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…



Monday, 29 December 2014

In the Bleak Mid Bedfordshire…


Sunday evening was spent clearing the boot to locate the spare tyre as I had definitely acquired a puncture. To my dismay, since this was the first puncture since new more than three years ago, I found that I had a ‘skinny’ tyre designed for travel at no more than 50mph. Looking at it, I felt it should be truthfully described as a fifty yard tyre, for with roads in the morning more akin to skating rinks, the car was going to be decidedly unstable with three chunky tyres and one more suited to a moped!

The morning exercise was to check that my local tyre-fitting company were open, then get the frost-laden car cleared and ready to drive through narrow lanes and a very steep hill to reach them. For anyone in this neck of the woods needing a tyre service, I can highly recommend Supertyres by Easter Avenue, Dunstable, they are friendly, honest and inexpensive, and I have been going to them for more than a decade. Whilst there I learned that the ‘skinny’ tyre should be at 60PSI, which I had not noticed, and when I had earlier checked its pressure and found it at 34 felt that was adequate, well, it wasn’t, and I was grateful to be informed, so when it was returned to the boot, it had been reflated to the correct pressure.

After lunch and some time checking emails, I gathered my new gimbal head and levelling plate and the 150-600mm Tamron lens and set off for Tea Green to see whether the red kite were aloft, but after a fruitless stay there, I just took quick shots more for amusement than anything more serious of a smart little silver Audi TT and a scarecrow atop the hill opposite to my layby. I then set off along Lilley Bottom Lane till I arrived at a spot where I had seen kites in the past, but before reaching that place I grabbed a few shots of the sheep which were spread over the hill, part in shade, part in sunlight. Then I moved to a spot where there was more room to park, only to find an SUV had already got the best position.

I then made my way a little up the hill, so that if the other vehicle needed me to move I did not have far to return, I actually met the the family coming down the hill and they said they could simply drive forward to get out, so I need not have worried. I waited a long time before the kites came, but they were way off in the distance, and by then the sun had all but set beyond the hill behind me, and being exposed to the biting wind, I soon just took some shots of the now returning sheep, and the half-moon, before packing everything back in the car. The sunset beyond the hills was far more attractive, and in Grove Road after Slip End, I took some shots of the trees in silhouette and the the Plough Pub across the field.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sawston Village Concert – a Service of Lessons and Carols 2014

Another year passes, my elder daughter’s girls grow older, wiser and taller; they take up musical instruments and they do well academically – it is a great pleasure to watch and to hear them singing amongst their friends, in a great acoustic and in the historic building of Great St. Mary’s, in the very heart of Cambridge.

The carols are within my vocal range, and I join in heartily, proud to be witness to their steps towards the future, with their family to watch and listen in equal pride. The viewpoint I chose to take pictures from meant I was separated from the rest of our group, but that afforded me the chance to capture the enjoyment on their faces, which had I been alongside them, would not have been possible.

On our journey back to the car it meant we could recount our evening from different standpoints, as I could see both girls where they could see only one. We certainly all agreed on one thing; we had listened and watched a beautifully joyous Carol Concert, and in splendid surroundings.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Possible Cormorant Deterrent at Tringford Reservoir

Increasing numbers of cormorants are causing great concern at Tringford Reservoir. This morning Jake came down from Coventry with a plan to help alleviate the problem with a strategy to convince them that Bob Menzies and Rick from the Canal and River Trust can use a mannequin dressed as an angler and wearing an orange high visibility tabard means a threat.

I was there as an observer and listened to the plan. The idea is to fire percussive caps from the direction of the mannequin sitting aboard one of the flat-bottomed aluminium rowing boats used by the anglers. Done on a regular and fairly frequent basis and associated with the bangs and the mannequin's high-vis jacket would finally deter the birds from settling near to the lake and with time mean that the cormorants would desist in feeding on the young fish and damaging many of the larger ones that they do not manage to eat.

There was quite a bit of laughter as the mannequin was assembled and many comments about how young and fresh-faced he was when the club's anglers were considerably more rugged and certainly much older. Earlier I have been able to count twenty two birds on the lake at one time, and apparently the numbers and persistence has been steadily climbing. I arrived before Bob today and in the photograph that heads this piece are no less than six, and there were others on the water.

It will be interesting to see just how effective the so-far unnamed mannequin proves to be in reducing the numbers that are the scourge of the local anglers. I will be interested in finding out just what name he is given!

It was good to see a group of four cygnets on the water to round off my my time down there in the biting wind.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Bitterly Cold at Marsworth Reservoir

A mild breeze and bright sun tempted me to Tring reservoirs and the opportunities it might offer for photography, but as I neared Bulbourne, it became obvious that the clouds had put paid to my brightness, but undeterred I parked up and took out my camera and long lens and used the monopod as a walking stick with my other cameras on my back in my backpack. Out of the car I realised the temperature had dropped considerably during my half-hour’s drive and the breeze was definitely now a wind!

As I walked the path between Marsworth and Startops End reservoirs, it was often gusting and particularly bitter and I was glad of the extra clothing I had donned before I left. My fingerless gloves were very ineffective in retaining heat, especially since the monopod had no insulation, unlike my tripod. There was not a lot of avian activity and when I arrived there were even fewer cars parked, and no anglers as I walked beyond the park fork and along the Grand Union Canal; now a few intrepid dog walkers and joggers appeared, but each were in their own worlds offering no communication; no acknowledgement of a fellow human, facing the same bitter wind and biting cold.

As I arrived in my normal spot awaiting possible birds such as the elusive kingfisher, there were few sounds of birdsong, just the occasional flapping of wood-pigeons as they crashed noisily through the almost bare branches of hawthorn. The ground was muddy and slippery offering no dry seat so I propped myself against an ivy-clad tree trunk and put down the monopod as being surplus except for manoeuvring down the steep bank, and looked around me as I heard the high-pitched whistling that I felt sure was the local robin – it was only a slight surprise when I heard a light rustle of leaves and there was my regular companion during my previous visits, looking entirely composed low down on a branch no more than two feet away.

I said: “Hello”, but s/he (for I know not the sex of the bird!) just kept looking my way with no particular interest, but there was eye-contact which was more than I received from my human contacts so far. I enquired of the possibilities of a kingfisher visit, but the robin simply flew to a different perch, at least now, just far enough distant for me to get shots, but the bird presumably knew that by moving yet closer, I would be unable to focus on it, meaning I had to keep carefully moving a few steps back or choose a different subject. Since none were to hand I just tried to cajole him into choosing different branches, but he felt under no obligation to accept my requests, and so I tried tempting him by producing some peanuts and throwing them in more open spots, but he studiously avoided my bribes and at one stage flew to the ground by my feet, flicked up a leaf and found a juicy worm!

He became my focus of attention (for I decided that as a Robin he was a he) and I simply waited till he decided he would move elsewhere within his territory; he did however condescend to try some of my nuts.

I ventured from this spot after a while and took to the path alongside the reedbeds  and spotted a vast flock of Canada geese had formed up and watched as they went en-masse first in one direction, then about turn and moved in the opposing direction, then I could hear the elders squawking there voting for a move from water to the nearby fields, and soon about a quarter of the assembled birds took noisily to the air, I decided this was an activity that was worth my attention, despite my not having the same feeling for Canada Geese as I have for the the Greylags, and this stems largely from the fact that I like to see the eyes of birds and animals, and the eyes of greylags are far more visible.

It was this return trip that I did find myself talking to other members of my species, and one was a fellow photographer, another a birdwatcher who enquired whether I had seen the redwings, and another an angler, and all of us were now heading slowly homeward, but each  stopping then meeting up again as opportunities arose in both of us photographers for yet another shot. By now I was definitely finding the rising wind making my fingers sore with the cold, and the refuge of my car was definitely an enticement that was increasingly hard to ignore! I had replied no to the birdwatcher, but a bird I spotted amongst the red berries of a tree was most likely one.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Stockwood Discovery's Last Hurrah 2014?


Needing a break from the pressures of the family helping to upgrade our house to improve its chances of selling, and seeing blue skies and sunshine beckoning me outside, I fell to the temptation of grabbing my camera and heading to the Stockwood Discovery Centre Gardens in Luton. I had not visited for some while and I did want to catch up with the gardeners there.

I did not completely neglect my responsibilities towards the improvements; I did take a brush and ‘brick acid’ to limescale in the shower tray and the loo bowl, so that it could be working its magic whilst I was out! Arriving in the car park, it was not as crowded as it might have been, presumably because there was a decided nip in the breeze when I got out, so I donned a jacket. I headed straight through reception and across the gardens, heading towards the far end of the long greenhouse along the wall, and caught sight of Jan and Bridey the gardeners, who were coming out having presumably completed the first watering of the day and some general pruning.

I enquired whether there were any items of interest either in the greenhouse or the gardens in general and learned there were some special plants in flower in one area beyond the Victorian greenhouses, but apparently little of especial interest, but both did say I would likely still find something because I would be looking more closely.

They were right. I took off the jacket the moment I entered the greenhouse for I could probably been still warm were I only clad in swimming trunks! My biggest problem was going to be my glasses steaming up, making the taking of photos less than totally straightforward. I had barely taken two steps from the entrance before finding some tiny flowers that to all intents were miniature roses to look at, though no roses I knew naturally formed a circular clusters of flowers. I was able to work my way through the greenhouse, turning from side to side to capture examples of either leaves, flowers or cacti at almost every step.
A while later as the gardeners lunch break came Bridey came back to eat hers by the work she would be returning to once her break was over. Later Jan returned too and enquired whether I had spotted a particular plant, but no even though I had been on the lookout, I still had missed some she thought would have attracted my interest, I made good my mistakes and then headed for the trellis-enclosed space that had been mentioned earlier and along the way found other plants of interest; in particular one set of leaves that had every autumnal hue from pale greens through yellows to red and golds and some stark white berries on leafless branches, I also spotted to new water feature that had replaced the tiled fountain.

Bumped once more into the two gardeners before leaving, wishing them all the best for Christmas should I not pay another visit in between and headed for Reception to see whether I could speak to Ian Haswell, Jan’s boss to whom she had mentioned my blog that often covered exhibits within the Discovery Centre. Sadly he was not in his office, so that contact will have to wait for another occasion.