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…



Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Gimbal Head for Sale – Induro GHB2

SOLD

Over the last couple of days I have been investigating the possibilities of part-exchanging my Induro GHB2 Gimbal head in order to ease the pain of buying a carbon fibre tripod, because my current very sturdy aluminium one is simply too heavy to trudge long distances with my DSLR and long telephoto lens. I have been using a monopod which I am able to often strap to a tree with a bungee and use an Acrotech head in gimbal mode atop and this is far lighter. However, when I cannot support the monopod then I do have to have excellent lighting conditions to use it with confidence, under those conditions I have come to the conclusion a much lighter tripod is a better option.

The retail price new appears to be around the £350 mark currently and since I was unable to find a company that had the tripod I sought and accept the gimbal head in part exchange and the price offered for an unencumbered sale was way too low, I am wondering whether the vehicle of my blog might reach someone who would be willing to pay £195 including VAT for it, excluding postage and packing. Naturally I would prefer it was collected that way the purchaser would not be buying blind and I would require cash and would supply a VAT receipt. I am Sole Proprietor of SOLUTIONS photographic and am VAT-registered

I am based near Luton in Bedfordshire and can be contacted for further details using my gmail address:
rodwp@gmail.com

Above is an up-to-date photo of the head and a close-up of the minor ding it has sustained, which has no adverse effect on the operation, but is naturally a blemish on the otherwise excellent condition.
The quick release plate is the Arca Swiss style, but I cannot supply the plate.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Good Day – Despite a Dental Visit


What defines a Good Day? Sunshine helps. And after several typically grey English days, a bright and crisply nippy day is a good start. Starting with a Dental appointment is not really the precursor one might expect for a good omen, but hey, this is the real world!

I had not noted down the precise time for said appointment so was early by a wide margin and right outside the Dentists was a bus stop, so I stood by the entrance, but close to the shelter to lessen the wind, but in the sunlight and several girls turned up who obviously knew each other, but three coaches pulled up and left without any of their number boarding, then the answer came as one girl arrived obviously well-known to the others, but after greeting them turned to open the locked gate! They all moved towards the newly open entrance then stopped, said “Good Morning” to me and waved me ahead. I smiled and let the Key Lady pass and thanked them upon entry and sat down to wait.

I did not have to wait too long before my specific dentist arrived and greeted me with a handshake, but it was a while before he actually called me in for the examination. He was happy with my self diagnosis, and informed me that one tooth was going to be ‘tricky’ – a euphemism I recognise as ‘painful’ and ‘expensive’, but that would be at a later date…

I then returned to base, read the morning’s emails, sent a few off, flicked through my website regulars then assembled my rucksack with camera gear and a chocolate bar so that I could leave promptly and not squander this gift of bright sunlight. In my haste, I failed to consider that half-term meant the road to Whipsnade would be brimming with parents taking their children to the Zoo! Coming to the tailback I spotted a chance to use a driveway in which to swing round and take a circuitous route to reach my destination and a planned meeting with the Tringford Trout Fisheries Water Bailiff. I did make good time however and actually passed him walking along the road, but had not been certain it was him till he hailed me as I was getting the kit from the boot.

We chatted as we let ourselves into the anglers’ area and walked to the jetty; his task was to fire off a few blanks to scare the cormorants from the lake, then we both walked back across the road to take the path between Startops End and Marsworth reservoirs, where we parted company as I headed towards Bulbourne. Before we had met up a father and boy had been leaving a parked car just before my arrival and we exchanged pleasantries, well soon after I had left Bob the Bailiff, we met again and immediately he said he had seen two kingfishers in the direction I was heading and another by the weir near the entrance, I was delighted at this unprompted news and thanked him warmly with much more of a spring in my step – my first good omen! I made my way to my familiar spot and had barely strapped the monopod to the tree stump when squinting against the sun I spotted a kingfisher had landed on a far branch complete with fish!

 I was obviously over-excited as the first few frames were not sharp, but this beauty obviously felt for me because he hung around for the longest time I have ever experienced when they were within sight, so much so that I made several inadvertent burst through tension and as I waited patiently for signs of his departure, I was so stiff I was unable to move fast enough to capture his takeoff. I was to see him fly by several more times in the next few hours, but he never again settled. Not long after I heard rustling behind me and another intrepid photographer arrived, I said hello and commented that I took it he was here for the same reason as myself – to get shots of the Golden Eagle – he nodded sagely! Later we introduced ourselves and I learned he was Terry. We had seen the mink dive into the water after what we assumed were some of the Mallard ducks, but he came out with a fair-sized fish! When I was leaving later we spotted the mink again, and he did manage to get a few shots, but my camera was back in my rucksack! I left wishing him the best of luck.

Arriving home I found I had a message from a client agreeing to meet me on the following Monday, and as I was responding another message came through from him, asking me to quote on some retouching. I was definitely having a Good Day!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Wilstone Reservoir – More Birds


The house was tidy enough for the second viewing of the day, and the next couple were coming for their second viewing, so I felt they should be without my presence, and despite the poor weather conditions I felt the pull of the reservoirs and the desire to take more pictures. I took only the one camera and lens, but did take the tripod on this occasion, though there were occasions when I took the camera off the tripod and shot handheld.

The Cormorants are not my favourite bird, but it was interesting to watch one that was nest-building; high in the trees of the island.

In general the birds were further from the shore on this visit, and I watched the Greylag Geese arrive, but only took a single shot at this time. Later when I heard the announcement of imminent take-off, I had the camera in my hand and for a change got some quite nice shots as they came by and headed for the nearby field, I missed the first group, got some nice shots of the second departure, but failed miserably with the final group!

Despite my ungainly load, I trekked all the way round to the Hide, and got the shots of Pochard, Teal and Grebe from there before my return to the lake side and the lone Pied Wagtail and the afore-mentioned Greylag leaving. It was during that episode that I got into a conversation with a Group who were going to the Wildlife pictures at Tring Museum, which I had wrongly assumed was the exhibition at the Stockwood Discovery Centre.

It was one of the Greylag pictures that pleased me most from this trip.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A View of the Wildlife Awards Images in Luton

Product Designer, Peter Carr and I took time out to visit the Stockwood Discovery Centre and the Exhibition of the British Wildlife Photography Awards on display there. I also took the opportunity to add him as a figure viewing some of the images, since earlier I had only been able to show the layout of the displayed pictures when I had been fortunate just before it opened.

For those with an interest in wildlife, a visit to see these images is highly recommended; the standard is superb – not only are they varied, there is much humour in the scenes covered, both Peter and I laughed out loud on several occasions, or made comments as we looked at pictures that brought back memories of our own. The range of animals, insects and small plants was extensive and intriguing as were the range of activities and locations, also once again, it was pleasing to see work from the young. Luck, patience and perception were all in abundance and it was obvious in many cases that the photographer would certainly have had some tough conditions to endure in order to capture the shots on show. I found it very inspiring, but such a shame that in the more than an hour of our time there, there were no other visitors. This display is an annual gem that deserves to be viewed in greater numbers.

It is open till March the fifteenth, and for those unfamiliar with the Discovery Centre, there is much to see beyond this particular exhibition, there is a whole courtyard devoted to the local history of Bedfordshire, the display of carriages and articles from Luton’s rich past, and Vauxhall cars over the years. Then there are numerous gardens to take a stroll through, as well as an area devoted exclusively for young children which is generally very well attended and enjoyed, as is the restaurant.

I grabbed a few other incidentals before I left and my eye was caught by the intertwined tangles of the reeds on my way, so took a few shots of these before taking the car to the petrol station to fill up for the rest of the week’s driving. Altogether a worthwhile hour and a half on an otherwise dull day.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Winter Sun at Wilstone


Getting up very early on Sunday was never going to be an option as the evening before had been spent over near Aylesbury to allow my daughter and her husband to celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting, and with their two Duracell-powered children, they rarely get peaceful time together alone, hence my going over to provide cover such that they could relax in a more peaceful atmosphere at a local restaurant. They need never have worried as there was only one very minor whimper from my granddaughter, but presumably it was in her sleep, because it faded before I had even reached the bottom of the stairs, and never recurred.

I decided that with such bright sunlight beckoning, I would visit the reservoir at Wilstone once again. The journey over was measured at a constant 1˚C as it had been for most of the preceding week, so no surprise there, but on arrival, the temperature must have risen as I clomped through thick, glutinous mud to reach the banks of the lake. It is at times like this that I do begin to wish for the more solid underfoot experience of the recent frosts.

I had come with a monopod on this occasion to keep the weight down and due to the risks of slipping and falling did not attach the camera and lens till I had arrived at the water’s edge – the water level was much higher than my last visit which was bad news for wading birds, but good for the reed beds. At the nearest corner there was still ice at the edge of the reeds. It was here that I took advantage of the metal covers over presumably sluices, to get the camera onto the monopod and balance the lens using the slider on the quick-release plate. I waited awhile here to see whether anything stirred amongst the reeds, but soon started gingerly along the narrow stone edging to keep out of the mud as much as possible. I took up a position just after the first bush in case the wagtails were around, but they kept their distance.

I came alongside an angler where a few Grebe were, and soon found myself in conversation and learned he generally found he had better luck close to where the Grebe frequented. Occasionally I greeted other photographers as they came past and some were happy to chat as I waited to spot the grey wagtail that had appeared. After awhile I moved further along the edge and soon was lucky enough to spot a lone Teal with its partner, this was my first chance to see Teal close-to.

I spent quite a deal of time trying to capture the diving of a particularly busy Pochard and I had an almost 99% failure rate because it moved so fast and I was unable to spot any precursor movement; it was even harder to capture the Grebe diving, as it slid under rather than leapt as the Pochard was wont to do, so I have numerous shots to simply bin when it comes to the processing!

Altogether though I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours once again taking photos with the 150-600mm and the EOS 7D MkII, but in future I will try to manhandle a tripod rather than the monopod in the future.