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 27 November 2010

East Common, Harpenden Roadside Leaves

With sunshine slanting low through the trees, the frost was barely melting on the leaves beside the road, and this enhances the texture and shapes. I swapped lenses from the 300mm I had been using to capture the crane to the 100mm macro and walked slowly along the kerb looking for alignments of leaves and groupings, and how the light fell when it did to capture some of the beauty that was at my feet.

During the minutes I was there, several people passed either walking or cycling or driving past, some spoke to say good day and one woman asked what I found to photograph, she was surprised when I showed her some of the images on the back of the camera, and remarked how beautiful some were when seen close-up. She told me she would now be taking out her camera in future when out walking.

As I left the area to return to Caddington I drove past a cottage in bright sunshine and with its white fence strongly lit, and just had to capture its charm, so parked at the side of the lane for just long enough to walk back and take a shot with the 24-105mm lens on my other camera body.

Sunny Views of Tower Crane, Harpenden

After the first snow of this winter season just the day before, the sun shone out of a crisp blue sky, so despite the cold breeze I set off for Harpenden Common to capture shots of the tower crane hard at work at the far end of the town, glistening bright white against the rich blue, in the foreground gulls and crows would occasionally swoop into view.

The challenge was to have a foreground that showed the viewpoint, but did not dominate the scene. I needed a high enough shutter speed to ensure the crane and birds were reasonably sharp, but the depth of field was narrow enough that the cars were none too sharp, so you were drawn to the crane in the background, at work in the Jarvis and Toureen Mangan development at the north end of the high street.

Having captured the shots from the common, I then took a few more from the far side of the high street at the entrance to the site to accentuate the rich blue sky beyond, and the stark white of the buildings to the front.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Harpenden Site Visit - Shuttering for Ground Floor

On the vague suggestion the sun might come out, I took a chance to visit the Jarvis Development, as the Project Manager had said they were preparing the shuttering for the later pouring of concrete for the first floor.

Sean Mooney was on a break when I arrived, but I met up with him in Esporitos, and he very kindly bought me a cup of tea and we discussed the stage he had reached. He was far less optimistic over sunshine and he was proved right, but I went ahead to capture this stage as this would soon be passed, and once the concrete was in place what is below would be lost.

I covered the whole site on this visit, from every conceivable angle, I think on future visits I will need to go part way up the tower to capture meaningful angles.

Ashridge – Late Autumn Colour

There is still to be found new growth amidst all the yellow and gold of the passing season’s leaves, and I chose to brave the cold wind and mist to capture some of it in a drive from Pitstone Hill to Ashridge Forest.

I also spent some quiet time watching a bird feeder from as close as I could get with the only lens I had at the time, without stopping them from feeding, I managed to just about capture them at a high ISO, and enlarging and lightening them afterwards!

I had set off from Pitstone Hill to Aldbury then into Ashridge Forest where I stood rooted to the spot close to the holly bush as the light became poorer and I got colder, but my stillness won the birds over and they flew in to feed, mainly blue tits but also a nuthatch, the holly leaves and berries in the background gave a seasonal feel.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Afternoon at College Lake

After a long and enjoyable day with Catherine, Lizzy and Tim, I got up somewhat later the following day than usual and despite how late in the season it was, I decided I would pay a visit to College lake, near Bulbourne.

Another change I made was to walk round to the left and go clockwise around. This way round there are numerous hides and several spots offering high viewpoints of the lake, and I took advantage of the second gap I came across. I witnessed the rescue by a male duck who prevented another male from drowning a female, and several not dissimilar situations where gulls seemed to fight over coots  that another was shadowing. The latter situation seemed as if it might be that the coots were more efficient and more accomplished fishers; I think the gulls were either there to steal from the coot, or fish  where the coot was successful.

I also noted that when the cormorant was landing or taking off, it was quite cavalier in its attitude towards the smaller birds that might be in its path, an attitude that seemed to be shared by the gulls. The most serene of the birds were the pochard and swans.

I never expected to be seeing the profusion of birds on the lake so late in the season, and bathed in such warm sunshine. Despite the recent high winds and rain there still a lot of leaves on some of the trees, though sometimes even more on the ground in numerous varied colours, with occasionally a carpet of silver leaves. As the sun sank lower, casting ever longer shadows the golden rays picked out some of the hides or individual bushes or trees, whilst as the sun set a flock of ducks swirled high above the lake, and as I was leaving the low sun drew shadows on the side of a white van.

College lake,teasels, cormorant,gulls, coots,pochard,swans,ducks

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Invited Back!

A day after the visit to the new development site in Harpenden, I got a call from the Toureen Project Manager asking would I like to return – another one of those .009 nanosecond hesitation moments before accepting! I gathered the weather was closing in the next day, and as I was all prepared I asked whether I could come over shortly.

This time though the viewpoint was higher, the light was lower, so the shots were less exciting, but they were meaningful as they provided an overview and told me more about what I had shot from outside the day previously. I now understood more of what had been happening at the far side of the site, which had been unclear from my previous viewpoint. These shots completed the story of the previous day. I got to meet two more of the men on site; Bob the Crane Operator and Sean Mooney, Toureen Mangan’s Site Manager, and James Blackie, the Jarvis Site Manager, very kindly took the shot of me part way up the tower crane.

It looks like I’ll be back to tell more of the story of this development. So thanks to all who made this possible.

Monday 15 November 2010

A Tower Crane Comes to Harpenden

Jarvis are working on a fair-sized site just behind the High Street at the north end of the town.

It is as you enter from Luton that you first glimpse the crane towering above the trees, but it is hard to grasp why it is necessary for such a tall crane. As you come closer the reason becomes apparent, the site is long and thin and to deliver concrete to where it is needed and avoid the concrete mixers from unnecessarily interfering with local traffic these mixer vehicles approach down a tiny alleyway to the edge of the site then feed a hopper which is then hoisted and swung to where it is needed. A lower crane cannot move in these confined spaces, but a taller one can because the angle of the arm is so steep.

The hopper has an elephant’s trunk to pour the concrete where it is needed, and an ingenious tilting skid allowing it to be filled directly in manageable doses directly from the mixer lorry. The mixer is therefore present for the entire time it takes for the hopper to be filled and emptied until the nixer’s entire content is exhausted, so it is a three-man operation: the driver, a signaller to let him know when to pour and when to stop whilst the third man folds the trunk and tips the hopper and swivels the chute. To minimise the amount of concrete spilt on site, there is a skip at the side to deal with the dregs after each delivery to the hopper.

I have tried to capture the elements of the process and to convey just how tall this crane is and what a splendid piece of kit it is with its smart cab, all its cables and counterbalances, and how the operator has a bird’s eye view of both ends of the hopper’s travel from mixer to where it is being poured over the mesh of steel reinforcing cages. It is a non-stop process, except for when the mixer has to drive out when its load is finally exhausted, and another has to take its place.

Work – I could stay and watch it all day! Well, photograph it!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

London Luton Airport Breakfast Network

Getting up in darkness when you have only had about three and a half hours sleep, is not to be recommended, but meeting people on as many occasions as is possible is an absolute essential for a Sole Trader, so get up I did, and I very nearly even had a full breakfast, but I reminded myself this was a Breakfast briefing!

I surprised myself by managing to make it leaving on time and thus arriving at Putteridge Bury about a quarter of an hour early. It was not long before the room began to fill, and I was meeting and chatting to a trophy manufacturer who was helping to set up a new database for the company he had newly joined. Then I got into conversation with someone offering Energy management and conservation services, followed by a security expert who was ex-Metropolitan Police, a Corporate Liability consultant, a Finance Officer and Marketing Manager for the Airport. Across the table was a representative of the local hospice Charity Fund Raiser – altogether a very varied collection of local business people there to listen to the speakers and link up with potentially useful partners in the future.

The talks themselves were largely to discuss how to look at ways to reduce one’s environmental impact, avoid waste and consider the finite nature of our resources and nurture them illustrated by the savings that could be made by monitoring our activities and our energy and material consumption. There was a large and receptive audience but with the entirely normal reluctance to enter into a dialogue with the speaker.

Once the speeches were over there was a further opportunity to move around and continue conversation, and I took this opportunity to grab some of the more intimate groups of people engaged in animated discussions either standing or still at the tables. A measure of my efforts in networking was that I ran out of business cards, now, whether anything comes out of this will be the true measure of any success.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

DNA Informal Gathering at the Secret Garden Café

Several members of the Design Network Association met for an informal gathering in St. Albans, close to the Cathedral. This was the first for quite a while.

When Peter Carr and I arrived somewhat late, it looked more like everyone had become impatient waiting for us and was having supper instead. It was very laid back, so we greeted the others and then repaired to the next room to obtain something to eat and drink ourselves. A short spell was spent chatting before Mike Benjamin then introduced each of us going around the room, so we all had an update as to what areas of expertise each covered, then he updated us as to future plans and we discussed how we might try to improve our links with the University of Hertfordshire at Hatfield, and later discussions revolved around Mike offering to help other members get up to speed in the use of Freeway to build websites.

The outcome of the latter was that Mike said he was willing to arrange this at a later date, and the former would be discussed with a lady at the University. Later still Mike ran through some websites he had created using Freeway, and also showed an amusing parody of Master Chef on YouTube, and Tracy showed us a short video his son had made for a Lego competition which was well received by all present. Printer Richard Cockerill gave us all some calendars.

Even later five of us refreshed ourselves at the Peahen further into the town, before setting off for home. Somehow I hope I can get some sleep before a Networking breakfast that starts in Putteridge Bury at six-thirty in the morning – it is now coming up to 2am! So, Good night, or Good morning!

Monday 8 November 2010

Charlie Milligan – 60th Bash

I first knew Charlie when I was at a London Colour Lab, which was well before I set up on my own as SOLUTIONS photographic, and I was honoured and delighted to be invited to join him for his party amongst his family and friends on Saturday.

Arriving early I decided that I would learn something of the area around his daughter’s flat in Leinster Square, so started taking shots at 3200 and eventually 5000 and 6400 ISO, in what I refer to as unavailable light photography! Using flash in such circumstances loses the ambiance. However no one says it is easy; I was still having to shoot full aperture at 1/30th or less! I do not have the steadiest of hands, but I assured Charlie I would not be using flash and later when at the party, we were outside and I took fewer shots simply because the light was even lower than my threshold!

I spotted the new city bikes and learned from one user that he was finding it more convenient than taking his own bike into the centre, but had so far been very lucky always finding a docking station space at the end of his journey. I learned something of the local history from a plaque on the fence in deep shadow, and admired the architecture of a nearby church and spotted the cosmopolitan nature of the area served by restaurants and shops.

I managed to wrongly note the number of the door, but fortunately my mobile served as a remote doorbell by my ringing Charlie! He introduced me to members of his family, and I learned that he and one of his friends and I had all studied at the London College of Printing at the same time, though never met at the time!

The highlights of the evening were the opening of some presents, the fireworks, the launching of magic lanterns, and the moving speeches by Charlie’s children. The stalwart work put in by Gee should not go unreported, she did all the cooking and preparation then followed it up by doing all the washing up at the end. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and very memorable evening for which I feel privileged to have been invited.

Monday 1 November 2010

Marsworth then Ashridge

I am basically not an early bird, but when I hear a really positive forecast of a bright start, I am prepared to take a risk and get up before dawn. This makes for a long day, but does not give any guarantees.

I headed first for Marsworth Reservoir and put the 7D with 300mm onto a tripod with the Induro gimbal head and lugged this all the way to the far side reedbeds, alongside the Grand Union Canal and set myself up to wait and watch, there was a great variety of birdlife, some of it very fast, small and close, and due to the large area of reeds, a lot of activity was a good distance away, but this environment was very different from nearby Tringford. This meant the herons were landing and taking off from water as opposed to dead trees, so they looked very different.

As the sun rose the full range of Autumn colours appeared. I stayed patiently in the one spot for a couple of hours, happy with a few new and colourful images, then set off back past Bulbourne Lock, and College Lake, and just before reaching Pitstone Windmill turned off right along a road I had never travelled before. What a revelation! The rolling countryside that presented itself was magnificent, and I soon learned that this gem was far from unknown. I was in Ashridge, an area of outstanding beauty and variety. There was even a car park, close to Pitstone Hill, and this turns out to be the Ridgeway and is jumping-off point for a number of circular walks or trails.

One classic farm amidst this setting was Down Farm and atop a nearby Pitstone Hill the views on such a day were breathtaking, seeing a church spire amidst all that autumn foliage, and a hot air balloon over Mentmore Towers, and all those people enjoying the warm sunshine was a delight. When I took to the road again, I found myself in Aldbury.