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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Friday 30 September 2011

Jarvis Foresters, Harpenden, 30th September

Blue skies, very warm – is it really the very end of September in the UK? I went round to the back of the site where work was going on with what I take will some garden area. Then I could see that an area on the far right which had largely been a storage area was now cleared to give access to the gates at that end. And, presumably to give space for the disassembly of the Cerex crane in a week’s time. The skyline of Harpenden will once again return to normal.

As I went around the interiors, tiles were going down now that the moisture levels had stabilised, and I saw that units for the kitchens were stacked in one room ready for installation and doors were having their hinges added, and a lot of the plastering was drying out. I did find one very strange sight – in one very small area that was being plastered the plasterer was equipped with stilts!

It seemed strange to me that it was the ground floor areas that were so much further ahead than the upper floors. It was not till later I noted that the scaffolding on the cattages at the end had been removed.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Waddesdon Manor in Warm Sunshine

I had wanted to learn something more about this well-known ex-Rothschild pile and its gardens, because Lizzy had been living close by for some time and loved visiting the grounds and also eating out at the restaurant. The plan was to take both cars so she could drop hers into a garage to have two new tyres fitted, and then to use mine to go to the house and gardens.

I was most impressed with how well manicured were the lawns of the park, and how the drive led its winding way to the grand house. We were able to park in the shade, which was handy, and once the buggy was set up, we strolled up the hill and I took shots of the views over towards Westcott; the one which was most meaningful was close by a statue of Hercules.

As we passed the fountain and turned towards the front of the house, it struck me how the Rothschilds family had often built their houses with very similar architectural features, and paid a great deal of attention to detail – the extravagance of the craftsmanship in some of the stonework is quite astonishing.

Although close up, the flowers can be seen to be past their best, the colour and formal arrangement was stunning, and the amount of ironwork to keep sharp grass edges was impressive. Volunteers were to be seen cleaning statue plinths with brush and washing up liquid, and small shears to keep the grass tidy, whilst supported above on planking to avoid crushing the grass.

Joshua slept through much of the time, but when he did wake, he stayed calm, only becoming restless when we returned to collect the car from the garage with its new tyres. I sadly, had to return early to collect a copy of my old log book and take it to the garage from where I was buying my new car. It fortunately arrived with just a day to spare, to complete my part exchange deal.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Birds, Tractors, a Windmill

An Indian Summer comes to the Home Counties, giving us warmth, blue sky and in the late afternoon strong low light on Wotton Underwood cottages and Quainton Windmill.

Actually the partridges which were very well camouflaged against the newly tilled field and the red kite were taken on a different day from the gulls following the tractor, even though the rich red soil looks similar. The second bird, which I believe was a buzzard seemed to be carrying either an egg or a stone as it buzzed the red kite. It is not unusual to see gulls following tractors, but the numbers were far greater than I have seen before.

Quainton is home to a railway museum and its popular attraction, Thomas the Tank Engine, and has this splendid windmill and sports a popular pub just below it. I just loved the bright low light on the yellow cottages in Wotton Underwood, so had to stop and capture it.

Monday 26 September 2011

Marsworth & Startops End Birdlife

For a change I took a wander around the other two Tring reservoirs, walking between Marsworth and Startops End. The water level was way down due apparently to leaks in the Grand Union Canal and Marsworth’s reservoir; the stream that enters mars worth was dry, and I spotted what turned out to be a blue-headed wagtail feeding in the drying mud by the reeds.

It was from the wooded divide that I got shots of  the heron landing amidst the tern at the water’s edge, I asked some of the anglers how the low water level was affecting their fishing, and learned that on balance it was adverse.

I was to see pied wagtails flitting carefully the same distance either side of where I was sitting and whilst watching them I was distracted by the sound of flapping and churning water, and was able to capture one grebe chasing another, and then facing up to each other and a wild fight ensuing. I returned to my car and Tringford where I met up with the bailiff and saw the wagtails again, this time on the end of one of the fishermen’s boats. Altogether an interesting couple of hours of shooting.

Sunday 25 September 2011

A Few Glimpses of Baileys Hard

I decided to give my car an airing, so drove to Baileys Hard on the Beaulieu River. This year has been a really poor year for bird life here, normally one tree in particular looks as if it grows birds, there were so many on its branches, this year barely any. Perhaps it is due to the menacing presence of a Sparrowhawk.

I had hoped that I might spend some time leisurely capturing examples of them in the branches, but it was not to be. What also did not help was that my sister-in-law’s white terrier who is old and deaf, mysteriously wandered off, and so much of my time and that of everyone in our group was spent wandering around the lanes and undergrowth in search of her.

It did not help that the telephone number on her collar was for an address back in Buckinghamshire, but fortunately my nephew took a call some time later, and we learned the dog had wandered all the way to Buckler’s Hard and the couple who found her had her with them in the garden of a Pub, so after two hours she was back safe and sound. We could all relax again.

So I managed to capture very little during my afternoon visit. I did however see a group go out in canoes from the nearby slip, and met one of the girls organising their training, the charming Viv from Liquid Logistics that are based nearby, who felt that my camera and lenses were more like weapons; I noted later that she features in their explanatory videos .

As this group left for their session, I spotted a swan serenely gliding by, but what is saddening is how presumably someone has fired a staple gun at its beak as you can see from an enlargement of its head.

Saturday 24 September 2011

Jarvis – Foresters Development – September 23rd Visit

Arriving again with sunshine, I took a look around with slightly less pressure this time, as my car was beyond the reach of Traffic Wardens. Certainly many more areas of the roofs are now clad in tiles, but I mistakenly thought some of the scaffolding might have been coming down to reveal more of exterior of the various buildings. On the right of the site, the Retail area was one that I had not really covered completely on my last visit, so this was my priority.

Speaking to one of the tilers working on the circular section of this roof, he told me he was determined to avoid any step in the cone with his work, unlike the other roof close to the entrance done by a different company. It was good to hear voiced such a sense of pride and determination to do a good job!

This Retail section of the construction, is not as far ahead in terms of the roof as other areas on the site, so I was see ing far more carpentry as it slowly begins to take shape on all the steelwork. The three dormers are nearing completion from tilers and carpenters, but have yet to receive their windows. Down below, window frames are being assembled by their final destinations, still shrouded in their protective polythene sheeting.

Ridge tiles and corner tiles were being cemented, and valleys and dormers were being flashed with lead or zinc, so that the completed areas were becoming weather-resistant. Cabling was going in in many areas, and plastering was being done, and in the basement even fluorescent lighting and signage was in use. Hidden around the back of the site, curved walling was quietly progressing in what is the gloomiest part of the site.

The Cerex crane, which has been the most visible feature of this development, is due for disassembly soon, but has proved so useful it has already had its stay extended.

Monday 19 September 2011

Changeable Weather at Tringford

The forecast seemed to promise showers in the morning with occasional sunshine, but it would close down around lunchtime, and the gusty wind was likely to be with us all day, well we missed the showers in the morning but were treated with a couple in the afternoon and the gusty wind was indeed with us all day.

There were two boats out on the lake each with a pair of anglers, one group was unlucky to catch no fish at all, the other managed three catches. The bailiff chose to try to fish from the bank and the fish just weren’t biting for him either.

We wandered down the stream, to check on the flow and whether this was affected by the fallen trees, but the flow seemed reasonable, but the water level in the reservoirs was very low, due in part to some leakage and a damaged lock gate on the canal. I was surprised to see a dragonfly, and a butterfly, since this has been a poor season for both for me, there were also more herons to be seen, at the bank and in the air. A couple of terns were using a technique I had not seen before, they would land on the water and then leap into the air and promptly dive after only a few feet, sometimes with success, but as often as not, no more lucky than flying and diving, but giving me a better shot at a picture!

I also was surprised to find a freshwater mussel, which had become stranded on the foreshore, so this was thrown into deeper water in the hope it would survive. Bob took me for a spell on the water whilst he fished from the boat, and I tried to get shots of the herons. Overall I think the weather slightly better than had been predicted.

Friday 16 September 2011

Roofs and Windows Make All the Difference to Foresters

There is little doubt that now the tiles cover a good proportion of the roofs at the Jarvis Development at Foresters, the buildings look more complete, even though inside there is still a way to go. It will not be long before much of the scaffolding will be removed, and then the windows in particular will be far more apparent.

In the early autumn sunshine there is a warm glow from the bricks and tiles, and there are numerous attractive viewpoints that give the whole development variety; it has been an interesting journey watching the whole complex come together, and it has been a pleasure to feel welcomed here as the work has progressed.

I didn’t have the time to cover too much of the interior work this visit, so I am sure I will notice a considerable on my next visit.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Stockwood Season End Colour

Before all the sunshine goes and the autumn winds bring the branches down, and flatten the blooms, I just had to get away from the computer screens for a break, especially as bright sunshine was casting strong shadows on my blinds.

My destination was Stockwood Discovery Centre Gardens and having sent some images of bugs to Jan, one of the gardeners, I thought I'd check she was able to download them safely, so I hastened to the far end where I spotted her. I asked was there anything of particular interest, and learned that there was indeed; it was a form of red lily, that had been brought in and planted somewhat in the shade of a climbing Morning Glory, and the gentleman who had originally brought it in had been somewhat pessimistic of it flowering – well I can report his pessimism is unfounded, for it has flowered strongly. Jan hopes it will last till the weekend for his visit.

I met an apprentice whom Jan is mentoring, who plans to learn enough to start up his own business, well, he has a good and generous tutor, so he is well-placed to benefit from his time here.

There was a dearth of visitors, so it was easy to get around and spend time sometimes for the wind to die down, at others for the sun to come from behind the clouds, but there was a surprising amount of colour, and numerous water droplets which always adds interest to closeups of flowers.

Whilst in the green house surrounded by scout wasps and apparently a single hornet, two calls came in, one that dashed my hopes of flying into Goodwood for the Revival Meeting, the other from Apple to help get to the bottom of problems besetting my iMac and Lion operating system – despite mentioning I was out photographing some five miles from home, I was asked was I close to my computer!

Friday 9 September 2011

9th September Visit to Jarvis Foresters Site

Parking in Harpenden is limited to one hour, sometimes this is rarely sufficient to gather images of progress at the development, and today the free space that appeared was being overlooked by a burly Traffic Warden; that meant I was under pressure to return precisely on time! It was very muggy, and this always makes it tough because my glasses steam up when in the basement.
I set the alarm on my phone, and putting on my Hi Viz Jacket, hard hat and steel-toecapped boots headed for the building site with alacrity. I tried to get the overall picture, before disappearing into the basement to see how all the pipework was getting on, then took the ladders to cover the tiling on the apartments, and some of the internal work such as the plaster boarding, and even plastering.
The electric cabling and high-pressure water piping is much in evidence, and many of the rooms now have their underfloor heating fully sealed, and the whole site seems very full as much of the material is now stored on site; it is often difficult to show what is taking place, because every area is becoming smaller as the rooms are partitioned, and the external structure is encased in a steel cage of scaffolding.
My alarm sounded, and sent me scurrying off the site to see the warden near to my car, I asked if it were possible to have a few more minutes grace, and he nodded, so I dashed back in for the last couple of shots, and by now the sweat was pouring off me, but he was as good as his word, and I dashed back in less time than I had asked for, declobbered and drove back to Caddington. Job done.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Windy Wednesday in the Walled Garden

I had had too much grief in front of the computer; I needed to get out, so even though I knew it would be rather late, and it was both dull and very windy, I took myself off to the Walled Garden at Luton Hoo.These winds were the precursor to autumn, or as the Americans would say Fall. I prefer autumn to the the more prosaic description to just the single aspect of the dropping of leaves. Autumn evokes the colours of the season, and today despite the inclement weather still had the colour of late summer flowers, and the leaves have yet to fall.

My patience was somewhat tried as some shots took several minutes of waiting for the lull in the wind, and nothing could be grabbed as I had little margin of error due to the low light level. And at the best of times patience is not really my strong suit, and these last few weeks have not been the best of times. I persevered, and the end result is more colourful than I had expected. Many of the volunteers had already finished, but there were still several hardy perennials determined not to be defeated by the weather, and they had obviously worked hard clearing the weeds and thinning out the plants and flowers that had past their best.

The handcart is nearing completion, and the next in line for refurbishment, now that most replacement parts have arrived, is the Drag Saw. It is hoped the handcart will be ready in time for the Pumpkin and Apple Gala Day, and certainly the Apples and Pears are the best I have seen, having suffered less from the ravages of wasps and the like.

Monday 5 September 2011

Bletchley Park Visit

I had made up my mind that despite the poor weather forecast for Sunday, a visit to the home of British Codebreakers during the Second World War was worth a trip since Lottery money had enabled some well-needed restoration. I set off in light drizzle, but by the time I arrived the tap was far more fully open. Outside I needed the warmth and the protection, but once inside, I needed neither, and taking my leather jacket off was impractical with my camera bag to carry as well!

Parking was being organised I am presuming from their ages, Air Cadets – I didn’t relish their task! Having bought my ticket, I headed for the hut displaying the Bombe, though looking at the gallery, my chronology has been sacrificed to offer a better introduction. The demonstration and explanation of the processes involved was very ably put across by some very knowledgable volunteers, and this encouraged lively audience involvement, as they explained how those who worked these machines relied as much on technicalities as human foibles to reduce the time the Bombes took to arrive at a decrypt of the transmissions from the German Enigma operators. We were looking at just one machine, it was explained that many more were working in the same room in their day.

Beyond this demonstration was a museum of various cypher machines Enigmas, and others. But for me the most striking exhibit was the statue to Alan Turing built from tiny slivers of slate, which I felt really captured the features of the great man’s face in a unique way. As a result I was not satisfied by taking just one picture, but several; I hope the sculptor, Stephen Kettle is pleased by my efforts.

During the course of this visit I came across no less than three ladies who had played their part in the work of gathering or processing this information for Bletchley Park. One such lady said they were told their ‘Y’-station reports were taken by despatch riders to Bletchley Park, however, she learnt that was not in fact the case – their signals were in fact passed via a Teleprinter terminal direct to one of the huts here, I have forgotten which hut it was she said.
I later listened intently to another ‘Y’-station operator, and learned another surprising fact as she demonstrated she could still read Morse today having stopped way back at the end of the War, and that was that though she qualified to read at 18-words per minute and had been capable of 28 or more, she never tapped a key at all! Also, which must have made it harder still, she never once listened to plaintext, it was always in blocks of five characters, so no guessing was available to help her, nor would she ever learn how accurate were records had been.
This lady, known as A253, was Merris Wood and she delighted the crowd of men in the small marquee for the Vintage Radio Society by her reminisces of her work and the equipment she had used; this sort of encounter made their day. Later I was to meet another operator chatting to a BBC Outside Broadcast team who were there to cover a program called the Code Breakers telling the story of Lorenz and Colossus, which sadly lost only a week ago, the leader of the restoration team Tony Sales. I visited the Colossus demonstration put on by a charismatic girl in a black hat who confidently spoke as if she had been there at the time (maybe she had just stepped from the Doctor’s Tardis, earlier that morning?!)

In the last long hut I visited, were the stories of the brave crew of HMS Petard who sadly died when capturing the Enigma machine from the crippled U-boat, U559. The two sailors, Colin Grazier and Tony Fasson did not receive their due mention because of the secrecy surrounding that capture, until many years after the end of the War; they were caught out by the sudden inrush of water that marked the end of the submarine.

When I came out of this hut, the rain had stopped and the sun was out thinly. A fitting end to a very enjoyable day.