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 30 June 2009

A Very Hot Day

It was far too hot a day to spend sat inside a muggy office staring into a computer monitor screen, so having cleared the vital work, I took myself and a different lens and closeup ring setup, into the garden, to hone my macro skills on bees and hoverflies.

Neither were in profusion. Hoverflies were far too flitty for me to capture anything meaningful. I even tried adding a closeup ring to my 80 to 400mm lens, but the strain was just far too great to be workable, so it came down to using the middle-size ring attached to the 90mm macro. Soon however, the dearth of subjects forced me to consider going farther afield.

This had another benefit – between bouts of shooting I could return to the air-conditioning of the car! My blue shirt soon took on salty tide marks evidencing the times I was out in the heat and strain.

My journey this time had taken me to the small village of Charlton, home to the Windmill Public House, by a stream, and the birthplace of Sir Charles Bessemer, he of steel fame. I was so near to Maydencroft Manor, that later I chose to pay Bob Williams a visit. I found him, finally taking a well-earned break, and preparing for an alfresco supper. He has been planning a much larger event: a Concert in the grounds, in support of the Delmé Radcliffe Appeal for Friday evening.

If I thought it was hot, how must Andy Murray have found it playing tennis till after 10 o'clock to secure his place in the quarter final?

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Hot Wednesday in the Walled Garden

Arriving late, I strolled round outside the wall, and visited the potting sheds; I had decided beforehand that this was to be a day when I made use of flash, and I felt there was a good prospect of capturing honey bees at work.

My surmise was correct, and despite a few failures, I managed to capture some, but I have yet to succeed in getting both a good balance and no double exposure consistently, but perhaps this is where I need to invest in ringflash and let the flash take over more completely.

I was able to record a rather unusual 'straggly' poppy, and I also spotted that one of the water troughs had become an ad hoc hive for some of the bees alongside water boatmen rowing across the surface.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Windy in the Walled Garden

I arrived in Luton Hoo's Walled Garden reasonably early, and at first it seemed like a gentle breeze, but when trying to capture closeups of bees, ladybirds or aphids, it was a gale! Today was a day when using flash was helpful, but it was not always easy to keep a balance between the available exposure and so sometimes double-exposure occurred.

It was good to get in close on the bees, and the spiky plants they were pollinating lent an interesting contrast. The mating ladybirds should have been concentrating on their task of clearing aphids, but they had other things on their minds, so the aphids live on!

So, despite the wind, there are some quite interesting images in this gallery.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Cycle Ride Caddington

Yesterday I had it in mind to ride my bike again after a full year had elapsed, but it was not to be, but tonight, I had cleared my work and read my emails as well as some technical stuff and the sun was shining, so with pumped up tyres, I set off around Caddington.

I was spotted by a family who turned around and one of the young girls wished me a good bike ride, which was rather sweet, I thanked her and gave a thumbs up as I rode by. There were far fewer displays of flowers in the gardens than I had expected, but as I went around I did notice that quality had not suffered and having spotted some worthwhile photographing, I went back for my camera.

When I came back out the sun had retired behind clouds, but being bright this did not actually affect my ability to get some shots. I really enjoyed my cycle ride and several people did actually greet me and some even chatted.

Apologies and Thanks in Equal Measure

I crave forgiveness from the residents of Cublington for the extra 'b' in their name at a time when the bee population is falling in this country of ours, I also apologise for not noticing that the link to the gallery of ducklings was broken.

I was extremely grateful to learn that the strange tall plant found growing at Coldharbour Lane Allotments in Harpenden can now be named – here is the description from a fellow photographer, Geoff Dann who supplied this description; I quote verbatim from his email:

"From my days as a garden photog: Great Mullein - Verbascum Thapsus. I used to see it in far corners of walled gardens or at the back of herbaceous borders, its big furry leaves and tall spike of yellow multi flowers gives a big architectural stroke in the background. The leaves can be steeped in hot water to make tea or supposedly dried and smoked for respiratory ailments!? and in the past were used to stuff shoes like socks to keep feet warm, flowers render an oil to treat earaches, root used to treat cramps and convulsions, thought to be effective at warding off witches."

So to Christine and Joan, I hope you feel it was worthwhile mentioning it to me. And thanks to Geoff for giving me such a full description.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Cubblington Village Fête

At the last moment, I got an invitation to see the Aylesbury Community Concert Band play at the Cubblington Village Fête. I was given strict instructions to confine my photography to the Band, and I did my best to adhere to these constraints, but it must be understood that fathers are put on this earth for the express purpose of embarrassing their daughters, so if I have strayed…

The village was crowded with visitors and I arrived a little late due to how far away I had parked, so the band had been playing prior to my arrival, and this was a good way to locate them, as I could hear them long before my arrival, even over the train tootling around the field with excited children aboard.

This is a good band with an exciting repertoire and my feet found their rhythm with ease. Lighting was not ideal however, with often strong sunlight striping faces, but I hope I have captured some of the atmosphere. I also took a few shots of the Morris Dancers.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Sunshine & Showers

For once I was able to set off for the Luton Hoo Walled Garden this Wednesday earlier than one o'clock, but the journey did not seem promising weatherwise, as no sooner had I started the car, it began raining, and it got worse, but it did improve upon my arrival.

All the volunteers were sitting around inside the greenhouse, and for a moment I thought they were having an early lunch, and they all chose that moment to get up and leave! So much for my effect! – it had in fact been a short tea break.

I took a wander to see just what had progressed since my last visit and began taking photos, this time many were flash-assisted, though at times we had both sunshine and showers. Surprisingly, the variety and number of images I captured was good. I was able to get several interesting closeups of bees at work, and once again interesting patterns.

In the course of conversations I learnt that two volunteers had allotments in Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden, so at about three-thirty I set off there to view an enormous poppy and a strange tall unknown plant which would eventually have yellow flowers. At that moment the heavens opened, and we were caught in a very heavy downpour which persisted till our arrival at the allotments.

The second much smaller gallery shows what I managed to capture there.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

iPhone 3G S

Apple yesterday announced the latest iPhone and I watched the story unfold from feeds provided by Engadget with great interest to see just how much of rumours morphosed into reality, and was pleasantly surprised. The question now is just how much O2 in the UK are likely to charge, and whether at this price point I am prepared to jump ship from Vodafone whose overall coverage is so much better.
I have requested a PAC code, the means by which it is possible to transfer my current number, should I decide to take the plunge, so that the moment I decide to do the deed I know I am still contactable.
From the information I have so far managed to glean, the figures make good sense as the facilities offered meet my minimum criteria at last. Attractive as the 3G sounded, it failed to make it worth my while. I do have to admit however, that I would have been considerably happier had Vodafone stepped up to the mark – I think they will live to regret their decision, due to loss of their customers in the short term, but mainly that those people are committing to a minimum of eighteen months before they could be returned to the Vodafone fold, and O2 will have to underperform spectacularly for any such return to be contemplated.

I currently have an iPod Touch which has been a portable portfolio for a while now. Couple these features to extras now on offer with the new iPhone, and I know it will be hard to resist, so if anyone is interested in a 2G iPod Touch at the end of the month, do get in touch!

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Saturday Sunset

Saturday evening found John and I going north to see what views I could capture of the islands at sunset. It was mistier than it had been on Friday night, when had I not been so late I should have stopped to take some shots, that evening the sun set on the horizon, whereas this evening the sun disappeared beneath the clouds well above the horizon. There was no breeze, so the midges were out for a feast – John and I and others around us were the menu!

A trip along the coast to Campbelltown

John and I went along the coast chatting about life in Scotland and general, and both of us with a keen eye on our surroundings both inshore and off, occasionally making facetious comments on the amount of traffic – three cars in the entire land and seascape, the first signs of anyone in half an hour! We stopped at times to stroll or clamber along the foreshore, and to wander around the harbour at Campbelltown, where John pointed out its Playhouse which like London's Windmill Theatre had never closed in its long life. We came across a jellyfish and just talked and walked whilst I took sundry photographs of the coast, our shadow, gulls and fisherman's clutter.

Later, we came across seals basking in the sun and rocks, and were amazed by the ventriloquism of the oyster catchers, their calls would seem to come from right beneath our feet, yet either the birds were nowhere to be seen or way across the beach or in flight thirty yards away! However, this did give me great opportunities to try to get shots of them in flight.

The seals we saw in a couple of locations, with one we had mistaken for a rock, decide to swim when he realised we had spotted him. At another spot seals shared the rocks with gulls, cormorants and terns, but except for when a crow disturbed gulls into flight, all was remarkably restful – everyone enjoying the sun and sky with just a faint breeze; enough to keep the midges at bay!

Day-old Ducklings

Michele unfortunately was on Nights at Campbelltown Hospital, so had already left for work when I arrived. John greeted me beaming and the years fell away, we both immediately recognised each other and I was soon enjoying a cup of tea and egg and chips. We chatted for a while and agreed we'd meet at six the next morning for breakfast. Michele arrived at eight thirty and we all chatted before she left to get some well-earned sleep. John took me around the farm and he spotted that one of his ducks had got her chicks and he told me they would be taken immediately to the nearest water, and soon we spotted her leading eleven chicks dow to the duck pond he had built. I started shooting their first day of life and their entry to water – Mum took them down a steep bank and they slithered and rolled into the water.

What an honour to be treated to this moment; it was fascinating to see this entire scene, and to observe one black duckling show its complete independence to the others, and to see how they immediately new how to travel around and forage or food. Mum just simply led them, they tended to stay close every so often as she moved around, but were remarkably free to nip off in every direction then return to Mum.

The last three shots in the gallery were taken on the morning of their second day of life and they were noticeably larger.

In and around the Cottage

John and Michele's cottage was beautifully appointed and their handiwork and that of their children abounded, pen and ink sketches, pens that John crafted, chairs he made and the work he had done around, made me feel I was lazy by comparison. Walking around with him, it was apparent just how hard he worked to keep everything working and how much care he exercised. Michele having worked nights would do some gardening before getting her sleep and being ready for the next shift, whilst John and I would take walks with Benny, their greyhound.

John mentioned that the dog was lazy and rarely ran, but I have a blurred shot to prove otherwise, and he certainly had a good turn of speed when going after rabbits, though each foray I witnessed ended with Rabbit 1, Benny Nil!

A Trip to Scotland

When I learnt that the weather was certain to be good over the weekend, I phoned Michele, whose husband had once worked with me many moons back. John became a photographer in his own right well before I set out on my own, and ran a studio in Manchester before starting rural life in the west of Scotland rearing pigs. I wondered whether I might visit, having only exchanged Christmas cards since they left London. Michele said I was more than welcome, so two hours later I was on my way – that was Friday morning.

I had no time to plan an exact route and relied on Jane, my SatNav partner, which turned out to be not my best move! Her route led me to one acceptable ferry crossing, and another possible one, but which turned out to be a muddy narrow track that led to a locked gate and a shoreline work site! That ferry did exist but was in a very different location and anyway by this time no longer running!

A friendly local couple were accustomed to SatNav explorers and gave me directions involving driving to the top of Loch Fyne and down to Tarbert, so I retraced some of my journey and took a new direction. I also took to using a map and was also being guided by my daughter Lizzy, who was by now charting my journey using Google Earth!

I did take some shots on the Gourock to Dunoon Ferry, but it was Saturday that I started taking more in earnest…