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, 31 December 2016

New Year's Eve - Willen Lake

After three mornings with fog and frost, the last day of 2016 was dry, cold and grey without any frost or fog, so the great outside beckoned, if for no other reason than to provide much needed exercise – an opportunity I was not going to miss, though I had no plans beyond a slight lie-in before Shave and Shower. When the invitation to join some of my family at Willen Lake, Milton Keynes; this settled it. As if to further tempt me, the sun made a showing. It turned out that was flattering to deceive, for having appeared for some five minutes, it disappeared, never to return during the rest of the day!

What had I expected? After all this is England.

I breakfasted, then gathered what I felt would be the most likely lenses to capture any wildlife that might be present and family images of fun, my 35mm f/1.4 and the 300mm f/4.

They turned out to be entirely adequate, I failed to get the Phone’s SatNav to link to the car’s audio and having planned to use the M1 northbound to reach Willen Lake, set off; then completely forgot this decision and headed along the A421 for a few roundabouts! Fortunately I did spot my error and continued for a while before taking a right at one of the roundabouts  and finding a long slip road  that sort of doubled as a layby, I took a look at the phone’s map and picked up the originally intended A509, soon arriving at the car park.

I was early, so I took the 35mm out originally, but soon found that since there was a good deal of common bird life around, returned and swapped to the 300mm on the 5D MkIII. Everything else I left in the boot and headed for the lakeside where I had earlier spotted a bluetit and a magpie. This occupied my time well, till my daughter arrived with two bikes, one being ridden by my male grandchild, the other being carried by my son-in-law, whilst my female grandchild was being carried by my daughter! That was an ominous sign!


We adults did some chatting as we walked, whilst eventually both children duly did take to their respective bikes, every so often being discarded as other interests such as steep banks and precariously angled tree trunks appeared along the route. We headed for the Peace Pagoda initially, then when one of them needed a toilet, we split up as mother and daughter headed back the way we had come. The exercise was far from strenuous, but keeping on the move, the cold wind was less of a problem. We had a spell with liquid refreshments and some time in the play area, and the time passed speedily. My daughter had just a minute left on arrival at her car park with an attendant Attendant, just starting his rounds of their parking area. I collected a tub of Condensed milk from her and then we said our goodbyes and headed off in opposing directions, as I now had to walk back to my parking area with over an hour to spare on my car!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas to All

Here is a message to those who read this blog, and for those whose email addresses have changed or I have managed to lose.

The wishes and thoughts are no more diluted than when wished in the physical medium of a print; they are equally sincere. I hope it is a time for your families and close friends, to relax, slow down and catch up.

Even more than in past years, I am very concerned that we are now living in such a troubled world where it is very difficult to prevent the abhorrent treatment of so many helpless people around the world, most especially currently, those in the Middle East, within the area so inextricably linked with the season we now celebrate.

I created this card and printed it for family members. Do feel free to print it out for yourselves; I am sorry that it will not have the individuality of my handwritten personal signing.

I felt the golden candle was a symbol that might illuminate the Darkness.

Happy Christmas, and may 2017 improve and may it be less daunting than forecast; I sincerely hope so.

Christmas Day 2016

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Cactus Flowers – Against All Odds!

I don’t say this with Pride; I congratulate the resilience of the Succulent to flower despite the accidents that have befallen it during my custodianship! The latest ignominy it suffered was when I managed to articulate the ‘Sleepy Chair’ and knock over the jardiniere which had supported it over several years and through two different homes, the first of which we vacated twice during underpinning, so really I suppose I should add those two temporary homes. In no way could I be described as ‘green-fingered’, so this plant definitely has a strong will to live, and a mere human such as myself is not going defeat it. To be fair to myself, I was mortified when this last accident occurred, and I did put heart and soul into giving it resuscitation to ensure I was not going to be labelled ‘Succulent Slaughterer’.

 I genuinely wished it no evil, I felt I should put every effort into ensuring its survival and it had every care I could muster during its convalescence; I gave it Baby Bio, sparingly; I watered it more frequently though in very small doses, and as some parts recovered, I started to prune the dead parts.


Slowly over the months since its accident, I saw it reviving, and then around two weeks ago, I saw the shoots of new flowers tentatively start appearing, and now in the week leading to Christmas two full flowers have bloomed and died back and in the sunshine this morning, I was moved to record its efforts for posterity as it has one full flower, another on its way and a shoot just peeking out, so perhaps it has forgiven me and is happy to once again bloom in my home to welcome the coming festivities and the arrival of my two daughters’ families to celebrate Christmas and the fast approaching end to 2016.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Fairford Leys – Saxes En Q Saxophone Quartet

I had the good fortune that there was to be yet another musical event – a Saxophone Quartet, called ‘Saxes En Q’ whose venue was far more sociable, for it was inside, with for many, warming mulled wine, so sadly I could not partake as I had the daunting return trip to consider, and did not need dulled senses for that trip! They played beautifully, though to an audience that except for the very young were largely unattentive and unappreciative. Unlike the first time I listened to this quartet, there were fewer jazz numbers on this occasion. When the evening came to a close I had to find my car, but my ‘memorised’ route failed, even though I was really close, as my daughter spotted me and we drove round to where it was parked. Note to self: write down ‘exact directions and street names’!

Fairford Leys Christmas Celebrations

I travelled cross country through torrential rain to reach the venue, and the route was often both twisty and with numerous dips where water could lie in deep pools or wash across in streams. In darkness and no streetlighting, these hazards are difficult to spot, so I was relying on a strong sense of topography to anticipate where the greatest problems lay, but often it was still all too easy to be outwitted, despite my care and reduced speed – be too cautious and you find your rearview mirrors fill with bright, less-patient driver’s lights and a reduced safety margin from the vehicle behind. I was very grateful to arrive safely, but still frustrated by the poor signposting of the heart of the area.

It took me a while having abandoned the car to walk around and get my bearings from the sparse few who were out in the streets, before I got a true sense of where I was and how far I was away from my destination, such that I could re-park the close to where the Aylesbury Concert band were due to be playing. I thought I had taken enough note of landmarks for me to make the return trip with ease. I was able to start capturing the scenes just as the Band began playing.

I had been taking a few pictures before a young boy hugged me from behind and I turned to see my grandson’s beaming smile and warm greeting, and as I turned more fully around there was my even younger curly haired granddaughter smiling at me; finally I turned fully around to see my son-in-law beaming at me. I had not expected them to venture out in this weather, but the pull of seeing Mummy playing saxophone in the band had finally won the day!

Wrongly, both my son-in-law and I, failed to spot that there is no link between the covered area in front of the building and the building, so we learned the hard, wet way, that the rain was just as prevalent behind the band as in front, in the open air!

The signal for the arrival of Father Christmas and his sleigh; the playing of ‘Jingle Bells’ had to be performed several times due to inconsiderate parking which resulted in several ‘encores’!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

HK ‘Family’ – a Celebratory Gathering

Out of the blue came an invitation to join Silva Keondjian at the family home in North London, because one the former staff members of her husband, Hagop’s company – HK Productions was in England from his Arizona home. Stan, was one of the many members of staff at the company I used to visit over several years. I was never a client sadly, but I was always interested in seeing what was being made there, and used to drop by in the main to meet up with Silva’s husband Hagop. I cannot remember when we first met, but Hagop was a man whom once met left an indelible memory, and from that time which was over thirty years ago when I was working for a London Colour Laboratory, I always felt welcome. I would even make time to pop in whenever there was half a chance of meeting this quiet genius. Over the years I met up with many of those who worked there, so there was no possibility that I would not accept the invitation! I just hoped that the streaming cold I had developed, would not be an issue.

I made good time and arrived very early so I apologised, but was told by Silva that it was not a problem as she greeted me at the front door. I had no idea that as everyone arrived instead of seeing the majority of strange faces, I found that close on all of them were known to me and remembered me by name! One of them even reminded me when I enquired as to what part of Wales he and his wife were living, pointed out I had even visited him at their home; he was correct, what I am now trying to remember was how come I was passing nearby, in mid-Wales!

My voice was not up to a lot of talking, but I did a lot of listening, and I was reminded why this group of people had so much of a pull on me, and now as I write this short piece I have remembered I was not a complete taker, I made the introduction of a talented Bedfordshire photographer, Kevin Calvert to Hagop, and HK Productions did sell him a FilmWriter for outputting his retouched cars to 14x11 colour transparencies. I certainly put the name around whenever the opportunity arose.

I hope that the gallery of images from the evening convey some of the atmosphere of the evening to those who attended, and hopefully those who were not there, who were also part of that family. HK Productions epitomised the very best of British engineering excellence; Hagop once said that the roller shutters would rise and lorry-borne raw materials would be brought into the factory and a comparative short time later the same shutters would roll up and a finished piece of kit would be go out and be sent off to worldwide and UK destinations. This is what is now missing from this country – it is vital we do not continue to de-skill our own workforce, yet import finished goods, whilst we pay our former workforce Dole money, and those manufacturing countries acquire the skills we used t0 possess and become manufacturing powerhouses.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Wilstone’s Winter Birds

I decided on an afternoon visit to Wilstone, despite the lateness, because the sky was so bright and Blue, I did not expect wildly exciting shots, but I met some very interesting people, and several others were out with their cameras.  As it was afternoon with a low sun, the light was good, but none of us expected really interesting subjects, so the exercise of walking and carrying a heavy tripod and two cameras was the greatest benefit.

The water level was very low, so a lot of the shallower parts of the lake were exposed which did mean the Grey Wagtail was busy at the margin, and I ventured down into the mud which at first was dry and reasonably solid, but as I neared the water’s edge it was decidedly boggy and I had to move back unless I fancied getting embedded, and with so few people around, that was foolhardy. I did find some rocks that gave my tripod some support, so at least I managed some shots of the Wagtail, later back on the bank I also was able to follow a Pied Wagtail in its foraging.

I spotted that one particular Gull spent its time on the water with occasional two-second flights to fish for tiddlers, unlike the majority who would fly and swoop to do their fishing, only landing after long spells in the air.

Later another photographer and myself found ourselves watching the successful landing of a Pike, and the angler certainly worked hard, and considering as he informed us he had both hips replaced, it was interesting to watch,. He had been dragging his catch a considerable distance from where started, so had to walk back to get his landing net before completing the operation, thus not all the afternoon’s images were of birds, as I took the opportunity of recording his labours. Later, though I walked past the corner leading eventually to the woods and the path to the Hide, I turned back without any more pictures till I returned to the promontory with its bench and later watched the evening feeding by numerous Fieldfare darting between two favoured trees laden with berries.

Twice I watched a hovering Kestrel, but I was bitterly disappointed by the poor quality of those particular shots, but overall it was an interesting afternoon’s exercise.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cherry and Ian's 50th Wedding Anniversary




Cherry and Ian celebrated fifty years of married life with their family and friends at the Aegeas Bowl in Southampton at the Robin Smith Room. Getting down there was in pretty miserable weather, but this did not deter the spirits of anyone attending; and, as if in equal celebration, the weather day after was simply glorious.

In many instances the last time I had met many of the guests was only a decade less, but in most cases the years simply melted away as we were able to recall memories from those earlier times.

I met up with Diane and Tony in the lobby of the Holiday Inn who had already introduced herself to Judith and her husband who were now all ensconced and chatting in armchairs just beyond the foyer.
It was not long before Lizzy, Tim, Catherine and Jonah and Holly and Poppy joined us. I was hoping to reeky where we going to be for the celebrations which were to be in the Robin Smith Suite at the Aegeas Bowl within the same complex as our two hotels; the Hilton and Holiday Inn. Since no one was free to join me I made the journey by myself which meant later I led the way for our group in confidence. It did allow me the bonus of getting some night shots of the arena. The result is a series of scene-setting shots prior to the main event.

Once I had met up with Cherry, it was warming to hear that she was very pleased I had come armed with a camera, as she had toyed with the idea of actually asking – maybe she was unaware that my camera is to all intents an extension of my right hand, and finally may have to be surgically removed!

 It was a very joyous occasion with much laughter, reminiscing and storytelling; I found myself expanding on some of the 'Memory' bag snippets to Poppy at the dinner table, but in a couple of instances I needed reminding as recall was not instantaneous – surprise, surprise!

I enjoy taking shots in poor ambient lighting without additional flash so that I preserve the atmosphere that prevails, and also because flashes popping off can be completely disruptive to the moment and to the event, but it can have its pitfalls, so I do have to apologise to a guest at one of the tables due to my failure at the time to have her in the picture – more especially as we had been in conversation during the evening.

I hope that the shots I have taken are a reflection of the proceedings, and on this occasion I hope I have not spoiled the chronology by headlining a few images out of context in order to give a feeling of how much went into the preparations for the evening by Mandy and Jo. They had undoubtedly ensured the success of the wonderful evening.

I took a walk the morning after because although I hardly touched any alcohol, I stayed up late and managed to sleep through my alarm set for 8 o'clock to be woken at five to eleven, and hastily get myself out of the room, whilst Lizzy kindly grabbed me some breakfast. I needed to calm myself and also charge my phone enough to use it both to phone an aunt I had planned to visit and use its SatNav to reach the village where she lived, hence the shots of autumn colours and finally my aunt and her husband.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Briefest Brogborough Visit – Poor Sailing Weather

The Sunday morning was crisp and bright, so I was deceived into thinking it was less cold than it turned out to be, but I decided to take a chance and by the time I was ready to leave, the sun was definitely clouding over, and on arrival at the Lake at Brogborough, wiser men had decided this was not going to be worth heading out for. However, there were several brave souls who were beginning to rig their boards, so I felt that I could hardly disappoint them.

I did disappoint myself, by failing to really concentrate fully on the job in hand, and so missed several shots where one more adventurous young man was grabbing every opportunity to get his board free from the shackles of the water.

I did think it likely that the water itself would be warmer than the biting wind, and I heard one sailor make just that comment, so I risked dipping my already cold fingers in the water to check it out, and indeed it was considerably warmer than the air, but I had to immediately dry my hand in my jeans back pocket for fear of it getting even colder!

The sun did show a few nanoseconds at a time, but every so often there would be a few drops of rain, and the wind itself was fitful, so conditions for those on the water was disappointing, as a gust would die before they could gain something from it. One younger chap with a bright red sail was by far the most energetic and skilful, so once I had discerned this I found myself recording more of his efforts than anyone, so I apologise to those for whom I gave little coverage.

In the end, the rain defeated me and I retired to the rest area and was followed not long after as the rain had definitely started to set in, and I was already finding my fingers were seriously cold. It soon became obvious conditions were not going to improve and the wind had died almost completely, so I stayed and chatted over a warming cup of tea, before calling it a day, but at least there are some shots as a record of my visit.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Digi-Cluster 2016 Finale – Warner Bros. Studios

To close the Network Evenings for 2016, JB Cole, Clock and and with sponsorship from Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire LEP and West Herts College, the final Meeting for Digi-Cluster was arranged to be at the Warner Brothers Studios at Leavesden.

Peter Carr and I went down in my car and arrived we presumed well early, but found we were not the first by quite a number, and as we went through all the necessary Security procedures, we took the opportunity to look around the maps of the venue, and thumbed or way through the History book, but it only covered the US era, but later the more recent history was covered by Dan Dark in his opening welcome to us in the Presentation theatre.

We did not have long to wait, and in smallish groups we were carefully shepherded between Security staff at various gates till we arrived at the complex that housed our allocated Presentation theatre.

After meeting up with others to chat over pre-event drinks, we moved into the theatre and Josh Bolland handed over to Dan Dark who in a very relaxed and assured welcome, gave us a short resumé of how and why Warner Brothers came to be here. He also showed a couple of videos to illustrate his talk, and answered questions from the audience.

He related some of the location's history and the benefits that accrue from the sheer size of the plot and scale of the existing but derelict buildings, that were so perfectly suited for the needs of a Film Studio.

This was followed by three 90 second pitches by Helena Baker, Tom Shurville and Tim Parfitt, with Syd Nadeem questioning the participants to provide background and expand upon their projects.  Emma Stewart then followed to announce a new programme to support SMEs who work, or wish to work within the TV/Film sector and explained how 'Creative England' would be hoping to provide funding to help bring this about.

We then all adjourned for the customary and generous food and drinks to close the evening; chatting amongst both ourselves and the speakers. Once again grateful thanks go to our hosts at Warner Brothers, and to all those who behind the scenes put everything together to ensure the evening's success, and we were learned the next meeting is scheduled for March 2017.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Autumn Sun in Priory Park Bedford

Last time I attempted to capture the colours of Autumn, I was thwarted by the ever-shy English Sun – however when an opportunity arose again, I made my way to Priory park in Bedford; the only adversary on this occasion was my intransigent SatNav, which would bow out when I needed it most which involved me in more than one loop back to take the correct direction at a junction. Even when nearing the Car Park, it was insisting it would appear on my right, but fortunately I spotted it myself on my left, albeit too late resulting in a U-turn at a nearby junction.

I was greeted by a very milky sun, but as forecast, it slowly cleared and was pleasantly warm with not a breath of breeze to ripple the water on the lakes. After a brief conversation wit a couple of ladies by the map, I set off for a walk around the lake with just the 5D MKIII and the 35mm f/1.4 lens. I headed for the water's edge before crossing the green sward to a stand of multicoloured trees in the near distance. After a few brief glimpses beyond the frontage of cover, I headed back to the path that ran around the lake's edge, taking every opportunity that was offered for further trips down pathways into the woods to my left, which resulted in other small pools under heavy tree cover, and small bridges over streams or gullies.

I continued these forays throughout my trip around the lake before returning to my start and changing cameras and lenses at the car after taking the opportunity to eat a Scotch egg and a packet of crisps. I would have liked to have used my monopod with my long lens, but sadly, the 3/8th to 1/4 screw adaptor was stuck firmly and I had no tools to extricate it to attach it to the lens foot. I also swapped the 35mm lens for the Tamron 90mm Macro and took the anti-clockwise trip and returned the way from which I had just emerged with the 5D MkIII and now the 150-600mm around my neck. This time only retracing a third of that side of the lake before making a different route back to the car.

I had covered quite a lot of ground and had found the Canoe Slalom Course, but without its teams of canoeists and met numerous dog walkers and mothers and grandmothers of very young children with a mere handful of fathers, and countless joggers and strollers with earphones firmly excluding the sounds of the wildlife from their hearing. There were also the occasional young businessmen discussing their day's business meetings as they made their way around the lake as well as a few small family groups at the water's edge feeding the ducks and gulls, or using plastic ball throwers to keep their dogs exercised. It was only towards the end of my trip did I spot any birds that my camera could consider capturing.

It was a very relaxed interlude with several tunnels of trees to capture bathed in warm autumnal hues and casting long shadows through the branches of trees still fairly-well covered in their foliage, but as I walked I witnessed numerous flutterings of leaves falling to form the golden carpet that covered the paths I was following, every so often I would turn around and take shots from the opposing direction when I spotted the new view from the other side.

I wondered just how long before the wind and rains of the oncoming winter would be upon us. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

ABC – Autumn Bedfordshire Colours!

Why do free time slots occur when the sun is hiding? I had earlier seen some splendid autumn colours along the A421 in late afternoon sunshine, but when free to get out and try to capture the panoply of autumn hues, the sun was behind clouds. But to fail to record them at all seemed a poor option, so I headed out to see whether with a long lens I might be able to see some of that regardless, but the geography made that impossible, so I sought out areas that were more accessible from the countryside nearer me. And initially much closer – within the reach of the 90mm Tamron Macro!

Leaves, acorns, brambles, late roses, and puzzling holes in the verges – I am left wondering which small animals were responsible for these thinly disguised entrances, marked from the dying grasses. I found red leaves on roadside trees, and in a field, rows of cultivated bushes. Later, I even found some late roses and holly with berries; definitely greeting card fodder.

Strangely, also a small area of hedgerow literally teeming with energetic wasps of seemingly different ages to judge from the span of sizes, and they were intent on a very specific seed structure; that of ivy, which resemble a tiny World War II mine at normal viewing distance, but when close, resemble small green flowers on extending stems, obviously supplying an inviting taste to wasps. I had never seen such a number, other than when seeing a cluster of rotting windfall apples.

Altogether a fruitful time for the dying colours of Autumn. The American term: Fall, only describes the results of the action of the wind on the dying leaves from the trees, the English term: Autumn, describes so much more; the range of colours, the russets against the fading green, and the pale yellows with blotchy specks of black, the last warm winds that signal the end of summer and the rains that will herald the cold of the coming Winter.

I hope the gallery of pictures has captured something of an English Autumn, not simply the carpet of fallen leaves.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Briefest Early Woburn Park Visit

Waking early and fairly wide awake, I decided to take a chance to pay a visit to the deer at Woburn Park; just a few miles beyond the M1; it seemed it had rained earlier, so I thought it might stay dry for a while. Arriving at the car park, I was greeted by a red sky, but as I assembled my camera, it disappeared and was replaced by the familiar English shades of grey murk, before I had even reached the path through the woods!

I arrived at the small pond by the visitors’ gate and set up the tripod and before the deer were spooked by my presence took a few shots of them at rest largely in silhouette, and despite my moving slowly and carefully they began leaving towards the open space of the field beyond the pond, some had been in the water and they began jumping out which definitely added to the atmosphere of fear amongst the rest. I moved slowly towards the kiosk in a few stages, shooting when at rest. It was during this exodus that I spotted three stags that were lame, and mentioned it to a passing Ranger. It was very low light and therefore I was using  3200 ISO and occasionally 4000! So the quality is none too high.

A few early athletes came by and jogged along the lower path and we exchanged greetings as they passed; the most unusual passerby was taking a pony for a stroll, so he and his pony now feature alongside the deer. After watching some of the activities amongst the deer and choosing key moments, hopefully shown something of the story of what was happening – one stag for example was moving to protect his doe.

Soon after that I felt the onset of rain, my subjects were also disappearing into the distance and discretion was definitely the better part of valour, because I value my kit and it is a long trek back to the car! So I closed the tripod legs and headed back. Arriving back at base, a car drew up at the house and outstepped my accountant Penny, so my timing was spot on, but by pure chance!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Work Begins on Marston Moretaine Bridge

I have secured permission to don my PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and enter the site from the Contractors, T&W Civil Engineering Ltd, to take photographs of the works as they progress, so over the next few weeks it will be possible to see how things are moving by coming back to this blog from time to time.

It is a shame there is nowhere secure to mount a camera from a high viewpoint to take a time lapse of the work as it proceeds. Also I feel sorry for cyclists who would have liked to have some means of still using the route, but because of local roads layout any diversion has to go around the ex-quarry lake of Brogborough, or take to the pathways across the fields.

I arrived on site at around eight-thirty and started work taking shots of the brook itself as well as the start of the new temporary diversionary route that allows the men to demolish the bridge and later to put in the large concrete pipes that will take the brook beneath the road. The most notable observation was just how many services there are that will have to be carefully by-passed as they excavate before working out which have to be replaced by the appropriate service providers: Gas, Electricity, Street Lighting, Telephones, Water, and Sewage. What I learned was the sheer profusion was not foreseen, and presents further work, and potential delays.

It will be interesting to see how this resolves down the line.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Road Closure, Marston Moretaine

Station Road, Marston Moretaine is due eight weeks of lower through traffic with the closure of road, just short of the Marston Forest Nature Reserve. This is due to the removal and replacement of the existing bridge over the brook. T&W Civil Engineering Ltd will be carrying out the work. It will be interesting to see whether road users will find useful alternative routes that might lower Station Road's through traffic, or whether it will be a short respite before it increases exponentially. It does look as if there is another entrance to new houses being built on land to the left of the Forest Centre entrance which may compound traffic congestion along Station Road within Marston Moretaine.

Perhaps wisdom may have prevailed and this might be just an exit left, away from the village, though I will not hold my breath, as Bedfordshire is not renowned for outstanding planning decisions where roads are concerned.

I have noticed that numerous car drivers are either overly optimistic and that there is a way to reach the Nature Reserve and beyond from Marston Moretaine's Station Road, or they feel that with the road going nowhere it is an ideal spot to practice three-point turns!

Since it is but a short walk for me to visit, I may well take progress shots to give an indication of the road to completion (I know – pardon the pun!)

On my visit this morning I smelt a strong whiff of gas emanating from just before the bridge at the small brick building where the High Pressure Gas Pipeline is located, and reported it, because this could be an issue whilst this road and bridge work was being carried out.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

An Early Start for Marsworth Reservoir

Checking the weather forecast suggested a bright day, but either I did not see a mention of heavy mist, or there was not one, for I set off in a very thick mist that in parts was better described as fog, making winding country roads without white edge lines particularly hazardous in the early hours, and having had to scrape my windscreen of frost, my dashboard reminded me unnecessarily the potential for ice!

My route had many junctions and I almost missed one as its landmark pub was obscured in the mist. I arrived at Tringford with darkness still prevailing, I parked up and put together my Giottos tripod and  Lensmaster gimbal head, and had already put the Canon 100-400mm lens with 1.4 converter, and slung my 5D MkIII with 35mm f/1.4 around my neck and set off along the path that lay between Startops End lake and Marsworth lake. The Canada Geese or Graylags were hooting and Gulls swooped in and out of the mist over the waters of Marsworth, as I headed along the Grand Union Canal towards the reed beds.

 I made my way carefully and quietly down the bank to avoid creating a disturbance and began setting up the tripod, I had nearly completed when a quiet voice behind me said he had waited for me to finish before alerting me to his presence in case in fright I was pitched into the water! I don't think he realised how true was his statement, for had he spoken at normal volume, I would have jumped clean out of my skin! He introduced himself as Andy, and much later as Andy Brown, and I learned we shared a mutual friend in Mervyn.

My eyes have started to degrade more rapidly of late and this has resulted in my having two very different prescriptions for distance and close work, and today for the first time since my latest glasses, I found that the pair I had chosen which allowed me to view the review screen well were very far from being useful in spotting kingfishers on the far bank, and on this occasion I was indebted to Andy who was clearly able to spot them. I think I am going to have to bring both pairs with me in future, which was not the case before.

As the light slowly improved we both began shooting at high ISO and fairly wide apertures, and it soon became apparent that my decision to check out using a converter on the 100-400mm lens was far less effective than using my 150-600mm lens on its own, so that experiment was a failure! The main reason being that in this low light auto focus was both very slow, and sometimes simply not happening. The advancing light certainly improved the quality of images I was able to get – I was bitterly disappointed with the vast majority of the early shots, and only rising to barely acceptable towards late morning. Another experiment was using the onboard flash of the 7D MkII, again way under-powered to work efficiently, but it did seem to have a beneficial side effect, in that it seemed to make the kingfisher show interest in us!

After Andy had headed off to work for a Conference call, a pair of wood pigeons began courting, and since I had built up an interesting sequence, I have put these in a separate gallery. (click the underlined text above to link to the gallery).
I stayed for an hour or so longer, because it became apparent that the kingfishers had had their fill for our neck of the woods, so I set off back to the car, but along the way I did stop occasionally to record a few landscape shots and also got involved in a few conversations with others walking the footpath.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Brief Visit to Tring Reservoirs

I had not travelled to Tring Reservoirs for some time, so on a whim I phoned the Water Bailliff to find out if I was able to get my car parked nearby, but he was in a meeting and could not speak, so would speak to me in the afternoon; the answer suggested I might still be lucky, so I travelled down later on the offchance and was lucky, and since I found the gate unlocked, I phoned him, and learned he was down at the lake himself, so asked was it OK;  he told me fine, and I went along to meet him. We chatted about his wife who has been unlucky with her health. He broke off suddenly when he spotted a cormorant.

They are having a lot of trouble with cormorants that are very damaging to the lake’s fish, and Bob is constantly using a cap gun to scare them off, but it seems it is a battle that the cormorants are winning as they are increasingly taking no notice of his efforts to drive them away. Unlike herons that eat smaller fish, the cormorants go for the trout and often just wound them, resulting in many of them dying from their wounds, which leaves the anglers very angry, especially since restocking is so expensive. I left him to his task and set off with my camera and monopod, to Marsworth.

The water level was very low and the few birds that were there were gathered en masse on the shore close by the stream that fills Startops lake, there were several cygnet families, Canada geese, black-headed gulls, greylags and coots all together in the shallow water or the exposed foreshore. I spotted a Mallard drake making a beeline for two others, and it seemed he was exhorting them to join him and bring the duck along too, which I found intriguing as at first I had thought he was being aggressive. Awhile later I spotted first a small dusty-shaded butterfly I took to be a Speckled Wood, and also a Red Admiral, which surprised me so late in the season. In my walk along the canal towpath I met several couples out with their dogs and in the course of conversation learned of a pair of herons between the locks, but at this time I did not see them.

Later still whilst I was down at the water’s edge looking ahead expectantly waiting for sight of a kingfisher, I glanced to my right and there was a silhouette that looked very like a kingfisher in the dark dead branches completely still – putting the camera to my eye I realised my good fortune and slowly I focussed on him, and opened up two stops and increased the ISO and just hoped as I watched that it might be enough to allow me to brighten it later in Lightroom. I took several shots as he swung his head around every so often sometimes with his eye showing, and when I ‘chimped’ I thought they were going to severely lack colour as he was in such deep shade. Much later on the computer in Lightroom I was really amazed at how much detail I had succeeded in getting from the gloom in which they were shot.

Having been rewarded by the kingfisher shots I walked further along the canal, but on the outward journey failed to spot the youngster on the far side, however on my return, there it was perched on one leg absolutely motionless. I got some shots in profile by waiting for him to be distracted by some of the strollers, I thanked them and we chatted as I headed back to the car. We parted company at the junction of the towpath and the two lakes, and I met up once again with Bob and another angler and was treated to a snack of pork pie and a cup of tea, before heading back to Marston Moretaine.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Stockwood Discovery Centre's Garden Colours

The colours I experienced in the gardens of the Discovery Centre were not simply those you come to expect of Autumn, these were ravishing and in abundance.

Seemingly I am not alone in observing this as it was apparent that some young students from a local school or even a sixth form college were to be seen singly or in small groups,  clutching sketchbooks taking notice and sketching what they found; they were entirely unsupervised, but diligently working away responsibly. I had come down as I felt this was probably the last chance to capture the flowers before autumn winds and rain took their toll.

I took several shots in the greenhouse before venturing out into the cooler air of the gardens and learned from Jan, one of the gardeners that there was an exhibition of Garden Photography in the exhibition hall, so before I left, I vowed I would take a look, and I was impressed, the entrants came from around the world and some were of a very young age and the scenes depicted were very evocative and of a high standard throughout – I can highly recommend taking the time to pay a visit, it is entirely free.

At the end of the gallery I have taken some photos of the display, that show just how well they are organised.

I now have to travel further to reach the Centre, but I have never been disappointed in making the journey, and to have been able to the fine work of many others in the exhibition was an unexpected bonus.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Brogborough Stop-off and New Sun Roof

I have just had a sunroof fitted to the Insignia, and the delay I endured was because this new version of Webasto’s sun roof was the first into the UK for cars with very curved roofs such as the Jaguar XF and the Insignia, was somewhat late and the template had been delayed.

The Journey back from Hemel Hempstead took me back via the old A 421 as I had purposely made my journey back avoiding the M1 motorway as engineers were removing a bridge and had closed an entire Bedfordshire section, this took me finally past Brogborough lake the home of the eponymous Windsurfing lake, that I often frequent. As there was a reasonable breeze I decided to detour despite it being still morning. Only one sailor was on the water, but there were a few rigging their boards, and a few familiar faces greeted me.

Although the shots I took of the new sun roof are at the beginning of the gallery, they were taken just before leaving, the windsurfers all appear in correct chronology.

I took the heavy tripod with me and headed up the road beyond the car park in through the Angler’s field gate and as far as the second more impenetrable bushes above the beach so the windsurfers would head towards me before gybing and I would have the sun on them, if it stayed out! after seeing that the sailors were going beyond me, I back tracked a bit to give me a better span, and awaited the arrival of a few more on the water. Fortunately I did not have to wait too long as rigging a board seemed to take less long than my trek across the field.

Today I was informed was not likely to encourage any jumping, so sequences of gybing were going to be the order of the day. This gives me a lot of extra work in post-processing deciding to reduce the number of shots in the sequences and also ensuring level horizons, cropping and resizing to make the sequences have more constant sizing, so the number of shots per gallery is not a measure of how long I was taking the shots, but a measure of how long I spend later editing whilst sat in front of a computer screen.

On my return to the club car park I managed to get some shots of a a reddish orange dragonfly, sadly not in flight or against a smooth backdrop, but I did mange to get in fairly close which pleased my eye for detail.


 I did not stay very long, but stopped shooting when the wind dropped dramatically and the number of sails on the water fell to low single figures.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Spur of the Moment Visit to Gadebridge Park

A Product Designer friend was very kindly coming to collect me after I had taken my car to have a Webasto sunroof fitted, and whereas I had set off for an early arrival in Hemel Hempstead, I had expressed to Peter Carr that it was entirely sensible for him to leave after the end of the morning rush to minimise his loss of time, and I would find something to do once I had handed over the car.

Dave Sweetingham who runs Executive Autocare who had fitted a sunroof to my last car, and done an excellent job, when asked what places there might be offering photographic opportunities suggested I made my way to Gadebridge Park. I was very grateful to take his advice and found the gardens were being tended by no less than three gardeners upon my arrival, and the display was very well managed, and each of them greeted me warmly.

There were only a handful of visitors, but all acknowledged my presence, bar one gentlemen who was entirely engrossed, in the smaller Charter Garden, obviously happy with his own company in the warm early morning sunshine with its long shadows, I found the lighting very pleasing even before reaching the gardens themselves with the line of trees casting there striped shadows diagonally across the circular beds that lined the road to the entrance gate, which was the remains of the Charter Tower.

I strolled quietly around capturing the essence of the place, until the call came on my mobile to say Peter was arriving with my return trip, thus ending a brief interlude which provided me with a couple of gallery pages of the formal gardens, very satisfactorily filling the time. I can warmly recommend them as a place in which to relax and enjoy the colour and serenity.

I now look forward to collecting my car with its new sunroof, and taking some shots of the completed job, so Dave can show the quality of his handiwork to other potential clients, especially as this particular Mark 3 version is the first in the country, especially designed for the very curved roofs of cars such as the Jaguar XF or my more humble Insignia!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A brief Afternoon Visit to the Forest Centre

I felt sweating in front of a computer screen on one of the hottest and certainly muggiest afternoons in a long while was not the most productive way, nor the most comfortable, so a short trip in an air-conditioned car then sweating whilst trying to hand hold the 100-400mm lens steady on the 5D MkIII was preferable; the aim being to try to capture dragonflies in flight.

Foolishly I thought using a tripod was a good idea, but it really wasn’t and soon though I did use it on occasion as a monopod, it simply became a burden to carry with me! As I entered the steps to the reeds I spotted a tiny lizard, but I just watched it as it soon found a way to elude me, certainly well before I could have readied a camera! I carried on down to where I soon spotted a few dragonflies flitting and briefly hovering above shallow pools among the reeds. It took me fully a sweaty twenty minutes without ever reaching the point where I could press the shutter release, and during that period a couple from Windsor paid a short visit, which gave me a spotter, for the lady was able to point out a small red dragonfly stationary on a reed, so I got my first shot of the day, but I had my sights set on the larger species that were brightly coloured green and blue and hopefully hovering in flight long enough for me to focus and capture.

I persevered for some time and the couple continued further into the Reserve and later returned and in passing wish me success. Later another photographer came along and she mentioned there was a large family of rats below the bird feeder, so I decided to take a diversion from dragonflies and went along and took a few shots as the youngsters came out in the open for a while before being spooked and returning to cover. I then returned to my original spot as did the photographer and occasionally in the lulls between dragonfly visits we chatted, and on mentioning I enjoyed shooting kingfishers she told me her boyfriend chose the colours of a kingfisher for his canoe – I did wonder whether that platform might be successful in attracting our feathered friends, but I think not.


Eventually as the sun dipped further, I decided I might move to the reeds at the edge of the lake in front of the play area, and this proved marginally better and I did manage a couple of passably sharp shots of one in flight, but got some interesting compositions of one in the reeds, static. Then as I took a winding route back to the car I spotted another that alighted on a blackberry cluster and later still some bees among the flowers, so my journey was not wasted, so there was to be a gallery in the end, and it meant the perspiration had been worth enduring.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Goodwood Revival Meeting 2016, with Martin Evening


Friday involved a very early start for me; in darkness and drizzle, as I had first to pick up my generous host for the day, whose guest ticket I was using to visit the Revival Meeting. This leg of the journey was scheduled to be an hour, to arrive at six o'clock at Ashridge Forest, but fortunately I made good time. With Martin Evening aboard, we set off for the M25. It did however remind me that although many might also be heading for the Goodwood Revival Meeting, for most it was just the end of another week's work, and if they were hoping to leave work early at the end of the day, then an early start was 'de rigeur'. Once we met the M25, this was very much in evidence, I did not help the situation, for I took a wrong roundabout exit which involved a trip down the wrong road and back to take the correct one which meant we hit the trail of cars further back than was necessary, delaying our arrival even more!

Since Martin wanted a comfort break, he set off, while I gathered my kit together, and looked around for markers for when we returned to the car later. We agreed to meet up at the Old Control Tower as this was to be our base for the day. I was already very warm despite my attire being a summer-weight suit, and so far there was very little refreshing wind.


Some of those staffing the entrance to the Control Tower were vaguely familiar from a previous visit, and brightly welcoming, and soon Martin and I were relaxing upstairs discussing our plans for the day.  One idea I had was to go to a part of the track I had not visited since a chance visit a year before Stirling Moss had had his near fatal accident. I had been taken by a neighbour from that time, rally driver, Peter Morley in his modified Triumph Herald, PM3. 

We headed anti-clockwise around the outside of the circuit in the general direction of St. Mary's. We stopped at several good vantage points on the way for a chance to take shots of the cars as they headed towards what would be our turnaround point, where we could return a short distance back to one of the bus stops. We chatted whilst the first two stopped without offloading any occupants and alighted the third for our trip back to the marshalling assembly area.

The subjects of our photographs were very different; Martin's were characters in extravagant outfits mainly groups of entertainers, in informal posed groups, where mine were snatched moments, both of us were capturing some of the practices going on on-track, but in Martin's case, this was a lower priority, he was far more interested in the people, and these were more evident close by the centre of activities in and around the Start/Finish line and the Pits complex, so after our walk to St.Mary’s and the Tractor return trip we split up for a while, but that did not mean that I failed to capture some of the entertainment provided by groups of Acapella singers such as the Doo Wop Mommas.

I also met some interesting engineers at the Richmond Enclosure by the Chicane, and at lunch a husband and wife publicity team from the Horse-Racing fraternity at the Lunch in the Old Control Tower, where I also briefly encountered Rowan Atkinson in Revival attire and white racing overalls. Later Charlie Settrington, Lord March’s son came to to the Tower similarly attired having had a spell in the A35.


We had an enjoyable day and set off for a journey back involving the unavoidable Friday M25 Crawl, but at least for us it was not the weekly fixture. The end of yet another enjoyable day at Goodwood and later spell in front of the computer sifting through the day’s images, but that was not to be for at least another twenty-four hours!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Woburn Park Late Summer Afternoon

Just carrying the 100-400mm Canon zoom and without a tripod I made my way from the Car Park opposite the Church into the woods via the gate by the Cattle Grids. I had taken a few shots of leaves but soon caught sight of several dragonflies, but they were particularly flighty, so it was a while before I managed  to get some shots, but at quite a distance making handholding somewhat hit or miss, but I did get a few static shots and a single one in flight and despite waiting around for a short spell, that was it.


I did however manage to capture a few small butterfly shots of Speckled Wood, it was the only species I spotted, which I found surprising. I did find a few examples of interesting lighting on leaves and serendipitous shapes formed by grass, and moved into the small lake by the entrance to get a few shots of single deer, the only different image was when I saw an Albino deer running with a fallow deer. Having taken a few shots by the lake, I returned through the woods, taking a few shots on the walk back to the car. I spotted a pair of butterflies which I took to be mating as one pinned the other beneath it in the grass and then it seemed to release the other, then linger awhile before flying off on its own.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Three Species of Butterfly Grace my Buddliea

On the second day of more frequent butterfly visitation, there are now three varieties flocking to the rapidly fading Buddliea in the back garden – there is a fourth, but it is the Cabbage White and it it is very elusive; rarely stopping anywhere for more than a nanosecond, and fortunately definitely less attractive than the three more colourful – the Painted Lady, Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral, that were present this morning around breakfast time.

Nothing more to say than the wind meant I had to work harder and waste more shots! But they were very welcome visitors, I did make another discovery, the two plums which I had since forgotten, were no more, one had dropped and both had largely been consumed, which was sad, I should have picked them both when I first spotted them!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Aylesbury Proms in the Park 2016


For last few years Aylesbury Town Council put on a Concert in the Park, close by the Swimming Pool and Gym complex, and it proves to be a very successful event that provides funds for Charity and a great family day out. Rarely could it have had such good weather for the event, and this was also reflected in the numbers attending the Concert by the Aylesbury Concert Band on the Bank Holiday Sunday.

I arrived with my daughter’s baritone saxophone in time for the start of the rehearsal and families and individuals were already settling down for the afternoon of music. I dropped off the sax and my daughter and parked the car up the road before returning to get out my cameras. Very early on I spotted the Soprano, Alexandra Lowe warming up solo out at the back of the marquee, so I asked whether she minded my capturing those moments to which I got an affirmative so I took a few shots and looked forward to the ones for real later.

As the rehearsal got under way, I looked around at the gathering audience and spotted some characters I had seen at earlier concerts, and the Council’s official photographer whom I remember, Russ Naylor came over to greet me and we chatted – he had been covering the whole holiday’s events, not just the concert. The Band ran through their programme and Alexandra joined James Liu on the stage for their pieces, and although I got shots of both performing at this point, I would be able to kid no one these shots were part of the concert, especially since Alexandra would be swapping spectacles for contact lenses and a very striking red dress for the main event. I also spotted a trumpet player around the back, also practising solo.

Carl Quaif opened the main event, introducing the Conductor Robert Wicks and part of the theme was a salute to our Rio Athletes and although clouds began to amass at this time, we were spared. During the rehearsal and the first part of the concert the audience kept swelling in numbers and I took the occasional shots to illustrate the progression as well as incidentals. There was only one incident that marred the proceedings as one recalcitrant male was escorted away.
I did my best to get shots of the musicians as they played, but without a cherry-picker to gain height the shots tend to look cluttered by the music stands, the banners and the individual mikes for the different sections, and also I do not like to disturb the concentration of the performers by being too close.

As the Finale approached and the daylight dwindled, I would keep increasing the ISO speed, though sometimes only after spotting that the sharpness of the shots was deteriorating! It is also hard to get steady shots when one’s feet are tapping to the rhythm of the music which I also came to hear and in some instances sing along to, when the the music was loud enough to provide cover. It was good to end with the solo singers looking upward to the fireworks and being lit from the front of the stage.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

My Garden Insect Pollinators


Today was the day when those taking O-Level GCSEs get their results, and I was hoping to hear how my twin grandchildren had fared, and fortunately I did not have to wait too long and was both relieved and thrilled to learn just how well both had performed – I knew it was well-deserved as they had both worked extremely hard and now they can take things to the next stage with confidence and I wish them well. Catherine their mother should feel justly proud of their achievements considering she is also a hard-working teacher herself.

It was very hot and humid today and so when lunchtime came and I spotted a couple of Tortoiseshell butterflies at long last visiting my Buddliea, I knew I just had to grab the camera and take some shots since up till yesterday I had seen only a lone Cabbage White and the flowers are nearly all over now. It was a welcome sight, and they do make excellent images for birthday cards.

At one stage when looking to see whether any butterflies had gone to the very low branches resting on the grass, I spotted some colour close to the fence and thought at first it was a kiddy's toy, but on closer examination I was amazed – when I moved here, my two daughters had bought me a house-welcoming present of a plum tree, and despite being only a year in the ground it had produced two very healthy looking plums one with a large glob of sap coming from its skin. I who can kill the healthiest and sturdiest of plants had been given fruit on my plum tree in the first year! I shall check later to see whether they are actually ripe enough to eat, I immediately texted both daughters with the good news and a quick photo as evidence. One plum for two excellent results for my granddaughters.

I then grabbed a few more shots; enough for a small gallery and got back to the Sauna that is my office.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Warm Sunday Afternoon – a Full Brogborough Lake

I had some prints to deliver to a couple of the windsurfers at the Club, but I took along my camera in case I was tempted by any action on the lake. I was.
It would seem as if I am a glutton for punishment when it concerns post processing, especially since I have taken to trying to capture sequences of windsurfing action such a gybing and jumping. I spent the first quarter of an hour watching and chatting, getting a feel for who was on the water and the likelihood of exciting action. As a few more arrived, went to the boot of the car and took out my camera – the Canon 7D MKII and the 15-600mm lens and put it on the Gitzo tripod with the gimbal head and then moved to the foreshore to see what transpired.

Later I grabbed a spare battery and card, and headed away from the launch area, over a small fence and into the woods, following the earlier cycle race track through the hawthorn bushes and brambles to reach two spots where I could see the windsurfers and have a reasonable angle of sunlight on them as they came in my direction. Initially I went beyond the point I had been to on previous occasions, but it turned out to be too far round, and where the sailors gybed was hidden by both trees and the headland. I stayed just a few minutes before moving back into the woods and then finding a path to the cliff edge that was nearer to the launch area.


By the end of the afternoon, I knew I had given myself a lot of images to sift through, balance,  re-align horizons and crop! Other work and life get in the way, and it is now Tuesday evening and I am writing this with that work now behind me – just!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Brief Brogborough Lake Look in

I may not be able to visit the Lake on Sunday, so decided to nip along to deliver a print to Sam Barnes for one of the windsurfers, but took along the camera – just in case…

It began to spit with rain as I got out of the car, so I handed the package to Sam and walked to the lake edge to see what activity there was, the wind was even more sporadic than the last time I came, with some quite strong gusts, then it would die completely and the rain looked settled but light, so I just chatted, and during that time, the rain stopped and the wind began to pick up so I went to the car and got out the camera, when I returned to the foreshore a couple were just about to set off in a canoe.

The sun even broke through the clouds occasionally so I stayed and took a few shots every so often and had a few brief chats with a few of the windsurfers, but when the activity thinned, I went inside, had a cup of tea, showed a few prints that I had with me, and showed a few some of the afternoon's shots on the back of the camera and gave out a business card with the blog details for one who had asked, and chatted to Sam for a while before leaving; by the time I got outside everyone had disappeared!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Stockwood Discovery Centre – A Floral Abundance for Bees

Due to plan changes I decided a visit to the Discovery Centre at Stockwood in Luton would be worth a visit; and so it proved. I was able to move in close on bees going about their business of pollinating. I was watching one bee in particular, and I was convinced by what I saw that he was becoming intoxicated, because he came out from within the flower head really dozily, and landed on a nearby leaf where he would wander somewhat and also try to clear some of the pollen from the top of its head, then return to the same flower for more of the same!

Elsewhere the Echinops were a favoured flower of the bees, and again the bees would seem to stay longer on the same flower, likewise the giant thistle heads, giving me half a chance to capture the bees in flight.

These gardens hold a wide variety of species in a limitless range of colours, that are laid out in a manner that invites the visitor to wander, and the peace of this place is only shattered when the numerous aircraft fly low into Luton Airport, as this is the busiest UK holiday flight period. When each has passed, the sounds of chattering children reasserts itself, and if you are close to the flowers, the hum of insects takes over again.

I also got a chance to visit the greenhouses, and when I came back out I was dripping and grateful to feel the warm dry breeze waft across my shirt, but no pain, no gain, and I had been able to get shots of grapes and a ripening lemon and also an abandoned nest with a single egg. Outside a white butterfly was also less flittery and would land briefly several times leaving me just about enough to time to capture a shot. Luton should be justly proud of this wonderful free amenity and it is always worth a visit.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Thurlow Nunn Milton Keynes, Welcome Quality Architecture

I recently bought a secondhand car from Thurlow Nunn, Milton Keynes, and am pleased with my purchase and the service I received, but more than anything else it was the architecture of their Showroom that appealed to my senses as a photographer, and whilst collecting a replaced key for the vehicle, decided it was worth asking the management there if I might take some photos. David Hyde their Sales Manager was happy to oblige.

So I went back and collected my camera gear and returned to see what I could record to allow others to see what had appealed to me, I also needed to test the latest version of CamRanger, so brought along my iPad and set it up at Reception so that the receptionist could get an idea of what I was shooting (and anyone else who might be concerned) it performed flawlessly as I moved around both at ground level and up on the balcony where some of the new cars are displayed.

By the time I had finished I was bathed in perspiration, because at one stage I moved one of the very heavy display stands that gives the specifications of the vehicle  it is alongside, and yes, I put it carefully back where it had been! I took some shots that were duplicated and some that were intended to be brackets for an HDR, but they failed, so forty usable shots from sixty shot might have seemed a poor success rate, but I was keen to get as good verticals as possible, and in some instances my exposure was off, so forty makes a nice 8x5 grid in the gallery.

It is a handsome and flexible workspace as I had witnessed at the promotional day where I succumbed to the buying of my car, and I hope I have captured this in the shots taken this afternoon, and I can but hope that something may come my way to warrant the effort I have put in. Thurlow Nunn hopefully will at least point to the gallery when suggesting  what a visitor to the showroom would be seeing on arrival.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Windsurfers in the Sun at Brogborough

The afternoon on this day at Brogborough was a busy one for me, having given up my attempts at photographing insects, I was lured by the magnetic attraction of watersports and that there was some wind and sun which proved too strong to resist, so out came the tripod, gimbal head and the 150-600mm lens on the 5D MkII, and I simply captured what unfolded before me.

I met the son, of the earlier incumbent at the Club, David who was over here from Australia, he very kindly provided me with some excellent views of the underside of the board he was borrowing, and his jumps were performed heading straight for me! I hope he is pleased with what I managed to capture.

The shot of the girl that heads this piece was chosen because of the fortuitous happenstance of the reflection from her sail lighting her face and showing the set of her mouth in concentration, I apologise for cropping out the top of the sail, but the shot was a vertical, and I head these pieces with landscape images to be economic of space.

I'll let the gallery tell the story from here, as I have written enough words for one day. Suffice to say the day was a really enjoyable one.

Windsurfers Take over my Activities…

I give in! To the WINsurfers!

Action taking place in front of me, and the possible opportunity of capturing a striking image gets the better of me, so whilst I am at this high bank I take a few shots with the lenses at hand, before making my way back to the Club Car Park where I can swap for the much longer 150-600mm and also consider working from the tripod. I did still keep a weather eye out for dragonflies, but they eluded me. Up till this point I was using the 300mm with a 1.4 converter and another body with the 100mm macro.

At this stage I had no idea how the day was going to pan out, so the gallery of pictures pointed to from here is not the end of the story, and it has certainly kept me busy! I shall leave the gallery of pictures to tell their story, and get on with processing yet more pictures from the day.

Brogborough – Very Much a Great Family Day Out

The Sun was out and the Wind Fair, and alongside my opportunity to cover the general windsurfing activity on the lake, I took the opportunity to capture a significant day for a couple of the families, that of accomplished sailor, Richard McKeating help his two daughters to take on board some of the sport which gives him so much pleasure, and Sam and Emma Barnes’ son being given some encouragement walking and playing with bird feathers, that seemed to constantly escape his young clutches. Sam runs the Club, and was on hand to give Richard’s daughter some tip whilst he supported a mast.

I decided these shots needed separation from the rest of the shots taken on the day, as they were far more personal, but both parties were happy they could still appear on the blog. I am now back on the task of collating the rest of the day’s output!