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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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Aylesbury Parklife Summer Concert

  
 
          Aylesbury Concert Band brave the drizzle, and are rewarded with an excellent concert that pleased the crowd that attended regardless of the conditions, and a wider audience on this occasion, as it was also streamed via Facebook. Headlining were the now married couple who have performed with the Band in previous years; Alison Langer and Lawrence Thackeray. 
          The Star for me, having earlier heard her perform at the rehearsal, was the highly accomplished fifteen year old on the violin playing the Tsardas by Monti, Shona Beacham. As can be seen from my picture of her whilst she played at rehearsal that I put in the headline image for that gallery, the two people in the background are obviously listening intently to her performance, in admiration.
          The violin is a notoriously difficult instrument to play, and she justly received a rapturous applause,  but to play that piece with such panâche, and at so a young an age is stunning. Keep an eye out for that name in the future. 
          I was really pleased that the rain which had drizzled throughout the entire rehearsal, began to stop soon after the concert itself started. The programme was packed with numerous pieces both enjoyable and familiar, which is always a challenge when my feet want to dance, and I am trying to hold my camera and often longish lens steady. The light level even before the light dimmed towards evening, meant that when the concert proper began, I was already shooting at ISO 2000° and at f/4! When the lights were really low I was at ISO 12,800° which is what I describe as ‘Unavailable Light Photography’ which is challenging when shooting handheld with hands as unsteady as mine! The Hit rate falls significantly, hence why I favour 32GB cards, and that can become an embarrassment when I do not have a spare empty card in my pocket. 
          In the Interval, I moved Stage left and took shots of the Drummers, which when their leader took to the grass to dance with another of their number, that was seriously tough to keep sharp!!
          I must apologise to anyone in the Band who has waited for these images to arrive on the blog, but life can sometimes supervene as I do have to do other mundane tasks, such as in this case, take my car for its MOT and wait four hours in the car showroom till it is complete, then shop for the mundanities of life such as food that was delayed due to filling the time taking the photos in the first place!
          However, here the images are, and I hope they give others as much pleasure as I enjoyed whilst listening and watching the show.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Aylesbury Concert Band Rehearsal – Proms in the Park

 
        Aylesbury holds an Annual Concert with a Fireworks Display to celebrate the August Bank Holiday Parklife weekend. This Year’s event is also due to be streamed via Facebook, which considering the weather was possibly a stroke of genius, as it meant the event will still reach a wide audience who might have otherwise been put off attending due to rain.
         As it happened, despite the rehearsal taking place in light drizzle, by the time the concert began, this had all but stopped. My camera gear is not too well protected, and if as looked likely it might rain, I decided to get in as many shots of the Aylesbury Concert Band during rehearsal in order to carry a gallery of images of the players even though they were in ‘mufti’. I knew my time was somewhat restricted for processing my images, so this initial gallery is entirely of the rehearsal.
         I hope that these images will be an appetiser for the concert proper which will follow in a couple of days. I will say that the Music for this event was really enjoyable, and for me the Star event of the evening was the astonishing talent of the fifteen year old Shona Beacham playing Monti's Tsardas. Get to the Aylesbury Concert Band’s Facebook page to hear and see it. The piece would stretch any player — this is really exceptional from one so young!
         My gallery for the concert proper will follow in a couple of days.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Stockwood Discovery Centre Visit

 
I had finished processing shots taken at Brogbourgh and the gallery of images had been posted, so now the next venue was the gardens at the Stockwood Discovery Centre on the outskirts of Luton. I had not visited for some time and I have two Birthday Cards to create by the end of the week so a couple of fresh leaves or flowers would come in handy. I phoned a couple of friends in Luton, one of whom must have been on holiday, and the second person did answer, but was going out, so my trip would have just the single purpose.
I would however take advantage of the slightly discounted fuel before the return journey. On this occasion I would be travelling somewhat lighter, since on this occasion I really only needed the one lens on the EOS 5D MkIII, the 90mm Tamron Macro, though should I need others, the camera bag held a couple of alternatives.
On my arrival, it was fairly evident that the School holidays had begun, as few spaces were left in the Car Park, and once inside, it was also evident that this was an ideal venue for young mothers to bring their young and to socialise! However, most stayed close to the Café and play area, or sat in groups on the lawns or in the shade of the trees. My venue were the gardens and the greenhouse. The clouds that greeted me originally, began slowly to dissipate, but on a couple of occasions when I did want sunshine, I had to be patient till the sun came back from behind the clouds. I spotted a lone butterfly and a few bees, to add to the leaves and flowers.
Although the dry spell had taken its toll of some of the plants, and many of the flowers had had their day, I still found ample subjects for the camera, and some will feature in cards, so my trip was fruitful and I was able to refuel as part and parcel of the journey.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Brogborough with Some Wind


I had two possible destinations on the Sunday morning to indulge in some photography, so I put every likely lens into the car for either option, and set off for the nearest, which was the lake at Brogborough; the plan being that if the wind was insufficient or coming from the wrong direction or the visiting windsurfers were not keen on the more energetic activities such as jumping, I could ascertain the situation, and head off instead to the Stockwood Discovery Centre, which I had not visited for some time.
Upon arrival, several keen surfers were rigging sails and a couple were already on the water, and although the wind was fitful rather than constant, it appeared to be enough to bring out those I recognised as experienced, so my plan was being made for me, and I learned that to capture the shots I sought were going to need being taken the other side of the woods. By the time that information came my way, I had already chosen my heavy Benbo tripod, so I was in for a tough trek to reach the position from which to shoot.
I made haste and withe the heavy gear over my shoulder set off at a brisk trot so that I was in position as early as possible. The spot was at the shore’s edge, but was considerably lower than the surrounding land, and I knew of old that it was very steep and not easy. On arrival at the top of the bank I took the camera off the tripod, and the pullover off my back, as I was now very warm. Leaving the camera at the top, I used the tripod to assist my descent to the water’s edge as a surrogate walking stick. Then returned to collect the camera and for added safety put the strap around my neck and gingerly made my way down, where I mounted the camera back on, and set it up. I took a few shots from just above the bottom, but after a short while moved the tripod into the water which was a better spot as it cleared some of the reeds, giving me a wider angle of view, and being lower meant I had a better chance of seeing clear air beneath the boards of anyone doing any jumps.
This was one of the reasons I chose this particular tripod, as the bottoms of its legs are sealed, allowing them to be in water to just below the top of the first section; in other words the legs can stand safely in around eighteen inches of water – quite handy in this situation.
In my haste, I did make one error which defined how long I could be shooting, namely I was limited to just short of 32GB of images because I made an error by forgetting to put another card in my pocket, as it transpired that was a slight benefit as it did mean I would have to either make a second trip through the woods with my heavy gear or call it a day to limit the amount of time spent in front of a computer screen, I chose the latter and after a refreshing cup of tea, headed back to sort the images into a gallery.
The gallery is now up before the end of Monday, so I hope that it provides some of the participants memories of a pleasant windsurfing afternoon.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Marsworth Reservoir – Afternoon Bird Activity

Since the weather was cooler, but still bright, I decided I would drive down to the  Tring Reservoirs, park up at Tringford on the offchance I’d catch up with the Water bailliff, Bob Menzies, then see what birdlife was to be found on either Marsworth or Startops End lakes. I saw little of interest on the latter, but the former looked promising, and so it proved as I set up my tripod and camera.
There was a young Great Crested Grebe family with both parents and four juveniles in their striking stripes of black and grey. Seemingly the male parent was fully committed to looking after the young, but the female seemed less so. Of the four youngsters, one seemed to be somewhat rebellious, often paddling away from the main group, with occasional returns for short spells. There was also a large family of Cygnets with their Swan parents.
There were more Herons around than on my earlier visits, and they seemed less worried by the closeness of humans too. There seemed fewer Gulls than normal, but way more Cormorants, presumably much to the annoyance of the local anglers. I caught no sight of Kingfishers and the area of Marsworth where they were often to be sighted was even more forlorn with fallen or felled trees filling the pools hitherto fished by the Kingfishers, which was really sad.
At one stage I walked through a tunnel of bushes to reach a secluded part of the shore favoured by anglers, to find a lone juvenile Black-Headed Gull relaxing on the foreshore, and so I approached very carefully so as not to startle it, and was able to take several shots as the bird behaved with total disinterest in my presence, which was very rewarding. This was the same relaxed attitude I had spotted amongst the Herons earlier and later. Despite my not considering the Cormorants to be beautiful birds whether on the water or in the air, I did capture some in flight which is obviously good experience. It was a quiet afternoon in School holidays on a weekday, but the few, but growing numbers of people walking the paths as the day wore on were often interested in what I was finding to capture and more than willing to involve me in conversation, so altogether, a very pleasant afternoon.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

One Afternoon; Two Locations and Subjects

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Click Here for the second gallery of Birds at Harrold-Odell Country Park

I had set off to drive to Harrold-Odell Country Park, with the possibly forlorn hope of finding Kingfishers, due to the eponymous lake name, but along the way I was distracted by the signs of a Claas Combine Harvester at work. I parked up when I spotted it looking very much as if it had just completed that particular field, and walked over and learned my assumption to be correct! Fortunately the driver told me where his next destination was, and gave me directions, and he would be making across fields to reach it.
The directions took me to a spot just beyond the wonderfully evocative name of the village, Newton Blossomville, which I had visited on an earlier occasion. Having initially parked in a less than ideal spot, I walked further beyond the boundary of the village and found the obviously ripe field to which he had directed me and there was conveniently a far safer spot to park.
I got out my camera and lens and waited for the Harvester to appear over the hill, having grabbed a few quick initial shots, realised I could make a better choice of focal length on the next time the machine came my way. I also found out that with the prevailing slight wind direction in my direction, I was covered in dry husks that were in the clouds being created in the harvester’s wake! I stuck around till I felt I had covered the activity sufficiently to create a gallery of images, and headed off in my original direction to get to the Park at Harrold-Odell.
Fortunately by judicious means I have thus created two galleries from the one afternoon’s shooting, so will present them in a single narrative.
I knew that I was in for a fair trek, so rather than carry a heavy tripod in the stifling heat I chose my lightest one the Giottos Silk Road carbon fibre one, so that the 150-600mm Sigma lens could be my chosen lens, which by itself is a good weight! I headed into the woods on the right and followed this path anticlockwise around the lake, and was blessed with a tunnel of tree cover for at least part of my journey, stopping along the way to see possible viewpoints, finally ending up in a narrow gap that headed for a spit of land which lessened the distance from the far shore which was crowded by mainly preening birds ranging from Coots to Herons, but ironically my main interest was on a Great Crested Grebe and young Grebling, which originally were at almost the limit of my chosen lens.
A couple were already there, so I quietly erected the tripod and since they were not using the table, I managed to arrange it such that I could lazily sit on the end of the bench seat and have the tripod bring my camera to an ideal eye-level.
There was another table closer even than mine to the water’s edge, but I would likely disturb the three preening and sleeping swans, so I decided not to upset their tranquility by encroaching on their space. Perhaps also their peaceful presence might well serve to allay others’ fear of my being here. Certainly, the pair of Grebe that held my interest actually came closer to me as the afternoon progressed, so this was my reward.
Although I got some nice shots of the flights of the far less attractive Cormorants, my concentration was upon the fascinating interaction of the Great Crested Grebe and its young charge. Intermittently I followed the unfolding behaviour I was witnessing of this pair, and I am left intrigued by what I saw and recorded; I found it very appealing, and unless I was simply too far away to hear any sounds, I certainly heard none from either of the two Grebe I was so eagerly watching and recording.
I would very much to learn more about what I had witnessed, as a cursory look using the internet, there is an abundance of information on the courtship of Grebe, but I found nothing of parent / child relationship of this charming species of bird.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Brogborough Lake’s non-human Inhabitants

 
After the intense winds of last week, only a mere gentle breeze disturbed the calm waters of the lake, and where earlier there was an abundance of very active dragonflies and damselflies, this Saturday had but a few, perhaps resting after the frantic searches for mates. Certainly the few dragonflies I caught sight of, possessed the distinct signs of wear on their fragile wings. In the case of damselflies whose numbers a week back far outstripped the dragonflies, I spotted very few unattached males, and just a couple paired up.
There were three different types of bees still collecting nectar from the wild flowers that were along the field side of the bushes that line the banks, and only a very few hoverflies. Initially, I walked along without a camera in case it was not even worth setting one up, but I soon found that there were a few spots being visited by dragonflies which were the real target I sought, so after this recce trip, I decided that a handheld camera with a macro lens was the desired combination.
 Ideally, I should have considered bringing the 100mm, but the 90mm Tamron was what I had packed, so that was what I was going to have to use, which meant I was going to have to get rather closer, and rely to a degree on cropping the frame when post-processing, but since I was using the 5D MkIII, the crop corresponded to the 7D MkII using the same lens, so not a great loss. Had I brought the 100mm I would have had the luxury of not moving so close to my potential targets which would probably have improved the success rate. The foreshore is somewhat rugged, so trying to move in close with subtlety was a tall order, especially as I am not as nimble as I would like.
I spent sometime waiting or moving from one spot to another, but ended up with several quite nice shots, so the afternoon I deemed a success. It was very muggy, and trying to keep still and often trying to lean forward with camera held in front proved to be more energetic, so my shirt was soon soaked through, because trying to keep still whilst extended is actually hard work, but satisfying.