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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Saturday 26 June 2010

Serendipity and my Trip to Windsor

I had made a loose decision to drive to Windsor for opportunities to take more photographs, and so passing along Pepsal End lane and finding the source of heavy black smoke I had seen rising beyond Slip End, it was somewhat surprising that I pulled up simply to dial 999 and report the torching of a car. I then drove on, before thinking: hey, I am a photographer, maybe by taking shots before the firefighters arrive may just be useful. So, I parked up. grabbed one of my cameras and ran the half-mile back!

I managed to take a few shots before the fire appliance arrived, and started back to the car, but seeing the firefighters arrive, I captured them putting out the fire and continued my journey.

The route I wanted to take was on country roads, not motorways, so I was soon on my way towards Hemel Hempstead; I had passed the Aubreys Hotel when I spotted a couple hitch-hiking, so I pulled up and offered to take them to Hemel. Ironically, they were American and travelling in exactly the wrong direction for their chosen destination – St. Albans. But when they told me it was not their highest priority I asked would Windsor be of interest, both were delighted to say yes! So we introduced ourselves all round and I continued to Windsor. When I reached Burnham and it was not clear how to reach Eton from their I got Jane, my SatNav from the boot entered ‘Eton’ and we all laughed when she asked to me to turn around when I switched her on! I did so, but it looked all wrong so I turned around again. We managed to find a parking bay that would be free for two hours, and decamped.

We walked into Eton and on to Windsor after a detour to the Brocas, and then after a short time together we parted agreeing to meet back at the car before the two hours was up. We all had a great time, met back up and returned to their hotel where they kindly bought me a drink and we sat and chatted, and played with my cameras as I showed them how to get shots with a narrow depth of field. Altogether, we had all had a day that none of us could have foreseen, and really enjoyed each other’s company.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

A Tuesday Visit to Tringford Reservoir

The weather was too good to miss and after clearing the small amount of work and diverting the phone to ensure I did not lose an opportunity for some more, I collected my camera gear and set off for the reservoir. There was a variable breeze and two fishermen were already out on the water, There was not a lot of activity, but enough to keep my hand in. Ironically, when the fishermen decided to come in we chatted and I told them I had not captured much of interest, and as they left through the woods I caught sight of a Red Kite, and soon spotted there were a pair soaring above the trees on the far side where earlier I had seen dozens of rooks.

I spotted a heron on the far side and managed just two shots of it in flight, and then got some shots of a grebe fishing and managed a halfway decent shot of him with a tiddler in its beak, he was not having the success he had a week or two back when I saw him with a crayfish.

I tried to see just how close I could get to damselflies and if I could capture them in flight; I certainly never managed both together! I also took a walk along the trout stream, but without any conspicuous success.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Aylesbury Community Concert Band at Cublington Fête 2010

It hardly seems a year since I last came to Cublington Village and their fête, but once again I came to watch and listen to the band in which Lizzy, my younger daughter plays saxophone. I did feel sorry for the players whose instruments were metal as it was very nippy and even had there been much sunshine the band were ensconced in the shade of a yew tree.

The concert was in two sessions, and I also found watching people try to lift a series of wooden bricks fascinating and seeing the youngsters entertained by Smarty Arty. The whole show, which included Morris Dancing in the Arena, was constantly promoted by the roving compere complete with straw boater.

Both Tim, Lizzy’s husband, and I were lucky with finding books to buy. I enjoy taking photographs of people at work, and although band members were playing, this is an excellent example of work. I have tried to capture the feeling of concentration and I am always impressed by the dexterity and dedication shown by a group of such diverse ages.

Ironically, the day proved very full before I even arrived at Cublington as I came via Tringford reservoir the Grand Union Canal and a farm where some steam engines were being prepared for an event on the Sunday. All of which subjects I found fulfilling.

Friday 18 June 2010

Afternoon Visit to Luton Hoo again

Having spent a very hot and humid time at Butterfly World in the morning, I returned home to re-hydrate and offload about twelve gigabytes of raw files so I had space to take yet more photographs. Then I set off to pay a late visit to the Walled Garden in particular to see how the restoration of the farm cart was proceeding. I can report that the three main participants are doing very well indeed; there were just two this day, but there was much rubbing down of the old paintwork from the wood and ironwork and that the rear spring section was now all painted – black for the metalwork, Luton Hoo green for the wood.

Elsewhere the warmer weather had accelerated the growth of thistles which Charlotte Phillips herself was digging up, the pumpkins were now planted out, and Alex Hines was duly watering them with a hose that also gently watered a few on its own along the way! For another volunteer planting out, she was able to use a watering can confined to sprinkling only from the spout!

Another volunteer was busy tying up recalcitrant plants whilst bees danced attention on the blue flowers that they obviously took a particular shine to their allure.

It would appear that one Verbascum was being sacrificed to the Mullein caterpillar in its desire to propagate its moths; and they were feasting to the very obvious destruction of the plant, but the caterpillars were very striking in yellow and black looking as if they had some resemblance to Bibendum, the Michelin Man.

Even though a late visit it was a great chance to capture several different types of bee feasting as they pollinated, so very satisfying.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Butterfly World

It was a small group visiting the Stockwood Discovery Centre Luton from Essex that said I should visit Butterfly World at Chiswell Green, near St. Albans. They had said: "You must see the wild flowers!" I turned into the drive from a country lane and was gobsmacked! Before you have even arrived at the entrance to the complex, the drive is lined not with grassy banks, but banks of every colour of wild flower – reds, pinks, purples, blue, green, yellow and orange – all set against the clearest of blue skies and high cumulus clouds. Since there was not a lot of traffic, I put on the hazards, and spent at least five minutes just taking shots of what was there!

The complex is still young and not yet finished, but it was welcoming, well-organised and the architecture stunning. It seemed quiet and people free at first as I looked out at the giant beehives that are the loos, the alfresco restaurant area, the garden centre with its arched roof, the gardens with giant plant pots and a trowel. Before I left the entrance area, I had taken a few closeups of a caterpillar one of the staff had been tending in a small container of I believe willow leaves.

I headed for the Tropical Butterfly house, and all changed – I was prepared for the heat and humidity; I was totally unprepared for the hubbub! The greenhouse was full to capacity with screaming and shouting schoolchildren amidst fluttering dozens of butterflies. I assume butterflies are deaf, or have a high tolerance for noise! I concentrated on trying to capture the main attraction, and if possible butterflies in flight – in the end I caught just one mid-flight! After a while as I moved up the greenhouse, I noted that a few more patient youngsters were standing still in the hope of a butterfly settling on their hands or heads, one boy in particular had several settle for a short time on his hat, and a girl, maybe his sister insistent I capture the event, but every time I turned to capture a shot, the insect took off; to his dismay. I tried at least three times and felt really sorry that he was unlucky, finally I managed, and showed him the closeup on the back of the camera. He was amongst a small band of hopefuls that did stay in one spot and was quiet.

I stayed awhile with sweat dripping off me, trying to get shots of some of the larger specimens, but they were less inclined to remain in flight. When I finally came out, the cool fresh air was a delight and after turning around to capture the drying breeze all around, I strolled around the various garden, some of which were complete, many still under construction or simply not yet fully grown. I wandered through terracotta tunnels and on the other side of an upturned giant pot came across a similarly scaled box of matches. The walls were adorned with embedded dinky toys and other artefacts of a consumerist society, such as a headless Action Man, but also there was an old book with an open spread beneath a bank of wild flowers and the clear sky.

There is much to see here, and it deserves success, but the best of the wild flower display will not last long – I am glad I came when I did, and I will return as there is just so much to see, and photograph.

Monday 14 June 2010

Afternoon at the Pirton Open Gardens Day

Before leaving the Stockwood Transport Show, John and I went around the Discovery Centre where I warmed myself up for the afternoon shooting in Pirton, at their annual Open Gardens Day, and what is the first thing I do is photograph an old motorbike!

The first garden I visited belongs to an artist, Maggie Barton, whose house and garden are a delight, she seems multi-talented as she sculpts, makes mosaics and stained glass objects and if I heard right, also paints. In her copious free time she also tends her compact garden. Entering through her front door I then went into the small circular area around a tree, the garden was I believe the best tended of all those I visited, and her other work was to be seen all around.

I did my best to visit all the gardens, but that was a tall order having arrived at around half-three, and in all there were gems, and I hope I have done justice to what was on show, I even spotted a fairly un-shy pigeon at the end, I also spoke to some interesting people and one other photographer whom I may yet meet again.

A Morning at Stockwood Park

I had taken the opportunity to visit the Luton Festival of Transport held in Stockwood Park in the morning and having captured some of what was happening there and enjoyed some conversations with amongst others, a local magistrate and Jaguar enthusiast, John Sentinella, John joined me in a visit to the Discovery Centre.

John had not been for some while so I acted as guide as we went around  and I took more photos of some of their wonderful display, we also met up with a group who had come all the way from Essex just to see the gardens, and they mentioned they had visited the Butterfly Centre south of St. Albans and recommended I paid a visit as their wild flower show was exquisite; so I feel a visit coming on.

Stockwood Park Festival of Transport

Very changeable weather greeted this Show, I arrived under grey clouds, but soon came milky sunshine, followed by spits of drizzle and occasional sunshine, but overall it was grey. Nobody seemed to mind, children played in family groups and asked improbable questions of amused parents, whilst enthusiasts of all ages discussed technical features of exotic or simply early vehicles, and many white-haired gents reminisced of distant youth, their memories jogged by the sight of cars and bikes from an earlier era.

I found myself looking at a black Standard Vanguard in poor shape that took me back to my father’s identical car that we had in Malaya in 1949; a car incidentally whose handbrake I managed to release on our sloping garden which ended with the car in a ditch, up against a chain-link fence with a smashed headlamp!

I also noted how some car marques retained their symbolic badges, whereas others were in a constant state of flux – the Vauxhall Gryphon being a case in point for the latter.

I spent a fair time in search of a friend I knew to be marshalling and manning a Jaguar stand, only to be found by him whilst I was talking to some Jaguar enthusiasts – I was only two cars away from his car without realising it! We took some time chatting and looking around before heading to the Discovery Centre.

Sunday 13 June 2010

A Day in Essex

I had been consulted about how to move forward with Lightroom once the catalogue was filling up, and after a change to a full-frame dSLR, so having described what was necessary, and why, now had come the time to go over to fit and test the purchases.

I had been so concerned for the overall scheme, I managed to completely forget the tools for the task – I was planning to backup the original internal hard drive to a new external one, then remove the existing drive and replace it with a larger capacity and faster (7200rpm) one – for that I need my Torx drives; so guess where they were? Home! So, my first port of call was a local Maplins.

Thus armed, I plugged in the new eSATA drive into a handy twin-port card into the MacBook Pro’s Express 34 slot. Using Carbon Copy Cloner I proceeded to create a bootable backup, because this clone was due to replace the existing full internal drive. Something I learned along the way when I came to test the results of the transfer was that eSATA from the slot would not be recognised for booting despite the correct GUID partition on the external unit, so to verify what I had transferred would boot, I had to connect temporarily using USB. All was well, so now it was time to carefully remove the existing drive.

I marvelled at the beautiful simplicity of using the clip to remove part of the back panel, and then to see diagrams printed within to explain removal of the drive and replacement of RAM – Thank you Jonathan Ive! I removed the existing four pins that support the drive in rubber mounts and put these onto the incoming drive, reloaded the old data, booted up – all tested fine. Then all the various components were put into their new configuration and finally tested.

During the lulls when the re transfer was taking place we had a short time in the garden and then a walk along the nearby canal where I managed to capture shots of Demoiselle damselflies and blooms. Oh, and a fearsome guard dog!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Pirton Pond Life, and beyond

Saturday seems a long way away now, especially since the day was so warm and sunny, and we are now back to the more traditional English grey. I went for a drive to amongst other places, Shillington, Pirton and Clophill, and the majority of the time was spent at the vibrant Pirton Blacksmith’s Pond.

I was truly amazed by the amount of wildlife present in such a small area, the water was clear, or should I say transparent, as the amount of small leaves and branches was high. It was so clear that it was easy to see just how abundant was the fish life. Not being an expert I cannot be sure whether the orange fish were carp or goldfish, but as you can see from one shot there were brown fish as well.

There were several different types of bees, at least two types of hoverfly and more than one type of damsel fly, as well as both sexes, some mating, as could sometimes be seen by pairs in flight. There were lacewings and midges and common flies, one such had failed to realise its weight and was slowly drowning as it was unable to walk on water as the water boatmen were. There were also some caterpillars with striking colours and structures. It was so hot that I had to keep removing my glasses to clear the condensation to be able to keep shooting. I was trying very hard to try to capture damsel flies in flight, but they knew exactly how long I would take to focus, and would change direction just before I managed to succeed. If I then decided to capture them on a reed or iris, again only rarely was I swift enough!

From Pirton I went towards Clophill where I found a stream and whilst there met a fisherman and photographer who later very kindly took me into his fishing area pointing out a field favoured by lapwings and before the weather closed in, I only managed to get some quick shots of some greylag over-flying.