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, 6 August 2020

Brogborough Lake – Two Worlds

                    I parked on the Opposite side of the road to the entrance to The Windsurfers Area, and strolled to the water’s edge outside their boundary to see what activity was like on the lake, and found none initially, so I returned to my car and chose the camera I was going to use to capture the life that lies onshore.
                    The wind that was presently blowing, favoured activity such as the windsurfers, but only once I had returned with the Lumix FZ 10002, did I espy a mere couple of sailors on the lake, whereas I spotted a few Damselflies within seconds of looking; some paired up, exhibiting their heart-shaped linking, and I often wonder whether it was this shape observation that gave us humans the shape to depict our romantic inclinations. Although I observed a couple of restless Dragonflies, they eluded capture by knowing my reactions with this camera were well less than their elapsed time stationary! At least with this camera! However, a Bee, a Cabbage-white, Meadow Brown, a lone Cricket, and Damselflies were far more patient and less wary as was another flying insect. The tenuous grasp of one pair of damselflies, warranted a repairing of bonds before flying was resumed.

                    The initial interspersing of windsurfers amongst the insects is due to time differences between my two camera bodies, not simply my distraction from one subject and another! Once human activity on the lake grew, I returned to get out a tripod and the Canon 5D MkII with the Sigma 60-600mm lens which is far better suited to capturing fast action. However, the temptation to heed the over-secretion of the Want glands in relation to the Canon EOS R6 body is definitely tempting for much of the subjects that interest me, and considering up until very recently the 7D MkII body almost permanently attached to my long lens Sigma, the 60-600mm is still short of the lesser of the R5 & R6 pairing in pixel numbers, the R5 would seem a natural successor, for the burst rate would definitely be more suited to my needs, since it exceeds the 7D MKII in the one area I really feel the need.

                    The Lumix camera need not fear being sold to fund this potential camera body since it fulfils its role superbly as a quality camera with less weight and excellent focal length range that can accompany me at all times, as unlike many a mobile phone camera which simply does not compare for my needs.

                    The shots I took later with the 7D MkII certainly brought a smile to my face on occasion, since it seems an absolute age since I got shots of the Windsurfers; the only disappointment being that the wind conditions did not suit jumpers, which is a subject that keeps my senses alert when shooting windsurfers. The only shame on this occasion was that the light became less favourable as the day progressed, but the wind direction did generally keep the action reasonably close to where I was positioned outside the Club area. Windsurfing action and spray comes alive in bright sunshine.

                    It was good to get some time with two very different cameras as that keeps my brain from atrophying.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Priory Park Walk


  Priory Park in Bedford is quite varied in content, and ideal in which to walk, yet feel quite alone in the open space I find. On this visit, I was unsure whether I would find subjects for my camera, after parking my car at my destination, so initially made the decision to walk the route sans camera. that was less than ideal as it turned out as the point at which I entered the park was one long and less than exciting straight path. having walked its length, I decided I should reconsider that decision, so turned around and headed back. On a day with such oppressive heat, this was definitely a poor start, and wasted a considerable amount of energy and time!

I returned to the car and made a new decision, I would take my light rucksack and add food and flask, as well as my camera; in this instance the Lumix FZ10002 once again. Then I headed back along the recently walked path with its proven lack of interest to go deeper to see what I might find. The first item of interest I feel sure was a jackdaw feather – Its condition was pristine, which I found to be surprising for such a well-developed feather.

Early in my walk, I came across a lone Coot, that’s feeding from a part of a currently dry weir, and it seemed totally oblivious of my presence, so rather than take up a large part of the gallery of general images, I have created a standalone gallery that covers the bird’s activity as a separate entity.

The direction I later took was beneath one of the bridges along the river, which displayed considerable colourful graffiti and across the water from me, a group of youngsters set fire to something then stood around watching it envelope in flames. On my side, I spotted a partially full bottle I supposed was a lager, on a ledge, little realising that one amongst that number of kids a moment later was to appear on the same side as myself and pick it up, and wantonly throw it to the ground, smashing it. Sadly as a lone witness to his vandalism, there was little point in remonstrating since in total, the group possibly numbered around ten youths, so I just recorded more graffiti and took a shot of more civilised and relaxed behaviour beyond.

The road above my chosen path was carried in a curve around these various waters with some very interesting architecture of a far more recent bridge, which had far greater appeal, since much of my career had been spent photographing varied aspects of architecture in and around London and further afield.

As my walk continued I found myself recording bees, butterflies and cygnets and then I left the river to return to my car, and spotted an overflow of luxurious grapes hanging beyond the bounds of the house offering a bounty for passing walkers when they are ripe! Alongside also some very young acorns caught my eye, as did the skies that greeted me on my return home.  I should add also, that the route I took to leave the park was foolishly chosen beyond the bounds of the park and made the journey back to the car even longer than the walk within!

In terms of satisfaction, the shots beneath the road bridge gave me the most pleasure on this jaunt as I appreciated its curves and structure.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Another Lake Visit – Priory Park, Bedford

I visited Priory Park to see just what I might find, but initially I walked from the Car Park and found I had taken a route from there that was very overgrown, and populated largely with nettles — not an ideal proposition! I returned to where I had set out from and found there was a different route; by going out from the entrance, crossing the noisy wooden bridge and finding myself entering the Park in a far more straightforward way.
On this occasion I was carrying only the one camera, with its built-in zoom lens, the LUMIX FZ 10002, a surprisingly handy tool with its long range 25-400mm lens. This was not the first visit to this location, and once again, I chose routes that avoided crowds, and often walked in any available grassy areas beyond the paths. Although in the main I concentrated on the photographing of flowers, birds and insects, I also got a few shots of a small boat on the lake, a pair  framed by intervening trees; anything that caught my eye that were of interest, or were at least a challenge. On occasion, the viewpoint was the same, but with differing framing, for possible space for adding text, or when taking the shots of bees in one instance, I was obtaining different details.
I have noticed in the past from visiting lakes, some birds display more aggression than others — case in point are Mallard Ducks; they can often be very aggressive amongst themselves. Another aspect of taking images of aquatic birds is often the patterns they create when moving across the surface at speed, and I enjoy capturing the interference patterns caused when the ripples from two birds travelling in different directions, interact.
Textures tend to catch my eye, such as those displayed by developing new, young leaves. This is where this camera with its zoom lens excels, capturing a distant bird on the water, then a short while later, fine crisp detail of a leaf. On this lake, a mere couple of sailors were out on the lake, and managed to capture one using the light wind to jibe around a marker buoy.
Sadly, one of my favourite birds, the Grebe, rarely came close to the shore, and I did not spot any Grebe pairs or young Grebelings here. Sadly, on one of the other lakes I visit, a Grebe nest was raided by the local mink! The mink which have tended to appear on British lakes, are a very unwelcome species that have been responsible for harming both the resident fish and lake-based birds. My day was not as productive as I had hoped, especially as I saw very few Dragonflies, only getting a couple of shots of a  singleton.
However, it was good to get outside for a spell, yet generally avoiding any close encounters, and on my return I fielded a call from another fellow photographer with whom I had not been in contact for quite sometime; and it was a long call, only coming to a close when he was being called to supper by his wife!

Monday, 27 July 2020

Stewartby Lake – Post LockDown Activity

I have visited this lake before, but it was a while back, before the current lockdown, yet it was ironically less busy on that occasion. Free from the recent restrictions, the Public were out in force, often in quite large groups, which I am presuming are family-related. I was in no hurry, so taking any gaps in the trees that led to the bank of the lake was not always an avoidance manoeuvre, but an opportunity to explore. The shoreline mostly displaying the roots of its past by the vast numbers of broken bricks present. Every so often there are sections of mortared brickworks, and one of these actually resembles the shape of a small submarine with a conning tower, which certainly was not going to be missed by my camera! 
The surface of the lake was largely given over to sailing dinghies, with a few powered boats as spectators as well as rescue craft. As there was quite a brisk, though gusty wind, the swan families were keeping often close to the shore, in the areas where the trees and bushes kept them more protected from the human visitors. There was one spot where the bricks have been carefully arranged to presumably improve angling, by keeping an area clear of more of the invasion of nearby foliage, but what surprise me is there are so many steep and muddy banks which could benefit from the use of stacking such bricks to make access safer.
Perhaps, because the wind was often quite strong on this visit, I saw fewer butterflies than I had hoped, and I also witnessed a wasp attack one butterfly, and I thought this was likely to have a bad outcome for the butterfly, but surprisingly, it did not succumb, perhaps the sometimes ragged wings I see an assume as general wear ‘n’ tear are in fact evidence of such attacks from predatory wasps.
On this trip, I saw no dragonflies and only a few damselflies, so perhaps the wind was a deterrent to flying operations at this time. I did notice that the blackberries were certainly coming on, but the few that looked ripe I was not prepared to attempt to eat, in case the Virus had contaminated them, and they had definitely not reached the numbers where considering picking numerous fruit that could be washed after collection; there were simply too few for that to be a viable option.
It was fortunate that despite the powered boats were not ever close, this lens was still able to capture some shots of them at a reasonable quality, but the carrying of a longer lens and a heavy tripod was never an option for this visit. The cloud cover was often not conducive to good quality, but it was still great to be out and in some sunshine, and to chat with some of the other visitors.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Biddenham - A Long Riverbank Walk

I set off to Biddenham and the River Great Ouse to stroll along the banks to capture some of the native life to be found close by. I took a shot of the Information board, to make it easy for me to reference on the blog. I have been here before, but on this occasion I was here to explore the numerous paths leading off the main one, to reach close to the water’s edge where the subjects of my photography are to be found in fair numbers.
Fortunately, right at the beginning of the walk, there were good views of the bridge from the bank close by the Park entrance, with the river flowing fast over the shallows on the left. I took to the path that runs close to the bank, and investigated what shots could be taken along the bank side path, before finding the real images I sought; which were of the wildlife, such as butterflies, damselflies, and dragonflies and, views of the enclosing landscape of the park.
It was during the time down by the river bank, that I spotted interesting patterns in the water, so naturally they appear in the subsequent gallery of images in my blog. The River Great Ouse meanders in numerous loops in Bedfordshire, and in this area the river is often shrouded by woodland, which offers me good chances to photograph the birds, animals, insects, associated trees, vegetation, and flowers.
On this outing, there were numerous butterflies and damselflies; and the list of those, that I later managed to get shots of were Red Admiral, Brown Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Comma, and Meadow Brown butterflies, and Damselflies. One such, I had never seen before, the Emerald Damselfly. Altogether, I had a very enjoyable and productive afternoon.Later, after working through the editing I found myself with one image over a round number to fill four pages in the gallery to be uploaded to the server, so one more look through the images to decide which one is for the chop! Lastly, which image or images will head up the Blog entry, when it is ready to go online.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Wide View from Above Millbrook

Millbrook Proving Ground can be seen while standing at the edge of a high escarpment beyond the village, if one takes the right turn atop the hill out of the village of Millbrook, and continue for around half a mile till the turnstile appears on the right. It was here that I planned to meet up with my daughter and her young family. Once both children, a boy and his younger sister were out of their car, we headed across the vast expanse of open grass to where the expanse of countryside could be seen, with the Milton Keynes Dome on the far left, and just below to the right was a straight section of the Millbrook Proving Ground track that could be seen leading to the circular banked section, of which only a small section was visible.
  There is a large Perspex-covered map marking the major landmarks that appear in the vista, viewing visitors are able to see from this vantage point. On this afternoon we were treated to crystal clear views of every mentioned landmark, and also the as yet incomplete Incinerator with its cranes clearly visible as they work on its development. I had arrived much earlier and spent some time alone with my camera, to see whether the spot was free, since there is no car park, possibly to limit visitor numbers. My guess is that most of those coming to this spot are local, and many bring their dogs here, because of the expanse of open ground to give them plenty of exercise.
When I came earlier that day, a Red Kite was soaring over the entire area I could see, occasionally swooping lower to see what might be on its menu, but sadly at too great a distance for me to capture any meaningful images. Much of its time it must have been taking advantage of thermals, as he seemed to be exerting himself minimally as he glided most of the time I was watching, with the occasional fast dive to a lower level. My observation of kites is that much of their soaring is for pure enjoyment and to exercise their skills for when they are needed for hunting. There were several different species of butterfly, and since there was abundant sunshine, there seemed little need to land, so capturing them at rest even, was a challenge, because none gave you more than two seconds before taking to the air again, and also a mate might take advantage of them.
On this occasion, as I mentioned, I visited this spot twice, the first a reconnaissance trip, during which  I took pictures of some of the distant landmarks, and since the single vehicle that was present on my arrival, had disappeared, I assumed correctly as it happened, that there was a good chance the space would still be free for my daughter later, so I had returned home to get a drink and something to eat before their arrival.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

River Gt. Ouse – Walk

           This gallery has a few additional, unrelated images from my front hedge and elsewhere, so that I could fill the available slots. I spent a relaxing and enjoyable time in a village a few miles north of my home, Milton Ernest. I took a walk alongside the River Great Ouse with the Lumix FZ10002 and one Closeup lens in case the opportunity arose where I needed to get close.
           In the distance at one stage, I spotted a church looking as if it was on a wooded island surrounded by fields. It should be apparent that my taste in images is somewhat Catholic, as it is not simply the life that exists in bushes and hedgerows, but the vista of landscapes themselves, and the architecture of structures to be found when walking, such as beneath the railway as it is elevated above low-lying fields. The rushing waters of the River Great Ouse I found fascinating as it caused the reeds to constantly wave to the currents and create ever-moving patterns that I found very restful. As I followed the course of the river, sometimes close, other times at a greater remove, the sun would cast shadows that moved across the landscape as if to similar rhythms; occasionally only lighting a thin moving wedge across the fields. Occasionally a tree standing alone caught my eye, or one dead tree reminded me of an Octopus as if halted whilst traversing the field.
           There were numerous butterflies, the occasional damselflies, a Swan with a single Cygnet slowly navigating the reeds close by the bank, a tiny snail beneath a leaf. All presented me with the challenge of how to capture the variety, whether up close or at a distance. I enjoyed the variety of the flowers, the winding road rising a hill, and the shapes to be found in the trunk of a tree. All these images were captured with the one camera, despite being close or distant, and in the case of the tiny snail by flipping up the flash to light the underside of the leaf to which it hung. On the next trip out I even used its ability to stitch a panorama as I carefully panned it from left to right; I cannot praise this LUMIX camera enough for sheer versatility!

Friday, 17 July 2020

Afternoon at Stewartby Woods and Lake

               I had spotted an entry to the woods with a broken gate, now open wide. I parked on the opposite side of the road to investigate further, but soon spotted something of interest in the nearby hedge — some three examples of the industrious work of Labyrinth spiders. Perhaps because of the consistent noise of passing vehicles, these seemed less shy of my bringing my camera to bear to capture shots of the makers of their homes and the means of regular food provision at the front entrance to their homes!
               Having taken two of my cameras from the car, I locked it, and crossed the road with them, and followed the path into the woods. I found that the path around the lake has been carefully improved to provide what will ultimately circle the entire lake; currently the reason the path circling the lake is incomplete is because of construction work on the forthcoming Rookery South power station. Upon my entry to the woods, it was not long before I spotted one of my personal favourite insects, hoverfly.
               I have no idea, since this was my first introduction to these woods, how frequented these woods are, but in the short walk along the path, I was very disappointed by the number of discarded poo bags were in evidence, and other examples of ill-disciplined human litterbugs with carelessly discarded crisp packs. Why is it so much bother to retain food packaging and dispose of it upon return from a pleasant walk in the woods? During my visit, I saw very few people, yet had I counted the bottles, cans, doggy poo bags and the like discarded, the numbers of such detritus far exceeded the number of human individuals I encountered, which is a really sad statement of how we treat our environment. Many people now have few personal spaces around their homes, so these Public Spaces are really valuable areas for recreation and relaxation, and should be treasured.
               Bedfordshire is a lucky county, in that the past scars on the landscape caused by the extraction of clay have been reclaimed as lakes and woodland for the enjoyment and relaxation for everyone. Just a little thought by everyone for how much enjoyment can be had in these places would mean all visitors who come here to walk, play and relax could be rewarded by the sights and sounds to be found in these places. Rant over — enjoy the shots of spiders, bees, butterflies, hoverflies, wildflowers, tree-lined avenues, and lake views.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Trip to Three Locks

               The opportunity to meet up with family is not an opportunity to miss under the current situation, so when my younger daughter called to suggest a meeting halfway between both of us, with her children. The destination on offer was for us both to head to the Three Locks Public House on the Grand Union Canal.
               We both had a reasonable idea of just how far this destination was from each of us and though I arrived earlier, it was not long before we both pulled up along the main road. It was a bright afternoon with large clouds in a bright blue sky — excellent weather for us all to be out in the fresh air and at the healthy distance as required under the current restrictions, and for me to grab the obvious photo opportunities available. It was a chance to catch up with Lizzy and for the children to run around in a different location. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the obviously well known spot, there was more than enough space for everyone to have no difficulty in keeping adequate separation at all times.
               As before, the camera I chose on this occasion was the LUMIX FZ10002, especially since this was very much a family outing, not a specifically photographic sortie, though still too good an opportunity to miss in such inviting weather, and photogenic location. The only disappointment was just how short a time we had together. I have to admit that I do find it tough to be forever keeping my distance from my family; especially as we have always been ones for family hugging.
               So to my mind the gallery of images in this instance was simply my stamp on the occasion, and a memory of a relaxing, all too short time in glorious sunshine with family and a camera as ongoing therapy!

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Harrold-Odell Lake Avian Activity

                A lake with abundant wildlife on the water, and close to shore, was where I was headed, and seeing a space on the main road outside Harrold-Odell Country Park seemed like a good spot to park, since I suspected the Car Park itself was likely to be crowded. My guess was accurate.
               Although I was planning to use my EOS R, and the Sigma 60-600mm with its 1.5 Converter, I still slung my LUMIX FZ10002 over my shoulder, and this was a good move, even though it only came into its own at the end of my visit.
               Once I had mounted the camera on my Benbo tripod, I was good to go, and first stop was the small area closest to the car park, where I could get an idea of what activity was on the main lake, after a short while there I then started a walk anti-clockwise around that lake, glancing through the trees to get a feel for what I was likely to find. A Black-headed gull had monopolised the now tilted post at the first stop, and as I ventured further, it seemed as if it was interested in featuring in photos, as I feel sure it was the same bird, that later I spotted gliding in search of a meal and every so often after circling, would swoop to the water, and then spend time in amongst the swans, geese and ducks, on the water amongst them.
               The swans some with young, seemed to be protective, but also in the distance with no young could be seen to be fairly aggressive amongst themselves! As a consequence the swan families and this gull feature strongly. In the case of the gull, I wanted as much panning activity as possible, so I was very grateful for his equal desire to assist. He (or She) put me through my paces, by often flying just by the treeline, which was certainly challenging! 
               Although hardly an attractive bird, the Egyptian Goose features fairly frequently as it is not every day that oneness them, but I have spotted one here on an earlier occasion.
               As I walked around, several times I spotted a species of almost colourless damselflies, but every one bar one never seemed to settle, so were too elusive to warrant the effort to photograph them. This lone one however seemed happy to stay close, so I brought out my LUMIX camera and attached the closeup lens then stretched out my right hand, palm-down in the hope it might land, meanwhile since I am naturally right-handed I gripped the camera awkwardly with my left hand, and contorted myself, such that I could hold it to my eye and operate the shutter with the same hand. It obviously felt I should be humoured having gone to such effort and duly landed on my free left hand, and patiently stayed there to allow me a couple of bursts, and at the end stayed put till I offered him a leaf upon which he could alight.
               This entire scenario was watched by a man in a wheelchair and his carer, who were seated nearby, so having succeeded in getting my shot, I showed them the result on the camera. They probably were convinced I was nine pounds short of a tenner! But I was really chuffed with my small success! Butterflies appear to be fairly trusting of humans, as this was not a one-off for me. I have also put seeds on my hand for Robins! Palm down, always.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Stewartby Lake Nature Trail

Stewartby — The Season is Still Progressing
As Lockdown eases, the weather makes it easier to keep the crowds from yearning to be in the Great Outdoors, which imposes a limited restriction to the numbers of people going out, although it is less enticing for photography. Summer is fast approaching, and then the desire to be outside and involved more intimately with our families becomes irresistible – but we must be patient. Over the last months, taking photographs has been a blessing for my wellbeing; in fact, I do not think It is an exaggeration to say it has been a ‘blessing’ because were it not for the opportunities offered by the taking of photographs to be outside, I would not have been as calm about the enforced separation from all the members of my family.
As I have mentioned in the narrative of my blog, the taking of photographs is still as important as ever, and still very much a challenge. The camera most in my hands of late has been the LUMIX FZ10002, and I still feel there is more to be learned about how to handle it to best advantage; it is very capable, but has its quirks; what I need to do is configure some of the various controls very specifically for my personal needs, but so far I am wary to set these up, in case I manage to screw things up, so I am hoping that with isolation relaxing, I will be able to contact someone to guide me through setting up some speedy access to specific controls for my way of working.
I am eternally grateful for going to this year’s only major Photo Show and meeting up with Steve Scrase. Fortuitously he awaited my arrival at the stand he was at — the Panasonic stand. When we met up, he told me that a colleague of his had bought a LUMIX camera, with which he was most impressed, so much so that Steve convinced me that I should take a look. It was not long before I had the Mark II version of the model his friend had praised so highly. It did not take long handling the MkII version for me to be convinced that this camera which could not be described as ‘Professional’, since it was not weather-sealed in any way, definitely lived up to the praise of its image quality. I had a play and also had put a card of my own in, so that I could look in even greater detail later. Looking closely at the images, it took only a matter of moments to check out its price and decide it was worth a punt. After the Show and a day’s use, I then ordered a charger and a second battery, and it has become the camera of choice during this time when using my fully professional kit would likely be frowned-upon.

This camera is very capable and versatile and lives up to its early promise, but has its quirks, and is still challenging; there always seems to be one parameter missing when you need to finesse something swiftly, and that is a needed conversation with someone at Panasonic. The shots in these two pages were all taken using this camera, some with the addition of a closeup ring — I needed the exercise for body and soul, I hope they give someone some pleasure. It is difficult to believe, but every shot in this gallery has been captured with this camera, sometimes assisted by a single 1-dioptre close-up ring for a few shots. As a result of my experience with its results, it now is kept within the soft neoprene cover for when it might come in handy. A note to Panasonic; please provide more metadata from the camera to be embedded, in particular, orientation if that is possible.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Stewartby — The Small World

I have been using an interesting small Camera, since a colleague of mine mentioned how impressed a friend of his had been with it when he had bought the first incarnation of the LUMIX FZ 1000. We were at the only Photo Show in London this year, and fortuitously we arranged to meet where he was at that moment— the Panasonic stand. I had gone to the show with no intentions of purchasing anything, but simply to keep myself up to date with what was happening, and meet ‘friends of long-standing’ (thus avoiding saying I was meeting ‘Old Friends’!) I played with it awhile and after numerous inspections of the images zoomed in tightly, I was equally impressed as my colleague’s friend had been who had bought the earlier version (without the Flip ‘n’ Tilt Screen!)
It was an almost instant over-secretion of the Want Glands, as I could see immediately the potential of a ‘take everywhere’ small camera with an impressively long range zoom lens. I was fully aware that it boasted no weather-sealing whatsoever, but at the weight, price and image quality, it could be seriously useful, and way more usable than a phone camera. This is a serious camera, not a toy, but excellent value when I took into account the ‘Show Price’.
Having played with it seriously for a couple of days after the show, and seen only one snag, the maze of (to me) surfeit of different controls to master to get what I needed, I purchased the essential ‘extras’ a spare battery and a separate charger. It is now always to hand, and has proved its worth during the Worlwdwide Lockdown that followed — it does not attract attention compared to had I gone out with my long-lensed camera and heavy tripod — I am just any other bloke with a small camera! An absolute Godsend!
This last trip out was with one small addition, a supplementary Close-up ring, one of the set of four that I have just purchased from the small UK company —  SRB Griturn — every image in this gallery was taken within close-up ring permanently attached, it was the least power one, which proved excellent, with no downsides whatever. They come from this small friendly company I have known and bought from over many years. This particular ring will handily fit a plastic holder I already had, and will stay in my camera’s soft case permanently making the camera even more versatile!
This gallery contains only insects and the plants upon which they either land upon or feed from, I had hoped for sightings of the rabbits that live in this small wood, but no such luck on this occasion.


Green bottle fly, butterflies, damselflies, ladybirds, bees, hoverflies, Stewartby, opposite to Lakes

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Marston Thrift – Hottest Day

Close to Marston Moretaine but North of the A421 is an area of land with a mix of woods, heathland and small lakes; it is large enough for it never feeling overcrowded. The southern entry has two roughly parallel paths either side of a stream, providing a pleasant cool walk in the woods before opening out into a series of paths that spread to several others offering a variety of ways to wander as many do, with their children or dogs.
In the cool of the walk through the woods I took shots of small areas  of plants which were illuminated by the these shafts of light breaking through the tree cover, before finally coming out into the bright sun. I have long been fascinated by the hoverflies that enjoy the nectar of the wild flowers, and how they genuinely seem to play in the shafts of sunlight that break through the cover of the trees to bathe the floor of the woodland paths with pools of shifting sunlight — they seem to spend much of their time alternately hovering in the beams, or dive-bombing those of their number already enjoying the beams. Whilst hovering they frequently flick through 90 degrees every so often, or move swiftly vertically up or down. They seem to be tempting photographers to try to capture them whilst hovering, but know that humans lack their reaction time, because every so often they hold station for a reasonable length of time, as if baiting you! Although I have on occasion been lucky, the odds definitely seem stacked in their favour. I enjoy a challenge, but on this occasion — Advantage hoverfly. 
I did find later that there were several around a particularly tasty flower, and as I concentrated on ones that were static others would occasionally fly within the same depth of field, which meant they were reasonably sharp.
Later, I had some fun capturing a pair of dogs jumping into the lake for sticks thrown by their owner resulting in a bit of friendly rivalry over returning it to the owner. I enjoyed my time in the woods, and I was back using my EOS R, but on this occasion with my Canon 100-400mm lens — it proved to be a good choice and it was a very pleasant way to be out and about making the most of the very warm weather.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Brogborough Lake — Favours Dragonflies

A warm and windless day under blue skies means the Lake favours the birds, not Windsurfers, though Paddleboarders can also enjoy the calm and the sunshine under edge-to-edge blue. Families of geese enjoy the calm too. Dragonflies, and Damselflies enjoy the sun’s warmth, with the latter also enjoying the lakeside bushes beyond the reeds.
Due to the lockdown, I am restricted to the Anglers’ vacant swims as a shooting spot, bordered by the reeds favoured by my chosen subjects, and I kept as close to the trees, to get some respite from at least some of the sun. For much of the time, the abundant sunshine meant the Dragonflies kept mainly to the air, and their main activity was chasing and being chased, with only a few paired up. The damselflies were to be found also on the field-side of the bushes, or close to the water occasionally flitting amongst the reeds, and favouring the shade. In the water, just a few feet from the shore were some bricks seemingly originally from buildings, since they were cemented together, and judging purely from their siting, I suspect these were not the normal failed brick firings that are to be found as evidence of these lakes past, but the carefully haphazard placing by photographers to bring subjects a convenient distance for their shooting! — “Not Guilty, mLud”.
But who am I to complain, when I am guilty of benefitting from their positioning. There is one noticeable downside to the bank side here, especially with the lack of recent rain — the geese and Swans have graced the shore with their droppings, due to the absence of the disturbance from Anglers. I remained in this spot for quite some time, and noted once again how the Dragonflies came in pulses of activity, with lulls between, which perhaps is a strategy for feeding, disorder that in the lulls, their prey return. If such is the general case then presumably that is the cue for myself to treat the breaks as food and drink time.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Station Road, Marston Moretaine—Flowers

A Walk with a Camera Along Station Road proves worthwhile. The bees were active, especially along an entire front garden wall of Heather, and this was true on both sides of the main road, it also tends to attract the owners’ attention, and when that occurs, I often find I am shown their back gardens, or at least allowed to step into the front garden to get closer, or better angles.
Most of the time the sun was out, but on a few occasions, the clouds passed across the sun. When that happened, and the ideal viewpoint really needed the sunlight, either to highlight my particular subject, or put shadow beyond, I would have to be patient, and stop and wait awhile. Fortunately, on this afternoon trip, I was fairly lucky. On occasion some compositions needed for the breeze to die down, so I could take a shot with a flower without others  partially obscuring the main flower, or grouping.
Capturing bees either in flight, or bees on a particular flower can sometimes be difficult, especially when they alight, for mere fractions of a second. Sometimes, I found myself poised on a particular flower, and waiting for a bee to land, only to have the breeze to pick up, and dislodge the bee, or blow a leave across the bee just as I am ready to take the shot! However overall, on this short trip, I was reasonably fortunate.