paragraphs of copy to fill the pages of magazines.

We then broke for a sandwich lunch before going out to the fields to shoot birds; owls, both static and in flight, returning after this to another talk this time from Danny Green, both notably very different in their styles, and both stressed how much care needs to be taken in preparation, and how sometimes getting the shots they needed may have needed several trips before they were satisfied. Both speakers definitely engaged with their audience with much humour and great interest from the audience.

Altogether, a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding day that was deservedly appreciated by all who attended – my thanks and compliments to Canon for working so hard to make the day successful.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Another Lucky Day at Brogborough!

I had observed that despite the weather forecasters’ reports of total gloom, the afternoons of late had often brought sporadic sunshine. So it was, that once again, I took a chance and headed for the lake at Brogborough as the other item in the weather bulletin was wind, and I had already noted that in that, they were correct.

When I arrived, there were already a fair number of people setting their boards up, and there was a steady trickle of new arrivals as I got my tripod and gimbal head set up. Looking heavenward, I could already see the glimmerings of a sun behind thinning clouds. These slowly developed into distinct gaps in overall cloud cover and although I started shooting in meagre light, for the rest of the time, the sun appeared and then was swapped for dark clouds , giving me a fair chance of a bit of sparkle to the surfers’ bow waves.

I set up a position where I had at least a chance of sunlight illuminating my subjects and for the first half of my time lakeside there was a steady stream of surfers taking to the water, but not much jumping taking place, but later the situation improved, but they were often in the distance and mostly I was behind them, but every so often I was treated to frontal shots, but several took place when I was following a different person and caught only the tail end of the action. My lack of knowledge as to when someone might attempt to jump did not help my overall statistics, but I was not bereft of luck.

Definitely using the gimbal head this time and with the 150-600mm Tamron lens on the 5D MkIII was a good move, but using the tripod on a slippery slope did have its drawbacks and the wind was doing its best to ensure I had to reset the level of the tripod fairly often.

I was reasonably satisfied with the outcome, but I did still have to rely on cropping in post processing to get a reasonable size of many of the more interesting pictures as much happened in the far distance, making some of the shots look as if the participants were actually running out of space and heading directly for the far shore, such was the foreshortening effect of the long lens and crop combined!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Brogborough – A Chance Visit

Working on the probability that a keen Windsurfer would likely drop everything for a good wind and sunshine at this time of year, I took a similar gamble, as I had both when I left Caddington, and it was not too far north, and very open at Brogborough. As I neared the exit from the M1, I began to think I was on a losing streak as there were some ominous clouds that seemed headed towards the lake.

I pulled into the car park and there was still some sunshine, but by the time the camera was on the tripod, it began to look as if I had the wind, but not its counterpart, the sun. I got in a few shots before the rain came and I needed to cover the camera and lens with a groundsheet, but my trusty bungee was still back in another camera bag at base.

Fellow photographer Barry Rivett, came to the rescue with one  from his car, and it gave me a chance to shoot despite the rain, but the wind and rain got up so much that I had to concede defeat and retire to the Portakabin and shelter. This was a tactical retreat not a rout, and I was back out and blessed with the sun from then till my subjects came in from exhaustion.

My gamble had paid off with some quite reasonable shots for my trouble.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Canon Landscape Day at Beaulieu


The trip around the M25 to reach the M3 on Tuesday was one of the slowest on record for me. I had allowed an extra half-hour for traffic and an equal amount to allow me to arrive early, and only just managed to make it with five minutes to spare. Not an auspicious start!

On the bright side, literally, the weather was wonderful for this time of year, and I did not consider it cold, the parking and meeting up with the welcomers was excellent; the red umbrellas were only needed for recognition, not for fending off British weather for a change. It was suggested could leave our kit in the vehicles to walk to the Treehouse, but with the benefit of hindsight I could have popped a memory card into my pocket. It was interesting to note that the walk to the Treehouse was obviously to inform us that Landscape Photography was always going to involve some trekking; we were not going to expect to take such images by casually leaning out of a car window – an interesting subliminal message to presage the talks to follow.

On this walk I met two other attendees, and upon arrival we were met by another who had stepped out of his car to ask where the venue was, and there was no way we were going to let him think he could park up and just walk in, when we had just made the trip on foot, which gave us a giggle! There was no place to park here I hasten to add.

After a gathering for tea or coffee we headed for the room for the talks, this time for me taking the route via the rope walkway; I am not sure my traverse helped others feel particularly well-balanced and I was reminded of that movie of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

The two talks with a break between for food and drinks were both excellently delivered with some magnificent examples of David Noton’s work and his tales and reminiscences from his colleague Jon Gooding were well chosen to illustrate the amount of preparation and understanding of his subject that had gone into what sometimes had been only moments when the scenes could have been captured and present their beauty. Both talks were illuminating and humourous and were much appreciated by the audience whose numerous questions showed their keenness to learn more from this extremely talented yet self-effacing photographer and good speaker.

After queuing to borrow from the vast array of both camera bodies and lenses and in my case to take a brief look at a pre-production EOS7D MkII we set off back to our vehicles for the journey to Pigbush our location for the afternoon. Both David and Jon took small groups to discuss filters and techniques, and a few split up to put their newly-acquired knowledge into practice. I had chosen to borrow a Tilt-Shift lens and a body, both of which were unfamiliar, and this resulted in my missing a rainbow which appeared in the scene I was trying to capture, illustrating the necessity of understanding one’s kit – I promptly decided to continue using kit I knew intimately and the few pictures I subsequently took were a personal disappointment.

However I learned a lot and found the day rewarding despite my personal poor performance. In handing back the borrowed equipment, I also managed to have a chat with Frankie Jim from canon, who was able to tell what fault had developed in my 300mm lens which I had hoped to have delivered for repair. The journey back though not speedy was a vast improvement over the journey down.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Afternoon at Wrest Park


Andy Fox and I had arranged to meet up in the afternoon to pay a photographic visit to Wrest Park. Sadly, I had some computer-related grief that meant I was running extremely late and had to apologise for my delayed departure because it meant we both missed some of the better sunshine. We gathered our kit and headed into the grounds, with Andy giving me background history as we went.

One of the first small statues was of the Gryphon a symbol of the past owners, the de Greys, and the light on it set it off a treat, but before I could dig out the camera, the moment was lost, and a look at the sky suggested it would be a while before the clouds broke again, so I moved into the gardens to capture some of the flowers in the ornamental beds, but hurried back to the Gryphon when the sun broke cover.

We each took shots to our own plans, yet often had to await the right lighting, or for the few visitors to either appear in the right spot or simply walk out of view, at one time we were close enough for us both to fire our shutters simultaneously and we laughed because we had both waited for a particular woman to pass behind a bush! Andy is a wealth of pertinent knowledge, and this meant that in our waiting moments he would keep me informed of some of the history or regale me with tales of his family visits to certain spots. As we headed through the formal gardens towards the Archer Pavilion, I learned of its beginnings as a Hunting Lodge, and I kept stopping as I waited for the building to be lit by the sun, or tried to record the reflections in the still waters of the ornamental ponds.

The de Greys it seemed were very fond of statues, and one in particular caught my eye, and I was lucky with the shading of clouds beyond it in different directions. Eventually we arrived at the pavilion and I was most impressed by its construction with its upper floor bedrooms accessed by stairs, and how their oriel windows were interleaved with those of the main central area, the inside of the dome was also beautifully decorated and the trompe-l’oeil work just below was nicely done.

Our time there was all too short, and we had no time to enter the house itself, but it was a good afternoon spent in good company. I think we were a week late for the best of the flowers however.

Birds of Prey Near Lilley

(Somehow this item, did not make it initially to the Web,  sorry)
I had recorded the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka so that I did not have to wait till the evening for the scheduled highlights as I was hoping for an exciting race and an outcome that would extend the Championship lead for Lewis Hamilton by a greater margin than his mere three points that had simply made up for all the bad luck that had bedevilled him. The six o’clock live time was a non-starter, but a delay to a more manageable morning time was my intention, as I still wanted to be out for what might be the last good sunshine of autumn, so I had my breakfast in front of the screen.

The race was exciting barring the two forced waits due to the Phanfone Typhoon’s close pass, but after the result, there was a very downbeat atmosphere due to the tragic accident that befell Jules Bianchi who had aquaplaned at high speed off the circuit and crashed heavily into the very solid vehicle that had been removing the crashed car of Adrian Sutil from the previous lap. All the joy of the race was washed away by this sad incident. I sincerely hope that Jules can recover from his injuries, so my thoughts are with him and all his family and friends in the motor racing fraternity.

After that it was time I gathered my cameras and set off for Tea Green and Lilley Bottom in the hope of photographing red kite, and buzzards. I had spotted a kestrel hovering with intent by the end of Luton’s runway, but by the time I was out of the car, it had moved on! And again when I was on my way down Stony Lane past Tea Green, I spotted a red kite, but again once out of the car with the camera, it had departed for Lilley. I waited awhile, but in vain, so I then turned right at the bottom and drove along Lilley Bottom Lane till I could park below some woods where I knew from past visits the red kite frequented.

It was here that I met a couple of ramblers coming from the other woods and we walked over the road together chatting, and whilst climbing the hill we were graced by the presence of two soaring kite, and I got a couple of shots, we parted, and I thanked them for bring me those birds and asked could they order me a buzzard or two, as we parted and they headed into the woods – they were as good as their word for not two minutes later a couple of buzzards came a-circling, followed later by a female kestrel.

There followed a lull in avian activity, so I then entered the woods, and over into the far valley where I came across a man painting the fence around the cottage known as Butler’s Cottage, next to the Pilkington Estate’s Workshop; we chatted a while and I took a few shots there before returning the way I came, back to my car.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Another Visit to Marsworth's Wildlife


Rather than stay glued to a monitor for the meagre need to do so, and with the autumnal weather due to end imminently, I headed once again for Marsworth, one of the Tring reservoirs. Not unnaturally the area was quiet, with only a few anglers, dog, buggy and children walkers to be seen. Hearing frantic wing flapping behind me I turned just in time to catch a pair of Mallards just as they landed.

When I had settled and set up my camera on a well-strapped and supported monopod, the first observation I made was that dragonflies were still in abundance, and one coupled pair came my way frequently, but on one visit I noticed that the pair were constantly jigging up and down and eventually I twigged what was happening, it would appear that the male (for that was my impression the forward partner to be) was trying to shake the female free, but it was more than that; as far as I could tell as he was diving down he was dashing the female against a small rock jutting from the water, and although difficult to see, this is what I have tried to show in the shots in the gallery.

Later I spotted what I think was a great spotted woodpecker which landed on a high dead branch, and I just barely had the time to open up three full stops as it was against bright white clouds, before it departed as swiftly as it had arrived; it did not return. A Blue tit arrived slightly lower shortly after, seemingly mimicking the woodpecker’s stance! There followed a series of dragonflies which I was unable to capture in flight, but occasionally they landed just within later-cropping distance.

The Robin from the far shore looked less dishevelled than had been the case in my earlier encounters, and the Grey Wagtail made a brief  visit, my patience however was not rewarded by any visiting Kingfishers, but I did manage a couple of shots when I was paid a fleeting visit by a Heron atop the far trees.

On my return walk I got a shot of a Grebe in the late afternoon sun, a Swan heading for shore and an angler who caught three small fish whilst I was watching another Heron that seemed to have his beady eye on a possible catch, but despite waiting in the hope it might be successful, it appeared it was no to be. I walked on returning to the car and home.