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 23 October 2010

SRB-Griturn – Precision Engineers

I visited a small Precision Engineering company in Bedfordshire that proves that manufacturing can still take place in the UK. This company formed from two others some seven or so years ago is well-known in the photographic industry for supplying filters, step-up and down rings, and other photographic components. It is less known possibly for the other products it produces, often for other companies.

Even I did not know it produced specialist motor bike parts – it makes products that prevent a bike from flipping over in the case of an accident; if the bike goes down it stays down, which can save the rider from serious injury, whilst also lessening damage to the fairings. I did however know that they produce almost the whole of some high quality bows for the serious archer. They have several products either under development or in small scale production for the new breed of videographer working with movies using the latest crop of digital SLRs from Canon and Nikon.

In the accompanying gallery of images taken during a quick visit to the works, I show the solid block of aluminium from which are manufactured the components of a gearbox in a follow-focus system for Shoot35 Limited, and an intermediate stage of a bow part, and the finished anodised piece.

Not only do they have sophisticated CNC machines and skilled engineers to operate them, but they also have an anodising plant so that components can be finished to a high degree. I am very grateful to Director Terry Fogden for giving me some time to see some of the work he and his team are working on currently. This is a small company that is not standing still in this time of economic difficulty; it is diversifying and by producing a range of quality products and services. Since they are working on something for me, I am hoping that I can continue to capture some of what they do in images and words to show others what a small British company can produce – it is not all gloom and doom!

Friday 22 October 2010

Another Visit to the Reservoirs

Getting up early for a change, because of the confident forecast of a bright and frosty start to the day, gave me the chance to visit both Tringford and Marsworth lakes, and being there early gave me a chance to capture swans both taking off and landing. I also got a couple of shots of a grebe’s successful catch whilst on Marsworth.

Back on Tringford the herons were also taking to the air and one in particular caught my eye as it seemed young and also bright white, not grey like most of the others. There were already two hardy fishermen out on the lake, and Bob, the bailiff was busy tidying and cleaning the frost-encrusted boats. I soon spotted Rob’s line was curved under tension, so watched and waited for him to reel in a trout, he later reckoned it to be around three pounds, and he worked hard for it!

To Bob’s dismay the cormorants were on and around the lake in abundance, and he is likely due for a very sore throat as he bellows like a rutting stag to scare them off, but several landed on the water at the far side from the landing stage despite his displeasure. There a few tern flying leisurely but consistently around a small inlet, so I can only presume there was food around.

Bob rowed me out on the lake for a spell as he inspected the banks and the far end of the lake by the pumping station, and for a while the wind dropped somewhat and the sun began to warm us, but that soon changed as the wind direction veered and got up in strength just as we returned to shore and by that time having just drunk a cold coke I began shivering so I called it a day, and it was only half-past one!

I have split the shots into three galleries: Fisherman Rob’s catch with herons and a grebe, A swan taking off, doing a circuit and landing, and another taking off and flying past.

Woburn Park

This week has seen two surprise visits to my front door; the first was husband and wife, Tim and Audrey who had been builder for us and child minder to both my daughters. They had moved to Lincolnshire several years back, but had now returned to the area, though I knew they had planned to move back, I was unaware that they were already here. We had a great hour of catching up, and I am thrilled they are back among friends. The second surprise was John Bennett, a photographer I have known for at least twenty-five years, but last saw about two years ago.

During the short time he was here he mentioned that the deer in Woburn Park were very visible and it was the rutting season, so as I had already cleared work, I grabbed a hasty lunch and set off for Woburn. I had presumed it would be difficult to catch sight of the deer, but that was far from the truth, they were very much out in the open and close by were some three or four fine stags and countless does, some near, many more in the distance. The sun was shining from a cloudless sky even though it was quite late in the day. I suppose I was there for around an hour and a half, and really grateful to John for letting me know.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Ampthill Park Autumn Visit

Saturday afternoon and although sunny some of the time, it was chilly, but as the evenings are drawing in, it prompted numerous people to head for the slopes and woodland of the park, some with children, some with dogs, some with both, and many just like me, alone.

Despite the numbers, it was a vast open space with a surprising amount of green for the season. I expected far more browns, yellows and golds than I found. I was also surprised by the chestnuts on the ground and in the trees that had not been picked by the public or the squirrels. I did however find some colour and also a strange fungus looking like a golf ball on a tee.

I learnt that Lord Kitchener had called for more training camps, and the Duke of Bedford had obliged and one such encampment was constructed within the park. Now the pursuits within the grounds were far more leisurely, and two memorials give thanks to those who made it possible.

The views from several vantage points are stunning, providing views of the lakes and towers of Marston Moretaine and Stewartby.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

A Sunny Autumn Day

Autumn in England when sunny, cheers the spirit; it is a time when farmers plough their fields in readiness for the next season. The landscape looks far cleaner and tidier somehow for all this effort, and I took the opportunity to capture some of these labours.

Also it may come as a surprise to many, but there can be a lot of colour to be found at this tail end of the year – in gardens and the hedgerows. I set out to capture this and along the way learnt about an unusual occurrence where a lone dear had suffered an identity crisis and thought itself to be a sheep, sadly I learnt this rather late in the day and the deer was lying down, but as you can see, it is entirely at ease amidst the surrounding sheep.

Autumn is generally noted for its golds, but red leaves and shades of reds with hints of green also abound. The difficulty capturing these in the hedgerows is that a breeze coupled with the difficulties finding suitable unmuddy places to shoot from make this rather hit ‘n’ miss, so a good deal of ‘chimping’ and erasing has often to take place; composition is often tricky as the wind blows leaves out of frame at the very moment when the lighting is just right and intervening branches and other leaves have been blown aside.

Taking photographs in the lanes and byways of the rural Home Counties can attract queries from the locals, some of whom are surprised that you find beauty in what they see as mundane, but in this way I often find myself invited to take a look at other attractions and get directed to even more interesting locations. I have learnt a lot in this manner, and had some very fascinating conversations. Had I not been photographing tractors in the field, I would never have learnt about the lone deer by way of example.

The flowers at the end of the gallery were taken after sunset, showing just how versatile the modern digital camera is under low light conditions.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Stockwood Discovery Centre Clears for the Next Season

On my visit to the gardens at Stockwood it was apparent how much work has been put in to clear the beds and tidy the hedges in preparation for the next growing season. Many of the beds were clear of all plants and the hedges were trim and all the lines were clean and clear cut.
Every so often some lone flowers were clinging to life and displaying their last blooms before autumn arrived and gave way to winter. Some of the leaves were now vivid red, others had every shade from green to gold. I found one bush that had become home to a dozen or more ladybirds, with one of our non-native ones flying from one leaf to another frequently, and very adeptly – I was amazed that he could land on the underside of another leaf without a moment’s hesitation.

I also spotted a lone dragonfly at the entrance to the long greenhouse that led to the grapevines. I was lucky to spot a couple of squirrels scampering on the lawns and by the trees. Leaves have always fascinated me, and one tree here had three very different colourways of leaves, but were consistent at a particular branch level. I was surprised to still find Morning Glory in several places within the greenhouses.

As it had rained the previous night several flower heads and leaves had raindrops and this always adds to the charm as does sunlight shining through to reveal the veins and make the leaves glow. Another aspect that appeals are the abstract shapes and repetitions found in nature, so leaves that emanate from a central core or clusters of similar shapes hold an interest, and this can be seen noticeably in this gallery of images.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

An Ampthill Leafy Wall

On my way to my accountant, I find a wall of red leaves that screams out to be photographed.

Images from such a source proves ideal for background images when creating cards; these can be for simple messages of gratitude, or for a wide range of other purposes, so I keep collecting.

There was also a very large spider, a shield bug and some fascinating seed structures. Leaves hold an enduring fascination for me, and the challenge is to capture the curves, the texture, the detail and the colour in pleasing compositions – the leaves may die, but their images remain for so much longer than the moment.

Monday 4 October 2010

Later the Same Day…

Satisfied with my forensic diagnostics around dawn, I then made my way south from mid-Bedfordshire down towards the reservoirs at Tringford, Startops End, Marsworth and Wilstone to see what I could find. I believe the bird whose picture is the first in the gallery to be a partridge, this was taken near Beckerings Farm, Steppingley.

I spotted that on two reservoirs the Grebes were fishing successfully and then taxiing along in a great flap before swallowing their breakfast fish. I also spotted a seagull which had been equally successful, but it was far more laid-back over the event. The cormorants were out about in the air singly and in pairs, and the greylag geese were in abundance both in the air and in the water. Other birds spotted were a lone pied wagtail I think and possibly a chat in the trees, and I just caught a mass taxiing of coots making an amazing racket. Lastly I was barked at vehemently by a black dog called ‘Banjo’ who I think took exception to my long lens but later wanted to lick me to death! His owners were charming and we chatted for some time before rain stopped play.

Saturday Forensics – or why I should geo-tag!

About two years ago, I took what to me was an interesting landscape from within some woods looking out on a valley with an open sort of gateway displaying what was described as ‘Conservation Walks’ on the right hand post.

For the life of me, I could not remember exactly how I arrived at the spot – all I knew was it was a long walk along a potholed muddy track, then a long uphill trudge through woodland. Metadata came to my rescue – I had a few other photos taken a time earlier, for which I had capture times and which were of locations I recognised. The discrepancy was around a quarter of an hour, and I knew that on the day I took the shot I had been quite lucky that it had not rained for some time, so I was able to drive deep into the woods.

I spent a long time poring over the grainy image of a map in the picture and trying to match it to Google Earth, and finally I was fairly sure I had a good clue as to where I needed to go and so I was up before dawn to see whether I could find the starting point – the unmade road.

Half an hour into my journey and I set off from my last known location of the preceding image, and driving along a road for which I had some recollection. I came to an offset crossroads, but turned right; this did not feel right so I turned around, this time taking a right turn; a dogleg left and right from my original direction, this seemed more likely and, when a turning appeared on my right that led uphill towards the treeline, I took it. After a further half-mile with trees either side I recognised the track! I was now within a mile of my destination. However, the rain of the last few days had filled the potholes and after about half a mile, I realised that there was nowhere to leave the car without blocking the single lane track, and the puddles were extremely deep and increasingly slippery. Were I to be stranded here, the chances of telephoning and rescue were slim, so I started the long reverse to where I could finally turn and go back. I now knew the location which is what mattered most! I will return.

I must get hold of GPS data for landscape and wildlife images!