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, 30 October 2017

An Abundance of Berries – Portent of Cold Snap?

In Marston Moretaine currently there is a strong showing of berries; red and gold, in the past this has been interpreted as a forecast of a cold Winter, so I wonder whether the bush telegraph is foretelling this as an outcome? Certainly as I took a late afternoon stroll to see whether the bridge over the old A421 might prove to be a good viewpoint to capture a future sunset, the birds were certainly very active and vocal, was their chatter all to do with their reading of the berries, and the possible onslaught of a harsh winter, and Nature’s response in offering the berries to fortify them in the time ahead?
As the sun broke through clouds then hid again, I captured the last of the leaves that still clung to the bushes as the majority now carpeted the ground, the berries provided foreground for the path that tunnelled beneath overhanging branches, and added colour to the black and rust, hooped railings of a bordering garden that shielded the trellis beyond.
As I returned with last of the sun’s rays only catching the very topmost branches, house sparrows flitted back and forth between adjacent bushes chattering incessantly amongst themselves and woodpigeons gently murmured but generally stayed hidden and stationary, geese overflew as did starlings and gulls, and the geese in the gardens of Moretaine Manor occasionally squawked in some local squabble by the water’s edge behind the hedge. I had hoped that as I was out and about with a camera I might be graced by a reasonable sunset, but that was not to be, but on hearing the chatter from the sparrows I had nipped to the nearby car and changed from the 24-70mm to the 100-400mm before there activity subsided for the evening, thus getting a few shots of them and a lone well-preened robin, which had he courtesy not to hide behind the tangle of hawthorn branches.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Brief Visit to Bogborough Lakeside Calm

Calm before the end of the beginning of Autumn; we are in that gap between the seasons, the temperature is still warm when the sun shines, but there is little wind to create a chill. Recent mornings have had heavy dews and the grass has lost the rusty patches of uneven mowing, and will be difficult to cut again effectively before the winds and coming seasonal rains. I cycled to the lake to drop off a print of Sam on his hydrofoil, and took a camera on the offchance there might be some late insects or leaves in autumn colours. I was lucky; I captured a single dragonfly before it beat a hasty retreat and twice found lone bees taking a last sip of nectar from some delicate clover flowers. There were a few fresh autumn daisies, some young hawthorn leaves amongst the dead and dying remnants from the passing season, punctuated with berries and rosehips and thorns.

I believe something I saw at one spot amongst the dew-laden grass was evidence of the webbing of the Small Ermine Moth presumably covering some of the larvae’s favoured food from predators and allowing them to gorge themselves in safety. The abundance of dew on blades of arcing grass bathed in sunlight is always pleasing to the eye as is the rich blue vista of sky with isolated small puffs of cloud above lightly rippled, equally blue expanses of the water glimpsed between the fading autumn colours of bankside bushes.

It was a brief interlude of peace before the onset of the winds and rain that precede our winter; I wonder whether this winter will be as mild as the last, or whether it will be harsher, as I appreciate at least a period of snow and frost as I believe it to be a definite health benefit, so if either do arrive may they be combined with some sun to create opportunities for my cameras, please!

The last image in the gallery, illustrates a saddening development in the Bedfordshire countryside, and it is not that Lego are expanding the size of their products, but that it has become necessary to fortify access to our fields from the incessant intrusions of despoilers of our green spaces by inconsiderate travellers, gaining access to farmers' fields and roadside spaces then wrecking them before moving on again to the next accessible and vulnerable location.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Jaguar Track Day — Castle Combe

John Sentinella, a friend from Caddington who owns a Classic Jaguar invited me to join him at a TrackDay at Castle Combe in Wiltshire. We had to be on the road well before dawn to sign on and attend the briefing. The roads were packed with traffic, and there was a slight drizzle, with many drivers often following others way too close, so it was not entirely surprising there was a coming-together — on this occasion not too serious, but all adding to the travel time.
We stopped off for a comfort break and a drink at the Chievely services, and managed to miss the correct exit, which meant a return trip to take the correct direction for Chippenham and ultimately Castle Combe! Fortunately by this time, the rain had stopped, and the sky was lightening, and we still managed to arrive in good,  time for the sign-on and briefing. Obtaining a helmet for my size was more of a problem, but I finally found one I could squeeze on! I put it down to having a good head of hair!
I had to take my camera gear from the car, because, there was no way it could be stowed firmly within the boot, but Helen who was manning the reception desk handily obliged by offering to stow them in her van, which made it easy to access for lens changes later.
Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful, and after John had had his trip with one of the instructors for a few laps he came in and I locked the camera back up and accompanied him as his passenger, later I was able t retrieve the camera, swap from the 24-70mm to the100-400mm to get shots of John and others circulating. It was during this phase that I got to chatting to a Nikon shooter, who very kindly got me a chance to go out as a passenger with a surprisingly tall driver in a very fast car that was very much a one-off — one of only twenty models of its kind, and the only one that was road-legal. This was Andy, and he and I duly hatted up, joined the queue, before hearing the lunch break being announced! But the result was fortuitous, as we were closer to the front of the twelve cars!
Being fairly recognisable toting a long lens meant that I was asked to take a shot of one young lady’s husband, so she came to the Pit entrance to act as ‘spotter’, so that was handy, and later, the Club’s head of publicity wanted some shot’ for their magazine, which is all grist to the mill.
The return trip was even longer than the outgoing, making it a very long day, but did not spoil what had been a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting time. Now to make a print of Jeremy Brennan in his car for his wife, as it is to be a present for him.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Brogborough Lake Sees Some Sun and Wind

Over the last few weeks a new feature has been seen within the Brogborough Windsurfing community — the introduction of a new feature — the Hydrofoil. Sam Barnes, who with his wife runs the Windsurfing Club on the Lake, took his delivery of one after a long, much delayed wait.
He has been gaining experience and understanding of the handling and is impressed with how it performs, especially in the mildest of winds; once up, he can stay aloft for the length of the lake, even if the wind drops, meaning less effort and thus more enjoyment. He sees this as a boost for the numbers attending over the year, since the time that can be spent on the lake sailing rather than waiting for stronger windy weather, essential with conventional windsurfing boards.
Not content with the delays involved in waiting for commercial hydrofoils to appear in the UK, one experienced windsurfer and confident engineer, trawled the Internet for ideas on the specifications necessary to build his own, and took the initiative to build his own, and on this last weekend brought his creation along, and despite much negativity from his peers actually lifted off from the surface. Yes, he found out that reading reports and experiences of others, does not negate the research experience of others’ long hours of trial and error, but though he has a long way to go before his device competes equally with the more established players in the field, André has produced a working model! I have photographs that prove this!
Sam feels that André will ultimately consider the purchase of a commercial product, I am less certain, I believe André’s passion and determination to succeed may well win through, and I really wish him success. Perhaps André may see something from my images that combined with what he feels when on the board allows him to understand just how his Hydrofoil is performing, or underperforming, I certainly hope so.  The gallery of images from the day also has some shots of other sailors’ sequences, and a glimpse of a buzzard that for a brief moment took an interest in those below, I wished s/he had come closer, so that I might have got some better shots, but was not too disappointed with those I managed at that distance.
I am sorry it has taken so long for this gallery to reach the blog, but it is down to my over-enthusiastic shutter-finger. I hope somebody finds it worth the wait.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Brogborough – André's Own Design Takes Off!

Now I do have some short sequences of André’s HomeBrew Hydrofoil and whilst I put together other shots taken on Sunday, here is just one occasion, in the hope that André or others might see what needs to happen next. I only spotted a few times when the board was level, which would seem to be the first issue to be tackled, and also in comparison to Sam Barnes on the commercial foil, the wake seemed to be more like the result of vortices where from Sam’s, it seemed more like simple frothing, but I am only making an observation, certainly not a comment based on any expertise at all in the matter!
I offer this single group to those who can glean something meaningful from the shots, whilst I gather a gallery together from the numerous other images I took from the day (and that could well be a while yet!)
Warning! They are not an exciting group of images, but they may offer clues as to what is happening at this stage and may point towards ways to improve how the hydrofoil performs. This group of shots just happened to be the longest sequence I captured; the truly level board shots were of very short duration.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Late Lake Arrival – Yet See Homemade Hydrofoil

By the time I reached Brogborough, the wind was dropping and most of the sailors had already left the water, but I first spotted Richard McKeating going out and recorded him practising various manouevres, but before I put any shots I took of these up I need to learn from Richard what is actually happening. In the meantime I learned of some interesting news about another windsurfer, André who has built his own hydrofoil, and he was also out on the lake, trying to understand its behaviour as it is very much still in the development stage, but despite some naysayers it does work, though needs further refinement.

I have no images of it in action, but during André’s chats with Richard and Sam afterwards I captured some shots of the device, and was most impressed with how much thought and effort has gone into its development and construction, and I listened intently to the discussions taking place around it. Hence this small gallery. I shall be watching this with interest in the coming months, and wish André every success in his endeavours.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Stockwood Discovery Centre, Garden Visit, and Exhibition

I have been searching for a photographer’s darkcloth, as a means of using the review screen on a dSLR in bright sunlight when trying to capture a movie of a windsurfer, since using the external monitor via HDMI does not react fast enough (perhaps I should rephrase that a bit – the monitor I have does not react fast enough!) For me to follow the action, I need a good handle on what I am looking at on the screen, so that I can pan accurately.
On this morning I visited the studios of Kevin Calvert where Steve White had kindly located a small piece of black cloth which would serve the purpose well, and he was happy to let me have it, hence as I was close enough to Luton, I detoured to Luton and the Stockwood Discovery gardens. Knowing this might be a possible chance to take a few end of season shots of autumn leaves and the odd few late flowers, I had the camera with me.
I was using the 5D MkIII and the 24-70mm with the macro facility and I took a few shots in the open garden areas, before spotting that the greenhouse was open, and checked it was not about to be locked, perhaps it was not the best idea, since while inside, the rain started. Undaunted, I tried to use the opportunity of capturing leaves and flowers with glistening droplets of water on them. In this at least, I was lucky that the rain dwindled to a light spotting rather than the downpour that had preceded; but I was still very wet and had to keep shielding the lens as I moved around.
I soon completed a meaningful number of shots and headed for the exit, where I learned that the Garden Photographers’ exhibition was on in the gallery,
so I took myself off in that direction, where with no visitors I grabbed a few shots of the display and then put the camera away to look at the images on show; my absolute favourite was the embracing poppies, followed by some wonderfully atmospheric landscapes, a beautifully lit man chopping pears, a humourous full-on portrait of a wild hamster. I may well visit again if time allows, but I can definitely recommend it, but as often before, was saddened that in the time I was there, there were no other visitors.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Marsworth – Low Water

I had not paid a visit to Marsworth in some time, and not visited or chatted to Tringford Lake’s Bailiff, so despite not knowing the likely weather conditions decided to put together a few provisions to eat and drink, making myself a flask of hot coffee, a Scotch Egg and some packets of crisps; the latter such that I had something to share with others should the need arise.
On arrival, I assembled the tripod, camera and lens, choosing the lightest combination for the tripod and head, in case the weather forced me to beat a hasty retreat, and the leaden skies certainly made that a very possible chance, but having left with only a minimal drizzle, I was still optimistic of a dull, but dry morning. Although there were signs of vehicles, after a brief visit to the landing stage, there was no anglers to be seen.
What was apparent was that the water levels of the lakes was very low; less than I had seen for sometime; the stream and pond at the entry to Marsworth Lake had obviously been dry for many days. At the far end of that lake the wind had caused considerable damage to trees and the scene that greeted me at my destination was almost unrecognisable due to  numerous large fallen branches; what had once been an expanse water, was now reduced to a barren riverbed, exposing lots of discarded plastic bottles and empty cans, evidence of careless humans amidst the natural weather damage, the habitat I had expected for wildlife was gone. I hope that the opportunity to clear the area of human detritus and much of the clutter of branches is taken soon, before the rains come making it much harder.

I felt that my chances of finding much to photograph were slim, and so it turned out – I only got a single, much obscured shot of a lone kingfisher, a foraging grey wagtail, and a fleeting grey squirrel, all in very low light levels. I came away with a really strong desire to somehow gather a group of us to spend a day having a massive clearout and hacking session to improve this particular stretch of bankside for the wildlife and our chances of photographing their return to this area with a better environment.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Brogborough – Windsurfing Hydrofoil

The wind has been up of late, and today the sun came along too — there was a chance that despite being a weekday, there could be windsurfing activity on the lake, even though last weekend had seen action on the South Coast. I rang Sam to enquire of the chances he might take to the water with his Hydrofoil board, and he reckoned that if a sailor were to come there was a possibility.
We agreed that he would let me know if one turned up. I got the call, but somewhat later, as my phone was charging downstairs, and I was upstairs, only coming down when I had finished some work. It was fortunate that I then spotted a missed call, so grabbed cameras and was off!
Someone was on their way, and Sam changed into his wetsuit, and I readied my gear, and it was not long before I was taking a few shots; I had hoped to do some movies with the idea of creating some animated GIFs from there, but with sun almost directly in my eyes, and no dark cloth or shield, that proved a non-starter, so I opted for stills using the 150-600mm Sigma. I had grown up using a Sinar and a dark cloth over my head, and had never before considered using one with dSLR, but today, it would have been invaluable!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Buzzing Ivy by Moretaine Manor

I knew there was only a slim chance of windsurfing activity at Brogborough as there had been a big event over the weekend on the South Coast, so I put minimal camera gear onto my bike, so that the journey might at least serve as exercise, and any way I could check out signs of insect activity lakeside, then choose a different location thereafter. On arrival there was no action, so spotting that some of the windsurfing wetsuits had blown from the line, I did my bit and rehung them on the line to give them a chance to dry. Before cycling back, I cycled past the club area and headed to Lidlington, where a single pink rose swayed in the breeze with an ichneumon wasp resting on it, there were also a few what I took to be red wild roses, and a short distance away a tree laden with crab apples.

I took a few shots here, one of which was a giant concrete Lego Brick; an increasingly frequent sight in this neck of the woods due to the nefarious parking of itinerant travellers’ vehicles who seem to delight in wrecking any available green space that they can find before the authorities can muster the paperwork to evict them. I then returned to take a wander close by Moretaine Manor, which is now a hotel.

At the entrance is a large ivy bush, and it was alive to the silent activity of late pollinators, so my journey was undoubtedly not wasted. I put the Canon 7D and 100mm Macro to use capturing them and was there for a reasonable time before cycling back to create another gallery of images. The majority of the pollinators appeared to prefer the shade to the sunlit side of the bush, which meant having to operate at 1000 to 1600 ISO making it difficult to freeze them when in flight, and I am certain that if I were not there with a camera they’d have been in the warmth of the sunny side! I am convinced that all wildlife is fully aware of photographers’ kit, as when I take a long lens to a kingfisher spot, they perch close by me knowing that I cannot focus so close, or they sit on a branch at a reasonable distance from me, but shielded by a thicket of intervening branches and leaves.

But my trip did provide both exercise and some images, so it was an hour well-spent, and provided me with some card imagery as well as fresh air, now I need a piece of kit called Printer Potty ordered from the Internet to arrive so that I can put my printer back together, as it is taking up valuable space in the kitchen, stripped right back to its chassis! For anyone facing an overflowing ink reservoir on their printer, I cannot recommend the man selling this item, enough; he is absolutely charming, exceedingly helpful, and the product receives excellent reviews.