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…


View any Gallery by Clicking the relevant TEXT Headline

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Arrival at Turvey

Today was clear and bright, and I did have an initial destination in mind, but Road diversions put paid to that, and I found myself on a diversionary route, and this meant I was losing daylight, so I ended up heading for Turvey, where I found a different subject of interest; architecture. On this occasion, not avant-garde, but historic. But a look at my route taken before arriving there, involved several ‘about turns’ because every time a convenient turning appeared oncoming traffic would have meant holding up those motorists behind me, so I drove on! This added considerably to the mileage I encountered, as simply stopping was not a viable option due to the available width. However, upon my return I did now know where I was able to turn around, and find a suitable spot to park up.
On this occasion, the choice of lens was straightforward, and on this occasion I was back to using my 5D MkIII with the 24-70mm, and the subjects I chose were all well lit except for one. Also, since I am somewhat pedantic in relation to verticals being vertical, I was invariably shooting with spare space enough to make such adjustments on the Mac when in post-production in Lightroom. I only took enough images to create a single page gallery, but it was therapeutic, and satisfying, especially as it was the first occasion for several weeks that I was not shooting with my mirrorless EOS R.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Very Brief Visit to Marston Lake

Once again I started out way too late, but despite this I was still determined to make the most of my afternoon, by visiting my nearest lake, Marston Lake. There was edge-to-edge blue sky, and I parked right at the nearest shore to the entrance. And the number of birds on the water was way more than on my last visit which was heartwarming, and also as I scanned the water, I spotted one of my favourite birds, a Grebe.
It was surprisingly close, but sadly it took a while to get the camera mounted on the tripod, by which time it was at least twice the distance from me than I had first caught sight of it. Undeterred, I patiently watched to see whether it would come closer, but after each dive, it seemed to be increasing its distance from me.
At a much greater distance were Cormorants. Although not one of my favourite birds, Cormorants can sometimes have some interesting traits, and I was interested in the behaviour I observed of a couple near some stunted trunks of dead trees a good distant from my position. Their greater size slightly nullified the extra distance from my position, and there was some interesting interaction between two of their number as they occupied the branches of a long-dead submerged tree. It appeared the bird that was perched on one such stump was considered by another to have a good position, the other decided that s/he had been there for long enough, so was attempting to dislodge it, with little success; as the incumbent was unmoved, and stared the usurper down! Stretching its wings to dry them, the incomer seemed to be a tad threatening, but to no avail — the stand-off continued.
There were some Gulls, Coots, and a Swan also on the water, but all way closer to the farther shore, so I presume they knew that I was unlikely to venture to that far shore as I would be shooting against the light – birds are quite canny, and know quite a lot about humans; their behaviour, and what kit these pesky humans use to photograph them – on numerous occasions, kingfishers have approached really close, knowing full well that my long lenses have no chance of focussing that close! They are bright enough to perch on the static rods of Anglers, who in turn use those opportunities to get better shots than many a professional, by quietly using their phones to capture those fortuitous visitor events! We often study animal behaviour for any number of reasons; self-preservation, curiosity or to extend our knowledge, should we therefore believe that other species do not make similar observations and react accordingly. The time a Kingfisher circled twice really close to my camera, was I wrong to consider it might actually be fully aware that I did not track its movements when it approached close, from previous examples of such dismissive behaviour by others of my species?
My earliest sightings of Grebe on this occasion were when I had yet to assemble the camera on a tripod, and just before leaving, I ventured beyond my car in the direction of the dead-end of the lake path which is marked off-limits to anglers, when one Grebe came similarly close and I was shielded by high bushes on this occasion and was able to get my final shots.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Exploratory Visit to Sydlngs Copse

This time of year, is a chance for me to explore the possibilities for new locations; to seek places offering photo opportunities. So out come maps and various books to give me new places to visit and explore.
‘Where to go for Wildlife in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire’ is just such a manageable sized book to offer a good selection of places to visit and help plan such trips, and Sydlings Copse seemed worth a look, so that was where I headed, but due to a mixture of mildly unhelpful signage, reaching its Car Park involved a tad more than my SatNav and three three point turns to actually arrive, but perhaps that was a cunning plan to ensure the small Car Park was not overwhelmed! 
I had not packed my gear in the ideal manner for the task in hand as the weather had been unkind to this environment as much of the area was waterlogged due to the recent rains. I wasted much valuable time changing shoes from those suitable for driving to plodding through mud and putting the chosen lens on the camera and monopod, because I was fairly sure there was a good trek before I would actually be shooting. Also, I decided to sling a second camera round my neck, to ensure I did not have to make a premature return for a lens change. That precaution proved to be superfluous, but it was hardly a burden.
The shots I captured were hardly world-shattering, but what I did find later that was not expected was yet another site with numerous anthills much like those I encountered at Pilch Field, and this little nugget of information was to come up in a conversation with a fellow visitor to this spot, as this gentleman had been unaware of the true nature of theses mounds! After a shortish, but careful plod through the slippery path, I was able to negotiate the kissing gate to the wide vista offered by the open undulating grassy slopes to which I had arrived.
It was an interesting venue that I will definitely pay a future visit, because I had seen but a tiny fraction of this place, and had arrived way too late for this time of year, and the sun was setting by the time I returned to the car, and the scraping sounds from the indefatigable Park Ranger as he bent to the task of clearing some of the mud from the parking area. Once I had completed the task of restoring my camera gear to the boot to the sounds of his ongoing battle with the mud, I stopped for a chat with him, but I was not alone in preventing him from his delayed labours, because he was deep in conversation with yet another visitor when I bade him farewell in the now deepening gloom!

One of the lasting memories of this short visit was the vivid saturation of green, in the moss-covered stumps of long dead trees. Another aspect was where I had photographed some of the other visitors and apologised for my intrusion upon their privacy, how easy it was to involve those fellow visitors in conversation, as they either walked as couples, or exercised their canine pets in the great outdoors. I hope I have captured the atmosphere of the place in such a brief visit, and hope to return for a longer and earlier visit when it is drier underfoot.


Monday, 13 January 2020

2020 New Year Concert – St Mary's, Eaton Bray


 
             A New Year and New Decade begins for the Aylesbury Concert Band, with its opening Concert for the Season. At the rehearsal the Car Park was filling steadily as I brought my Sax-playing daughter in, and as she went in to set up, a steady influx of Band members continued as I gathered my kit, locked up and walked in with the Day's Conductor.
               Inside St. Mary's Church, Eaton Bray, the atmosphere was alive with the sounds of animated chatter and the setting up of numerous music stands, and arranging of seating for the Band. The numbers of Band members arriving continued to swell, gradually giving way to the more musical sounds of tuning up – Cacophany in C; if there was any nervousness amongst the players it was certainly lost amongst the general hubbub of greetings, re-arrangements of seating and constant flux as Chaos gave way to Order. It was during this phase, I realised I was missing a vital component if I was to use my monopod. I left my kit on a couple of chairs close by the aisle towards the front, and when I returned two reserved tickets had been placed where my camera bag was, so I had to find an unreserved place, one row nearer than planned.
               The Vicar greeted me to generously offer access to the Organ loft, which I accepted gratefully, but from which, on this occasion I found I was unable to use. Once I felt sufficiently organised, I took a few shots to gauge the lighting levels and set my base exposure, and learning that a very full congregation was envisaged, realised that the majority of images of the Band playing were going to be gleaned not from the Concert, but during Rehearsal, where I was free to move around, and take shots of musicians who were in the rear rows or hidden behind pillars.
               It does mean that many views were framed by clothing over chair backs, and many of the musicians were in mufti, rather than their formal dress, and only certain players were visible from my static position during the main event. Hopefully though the spirit of the occasion is carried by the overall range of images I have captured, When listening to music, my feet take on a life of their own, but somehow my hands manage to keep sufficient control to retain their stability; sometimes in post production it does mean verticals do have to be restored, or judiciously cropped to ensure the viewer does not suffer vertigo! It is all a measure however of my enjoyment of the occasion – a Happy New Decade to all who read the blog and enjoy the images captured.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Searching New Locations — Two BBOWT Sites

I have been looking at maps, and most recently the Handbook of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. I settled on investigating two that looked promising in offering photography opportunities, one was a lake, at Foxcote, the other a large Ridge and Furrow field, at Pilch Field near Great Horwood. The lake was large, with a substantial hide, but that was the one and only location from which to shoot, and that was my first destination. As I walked to the hide via a long straight track, numerous small birds flitted across my path which was a good omen.
However the view was of a very empty lake, and fully fifteen minutes elapsed before I sighted any birds on the water, on the far side I spotted two swans, then a small group of Goldeneye. This was a bird I had not photographed before, so that was promising, although I did manage to get some shots, they were never very close, and were crops from the full focal length of 1200mm (600mm and the 2x Converter!). I spent more than hour in the hide, and viewed from two opposing positions, but those birds on the water never came close unfortunately.
I had no idea what to expect at this second location, Pilch Field, and surprisingly, considering the overall lack of visible animal or bird life, I took more pictures here, because I was fascinated by the vast number of small mounds, and wondered which animal had created them. I phoned BBOWT, and it turns out they were created by ants — they must have been present in very large numbers, and have been very energetic! Presumably, the cultivation method, we humans used all those years back, was highly beneficial for these energetic insects, as they have populated the entire area.
So, despite my search for more exotic bird life was not fulfilled, my day had certainly proved interesting. I had known this was not the season for exciting discoveries, it was very useful in at least understanding what might prove to be worthwhile later in the year.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Close By the River Gt. Ouse

               I am still scouring nearby areas close by the River Great Ouse in search of new spots from which to patiently capture images of Kingfishers, and to this end found myself down a lane leading to the fast-flowing waters of the river which meanders in oxbow manner through this county. It was certainly rushing by on this afternoon, and from the waterlogged grass and mud at the end of this lane  told that it had obviously exceeded the normal bounds of its banks very recently. However in reaching thus far, the other native birds were in noisy abundance in the bushes and gardens on either side of the lane, so I parked up, having turned the car around to allow me to leave later with ease.
               I did take a walk down the river's edge, but it was way too waterlogged to consider shooting from there. Also, the overall likelihood of this spot proving the ideal location from which to get shots of kingfishers was not good, as the far bank was open to fields beyond, offering no cover.
               However, the sounds and activity from the trees and bushes did offer a great opportunity of shots of numerous other birds; Great Tit, Bluetit, Dunnock, Goldfinch and Robin. This meant it was certainly worth erecting the tripod and mounting my EOS R with the 60-600mm Sigma Sports lens and 2x Converter. Interestingly the larger birds seemed less interested in feeding and stayed at a distance, but a couple of Collared Doves became silhoetted in a distant tree to extend the variety of species I was able to capture. I have normally found Robins with little fear of coming close to humans, but the lone one here was very wary of me.
               The light was flat and dull for most of my time spent shooting, which meant my only chances of crisp images was when the birds were calmly feeding or preparing to fly off, as I did not have the luxury of a fast shutter speed, but my patience was still well rewarded, and I will definitely return now I have found the spot.