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…



Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Early Start at Marsworth – Brrrr!

The forecast tempted me by suggesting there was a good chance of sunshine, so I togged up with layers of clothing to ensure that I could withstand an early start and be down long enough to get a chance of getting a shot of a kingfisher at Marsworth, despite the lack of leaf cover. Not only did I take the long lens (150-600mm), but I also took along the recent acquisition the 24-70mm with macro feature, and since the first two and a half hours a kingfisher only gave me high speed flypasts, some of which he ended by diving behind the few bushes that have leaf cover, then often as long as ten minutes would pass before he emerged and continued in the direction he was initially headed!

As forecast the sun arose and for a period it kept the light levels reasonable, then clouds would intermittently pass in front so I was kept busy pushing up the ISO speed, then trying to remember to bring it back down as they cleared. When the kingfisher arrived he stationed himself on a branch that was just out of sight from the camera on the tripod, so I had to hastily up the shutter speed and release the camera, and shoot handheld, and my hands are never steady in that situation, with the added problem I was shooting almost directly into the sun, so he was largely in silhouette, but he stuck around and was successful, and dived a further two times after devouring the somewhat slimy fish – I am not sure whether it was its innards or something from the water, but the bird was still trying to clear the slime after down the fish itself!

I kept myself energised as best as possible by photographing some of the other birds that came into view, (Mallard Duck and Drake, Robin, Wren, Moorhen and Coot, either with the long lens or the short, on the 5D MkIII. When I finally set off I met up with another photographer clad in all the proper camouflage gear and we had a short chat before I headed back to the car. I took the opportunity to drop by the Stockwood Discovery Centre Gardens on the return trip, calling in at Caddington to see progress on my old home, buy a roll for my lunch and some veg for a casserole later in the week.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Doris Blows in at Brogborough

Waking to warnings of high winds, meant that after a long wait for winds of sufficient strength to encourage Windsurfers to make or find the time to leave work on a Thursday, at last that day was here. I phoned Sam to check whether he had heard from any sailors, and learned three were scheduled — that was promising! I checked when they might arrive and gathered early afternoon, so I let him know I might see him later — that was hardly the full truth, I had made up my mind to definitely make it!

I then assembled the camera and lenses I planned to take along, but put the 70-200mm on the 5D MkIII and the 150-600mm was already on the 7D MkII, taking along a 300mm and a couple of other primes to cover the distances that I might need to cover, but as it turned out my first choice proved to be those I used — the 7D on the Gitzo tripod, and the 5D MkIII slung around my neck, for handheld closer shots.

The wind at home was fairly blustery, and fairly strong, but later on the road to Brogborough Lake it was considerably stronger, I presume to it being less built-up than within Marston Moretaine. When I met up with Sam, he reckoned it was the worst he had ever seen it, and he was not exaggerating! I drove over and on arrival opened the boot to assemble the tripod and gimbal head, and Doris blew the boot lid down on me!

I spotted Sam and he told me three were getting knitted up and one was already on the water, so picked up the gear and headed towards the bank, but since the wind was directly on the shore and the larger breakers were sending the slime inland, I put the tripod down a fair way back! It was not long before there were generally at least two out on the lake, and for a change I operated on the basis of shooting as often as I could because with the best will in the world shooting was very hit and miss, because I had to keep one shoulder against the tripod as the wind threatened to blow it over. Also, I had to keep resetting the levelling head as one or more tripod legs dug into the muddy, water- sodden ground — it certainly was not easy keeping the surfers in shot.


Every now and then a squall would come up, and I had to break off to keep my kit safe, but as one passed, I'd be back out and shooting again, also,if my subjects came in close, I would forego the camera on the tripod and shoot handheld, which as I find it hard to accurately synch the two bodies some of the true chronology is awry. I did get a few jumps and sequences, and was reasonably satisfied with what I did capture, but at least half of what I shot was binned, but I am really glad I made the effort, so I hope they give those who had braved the weather some pleasure.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Stockwood Discovery – the Gardens and Wildlife Exhibition

One of the first semi-professional Digital camera bodies I bought was the Canon EOS 10D, and at around the same time I bought the 70-300mm Macro for it and now it has been lying dormant in a rawer for some time, only coming out when my daughters' children and I go out with a specific intention to spend the time taking photos.

As a result of finding one of the gardeners at the Stockwood Discovery Centre has been inspired by seeing some of the shots of flowers she has tended, she recently expressed her desire to buy a digital camera for herself and take up the hobby. Since she has generously allowed me unprecedented access to the greenhouse over the last few years, when I learned of her intention I let her know that I would let her have the camera body, memory cards, battery and charger, but that she would need to buy a suitable lens herself.

Today I fulfilled that promise, then took a further wander around the Discovery Centre and learning from her that the British Wildlife Photography Winners' Exhibition was on, I also took a quick look at the images taken by numerous very talented photographers that were on show. Two stood out for me, one incredible shot of a dragonfly emerging from its pupa, the other a simply wonderful underwater shot of a Mallard Duck taking a look beneath the surface at a fish swimming by. I reckoned the standard and variety was even better than last year's submissions.

All the shots I took this morning were using the 24-70mm with Macro facility, and it only let me down very slightly when using it at full aperture at 24mm in the exhibition area; the minimal barrel distortion was corrected in Lightroom when in Develop mode and was a mere +5% which means it would be a few seconds work creating a correction preset for when working on architectural images, which was not really what made me purchase this lens, it was for flowers and leaves where such distortion would never present a problem.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Marsworth – Early Signs of Spring

The first bright day for a while, and fairly warm with it, after three dismally grey days.

I knew I had left it rather late if I thought I might get a chance to take some shots of kingfishers, another photographer whom I had met before had taken some shots before my arrival, but though he stayed a further hour or so, neither of us had any further luck – I did twice see one fly by, so instead I thought I’d try getting a friendly robin to take seeds from my hand. He made three tentative flights toward my hand, but spun away at the last minute; on the fourth he did land, but just as swiftly spun round and again headed back to the nearby branch!

The Mink that lives in the hollow of a nearby tree trunk leapt noisily from the water  early on, and headed home on the surface, then disappeared from view, and a very skittish Grey Squirrel tore along the half-submerged tree trunk and disappeared up a tree to my left. A Wren paid me a fleeting visit and twice a Magpie came for a short spell.

Surprisingly for long periods there was no birdsong at all, just the gentle swishing of the trees interspersed with the noisy flapping of Wood Pigeons, I caught a few glimpses of a Bluetit, but he gave me no chance to get a shot.

I tried in vain to get the Mallard drake to take seeds from my hand, but he did not trust me at all, though if I dropped any seeds, he would dart closer just to grab it, muttering all the while. I left soon after and the couple came up to where I had been sitting and feasted on the seeds I had put down for the Robin. As I returned to my car a shot of a lady and her dog presented themselves in silhouette against the setting sun, as did a different Robin as I walked along the path between Startops and Marsworth lakes.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Wilstone Grey Day – Mainly Ducks

Not the most exciting of times, early February, but it was to be dry in the main, so I gave it a try and drove down to Wilstone Reservoir,parking by the Cemetery Garden but I had no idea that the water level would be fairly high, meaning little chance of seeing waders across the water in front of the reeds at the near end. By the time I had reached this point toting the heaviest of my tripods it was too far to go back and change to a carbon fibre one.

It was a mistake that made travelling slow and I shall feel the effect on my back tomorrow for sure, but after taking a few shots of a heron amongst the reeds on the far shore, I decided I would make my way to the Hide (at the farthest point from where I started!) I did spot a young Grebe that was diving moderately close in shore, so stayed awhile to lessen the burden of the heavy tripod, before continuing.

I was alone in the Hide, and the least interesting birds, the Coots, were the closest visitors and the Lapwings the most distant, but eventually a few teal came moderately close as did some Wigeon, so it was considerable effort for little reward, so eventually having rested, I took the tripod and camera for the return trip, returning via the field path which was less muddy.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Forest Centre – Afternoon Sunshine


Trying to restore a damaged operating system involves long periods of waiting, and watching a mostly automated operation, and lacks any appeal, especially when the sun has made its first appearance for a while – today was such a day and the temptation to do something more meaningful was way too enticing, so I grabbed cameras and lenses and headed out to the nearby Forest Centre to see what wildlife was around. I had not brought boots, which proved a severe limitation as it was very obviously muddy which limited where I could go. There was birdsong aplenty, and none of it exotic, and despite my generously spreading birdseed in several attractive spots from a photographic standpoint, no birds seemed in any way interested, perhaps as worms were close enough to the surface and easy pickings.

After a walk that took me close to the turbine along navigable paths, I returned and made my way to the walkway through the reeds, checking along the way on whether my seeds had proved tempting, but they seemed intact. Perhaps out more in the open might prove more enticing, but there even the berries were still in reasonable abundance, so perhaps this outside larder here was well-stocked! I returned past the birdfeeder and spotted that a grey squirrel was out beneath it picking up the seeds dropped from the hanging baskets above by some of the visiting bluetits, so I took a few shots of it and them, though the area was largely in shade.

Whilst in that area, the clouds created a circular shape as if the thumb and forefinger of a hand were describing a circle, which I found was interesting, and later as I returned towards the car a robin was singing its heart out and being answered from across the walkway, which I found touching; I left him some seeds in the angle of a branch to say ‘thank you’ and wished him luck.

I returned to the more mundane task of continuing with trying to restore one of my computers.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

First 2017 Visit to Stockwood Gardens

Having recently acquired a new lens, the 24-70mm with Macro, I needed to give it a good test, and photographing flowers in the Gardens and Greenhouse at the Stockwood Discovery Centre was the ideal opportunity to see how effective this one lens would be in a real situation. Unfortunately the current spell of English weather was less than ideal – for most of the time it was drizzling gently with spells of slightly more continuos rain. There was also a sporadic wind which meant composing a shot was often fraught.

Also, sadly for several weeks one of the leading gardeners, Jan was off having damaged her hip whilst moving a large compost sack, and this was to be her first day back, and it was my last chance this week to get down to the gardens. Naturally at this time of year there is not exactly a profusion of pristine leaves and flowers, but I have never been completely bereft of subjects on even the briefest of visits, so I did do a good deal of walking.

I came across Jan whilst she was being brought up to speed with what were to be her priorities going forward, and I just said a brief ‘hello’ and asked whether it might be possible to take a look in the greenhouse, and she replied that would be later, and her briefing continued as I turned once more onto my tour, I did take a detour into the Fernery for a spell when the rain got heavier, which allowed me to dry my camera and take shelter for a spell.

Altogether using the lens proved very successful and despite the low light levels and my need sometimes to up the ISO to 3200˚, the 5D MkIII was able to handle that with comparative ease with just a minimum of noise. Later Jan’s briefing tour was over and we walked the length of the greenhouse as she took in what was needed and pointed out a few flowers she thought might be of interest, by which time she was off till the following day leaving me to lock up when I had finished.