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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Wednesday 30 March 2011

Toureen near end of 1st stage of Jarvis Groundworks

Toureen Mangan are nearing completion of the first stage of groundworks for Jarvis at their Foresters Development in Harpenden. They will return later to do finishing work such as the paving. Blockwork is rising all over the site, as is the brickwork.

The work at the front of the site was largely level at the time of my last visit, now the blockwork is head height. At the back and sides of the main area the brickwork is above waist height in many areas, so staging is rising so that this can continue to the next level.

The weather was cooler, and there was no sunshine, but at least the drizzle held off till I had finished shooting.

Friday 25 March 2011

Signs of Spring at Last

If work is not flooding in then I hope for good weather. Thursday offered me generally misty sunshine, so I headed for the Grand Union Canal close to Ledburn, hoping to find images that showed Spring was here.

Along the way, I spotted interesting chimneys, extreme rustic dilapidation, an interestingly sited church, a happy white pony, several locks and bridges over the canal, one village had an absolute mass of varied coloured daffodils which provided a beautiful set of images of the charming doorway to a cottage named Cottesloe.

The weeping willow that overhung the canal and the white walled canalside cottage was beautiful in the spring sunshine, and another bridge provided interesting shapes and colour. The towpath was being used by fishermen, cyclists, dog walkers and lone walkers. In Wingrave, there was a charming piece of topiary over a house entrance, and on the way towards Mentmore, the rolling fields were being ploughed by a tracked tractor in the distance.

Altogether, a reasonably productive afternoon.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Foresters Development by Jarvis & Toureen Mangan

Once again, the sun shone, and large fair weather clouds scudded over the Jarvis Foresters Development in Harpenden with fewer Toureen Mangan ground workers than a fortnight ago.
The site is now mainly in the hands of the bricklayers as much of the blockwork at the base has been completed, but because it is spread throughout the site, it does not show a vast jump in height. The other activity I have covered is the preparation of more scaffolding to allow the bricklayers to work higher.

Another aspect is that the drainage needs that require deep digging is being done now to avoid this dirty work being done much later in the build, when more tradesmen are on site, and would then be more disruptive.

The large cluster of plastic mouldings stored in the basement are a new form of construction for installation in the large deep holes being created currently. They are constructed  to ensure the ground does not collapse from the weight of soil above. Once they go in, they will be encased in a membrane, so they can act as a sump.

The crane has been used in many different roles over the time I have been visiting this site; today it was being used to lift palettes from close to the site entrance to different areas across the site.

Thursday 17 March 2011

St. Patrick's Day at Foresters

Milky sunshine greeted me as I arrived, and the site was noticeably quieter. Work was progressing in different corners of the site today. To the right of the entrance drainage piping was going in. Around the far right, a digger was hard at work, with one man on a power hammer attacking some concrete alongside. Along the back, bricks were being laid by a team, and above scaffolding was being put in place.

Out at front the forklift truck was collecting palettes of bricks from the store beneath ground in the basement. Staircases that had been at the ironwork stage last visit were now in use in place of ladders. Today’s visit was over quite quickly which was convenient, as I wanted to be ready to visit the Art Exhibition Preview up at Luton Hoo in the evening.

Seasons in the Garden Exhibition Preview

It was a pleasure to be invited to the Preview evening at the Conservatory within the Luton Hoo Walled Garden, and I did wonder just how many or more probably how few I might meet whom I might know.

I strolled along methodically past the displays to see which of the works stood out, and as before, during the setting up that I had witnessed the day previously the first pair of pictures that caught my eye were a couple of small square oils by Anthony S. Jones, entitled the Old Fence and the Old Shed Window, and I vowed I would return to these later.

As I continued, I came across paintings that resonated with images of my own photos, the two that had this effect on me were A Blaze of Maples from Ronald Salveson which reminded me of an image I had taken one autumn late afternoon in the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge. The other was a monoprint by Teresa Kirkpatrick: Acer Leaves II reminding me of the one autumn three seasons back when my own tree was ablaze with colour.

I suppose I should also add Professor B.A. Cooke’s Last of the Autumn leaves, except that though I have witnessed just such an image, my attempts to capture what I saw did not live up to my expectations or to the professor’s photograph. He succeeded where I consummately failed! Lucy Phillips’ Silk Tasselbrush reflected an image I found when photographing earlier this week in the Stockwood Discovery Centre, Lucy’s watercolour was beautiful, a study in simplicity. Whilst at this end of the marquee, I spotted Steve Parkes, whom I had met and photographed at an Arts Day in the Walled Garden last Summer.

Eleanor Griffin’s Ladypond in oils was very striking and I did not know it then, but I had already seen the artist when I met Gurmeet of Artscape with her and overheard her being introduced as ‘Eleanor’, it was much later in the evening that I met up with her again standing by her work and chatting again with Gurmeet. His is a face almost totally hidden by a profuse white beard through which shines a pair of twinkling smile-wrinkled eyes – once seen never forgotten, a face I think I should photograph sometime!

Other pictures that caught my eye were a watercolour by Peter Robinson – Early Morning Light, and Winter Landscape which to my eye was reminiscent of Roland Hilder, but lacking his skies, a pastel by Jennie Daniels, but somehow I managed to fail to note the title, and finally an amusing watercolour by Barbara Kiff, entitled Wellies Next Time, Girls!

I did do a further trip past the displays, looking deeper and also, it was when I jotted a few notes. I was spotted by Sue Turner from the Estates Office, and we had a quick chat, and just before leaving I spoke to two people I had met during the setting up the evening before: Sandra Wall Armitage and Hannah Brimblecombe. Altogether a very enjoyable evening.

I wish the exhibition every success, and there is such a variety of styles, it should have a wide appeal, I have simply drawn attention to the pictures that moved me; that I have mentioned such a few was not meant as any criticism of the quality of the exhibits.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Hardworking Volunteers at Luton Hoo

Volunteers at Luton Hoo's Walled Garden Project do not shy away from either hard or dirty work, and it is true regardless of sex or age. The stalwarts I came across this afternoon before taking photos in the warmth of the Conservatory Marquee, were in the case of two ladies – barely above ground as they were in the void outside the front of the Boiler room that gave onto the windows from the cellar, digging out the accumulated soil of decades and filling several loads for the wheelbarrow.

Round at the rear at the bottom of the stone steps to the boiler room itself one man was on his knees and the other standing, as they tried to unblock the drain sump of greasy sludge, once again, hardly an enjoyable task.

I did pay a visit to the restorers of the handcart, but they were tackling a different task – that of repairing the projector stand for the upcoming Art Exhibition, so the hand cart was put on the back burner!

The 2nd Open Art Exhibition at Luton Hoo

Preparations are well under way for this year’s Open Art Exhibition being held in the The Conservatory, a semi-permanent Marquee within the Walled Garden at Luton Hoo. The exhibition opens on the 18th March, and continues till 20th. Full details can be found at: http://www.lhwg.org.uk
I went along to the gardens and to the former Mushroom House, but there was less activity in these areas than normal, partly due to my somewhat late arrival, and also the weather was far from conducive. Work upon the Boiler-House drains was being undertaken by two keen lady volunteers at the front, where the grilles above what I soon realised were windows from the cellar, were being cleared of several wheelbarrow loads of soil and stones! At the rear two men were at work trying to clear a sump at the bottom of the stairs, of several years’ worth of oily sludge.
Out in the gardens a lone female was later to be seen tilling the soil with a hoe.

In the marquee were numerous people hanging paintings, assembling the bar area, up ladders attending to the spotlighting, whilst around the schools exhibits children, their parents and teachers were putting the finishing touches to their chefs d’oeuvres. I have tried to capture the overall picture of the displays and some of those beavering away to make the show a success.

I look forward to taking a closer look in the evening at the Preview to which I have been invited.

Monday 14 March 2011

Stockwood Discovery Centre – Signs of the New Season

Although I had decided to visit the Discovery Centre because I had cleared my desk, I did not have high hopes of capturing much but after a short walk around I was pleasantly surprised by small pockets of colour and life. In parts I was amazed to find a plethora of ladybirds, in another an abundance of bees, and a lone comma butterfly.

Naturally since the daffodils had appeared on the green at Caddington, I expected to see a profusion of yellow, but a surprising number were yet to open, most of the flowers were of the smaller varieties, such as pansies. I met up with two of the gardeners, Jan and Sue, and both were very helpful in pointing out areas of interest, and taking me to areas not open to the general public, so I feel very honoured, and grateful.

The sun was out, having little effect on the temperature due to the chilly wind, but casting interesting shadows, and helping leaves to glow when I was shooting against the light. I came away with a warm glow from the satisfaction of capturing some worthwhile images and from the welcome I received. When I first arrived there were few visitors, but when I left, the central area was awash with children, their parents and guardians, all making the most of the play areas and the sunshine. Maybe Spring is just around the corner.

Friday 11 March 2011

Windy and Cold Marsworth

There was a constant chorus of birdsong in the wooded entrance path to Marsworth reservoir, but all the birds were hidden amongst the bare branches, so to tempt them out into the dappled sunshine I spread liberal amounts of birdseed on the tops of the fence posts that lined the path, but only on those in sunlight.  I then put a small groundsheet on the damp earth and sat and waited.

They were in no hurry to oblige, but I was sure they would come to accept my presence if I kept still and when I moved, did so slowly. I had surmised correctly, and soon I had shots of  robins, blue tits, great tits and chaffinches. Fishermen and dog walkers began to arrive and they were disturbed too often, so I got up and walked along further till I spotted a dry path that led to the water’s edge of Startops End reservoir, so I strolled along the stream that came between them, and all I found were a pair of grebe just visible between the branches at the foreshore, so I came back and found another spot by the hide to see a pied wagtail and more robins.

I continued from there along the Grand Union Canal, and watched a narrowboat through Lock 42, then back for a spell at Marsworth. The sun had by now disappeared and the wind had got up, but I did get some shots of the reeds before the sun went. There seemed to be only one pair of pochards left, but numerous black headed gulls and mallard pairs.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Jarvis and Toureen Mangan Harpenden – Bricks & Blocks

The Foresters Development must have many righteous working on site, since despite the forecast for drizzle and clouds, the sun was out quite often for my visit today.

The most obvious work to be seen on site this visit was brickwork and blockwork, the slabs appear to be complete, but iron reinforcing for staircases are still being prepared, and many of the drain services are to be seen sprouting from beneath areas of concrete, or close to concrete sumps.

It was interesting to capture artistic drips of concrete, the repetitive pattern formed from black plastic drain pipes, and the initials of the Groundworks company from items of building material hardware, spotted whilst moving around the site covering the ongoing work.

Jarvis and Toureen Mangan Harpenden – Bricks & Blocks

The Foresters Development must have many righteous working on site, since despite the forecast for drizzle and clouds, the sun was out quite often for my visit today.

The most obvious work to be seen on site this visit was brickwork and blockwork, the slabs appear to be complete, but iron reinforcing for staircases are still being prepared, and many of the drain services are to be seen sprouting from beneath areas of concrete, or close to concrete sumps.

It was interesting to capture artistic drips of concrete, the repetitive pattern formed from black plastic drain pipes, and the initials of the Groundworks company from items of building material hardware, spotted whilst moving around the site covering the ongoing work.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Wilstone Late Afternoon Colour

After a disappointing morning, I felt disinclined to return without trying to capture something more meaningful, so went to Wilstone Reservoir, the largest of the trio of Tring reservoirs, it was as deserted as had been the canal, with just one pike fisherman on the promontory. Since the sun looked as if it would set in a sky bereft of clouds I decided I would stay down here till sunset.

The shots I managed to capture here at least meant my time was not totally wasted. I will now have several images that capture texture, and others that will make ideal cards that espouse peace and serenity. However, I do not find such serenity relaxing, I seek action, I enjoy capturing people at work and play, I enjoy seeing the fruits of people's labour progressing towards completion.

Buckland Puddle and the Grand Union Canal

Monday morning and promise of clear skies and sunshine. I set off for Buckland and the Grand Union Canal after checking all my emails and diverting calls to my mobile. The destination was a small pond just off the canal that I gather is known as Buckland Puddle. It is a fair trek alongside the canal, from the nearest I can park the car, when carrying a tripod, small seat and a full camera bag, but I need the exercise.

I hoped that I would stand a chance to capture some of the birdlife, but considering how remote the spot, I was amazed at just how silent it was; nary a whisper of birdsong, and I stayed quite a while with only one brief visit from a couple checking out the pond. Birds overflew but only very occasionally. I took a series of shots to show the scene, a few reference shots of the camera and gimbal head, and little else. I did notice that several fishermen had lost their floats, high in hawthorn branches. After several fruitless hours of waiting, I resigned myself to the failure and waste of time, and just took a few shots of the bridge over the canal and the locks beyond. Just over the bridge is evidence of an old water meadow.

I packed my gear and took myself off to Wilstone Reservoir, hoping for something better over there. The clear skies remained, which was at least some consolation.

Focus on Imaging 2011

I have been going to Focus at the NEC near Birmingham for the last several years, as purely a visitor for the last two. I arrived well before the ten o'clock opening and was amazed at the long queues, the pre-registered queue being the longest probably due to the burgeoning growth of online-literacy.

Talking to several exhibitors, there was more than simply interest, the attendees were reaching for their plastic and cash. On a stand from a Chinese company, I was somewhat surprised at their lack of preparedness, they were unable to handle credit cards, and every transaction cost had to be looked up on a laptop database, but their prices were very reasonable and I was able to buy a spare battery for one of my cameras, only to also find they could not give me a receipt, I am hoping that their promise to email me one after the show is fulfilled, so I can satisfy my accountant. Their reason for attendance appeared to be to acquire agents over here, but it seemed an odd way to go about it, selling inexpensively direct to end users at the show.

I came to the show intent on some purchases and some networking, I was able to do both, and in particular I needed a levelling plate to go beneath a gimbal head, I found both a better product, and a lesser price than I had expected, from Novoflex, a company I can remember from my earliest days in photography. So I was well-served.

In the afternoon, I had met up with Adam Woolfitt, and we toured together till the close, and during this time I was able to point out some stands that might be of interest to him, and we met up with numerous people he knew, some of whom I had also come into contact. I had hoped to catch up with Sean McCormack, but although I did visit the stand he was on, I had arrived too early, but I did catch up with John Beardsworth on the Adobe stand, both of whom I know from our connections to Lightroom. I also had a quick chat to Steve Newberry with whom I have worked on the Adobe stand in previous years.

Only after Wednesday at the earliest will it be apparent to exhibitors whether there is a buoyancy to our market, but certainly my impressions were positive, and I felt my day was well-spent.

Friday 4 March 2011

Groundworks at Foresters Coming on Apace

Despite the forecast of a cloudy morning, it was already bright even before my arrival at the Jarvis Foresters site where Toureen Mangan’s groundworks are entering their final stages.

Foundations elsewhere on the site are now being worked upon, as work on the central structure is nearing completion of the groundwork stage; the concreting of the floor of the basement area is now finished. Several staircases have their reinforced concrete completed, and brickwork and blockwork is well underway. The crane is moving iron reinforcing rods from storage areas to where it is needed, and shuttering is being removed.

I was amused to see how Acro jacks and panels were being moved from the first floor to the ground. Around the site skips are filling, and soil spoil is being put onto lorries for removal from the site. A heavy duty angle-grinder was carving its way through concrete like butter showering both water and sparks. There was a lot of varied activity to be captured.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Still Very Much PreSeason at Walled Garden

On this my second visit to Luton Hoo’s Walled Garden this year, it is obvious that the weather has taken its toll; some of the polythene covering on the greenhouses has been shredded by the winds, and the incessant rain has puddled much of the roads and paths, and growth has been held back. Despite this there are the signs of Spring, and the volunteers have done sterling work in clearing the beds for the new season. There is also new paving for the tree-lined path to the greenhouses.

In the former Mushrooom House, the handcart restoration is progressing from the stripped-down kit of parts I saw on my earlier visit; the wheels have been treated for woodworm been filled and were being sanded down, and a new end piece for one of the sides was being shaped. Next door, a staging was being prepared for one of the propagating sheds; it was taking shape from reclaimed wood and later being trimmed to fit against the large pipes.

The sun was very intermittent, but in a brighter moment I brought the previous year’s restoration project, the Apple or Egg Cart, out into the courtyard to record it in all its glory.
In the greenhouse, which had been Rosetti’s Studio in the TV film ‘The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’ a couple of far more recent garden benches were being given a new white coat. In the gardens, raspberry canes were being dug up and consigned to the smoke and flames of a bonfire just outside the walls of the garden. Along the Potting Shed wall the first signs of Spring growth were to be seen below the windows, and along the tree-lined walk were some flowers from last season alongside snowdrop clusters, and soon with a bit of warmth the daffodils will come into bloom.