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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Monday 31 January 2011

Toureen Mangan, Harpenden 31st January Visit

After a frosty night, Harpenden was blessed with sunshine, and when I arrived on site after just a week, it was up another level, and work was being carried out in all four corners. Aluminium staircases replaced ladders in several areas.

Shortly another level of concrete will be poured, the shuttering was under construction and the reinforcing would soon be down. By the entrance a JCB was filling a truck with spoil, and in the basement area, much of the ground area was now covered in concrete. The far end of the site was a vast open storage area.

Friday 28 January 2011

Stockwood Discovery Centre –1st 2011 Visit

Despite a vicious windchill, and a very reluctant sun, I thought a visit to the Discovery Centre before the growing season began would establish how well the staff had prepared the gardens after all the recent poor weather. Without sunshine it was difficult to show much beauty, but after walking around the entire garden without even opening the camera case, I was suddenly tempted by a few tentative breaks in the cloud cover, and a glimpse of how transforming sunlight could be. Immediately I dug out the camera, and just as soon as the sun had appeared it once again hid. It was more than five minutes before I was to capture that first shot, and even though I was getting ever colder, I waited and caught what I had been so tantalised by before.

I then managed to bag a few more shots before the sun hid once again behind a great bank of cloud, but I had seen where it had played and I waited by two small statues for its return, I also caught a very quick sighting of a squirrel, and then spent the rest of the time taking a record of some of the first signs of new growth or remnants from last season that caught my eye. By the end of my short visit I was not too disappointed with what I found.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Luton Hoo Walled Garden January

January is nearing its end, and so I paid a visit to Luton Hoo’s Walled Garden for the first time in 2011. England’s recent weather has done it no favours, but it was still very obvious that both employed and voluntary workers had cleared the detritus of the past season readying the garden for next year’s growth. Taking photos within the walled garden in the gloom and fine drizzle would not have shown the efforts, but simply filled a viewer with sadness.

As I walked around beyond the wall towards the Boiler House and beyond, I could hear animated conversation. As I came to the former Mushroom House I met the team who over at least the last two years had restored the Apple Cart. I learnt that the next projects were to continue work on the dragsaw, and start on a small handcart. I was shown some of the parts, and the start being made, but there was nothing beyond a series of early faded photos that showed how it had once looked during its former working life.

In the smaller room next door a parcel from America was being slowly unpacked to reveal some goodies rescued from a ‘Bone Yard’ – what we English would describe as a ‘Scrap Yard’! However the contents revealed a delightful cornucopia of parts that could bring the dragsaw back to energetic life. I heard it described as a Christmas present! They would still require work, and in some cases could only become patterns for newly machined components such as the crankshaft, but all were very welcome.

Meanwhile in the small courtyard, work was proceeding trying to lift a large grating, which did seem to be resisting all efforts to being opened. Soon two of the volunteers were turning their attention to some of the smaller connected grilles and then one of them set to removing some of the gloop in order to rod the pipes to clear them; this task was still ongoing by the time I came to leave, so I do not know the final outcome. What I do know is that it was hard and dirty work that was being done with enthusiasm.

Monday 24 January 2011

City Basements – a Toureen Mangan Company – The Bishops Avenue Project

Recently City Basements have been invited to a prestige construction project in the blue-chip residential area of the Bishops Avenue in the Borough of Barnet, North London. True to City Basement’s ethos of being able to out groundwork efficiently in restricted spaces, all the work takes place in the former back garden of number 34, a stylish green-tiled house vacated during construction. It must have one of the most elegant Site Offices anywhere, as can be seen by the heading’s photo – it is on the first floor of this charming Summer house!

But Martin Ferriter, the Site Manager, has little time to consider the elegance of his office, he has the far more pressing task; the logistics of keeping the work on time and on budget.

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to visit the site briefly on a dull afternoon a week ago to take this handful of shots from the perimeter of the site.
www.toureenmangan.co.uk www.citybasements.co.uk

Sunday 23 January 2011

Holy Trinity Penn Street host Aylesbury Concert Band

Holy Trinity church was filled with warm welcoming conversation as I entered, and although Lizzy my daughter had suggested I might therefore find a seat at the back, one look around suggested quite the opposite, and I was lucky that the front row had not been taken.

It meant I was close, but it also restricted my viewpoints, and I had to take care not to be a distraction. It was a full and varied programme and I found the acoustics bright and clear, and it was not difficult to find my feet tapping. I particularly enjoyed ‘Stevenson’s Rocket’ and one of the Irish folk tunes that reminded me of the ‘Sailor’s Hornpipe’.

I very much liked the internal architecture, but it was not till the interval that I was stunned by the vast painting that dominated the entire back wall of the church. Tea, coffee and homemade cakes were provided in that interval, and somehow the second half seemed to finish almost as soon as it began, but I am certain all the audience enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Harpenden Sunshine Site Visit

There has been a longer time between the last visit and better weather has meant noticeable changes with far more of the raw materials cluttering the small site. It has lots of small working areas than was the case when creating the large slab – this detail work is most apparent in what will be the basement car park where the workers are under cover and the lighting levels caused me to shoot at ISO 4000 where above ground, out in the open where when the sun was shining I was as low as ISO 100. However, with modern cameras and the latest software I was still able to take handheld shots that are not seriously degraded by noise.

Talking of modern technology, the laser leveller was in frequent use to ensure that the concrete-laying was to fine tolerances for good final drainage.

Something I also noted was how at the start of the day the men had thick outer high-visibility jackets, but with the sunshine and hard work the men were breaking sweat and soon abandoning these heavy garments to reveal their smaller and lighter tabards, and these notable splashes of bright green were adding further protection from sharp reinforcing iron or tops of scaffold poles, as these made useful coat hangers! Ironically shedding them here rather than going down to put them inside a Portakabin probably also kept up workflow productivity!
I did try to ensure they did not feature too strongly in my images though. Another aspect that I also bore in mind was to try to avoid too many examples where the Toureen Mangan logo or names were upside down.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Marlow in everchanging afternoon light

After several days of rain and gloom, to find myself in Marlow and not too cold, and with the breeze blowing clouds into and away from the sun was a welcome change. When I was in the right place and the sun played on only part of a scene, it was a real treat; darker clouds added to the drama occasionally.

To do justice to what I saw did need some aftercare in Lightroom, as sometimes the light changed so fast, and the range was so great, some times the change was so swift, I had to wait several minutes to repeat a failed shot.

Overall, for the short time I was there, I felt I had captured some of Marlow’s charms.

Friday 14 January 2011

Tringford Pumping Station Equipment

Arriving at Tringford Pumping Station in dismal drizzle is far from disappointing for two reasons; that I shall be working inside being one, but for a few of the shots, I do not have to fight with the sun’s high contrast to get some of the shots.

I met up with Ricky Tyler, the engineer responsible for controlling the routing of the water to and from the reservoirs under his control. I was amazed at just how complex the decisions he has to make were, when faced with the various needs of different parts of the canal. In summer these needs are driven by the popularity for one portion of the canal over another and how many times the lock gates are used. In winter, it might be which gates required maintenance, or which reservoirs needed more or less water, yet keep disruption to a minimum. This pumping station is the link to the four Tring Reservoirs: Wilstone, Tringford, Startopsend, and Marsworth (Click 'Tring Reservoirs' in the line above, for zoomable Map). None of these provide drinking water, they are devoted entirely to support the preservation of water supply to the summit of the Grand Union Canal.

The machinery is not in its first flush of youth, so needs constantly watching and given attention. The financial situation for British Waterways brings added pressure, putting financial constraints on what can be repaired or replaced as well as increasing the overall workload on the diminishing workforce. I found it sad to see the overall dilapidation of the premises which is both a grade listed building and a vital workhorse in the maintenance of the Grand Union Canal.

I wanted very much to see these pumps and learn something of their roles, and record as much in the short time available. What is very obvious is just how much change has been wrought to the building during its lifetime. At one time it had a full extra storey; this was in the time of the steam-driven beam-engine. That was replaced by diesel-power, prior to the current electric pumps. An electrician visiting today would have to be coming towards retirement to recognise the power supply controls!

I hope that the photographs I have taken give some idea of what lies beyond the closed doors of this fascinating building, but more than that I hope it can see a new lease of life – it needs a heart transplant to maintain circulation in the canals it supplies.

Monday 10 January 2011

Ampthill – The Firs, Frost and Footballers

Having got up early to get my haircut, I did not want to waste that extra time, especially as the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, after several days of grey gloom – I therefore texted Andy Fox to see whether he was interested in joining me to go out for a morning’s photography.

He soon phoned me back to say yes, so after sorting a few remnants from Saturday’s work, I gathered a few cameras and lenses and drove to meet him at Clophill and we both transferred to his car and he drove me to Ampthill, and we set off to walk through The Firs, with Andy giving me a running History commentary – if there is a gap in his local knowledge, I think only the local historian could fill it!

Andy has a photographic project needing a sport-related image, so we both stood behind the goal to capture something of the two teams playing, before moving deeper into the woods and up the hill to the renowned wild heather. There were a great number of dog walkers, bike riders and walkers out in the crisp morning air. The strong low sun meant that the silver birch fairly gleamed against clear rich blue of the sky, and the frosty leaves were now slowly melting to droplets of water. We walked beyond the heather to a gate that led to the War Memorial and the Almeda, a tree-lined avenue of Lime trees that had been newly shaved. We stopped by the memorial and both captured a few close-ups of the crosses and wreaths thereon. Returning eventually to the Ampthill road with its thatched cottages and tiles eyebrows above a window of a lodge-like building, and Andy’s car, we then drove further for Andy to show me the ruin of Houghton House .

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Sun Greets the Workers Return to Harpenden Site

After the snow, frost and Christmas, work resumes pouring concrete in sunshine for most of the morning. The site was alive with everyone working hard to make up for lost time. Toureen’s site office cabin had been transferred over to the slab, re-inforcing steel rods were being bound together, shuttering being prepared, concrete being poured, levelled and smoothed; the levels being assessed from the concrete already laid using a Laser Leveller.

After one area had been smoothed, the compressor and water spray were lifted by crane to a new location, to keep the concrete watered whilst being levelled and smoothed. I am sure the sunshine helped to keep spirits up, but certainly back in Caddington by the afternoon the rain had arrived.