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…


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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Festival of Speed 2018

 
 
 
I always really look forward to visits to Goodwood, and this year’s Festival of Speed was no exception, but it was tinged with a certain amount of concern for my guest on this occasion, my younger daughter Lizzy, as she was not too well, suffering stomach problems. I tried to balance my compassion for her not being well, with my longing for company for both the event and the journey to and from Bedford, and the long day’s travelling, and for her added trip back to her Ayesbury home after returning to her car parked at my place. Selflessly and hopefully, truthfully she assured me it was just fine.
The larger part of the outward trip was reasonably clear, but the very last section as we neared Goodwood, the traffic, now all headed for the same destination was a slow crawl, with only unaccompanied motorcyclists able to travel smoothly. However, I can report that every one of those around me accepted the situation with good nature and maintained adequate spaces between each other, and even held back at junctions for others to join the queue.
We arrived naturally later than hoped, but calmly gathered what we needed from the car and walked through the cool woods till we arrived by the house, and concours d’elegance cars displayed on the lawn. A visit to the house was our first port of call for relief and then to view the Porsche installation, and take a few photos before heading for the enclosure by the track to watch some of the cars heading up the hill, and sit down with a programme to decide where to visit. Mindful of Lizzy we stayed here a while before heading up the hill and to the Rally section in the woods, where my camera geared received a less than welcome coating of very dry chalk dust! I did get a few shots of those cars in the trees, but we soon made our way back towards the house, to spend time watching, shooting and chatting with a friendly couple we met from Staffordshire.
I also chatted to a photographer who was waiting to capture shots for Lexus. We shared an amusing cameo when we were both shooting the rotating actions of the drifting cars in the track by the House — I showed him a shot I had captured of one particular car, amidst the tyre-smoke, and he flourished his review screen with an identical image (probably taken at identical moments in time to within a thousandth of a second!) we shared identical smiles of pride!
Lizzy and our new friend from Staffordshire also shared shots, on their phones of a celebrity, Tom Hardy at an adjoining table, who for a short spell was swamped by others all hoping for photo opportunities, but the group moved on to probably find less attention.
I once asked my elder daughter whom I had taken along to a much earlier FoS, to give Lizzy a description of this event and she gave her a description, which is forever indelibly written in my consciousness — “Ascot with Cars” — I simply cannot beat that! The atmosphere at these two established annual events at Goodwood; the Festival of Speed, and the Revival Meeting, stand out as some of the most friendly and relaxed events in the British calendar of events related to motorsport.
Whilst mentioning established events, a very prominent feature of the Festival of Speed is the Art Installation in the front of the House. Since 1997, the works of Artist Gerry Judah have been the focal point of these events, as he produces tremendous creations which are also an advertisement of great British engineering by local welders, Littlehampton Welding and naturally numerous others who contribute to these structures each year since.
I have been lucky enough to be invited over several years, and it has always been a delight to receive these invitations and then live in anticipation for a couple of months till the day of the event arrives. It has now become an equally anticipated event for my family, and those days never disappoint.
The gallery of images from this year’s event, I hope gives a smidgeon of the atmosphere we enjoyed and represents a day we cherish. It is also both an ongoing library of my photographs, and often a way of testing myself, as in a few sequences of cars exiting the darkness of the woods after the Flint Wall into a short stretch of bright sunshine prior to a plunge into the last section of woods before the top. Anticipation is key, but also control, and it is easy to get ahead of oneself when panning from the darkness into the light, there is no glimpse before the cars exit the gloom.

Friday, 13 July 2018

A Summer Meeting of DigiCluster

On this occasion to celebrate the warmth of the season, This meeting was to be held at the Old Schoolhouse near Hunton Bridge and the Grand Union canal. I set off fairly early knowing that the M1 motorway has roadworks, but I overestimated how much that might add to my journey time, so I arrived rather early, which did have a benefit it allowed me to wander around the building and take some photos to add to the gallery of images and establish the location.
Since there are a lot of people working here, the car park was still fairly full limiting some of the angles to capture the building cleanly, but I did my best to minimise the loss as best I might.
Although the building has merit as a place to work, the proximity to a very main road does mean that the noise level is very high, which might well prove problematic in the summer months with all the windows open!
After a short while the guest began to arrive and I was able to Capture the build-up as numerous staff busied themselves adding to the array of food and drink, and I did wonder whether the food provision, in particular the array of cheeses might well be excessively generous.
I began shooting with the 24-70mm lens on the 5D MkIII, but towards the end of the evening, I went back to the car and brought out my 85mm f/1.8 and took a few shots using that before reverting back to the zoom lens. Towards the end I was shooting in the low fractions of a second and at ISO 5000, which brought the success rate down somewhat!
There were some interesting moments when flames rose somewhat higher than was anticipated, which gave me some atmospheric shots, that originally I had considered making into a separate gallery, but time was limited as on the Saturday morning I am due a very early start to travel to Goodwood with my younger daughter to visit the Festival of Speed.
Altogether, I have to say it was a splendid evening, though there were fewer members that I knew very well and so I was mixing less than on other occasions. I trust that the various moments I captured conveys the evening for all those who attended.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Fairford Leys Summer Concert

   
The Aylesbury Concert Band were once again invited to play in the Bandstand in the centre of Fairford Leys with the sun burning down from a clear blue sky. I came along once again with my younger daughter who plays Baritone Sax with the band, and we arrived early which meant we did not rush around and get overheated before the event even started. We even had time for me to turn the car around so we were facing the right direction for leaving as well as being close enough to transport the baritone sax case with ease.
It was also a day when England had a match against Sweden and after the concert I, with Lizzy joined Tim and the football enthusiasts who were watching the match on a large screen inside the hall.
The tunes the band had played included pieces that had a bearing upon nationalism and by association, with the match being played; England won which meant the beer was flowing, and even offered at a reduced price to entice.
Due to the bandstand being open-sided there is always some breeze present which means that one very obvious addition to every music stand is a plethora of clothes pegs, which does make for distractions to any photographs I take and the tight space means it is very difficult to avoid their presence in almost every shot, which can be a challenge. I try to capture the build-up as well as the playing, and was pleased to be early enough to capture scenes of discussion between the Conductor and Percussionist, and other interactions between the players, which capture some of the atmosphere of the group.
As there was also the attractions of a fair, I still have more images to process for the family.

Friday, 6 July 2018

By Stagsden Pond – Alive with Life

 
 
I had decided that it might well be worth paying Stagsden a visit with a longer lens than when on my last visit to the Pond that lies to the side of a new Industrial Park there.
Perhaps the long lens scared the inhabitants off, since just as I was setting up the tripod close to pond edge reeds, there was a loud explosion of flapping from the trees, and a Heron and Red Kite made a rapid exit, before I had a chance to remove the camera and lens from the unset up tripod, I had but a few seconds to at least record their departure! They were never to return, sad to report.
I decided to mount the Benbo tripod as low as possible, so that I was no higher than the pond-side reeds, and this took time as the sloping edge was difficult to find a sound support at a height that accommodated the central column, and I was determined to keep as quiet as possible in the hope that the two birds might return.
I had hoped that I might capture some of the dragonflies that flew along the reed tops, but they never followed a standard routine that I might plan where I might catch them in flight; they spent most of their time in the air, and in chasing each other, leaving only those in the far distance, which was out of reasonable capture range, despite my best efforts.
I spotted a grassy cut path off to my left, and decided this might prove more profitable, but only once did I briefly spot a dragonfly venture here, but one of my favourites from the insect kingdom were to be found – the hoverfly, and a few bees, and numerous wild flowers, so for a while I concentrated my efforts on these, and wandered the path’s length till it came out at the fields’ edge, but except for the start, there was no extra part of the pond to be found accessible.
The afternoon was not wasted, but neither was it what I had hoped I might find to satisfy my intention of taking shots of dragonflies in flight, and they barely even feature! I did however get to use the 1.4 Converter and begin to understand how best to use it, as it limits the positioning of the focus point for auto-focus immovably in the centre of the screen.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Brogborough Flying Insect Bonanza

Having used the Canon 100-400mm lens a few days back to record the flying insects of Brogborough Lake, mainly once they had settled for brief spells of rest and recuperation, I decided to return with something longer, and I decided that it might be beneficial not only to use the Sigma Sports 150-600mm, but to add their 1.4 Converter to gain a greater image size. Since the camera body was the EOS7D MkII, this in itself gave me a greater effective focal length over the full frame 5D MkIII, with also a faster response.
The slight drawback is the autofocus point is fixed at the centre, making it harder to place the subject off-centre, and so on occasion I reverted to manual focussing. Another snag when using autofocus, was how with moving reeds the focus would hunt or simply drift when foreground features came within view between the camera and subject. The bright weather we are experiencing currently gives me the chance to use the Converter and also to keep the ISO speed low with an adequately fast shutter speed.
Trying to find my subject fast with a long lens is difficult, so I experimented with pulling the focal length wider, to find my subject, then zooming in to bring it both larger and into focus, but this often meant that my subject had tired of that location and moved on whilst I was still either trying to find it or regain focus! From my observations the camera took less time and was more accurate, but suffered from losing focus fairly often, so I tended to attempt a compromise whilst manually focussing by adopting a smaller aperture to improve the depth of field to compensate for my lack of accuracy. It is not often in this country that we have this luxury; it is far more likely we are considering upping the ISO to give us a chance of a small aperture alongside a fast shutterspeed!
It allowed me to observe closely what was happening, and I am sure I was witnessing the female dragonflies laying her fertilised eggs beneath the water’s surface. Something else also was that much like crows mob red kite, I was watching the damselflies doing much the same with dragonflies.
I was sitting on a low bank with my tripod legs spread such that the camera was at eye level and really solid and this meant it was really comfortable, but did make it less easy when it came to later wishing to rise; I was also lucky for at the least the early part to be shaded from the heat of the sun under a blue sky with just a few mare’s tails for clouds, by a tall hawthorn bush to my left.
I was pleased with the end results, but it was a shame there was no regular flight path to give me the chance to attempt to preset my focus and have the insects fly into the sharp zone for them to be captured on the wing, but that’s just greed on my part!

Monday, 2 July 2018

Brogborough Lake – An Afternoon with Dragonflies

More often than not, when I decide I want to take photographs of a specific insect, my carefully-laid plans are thwarted by circumstance, on occasion this turns out to be a Happy Happenstance, but on this occasion, my intended subjects turned out to be the fulfilment of the gallery of photographs I managed to capture.
However, the main intention was to attempt the capture of dragonflies, preferably in flight, and that wish was thwarted, because I failed to find a spot that guaranteed a specific flight line. For this reason, I also used manual focus for most of the time, which meant several images were missed during my deliberations to ensure sharp capture. The specific shots that I missed completely were those when my subject almost filled the frame, and in the heat  that prevailed, they could keep in flight for very long periods, and I was constantly wiping my eyes from sweat pouring from my brow beneath a large floppy-brimmed hat.
One action that occurred on a reed bent low over the waterline was a presumably female dragonfly laying her eggs just below the water’s surface, I also noted that she suffered from the concerted attempts of damselflies to disturb her.
As a direct result of my adopting manual focus there was a far higher rejection rate due to my finding poor focus, also with the brightness of the light perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight I might have been more successful with my longer lens than the 100-400mm that I used. I might even consider going back with the 100-600mm and its 1.5 Converter.