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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Thursday 28 April 2011

Disparate Subjects – Old Cars and Rape Fields

I took a day out to help my nephew with his refurbishment of his recently stripped and repainted Citroen B24 racing car. I surprised Alex by arriving rather early, but he had only got to the car just before my arrival. When I last left the chassis had been carefully painted blue, now the chassis was the same cream colour of the body, but they were yet to be re-united.

We chatted for a few brief moments as he showed me round what had been done, and what he hoped to achieve by close of day. We then walked together back up to the house, where we picked up a few more pieces he had been cleaning up, and I gave Glory a by now much-travelled box of chocolates (I had brought them on my previous visit at Easter, but forgot to take them from the car; only noticing them once I was home!) This time they were delivered!

On return to the car with mug of tea in hand, I started on removing excess paint on some of the trim, and later did a fair share of bring life to faded brasses, and cleaning up items in the fuel area, then we started to put various bits and bobs back onto the body and towards the end of the day reunited to the two sections – chassis and bodywork.

I also wheeled out another Citroen, this time a saloon, took a few shots and pushed it back. The light was very harsh this day so the contrast is very high, whereas as the sun lowered and warmed in colour on my return trip it accentuated the valleys and Rapeseed Oil fields by Friars’ Wash on the country route from Junction 9 to Slip End and Caddington.

Monday 25 April 2011

Easter Monday at Burnham

I decided I wanted to pay a speedy to visit to my mother-in-law, Renee and family friend Roy who were both at my sister-in-law’s for Easter, however, another reason for the visit was to catch up with nephew Alex to get shots of the completion of his repainting of the Citroen Racing Car – Alex and Glory were away, so it was a somewhat depleted group I visited!

Richard wanted me to capture some more of Glory’s sculpted heads, and as the light was just right outside for the cascading wisteria, I took the opportunity to capture these as well, not to mention the slightly drooping tulips and the splendid Lily in the hall. It was whilst I was in the garden, that a friend Richard had met in St. Kitts arrived, and I could not resist capturing his impressive face, as he conversed with mine host.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday Activities

Unlike Friday when the sun shone from a clear blue sky, the day started with mist, and during the course of the day, the best we had was milky sunshine. I had printed one picture from Good Friday of one of the flowers I had captured in Soulbury, and used it to say thank you to the couple who had kindly allowed me to step into their front garden. I drove to their house to pop the card in – they had a family gathering, I handed over the card – they thanked me, but it was I who was grateful.

My drive took me to Three Locks, on the Grand Union Canal, and it was packed with visitors both on the water and at the canalside pub alongside the locks. I watched for a while before setting off  again, this time in search of landscapes, but the misty distance prevented me from pure scenes, but allowed me to capture horses, some in fields, some being ridden. I also managed to capture some of the blossom.

As I returned we were stopped at a roundabout to allow a vast procession of bikers of all ages with highly individually modified bikes and trikes, so I opened my door and squatted by the roadside capturing a few of them as they passed on their way; my journey ended with a couple of more peaceful shots of the canal and river.

On days like this, it seems easy to forget the harsher realities that exist around us.

Good Friday in the English Countryside

The draw of the sunshine and the great outdoors proved irresistible, soon the car was packed with lenses and camera bodies, and I was heading away from Caddington, then towards the Dunstable Downs and Aston Clinton. At every turn that appeared, I chose the one that I had either never made before, or looked interesting.

I liked the name Swanbourne, and arrived at a bridge with a high parapet, and a convenient spot to park. I looked around and spotted a girl jogging in my direction; I moved to the wall and looked over to see a dished railway line, and as this realisation came the jogger arrived and asked: "Waiting for a steam train?" I responded truthfully that she obviously knew the area better than me, as until I looked over, I had no idea whether a road, canal or railway, lay below. We exchanged a few words, and the girl took off her dark glasses, so I chanced my arm, asked if I might take her picture, she declined. I enquired whether there was a station down the road from which she had come. She had not noticed, however she did let me know there was a decrepit house probably up for auction, halfway down, after few shots from the bridge, I drove that way, took a couple of photos before finding the Station House.

It is now a private house, so I looked for the owner, and asked his permission to wander around taking pictures, he was very amenable, and I learnt he was the son of the Station Master, and had lived there all his life. It does however still remain owned by the railways. Initially, I missed his topiary work, though I had spotted the wheels!

Having listened to a bit of Swanbourne station's history I continued on my travels spotting an octagonal structure built around a silver birch. Several miles later, I came across the jogger, and was able to say that I had captured both the derelict house and the station. Soulbury sported a church on a hill, and several houses sporting beautiful displays of colour in their front gardens - I asked one lady whether she minded my taking pictures within her garden; she was only too delighted, and her husband appeared and we chatted, and I was able to mention the Jubilee water trough I had already just photographed. Next was the most unusual village hall I have come across, wonderful fields of rape, (when I pulled up at gate to take these shots, I turned to a horse determinedly using to scratch his backside!) Later at Oving, I spotted  the most extraordinary corrugated iron-roofed cottage!

A beautifully preserved windmill towered over a small village blessed with pleasant pubs and full tables of customers quaffing ale in the unexpected Easter warmth, outside. I phoned to ask whether the Westcott Teahouse was open, only to learn the staff were out, and the workers were in the loft! I visited, offered my services, but was told it was already too crowded. I accepted a cup of tea, chatted and left them to continue on my return trip. This took me past the Railway Centre at Quainton, where I glimpsed Thomas the Tank Engine through the branches.

The last images I captured were of a pied wagtail and collar doves on water at Hoggeston, and sheep in erstwhile meadows as the sun lowered.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Jarvis’ Foresters – Brickie Time

Maundy Thursday, and the last day before the Easter break, the site is awash with scaffolding much of it to take the brickwork to the first floor level. Milky sunshine as I arrive, but soon burnt off. The cottages at the far corner of the site are now taking shape, and sadly, the Site Manager is off sick with a suspected appendicitis. We all wish him a speedy recovery.

I watched as a hopper was filled with gravel by the digger, then lifted by crane to the far right end of the site where it was being directed beyond the outer wall, and after I had captured some tough work being carried out I learned that the pair were father and son. It is always interesting to pick up snippets and learn more each visit, this time it was also to be shown how the cement silos have to be routinely cleaned to avoid buildup within the delivery mechanism. This whole procedure was intricately described by Steve as I took a sequence of shots of the process.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Citroen B24 – A new Coat of Paint

Sunday heralded a surprise – Lizzy phoned to ask whether she might come over. What a silly question! I was delighted, especially as she said she was setting off straightway. An hour or so later I received a text which read “Just Leaving. XXX” I had begun to accept that this might be the case and replied with “Your tea is cold.” and a short while later: “I presume that was to give me time to tidy up?”! We spent some time in Luton shopping, chatting and chuckling. I had also been invited to dinner at Glory and Richard, once I had learnt he was back from sea where he had been First Mate on a Sailing ship plying the American Easter seaboard, So after our lunch together I changed up a gear and got myself better dressed for my evening with my sister in law, Richard, her husband, and friend ‘Uncle Tom’.

Upon my arrival Glory was cooking venison, and so as Alex was painting his fully stripped down racing car, the Citroen B24, I took off to see how he and Scott were faring. I came across them towards the end of the day’s toils, and took a few shots of the pair of them working and the separated chassis and bodywork, and noted evidence of their having already begun the celebrating of their handiwork! Scott was very keen that I show the reflections from their hard work on the penultimate coat on the bodywork, so after a shot which really did show strong reflections from a skylight when it was undercover he insisted we manhandle it out into the open. I duly tried to capture the high gloss outside, and then we had to carry it back under cover, and it was seriously heavy!

Alex is hoping that by close of Tuesday it will be complete, and he plans taking it onto the Continent again for a holiday.

The pair cleaned up the paint they had acquired on themselves and we all went back to the house for a thoroughly enjoyable dinner.

Sawston Saturday, and Blaze Nearby

Saturday was spent with Catherine and the girls, in the morning, we all went around to a friend’s house to put their Guinea Pigs out in a run in the garden, then went shopping in Cambridge, for new items for the house, and in the afternoon, returning for lunch and chatting.
Later I was amused to find the girls had a wooden version of Towers of Hanoi, so I challenged Holly and Poppy to see how they fared against the same puzzle as an iPad App – it turned out it was a dead heat, which is praise indeed for both the software company and the Apple iPad!

In the evening one of them spotted smoke rising from the direction we were due to go for a cycle ride, and we soon arrived to see one building on the nearby industrial estate well ablaze and beyond the perimeter hedge we could see the Fire Brigade had arrived. We stopped to watch and since I had my camera I began shooting a record of the event,

Although at one point we thought they might have begun to bring the fire under control, it soon became evident that was far from the case, and we soon heard gas cylinders exploding, and the flames broke through the roof. Black pall of smoke rose up and then across the fields fortunately away from both the industrial and residential areas. As we watched the doors of what we presumed was the delivery bay either collapsed or melted and from within we could see flames that were filling that area from floor to roof. Later flames came through another area to the left along the front and later still spread further along the building, and broke out through the roof to the left of the starting point.

Up till that time firefighters were spraying from ground level, but as more and more units arrived on the scene and the earlier vehicles left to replenish their foam or water, two firefighters appeared on a ladder to bring their hoses to bear from above. I think this could only have been possible because there was only a light breeze and it was blowing away from them consistently. On our return we learnt that neighbours were due to have friends around for Dinner, but that their unit was in the buildings ablaze and were tragically going to have to cancel. I don't think many can realise just what such a fire can mean – not only will the premises be lost, along with product, but also paperwork and computers and everything that any company may have accumulated such as furniture, tools and furnishings. And the livelihoods of both the owners and their staff members. Tragedy is not too strong a word.

I learnt today a few more details of the event today from this URL: http://preview.tinyurl.com/3to7asd

Friday 15 April 2011

Marsworth Early Birds

My biological clock is used to my working in the early hours of the morning, so waking early is tough! But I managed to be abed by one o’clock, so setting the alarm for five-thirty and setting off forty-five minutes later after a swift shower and brief breakfast was quite a personal success, but poor by wildlifers’ standards. I then setup the 7D and 300mm lens on the gimbal head with levelling cup and attached a bar and pistol grip to the tripod and set off. I then walked between Marsworth and Startops End reservoirs and along the canal towards Bulbourne.

I am a just in case sort of person, so could not do without two other bodies with lenses attached, and trudged to my designated spot by the red beds at the far end of Marsworth reservoir, and despite the cold was by now steaming and had to shed some outer clothing and my woolly hat to avoid steaming up my glasses!

I then got steadily colder and colder as waited patiently to capture the smaller reed birds as they would fly up above the reeds then swoop down once again out of sight. Every so often they would either climb up a reed, or land  at the top and sway about for a while. Focussing was often a struggle as they were a good distance away and it was difficult sometimes to get an uninterrupted view through the nearmost reeds.

The forecasters had suggested a clear start becoming cloudier, the opposite was true, and eventually with a stiff neck and considerably colder I then made my way back to the Tringford reservoir, I had managed some images, but ironically as I walked back I got a few more with the difficulty of holding the tripod up when possible images came my way!

When I got to see Bob Menzies I then met Dave Wilkinson the boss of Tringford Anglers, and we chatted before I left to return to work on my images.

Wood Near Steppingley

It is more than a year since I visited the woods close to Steppingley, and the last time it had been so wet that I had been unable to reach the top of the hill where I had earlier taken a landscape photo from the edge of the woods. This time it was the polar opposite it was so dry that you found yourself walking through sand, the approach starts wide and potholed, but once you enter the woods the track narrows to become a heavily rutted path, and so you just have to park the car as there is insufficient room to turn around.

The path twists and turns as it winds upwards and although there were avenues off to the right I knew I had to keep to the edge of the wood to reach my destination beyond a long dead fallen tree. The path tends to be concave with gently sloping sides occasionally crossed by roots, or carved into twin tracks from the passage of tractors and Land Rovers. I met a few people as I climbed, but as the day progressed I met more, some with dogs, some couples, and some cyclists, but no horses. I enjoyed the various views the paths offered, the backlit leaves that glowed in the spring sunlight, and the small young leaf clusters that sprung from the trunks of some of the trees.

The only sadness was that where there had been two wooden post structures making a gateway the posts that had been to the right now were placed with the other on the left, so the view of the fields beyond was no longer framed as before. The view has lost its symmetry.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Westcott Village Flowers

It is always a pleasure visiting Westcott, and my younger daughter; this visit was to help in putting up plasterboard in the bathroom ceiling – a task she would have helped her husband with had she not been so close to delivering my next grandchild.

Parking the car, I spotted an unusual blue flower which a neighbour assures me is a Clematis, so before I offered my help I asked for permission to delay the start, so I could take a few photos. There were others besides, and even some to which I was invited to see by her neighbour, even some tulips in her own garden, so out came my macro lens and these now form another gallery.

In the confines of the small, but newly extended bathroom, getting the boards in place was soon underway, and after some garden re-organising the day was rounded off with a barbecue.

Peacock struts his stuff and finally appeals to one of the ladies!

Mike’s next door neighbours have a peacock and thus far he has shown no interest in the peahens, so as he he was out, he had drawn an interested crowd of humans, several toting cameras! But if we thought it was going to be easy to capture shots of the event, or in particular to see him displaying his plumage in a courtship display to one of the peahens, we were in for a shock. He was in no hurry, and there seemed to be several moments when we the assembled shooters thought this is it, but finally he chose to strut around with more purpose and then finally we witnessed the display.

But for several minutes although a new lady had appeared she showed not the slightest interest – in fact she often showed disdain! Then we could see a slight melting of the Ice Queen and she moved closer, then bent here head and continued pecking in the grass, he would move around her and show his fine rear plumage; she would look up momentarily before continuing her interest in the ground. She seemed to tease occasionally by turning in his direction, sometimes moving a step nearer before resuming her lack of interest. He never closed his wings, he would occasionally do a shake as if to say: “Hey, look here lady it’s hard work keeping all these feathers up.”

You could not fault him for persistence; he was undeterred by her lack of interest, he seemed sure she would succumb to his charms, and slowly the interest she showed became greater than the spells of of disinterest, and she began to follow him, occasionally taking a look at rear, then she returned to face him and she gave a shudder as she plumped up her own feathers and this seemed to say: “OK, Big Boy, you’ve pulled!” and she demurely walked across his front as if saying: “Come along, follow me”.

The two pages of images give a clue as to the unfolding of the event – this was far from a private moment in this young beau’s life!

Devon Visit

After a busy day helping Catherine my elder daughter to move from Grantchester to Sawston, I prepared for somewhat longer trip I would make the following day to stay for two nights in Ringmore.

Whilst down there, my youngest brother, Mike took me to the secluded beach of Ayrmer Cove, he purposely took my via higher route that was straighter and more level. From here it was possible to get a good view, beyond the grazing sheep with their attendant lambs, of Burgh Island; the island where Agatha Christie wrote some of her novels. This was so that we could walk alongside the drystone wall that when bathed in sunlight tempts the lizards and snakes from its crevices.

We were not disappointed, the warmth had indeed encouraged several female adders to venture from their lairs, some were just uncoiling, others were tightly coiled, and they seemed unperturbed by the intrusion of lenses, however as Mike had already remarked the males were very reticent, and therefore much harder to find; over the two days I only saw the tail end of one as it disappeared swiftly into the undergrowth and some shelter within the wall.

Whilst on the beach itself we were treated to some rough surf breaking against the slate rocks, and to a group of oyster catchers that flew across from one side to the other every so often. I also spotted a kestrel hovering over the valley.

On another trip towards Aveton Gifford, we walked along the Tidal Road and walked in a loop around a smallholding where there were half-a-dozen Alpaca, they seemed very aware of  our presence, and barely moved any part of their bodies other than their heads. We were treated to a neighbour’s peacock who had finally taken an interest in a peahen and so we watched en masse as he strutted his stuff to gain her attention – we wish them success!

Friday 8 April 2011

Jarvis’ Foresters Site Bathed in Warm Sunshine

Visiting the Harpenden site in warm sunshine for a change was welcome. Toureen Mangan are finishing the the drainage works, and soon will leave the site for a while and return to do finishing work such as paving during the closing stages. Most of what is happening is related to brickwork and as this rises, scaffolding is being constructed to allow the men to work at the next level.

In the far corner of the site work is now starting on the three cottages, and in the front right corner the brickwork needs to meet the level of the blockwork to allow for the next floor level to be put in place.