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, 31 July 2017

Waddesdon in Sun & Showers

I was invited by my daughter to visit Waddesdon with her two children for a Day with Scooters, and naturally another visit to the splendid setting of house and gardens, the first this year was an opportunity I was not going to miss. They now have a car park area in the lower part of the park, and one then takes a coach to the fountain roundabout that is the start of the main drive to the front of the house, one of several houses belonging to the Rothschild Banking dynasty. The guide we met was bubbly, helpful and on seeing the scooters, she said if we hand these to the driver, he will stow them in the front of the coach, and after taking the ticket from us we boarded, with the two children heading straight for the back seats!
Soon the coach filled with other families, but on that coach we were the only ones with scooters, and seemingly we were early as when we reached the drop-off point we only saw a couple of others with scooters in the distance by the house. We headed for the small tent to get our maps for the ‘Tour de France’ trail and chat to further, friendly volunteer guides – you are made to feel warmly welcomed at every turn.
My daughter had prepared lunch for us all, so we headed for a bench and whilst she prepared everything the two children happily scooted back and forth along the path, eventually coming to sit down to eat and drink, then we consulted the maps and began the trail, after the first stop which had been reasonably level, the path sloped more steeply and the boy’s brake on the rear wheel proved difficult to slow down safely, so for a spell he had to walk (not what he had hoped), but we were not killjoys: we had already had minor spills and with thin summer clothes, knees and elbows are easily grazed.
Every so often I took opportunities to take photographs, though generally close at hand should mishaps occur. The two of them found a den that appealed and later when the rain came all of us found welcome shelter there.
We broke for tea where we did have a minor disaster with our little girl whilst trying to sit on the chain between heavy iron barriers managed to pull one over on herself, which did open the floodgates for tears, but fortunately though she did receive a bump, it was mainly the shock that caused her to sob.
As we collected or drinks and both children had ice creams, it began to rain and we sat down at the front of the house, with both children seeking temporary shelter beneath a table! We donned wet weather gear and headed for the children’s ‘base’ before heading back to the trail after the rain, and soon the sun returned.
On completing the trail we headed once more to the tent for the collection of their trophies. It was while we were there we noticed the three step plinth, on which some parents were placing their children for photos – one inventive father placed his child on the top step, then dived his head beneath her legs and carried the child off on his shoulders! I was impressed by his lateral thinking!
We left after a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. The gallery of images has flowers, leaves, butterflies, bees, landscapes, and colour.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Dull Day, and Tiniest of Butterflies

At Lunchtime, I put out some washing and spotted three of the tiniest of butterflies, or maybe moths, I now have the task of learning just which?

Certainly the eye structures would possibly point to some sort of day-flying moth, but either way I had never seen such colourful butterflies of that small size before, so when I also consider the wing structures maybe this is another pointer towards moths. With the camera out, when they disappeared, I concentrated on a few bees instead, until they returned. When one settled on the wall, it was no larger with wings open, than the mortar between the bricks!

In case anyone reading this happens to know, I would be most grateful to learn; it was certainly good practice at trying to shoot such energetic and small insects, and in the end, I was grateful that the camera body was the 7D MkII as this has flash, and being so dull, this at least gave me a slight chance of seeing what they looked like close up. I did try without using a high ISO, but the success rate was poor.

A postscript – The tiny moths are Mint Moths, which is confirmed by where I found them – close by a patch of Mint!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Insects that caught my attention…

I have spent time using Google to try to find out what the weird insect (in positions 30 and 31 in the gallery) was that looked so fearsome with this tall antenna with the red stripes, and wondered just what its purpose was. So far I have been unable to find anything close, but since many of the times  I have put up galleries of images from this macro world that I find so interesting seem to have appealed to the readers of this blog judging by the visitor numbers when they have appeared, I am genuinely interested to know just what its name is and why it has this ‘mast’ aloft? It seems at once ungainly, and threatening.

 The two very flat butterflies/moths were flying around in the shadows of the thicket then landing and lying absolutely flat on the leaves. I did catch sight of other butterflies but they were far to restless and unpredictable for me to get any shots, and I was lucky to catch the cricket/grasshopper at all as he was bounding for cover and only stopped for a second or two. At least the ladybird was decent enough to keep out in the open, and though he momentarily took to the air, it was only to another nearby thistle.

For all the abundance of insect life, what was surprising was the lack of birdsong; I rarely saw any birds, and in the two or three instances they were fleeting trips across the pathway and at a good distance, I did however hear the call of the woodpigeon just the once – “My toe hurts Betty”, but no reassuring return call from Betty.

A light aircraft was in an oval loop presumably doing occasional ‘circuit and bumps’ and every so often cutting his engine to be able to understand how to restart should any emergency occur in the future. When I hear an engine die, it always grabs my attention, as my heart misses a beat!

During the entire ride and when I stopped, I never saw another human, though there were frequent reminders of the passage of horses. I wish they would at least have the courtesy to move to the edges when the call of nature beckoned, as to avoid these hazards I invariably had to navigate potholes or loose gravel. My human fellow travellers might also have taken their cans and bottles back with them as it makes it harder for authorities to fund these paths when also having to pay for, or find volunteers to carry out the task later.

I did wonder whether there might be a lack of variety, or a poor choice of vegetation in this landscape that accounted for the distinct lack of birds – I have more birds and greater variety in my pocket handkerchief back garden. Starlings in abundance, Jackdaws, Magpies, Sparrows, Pigeons, Bluetits on occasion, Blackbirds, surely this is down to what has been seeded in this obviously reclaimed land?

Cycle Ride to Wood End

I decided to take a trip into some of the wilder parts of the local area that were inaccessible by car, so put the camera and lenses aboard the bike's front carrier basket, alongside a few tools to avoid any bike-related mishaps and a broad-brimmed hat to keep the sun off when was not riding, but shooting.

I found the route signposted well for locations, but not quite so helpful in terms of distances, and headed towards Cranfield. I arrived at a wide junction of paths where the hedgerows were alive with a variety of butterflies, hoverflies, bees, ladybirds and some strange orange-red beetles.

I caught the latter at a very opportune time in that I was able to record a scenario played out across the natural world, the selection of a mate and the intrusion of a jealous rival determined to undermine their successful coupling. I have since learned it has actually acquired the name of “The Hogweed Bonking Beetle”– so, whilst I continue to complete the gallery of the rest of the afternoon’s shots, I leave you with a sequence of shots where the Red Soldier Beetle lived up to its new moniker!

I also found a very strange butterfly, that could well have been a moth, and another very strange form of beetle, with a somewhat scary appearance.

It was extremely hot, and not being in prime physical fitness, I was grateful to stop cycling, cool off, don my wide-brimmed hat and capture the lives of this range of insects. It was during this period that I also spotted an overflying heron, but a wideangle/macro lens was not the tool to capture this bird! I stayed in this one location for the entire shooting on this occasion, then packed everything back into the front basket and set off for the return trip to Marston Moretaine.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Unexpected Gallery of Garden Interest

 had a need to show the effect of a narrow Depth of Field to illustrate how to throw an image of a flower away from its background and suppress detail beyond with a pleasant soft blurring, popularised by the term ‘Bokeh’.

According to the Law of Unexpected Consequences, which I might have  expected given the season and the warm weather after some rain, I became distracted by the hum of bumble bees pollinating some of the flowers, and the very typical flight pattern of the humble hoverfly – a particular favourite of mine. Instead of two minutes outside  before returning to process the aforementioned couple of shots, I spent my lunch half hour following the hoverflies and a couple of large green flies, possibly green bottle flies, two of these spent a short while just looking at each other, before flying off.

 The Buddliea is just coming out which should mean a splash of colour from visiting butterflies, but for now, I just spotted three; a Cabbage White, Comma and Red Admiral. None stayed long, obviously there are more developed Buddliea elsewhere! Last week whilst I was mowing the lawn which was covered in clover flowers, the bees were making the most of it before I finished clearing it to reveal the grass, and it was interesting to note the density of bees increasing as their food source was diminishing, and I was careful not to injure them, which meant I was forever stopping and starting to give them the best chance to survive.

I hope that last night’s rain and today’s warm sun puts some green back into the khaki  lawn that has been prevalent for the last month or so. I cannot complain about the opportunity to get another gallery of images to the blog, so the time taken was not wasted.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Aylesbury Concert Band, Fairford Leys 2017

It is that time of year again when the Aylesbury Concert Band play at the Fairford Leys Fête, right in the centre, with all the fun of the Fair, a Helter Skelter, Bungee Bouncing, Carousel, Cake Stalls, Hot Dogs, Candy Floss, and on the Bandstand, the headline event of the afternoon – The Aylesbury Concert Band to play bright and popular music.
I have been coming for the last three years and thoroughly enjoy the afternoon, listening to the music, and capturing the moment for the band which includes my younger daughter playing Bass Saxophone.
On this occasion I was using the 5D MkIII and the 24-70mm and the 100-400mm, it is one of those occasions when composition is not too easy, as it can sometimes be very difficult to avoid music sheets coming into frame when trying to feature the player and their instrument, or a pillar intruding, so very often I resort to framing in varying formats.
I hope the shots show how the Band enjoy playing at this venue – it is a very small bandstand and it cannot be easy playing in such a tight space, I for one thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon’s music and the challenge of recording the players.

A Trip Towards Cardington

Many moons ago, my father had been Deputy Station Commander at what was then RAF Cardington, it was his last posting before retirement, and now the latest chapter was beginning at ‘The Cardington Sheds’, with Hybrid Air Vehicles newly-repaired and modified Airlander, she was no longer confined to the hangar, but now is tethered outside whilst each new flight’s data is analysed before taking to the skies again for further testing.

I drove out to see her and work out where it might be possible later to take shots of her in the air, and in order to assist me in my aim to be around when it was airborne I managed to enlist the help of one of the nearby neighbours who has promised to give me a call when there seemed to be activity and the possibility for takeoff – I am near enough to drive over in time to be there with her hopefully just taking off.

Since my trip on this occasion was to find a suitable location to park, I decided to come to the airfield perimeter and at least get shots of the craft on the ground, and it was while there with my camera that I met up with an engineer from HAV to chat about Airlander and explain my personal interest, and was grateful to him for at least accepting my card to pass to those in charge of publicity. Even before then I took other shots of activities nearby where a farmer was watering his crop, as well as long distant shots of Airlander that showed its relationship with the famous sheds, and also I was pleasantly surprised by the abundant butterflies and bees at the margin, allowing me to get a shot of Nature’s flying insects with our human attempt in the background.

I will be back!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Brogborough Hot Afternoon – Dragonflies Abound

Far too hot to be indoors, so in the afternoon, I resisted no more and grabbing my camera and the lenses most likely to come into service for capturing dragonflies, hopefully in flight, I set off for Brogborough lake. I chose the 100-400mm Canon lens with the 1.4 Converter and initially I mounted it on my lightweight Silk Road tripod with the gimbal head, but it was too restrictive so every so often I undid the quick release and worked handheld.
I also gave up the attempt to capture them in flight; they were far too energetic for that, and also far too erratic. Without consistency in flight I had no chance, so tried to find  the most likely spots for them to land and I spent more time watching than viewing in the camera, then moved to the most likely standpoints. The amount of activity waned for a period; so they do run out of steam! I now noted that a few were alighting on some of bricks and concrete presuming that the heat was restorative, so I was back into shooting mode, so I began to get a few shots in, but often at too far a distance, and working with the 1.4 converter meant the autofocus was hunting and on several occasions failed to lock on, so my overall success rate fell, but without the extra throw the distance meant heavy cropping.

I had opted for the full-frame 5D MkIII plus the converter, but perhaps the 7D MkII with hindsight might have been a better choice, I will try that combination to decide for the future – my life is full of compromises and experimentation, which has its fun moments. For the time spent, I was happy with the results.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Quiet Afternoon at Marsworth Lake

I met another photographer as he was leaving a spot where we have both in the past caught sight of kingfishers, and he mentioned that earlier he had spotted a couple of voles and duly put out a fairly substantial quantity of food in the form of seeds for them, and a couple of different Robins had felt Christmas had arrived, but a while later when the Robin had been elsewhere finding fresh food in the form of damselflies, on of the voles returned, and I managed to get one moderately sharp shot which heads this narrative.

Very early on I managed to get a shot of a Pied Wagtail who also seemed to favour a similar diet, but my most frequent visitors were two Robins, one ringed, one not, the unhinged one is the one I meet most often, and he seemed to be constantly checking different ends of his territory, crossing the water on numerous occasions, it seemed he was performing a round robin!

It was one of the quietest spell for visiting wildlife I have encountered at Marsworth, and I suspect it has been because with little water flowing and a large surface coating of blue-green algae, it is not easy for many birds to spot the movement of small fish beneath the surface, so in my selected spot easy feeding is not possible to fishing birds are seeking sustenance elsewhere.

I moved to another more open spot and tried to capture circling Common Tern as they dived close to the reeds at the point where the dividing path between Startops End and Marsworth lakes meet the Grand Union Canal, but overall they were way to fast for me to follow with any degree of accuracy – from my observation one bird was successful on every third or fourth swoop, but the catch was small on each occasion, and was swallowed swiftly so I managed no shots with its prey. It was a t this spot' I got involved in conversation with passers by and whilst chatting with one gentleman, he spotted something drop from my tripod and I was most grateful as it was the small hook at the bottom of the tripod centre column from which to hang steadying weights, and fortunately it caught the light when I parted the grass, and I was able to retrieve it, as I had not seen it drop!

Not the most productive of sorties, but I had never seen a vole before, so that at least was a bonus.