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, 27 November 2017

A British L Bracket - Arca Swiss Compatible

On this occasion, there is no gallery of images, just the few here and the story behind them below.

I spotted a new and extremely useful bracket built for the Arca Swiss Quick Release mechanism featured on many professional tripod heads. It is designed specifically to allow those users who need to set up the level of their tripod just the once, yet swap swiftly between portrait and landscape orientation, it is sturdy and well-made, and it is made by SRB-Griturn in Britain.
It comes in three sizes, and the one I bought which is suited to the Canon 7D MkII and 5D MkIII is the largest of the trio. All are priced very competitively and I was able to visit the small showroom at their factory near Dunstable and check out which size I would need, and they also have an online presence as well as a printed catalogue which covers a very broad range of photography-related items.
I checked that it could be swapped from either side dependent upon which access was the most suitable, which is in fact with the upright on the left where the various accessories are likely to be fitted. Considering that the Arca Swill rail is primarily aimed at professionals this is very good value in this market and will be very appealing to wedding shooters and those shooting for the housing market sector.

I have no connection with the company beyond having dealt with them over several years and always found them to offer a wide range of kit at competitive rates, and they’re British!

Briefest of Visits to Brogborough Lake

It was sunny and Windy, so for the few, in this case by the time I arrived just two windsurfers were on the lake – Richard McKeating and Sam Barnes. Richard was practising his turns and Sam was checking out his choice of sails with his hydrofoil board.
I have no idea how long either had been out before my arrival, but the bitter wind was definitely keeping others from coming to the lake, and I could have captured a few more shots had I not delayed in setting up, so the paucity of images is purely down to my tardiness, so there is not much to see, and Richard had obviously decided that I was unlikely to visit so he brought his GoPro and wand to capture his workout on the water. I was not able to get much of Sam flying high, but I suspect that the wind speed was too high for the sail size as he came in for a smaller one soon, and both men decided that the cold was taking the pleasure out of the activity, so I spent more time setting up and  taking down than shooting, so the only other practice I got, was on checking out some black-out material I had scrounged off Steve White at Calvert’s Studio for when I might need it to take some movies at a later date.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Stockwood Autumn Richness

A few days ago I felt the chill of the coming season, but today, after a warm wind yesterday, the the wind had died but the warmth remained. From the abundance of berries, I had presumed that for a change, we might actually be in for a ‘proper’ Winter; with frost and snow, but then all change, and it is warm again!
I had several visits I needed to make in and near Harpenden, complete the payment of my plumber, buy an accessory for my camera and visit a colleague with a Mac issue. I was in Harpenden, and I had my camera onboard, so why not drop in at Stockwood Discovery Centre, since the light was so good; it was still early enough to miss the peak of the northbound M1 traffic, so I dashed in and grabbed a few shots of leaves and flowers in their autumn coats, bathed in the warm, low, slanting light of the rapidly setting sun. I actually found myself running on occasion to beat the sun, and get shots before it sank below either the trees or the walls of the garden!
I felt well-rewarded as I managed to capture sufficient images to create a two-page gallery, when adding a few shots outside the confines of the gardens. I hope they meet with approval, as I was pleased with what I managed to find.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Warm Sunny November Day

The Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens can have its firmware user updated, and since I have the USB Dock that makes the connection, I decided to download the Sigma Optimisation Pro software to check whether the lens firmware had an update. There was indeed an update, so I decided to see whether it had any effect.

I drove a short distance to Broad Mead which is close to the Chicheley Brook, and since this might have possibilities in the future for capturing images of wildlife, this seemed an opportunity to check out the lens, and the area. I spotted that there were two tracks one either side of the brook, I took a brief look at the right hand option that had a walkway with railings, presumably crossing over a stretch of the brook, but one it was lined with overhanging sting nettles and two, beyond that bridge, it looked very waterlogged! I returned and took the alternative path, and as I did so I met a man and young lady who may well have been an apprentice and since he spoke to me I asked whether there were wildlife opportunities hereabouts, but he told me he only visited to collect water samples, so was unable to help me.

This left hand path led to slightly higher ground and set-aside land around the field margin, it was far less muddy, and paralleled the alternative route with the brook separating each. There was a high pollarded hedge on this side, and the edge of the ploughed field had a very clean-cut edge suggesting it was very recent. I followed this path for some distance until there was a means of leaving the field to a narrow road beyond, and turning right spotted a small house with a kingfisher plaque beneath the gable, and since it would be really useful to find another possible site to see kingfishers, I knocked on the door, but no one was in, so I continued along the right of way through a gate and across a field which led to another gate on the far side, opening into parkland, and in the distance a large house with several greenhouses. I returned the way I had come and then took a look at the alternate route back, but I soon came to the flooded area I had seen from the other side, so retraced my steps to the car, and on this occasion met a lady who hailed me, so I stopped to chat in the hope she might know whether the kingfisher on the house meant this was a likely place to see them.

Ironically she had never ever seen one, though did tell me of a spot that her sister often saw them near Bradwell Abbey; so asking the question was far from fruitless. During our conversation there was a loud bang behind the lady, which turned out to be her husband closing a garage door, and he came over, and we continued chatting about the local birdlife – so I do think I shall be returning. I had taken a few shots up till then, and took a few more on the return leg, and the lens still functioned well, so maybe I will  be more adventurous and set up a few preset focus features going forward.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Aylesbury Concert Band St. Peter & St. Paul, Great Missenden

After a somewhat fraught journey to the Harvester in Fox Milne, which no doubt my son-in-law will no doubt delight in recounting whenever the opportunity occurs in the future, I finally arrived to collect my daughter and her baritone saxophone for us both to go to Great Missenden for her performance at St. Peter and St, Paul’s Church.
The church’s location is up a series of narrow lanes from the equally narrow High Street, and although the instruments can be offloaded by the church entrance the car park is quite some distance away back close to where we entered the village. I dropped Lizzy, Sax and my camera bag off, then drove back to park. However, (true to form as Tim would no doubt be reminding me later!) I learned I was not in the correct car park, as I realised on my return, and had to run and walk all the way back as I had not found a Pay machine to avoid an unwelcome surprise fine! As it so happened the car park was for visitors to the old people’s home, but fortuitously, the nurse was happy for me to stay as I had come for the concert.
By the time I returned to the church I was no longer cold, in fact quite the opposite! The rehearsal was underway, and Lizzy surreptitiously texted me to say there was a water I could drink, two rows back from where I was seated. It was very welcome, and catching her eye, I thanked her with a beaming smile! I then switched off the phone.
During the rehearsal I heard the solo Oboe piece which for me was the highlight of the evening. I learned it was its first performance and Alison was searching for someone to record it for her, luckily she was able to find someone who was able to do so during the concert proper. Later, I was hoping it might warrant a standing ovation, but despite my standing and trying to encourage the audience to follow suit, no one responded which disappointed me, since it was very deserving.

When the final encore subsided, I left my camera gear with Lizzy and headed back down the now, almost impenetrable darkness to the car park to collect the car, and return for Lizzy, the Sax and camera bag, take her back home, then head back to Marston Moretaine for me.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Silverstone - Race into the Night and Fireworks

 
Having done my best to avoid the M6 Toll once again, I found myself once again taking a circuitous route to head for Silverstone to meet up with my younger daughter and her two youngsters to enjoy some Formula Junior races and later, stunt drivers, before the main event the Fireworks Display.
I arrived at a layby on the A43 where I collected my ticket, in case I was going to have to pay extra for my car, as it turned out it did not matter and we travelled the last few miles together – parking alongside each other finally and then headed around the circuit where we had a good view of some of the races, when we moved again which gave us an excellent view of both the stunts and the Fireworks that followed. There were other families with young children and soon our two were following them and running around together; with minimum necessary guidance from the three adults.
Some of the racing we watched was very competitive, often with three cars abreast for  more than just a single corner, and on one occasion, this did not end happily with a loose wheel and tyre in its very own race along the tarmac before losing momentum and travelling towards a Marshal’s post. I have yet to sort through the images from the afternoon, so will complete this narrative once that task is complete. I spent some time experimenting with different settings to capture the essence of racing and stunts in the dark; so, many more failures than successes! The same was true of my capture of the fireworks – shots of this nature need a longish exposure to capture the trails, and as such are best taken with the camera on a tripod, but fortunately in the case of the fireworks there is an alternative after the event. Provided there is some space around any burst of a firework, the resultant images can be montaged back in a program such as Photoshop or Affinity Photo.
The stunts that were performed on the track after the presentations to the winners were performed under a clear full moon which rose from low on the horizon and became a part of some of my fireworks shot against the night sky.
This was a fitting end to the last couple of days in which I had driven from Bedford to Staffordshire and back down to Silverstone before returning home to Marston Moretaine. Subsequently I have spent several hours in front of a computer screen as I prepare and sort images for the galleries to go on the blog.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Staffordshire Visit, and a Country House

 
I tried my best to get to bed for an early start and part-load the car the night before, but there always seems a reason to be up into the early hours! I had printed out a list of Directions that I was hoping I would be able to follow, but the SatNav was of little help when it came to the M6 as there was collusion between the sign-posters and it to prioritise the Toll route which I had no desire to use. In order to not be trapped, I searched in vain for M6 only, but when the Toll appeared to be the only option, I tried to navigate blind by choosing places I thought might be on route, but was led a Merry Dance with no handy spots to park up safely to consult a map.
Since I was not driving fast the extra mileage was still cheaper, but I was not going to be blackmailed. And fortunately I still arrived before the appointed time at the Canal Cottages at Upper Haywood, and was greeted by mine host before he had abluted! I sat down to sip his proffered cup of tea, and get some of my overnight stuff from the car. Ben then offered me bacon and egg, and we began a longish conversation of catching up, since he had only just began to return to living in the cottage since his accident which had involved the breaking of both his legs from a simple fall in his kitchen.
Here was a man who had never visited a hospital, despite having served in war, worked on the railways, worked as a Warder in the Prison Service, been a coach driver and a Traffic Warden – all jobs with the opportunities for serious injury! He is still, at over eighty, an inveterate happy and optimistic man with a mischievous sense of humour; which was soon in full spate – he and I have never been able to be in each other’s company for more than five minutes without being fairly convulsed in hearty laughter. For this reason, I had to remind him that we had planned to visit some places he had told me would be of interest, and it might just be an idea to do this before nightfall!
I had three places listed on the back of an envelope from his last phone call, and we hit on a visit to a house steeped in the era of the Arts & Crafts era – Wightwick Manor. He had earlier mentioned it was pronounced very differently as ‘Whittuck’. I had no idea how far this was, and since I simply had to ask for “which way?” at every junction, I had no idea where it was exactly, and all this whilst both of us were chatting incessantly, which meant my only concern was road safety and Right or Left, or Which Exit to roundabouts?
There are two galleries, one really of Ben and the cottages, the other my trip around the House. After a night in his Campervan, it was an early start to meet with my daughter’s family at a Car & Fireworks Day at Silverstone, which is a gallery to come, later – much later!