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 28 October 2011

Scaffold Comes off at Foresters

After a day of rain, I arrive on site in glorious and warm sunshine, but hey, this is the end of October, and the clocks go back this weekend, Summer is officially over!

Somehow the site is not the same without the crane towering over all the work, where it rose out of the concrete two workers are clearing plugs from the skein of concrete, and the gap will soon disappear it is as if they are working on the crane’s tomb.

Elsewhere on site baths are now in in some of the apartments, kitchen units are in, tiles have been laid, and are now covered in hard-wearing rubber mats to prevent heavy boots from damaging them, and those areas not being worked upon are now locked, soon the work will be mainly confined to the interiors, and fitting out whilst the land outside is cleared and prepared for the final levels.

Possibly because it is school half-term there seem to be fewer tradesmen on site, so presumably dads are taking their kids out to exciting venues elsewhere, and making the most of this surprising good weather.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Canon Pro Solutions Show

I travelled to London to go to the Canon Pro Solutions show at the Islington Business Design Centre. What drew me to this event? I needed to gain an assessment of my damaged EOS 5D MkII, I also wanted to take a look for a replacement Compact Flash Card Reader, and meet up with colleagues from my past working with Adobe.

Ironically, it was someone from UCL (University College London) that I soon found myself standing alongside as he was listening intently to Andy Johnstone from Calumet, this was Ram, who I had not seen for at least six years, and he had also recognised me! We were both interested in the Certon drive enclosures Andy was demonstrating, so we concentrated on this before re-introducing ourselves.

In the ensuing chat I mentioned my recent construction of a time lapse movie for Jarvis and a planned meeting with Steve Cook, the managing director, when he told me that Jarvis are the contractors involved in the MacMillan Cancer building belonging to UCL, and he may be able to get me an introduction there. This will be a useful tidbit to take along to my appointment next week. I met Ram and his colleague from the Mortuary several more times, fortuitously at Philip Bloom’s talk about time lapse shooting!

The show provided me with the opportunity to introduce Andy to someone on the RKC stand with a handy piece of control equipment for doing moving time lapse shooting with a DSLR camera, that I considered ideal for hiring. Others I met were Ray Fitchett of Sigma, Steve Newberry of Adobe, Geoff Dann, professional photographer from Clerkenwell, Richard West and Kevin Dobbs from Nik Software and Andy Campbell from On One Software, Nick Millen from Canon, and several other familiar faces to whom I can never put names. It was heartening to be asked whether I was there working, but that seems to have passed, although Steve asked to confirm my details, as he may just have some one-to-one training possibilities.

Speaking to a Canon mechanic, it looks as if I can get my camera repaired which rounds off a good day.

Stockwood Floral Tribute

It is a testament as to the hard work of all the gardeners at Stockwood Park Discovery Centre, that I should be able to gather so many photos from one short visit in autumn sunshine, Sue very kindly allowed me into the sweltering heat of the greenhouse, but even outside in the various gardens I was able to capture the sunlight through the leaves and capture the veins in strong contrast and colour.

I found soft lighting on the wistful face of a statue, and the waterfall of dew on a red wall, and in the greenhouse even the bubble wrap provides an interesting backdrop and softer light behind some of the flowers. Both objects and leaves can cast interesting shadows, and at one stage a robin came to savour peanuts thrown by Sue, and I learnt she had safely reared a fine brood of chicks earlier in the year.

Altogether a worthwhile visit in warm sunshine and a slight breeze, amidst the chatter and screams of delight from youngsters at half-term.

Twins Twelfth Birthday, Peace Pagoda Visit

Saturday found three groups of our extended family head for the Peace Pagoda Car Park in Milton Keynes to celebrate the twelfth birthday of Holly and Poppy. Even though I had never been before, and needed guidance from others, I did manage to preserve my honour by arriving first!

The car park is in woods, with pathways leading off in many directions and once Joshua, our youngest member was ensconced in his buggy, we set off amidst lots of chatter as we caught up with each others’ news and recounted our reasons for taking so long to meet. We soon found ourselves out in the sunshine and in sight of the pagoda.

The setting is superb, and very calming, our birthday girls were soon picking up some of the messages that the winds had scattered beneath the trees, and after cursory reading from some returned them with reverence to the tree from whence they had been blown. In a straggling group we were soon back on a pathway that led us around the Willen Lake, with our groups ever changing their constituents, and Joshua gaining different buggy-handlers. There was also the natural high spirits finding outlet, which did result in Lizzy receiving an accidental elbow blow in her face. Fortunately, the pain subsided, and we continued our walk.

Once the circuit was completed, we then formed a convoy to head for a Sushi bar as a treat for the birthday girls, who love the carousel, and Joshua was not as settled after his feed as we had hoped, and that gave me a great opportunity to take him for a wander outside in the malls, and sing him songs from the repertoire of those whose words I remember and are within my limited range – I cannot claim that it is always works, but I do achieve a reasonable success rate! After a great family reunion, we got back into our cars and returned to Cambridge, Luton and Aylesbury. 

Sunday 23 October 2011

Southill Village Stores – Sue's Tea Shoppe

The village of Southill in Bedfordshire may be slightly off the beaten track, but it is close to Shuttleworth the college, and Old Warden with its Airfield, Museum, and Bird of Prey Centre. The Village is largely owned by the Whitbread family, which preserves its olde worlde charm. It is an ideal spot to break off from a ramble or cycle ride, and set back from the main through road is the small village store and tea shop, now run by Sue Richards. I called in there this Sunday afternoon in pleasant warm sunshine, and enjoyed tender ham, tasty Cheddar cheese, and fresh-baked bread with a pot of tea to wash it all down. (Click the the highlighted text within this paragraph to see further details)

Sue provides local produce where possible, freshly baked bread, home made cakes and a warm welcome  in a very English country setting, around the walls can be found art from local artists. On those days when the sun blesses us with its warm rays, there are tables in the front garden as well as those inside. This would be an ideal venue for small group meetings with food and refreshments at any time of year with Sue to provide these with her natural charm and easy nature.

Monday 17 October 2011

Other Work Continues on Site

Although the entire site was enormously interested in watching the crane being dismantled, because of the scale of the clearance, preparation and disruption that the operation entailed, I was very aware that many of the other trades had still got to work through it all. That included me, in that I was aware that several areas beyond the 10 metre exclusion zone directly beneath the crane were progressing, so once I had setup one camera to carry out the taking of shots every ten seconds so that I could create a time lapse movie, I then continued my general coverage of the work as well as obtaining full quality images of the dismantling, and this freedom of movement allowed me to capture the action from a much better lighting standpoint, especially as the fixed viewpoint for overall shooting was for a large part of the morning looking directly into the sun – not exactly conducive to high quality imaging. Another point was that I could also choose the focal lengths of lenses for the still shots as well as the viewpoint.

The much smaller gallery shows some of the other work either being done or well under way whilst the main program was unfolding. In some of the apartments the kitchen furniture was being installed, and the newly laid tiles were now covered by temporary sheeting of tough paper.

Sunday 16 October 2011

The Crane is Dismantled & Removed from Harpenden

On Tuesday, I heard the weather forecast was for drizzle in this area, so I realised that I would need to get some form of rain guard to put over the camera, so after l had located one, and purchased it, I put several charged batteries together with a series of cleared cards, and the new 32GB one for Wednesday's attempt to capture the dismantling of the Cerex crane at the Jarvis Foresters Development site in Harpenden. I also set everything up to check out my attempt to create a time lapse movie of the operation.

I joke about how I always seem to bring sunshine to the site, so the viewpoint I had looking directly into sun was based upon the grey overcast promised — the joke was bound to come back and haunt me, as no sooner than I had set myself up precariously in front of a dormer window window, and started, than the sun came out and gained in strength! I had started, so I would continue. How I cursed the sun. I also faced another snag, I still wanted to capture decent stills of the operation, but getting down from my lofty perch meant getting into frame, and risking jogging the tripod.

However, I did manage to get down and use another camera for other shots, and I also used the opportunity to grab yet another camera with a long lens on it, but this led to a minor disaster later in the day when one camera strap caught on my other camera and sent it sliding down the tiles and then a two foot drop to the wooden scaffolding planks, (though badly scratched, it survived to continue working), but that, my most expensive body is really unlucky and looks very secondhand!

I could hardly have chosen a more difficult task for my first ever venture into time lapse photography — wide angle view, making the action very tiny, shooting into the sun, precarious perch, no room to view the camera controls easily, every chance of jogging the tripod, and so cramped I could not get comfortable… no clear idea how to proceed after capturing the JPEGs, and having to rely on individual batteries, but I still rose to the challenge, I am now wondering whether I am going to get something worthwhile from all the effort.

I am still offloading the 32GB card, and then I have all the other shots to post process to create a gallery that covers that operation in slightly more detail, and certainly better quality, as the time lapse images were all shots as JPEGs. I am now writing several days later; the shots for the time lapse are now in three separate MP4 movies at various sizes, and all the stills are in two separate galleries. I have learned a lot, and realised a few mistakes I have made along the way, I have shown my family, a few friends and the site manager, and they all say that for a first ever attempt they are impressed, so despite my own misgivings, it would seem the outcome was a success — it has certainly kept me busy.

Wilbury Partridge Shoot

I was invited to cover a Partridge Shoot being organised by Dave Wilkinson, to whom I had been introduced by Bob Menzies and arrived before the appointed time to allow me to find out something of the protocols involved.

The gate was secured electronically, so I phoned Dave, who said he was barely two minutes away, and he was soon pulling up behind me. I followed him in and he showed me where to park, before showing me the meeting point, and some of the arrangements. He also asked if I might also take some shots of their cosy dining area and kitchen. Fortunately despite my not having the ideal wide-angle lens, my 24-105mm was sufficiently wide to get a few shots, despite operating handheld at 1/5th 1/10th of a second! This room was built into the corner of a vast barn, and the barn itself was very gloomy as despite the earliness of the hour, it was very dark outside in the open.
There was tea, coffee, and food prepared and laid out for everyone. As more people arrived, I was greeted by a few familiar faces from the fishing community including Bob himself. I was soon to learn there was a certain hierarchy — the Guns, then the Beaters, then the Pickers Up. I was very unsure where I came in this unfamiliar gathering. I did my best to listen and observe, and whenever possible try to get answers from Dave; not easy when you are acutely aware that he has higher priorities than you, and you do not know the ropes. I did what I often do under such circumstances, collected my camera, and took a few shots of the assembled crowd. After a while it seemed there was a full complement, so Dave gathered everyone to a flip chart he had set up, and explained how partridge-shooting differed from that of pheasants, and how we needed to be very silent when we arrived at each drive, and also exactly the Beaters were to be positioned and how they would move.
There was a trailer each for the Guns and Beaters, and these were brand new, as was a quad-bike to tow the bird trailer, I was originally told I'd be travelling with the Guns, but I found myself being invited to join Jennie in her 4x4, and I submitted willingly to having my travelling varied from the Guns trailer, to the cabin of a Land Rover, or Shanks 'pony! Ultimately I was my own boss, but I carefully sought out answers to avoid any incorrect etiquette or safety breach.

There was break for refreshments, cheese and cheese sticks, but as I was still running a course of antibiotics, I was unable to partake in the wine on offer with the Guns.
We had a break for lunch which offered pasties, the most generously-filled sausage rolls I have ever seen, coffee, and tea. This was the first time I was able to chat to some of Bob's anglers and Bob himself. We went for several further drives which also took us to Mentmore amongst other places. I have tried to capture some of what went on, but it was a shame it was so grey, as this made it very difficult to capture what I would have liked, as I had to use such a high ISO speed, and low actual shutter speed, and really my lenses lack the wide apertures necessary in this type of endeavour, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day, and tried to get a DVD's worth of images for Dave out as soon as possible making this galleries and write-up very late.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Jarvis Foresters 7th October Visit

This day’s visit means the last of the high level view point from the Cerex crane at the Foresters Development by Jarvis Homes, as this coming Wednesday sees the dismantling and removal of the crane which has dominated the Harpenden skyline for  much of this year.

A gentle breeze was what the weather forecasters described, but it still felt slightly more than that when I was close to the cabin height to get the last images of the work from this viewpoint.

There forthcoming departure of the crane has meant considerable change to the far right end of the site, as the earlier wooden gates are open and the future road entrance is now visible. Another change is that a bit more of the scaffolding has been dismantled, giving a much clearer view of the finished result. A wooden staircase has gone in in one of the end cottages.

Although upon my arrival the sun was out, by the time I was concluding the skies were lowering and the clouds looked threatening and few drizzling spots of rain were falling.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Hot September Day – Oxfordshire

The intention was to visit a part of the nearby country where Red Kite were supposed be prevalent, and in terms of seeing them I was lucky, but in each occasion, that moment was gone in a flash, despite my waiting around having stopped the car. I spotted a hovering kestrel, but even though the right camera and lens were to hand, and parking up close by was not a problem, it was gone, never to appear again. I had seen a pair of kites in the distance by a bridge, but they never returned, but from that bridge I was surprised to see very rusty, and twisted rails disappearing into the haze yet a red signal was alight, and in the opposite direction just buffers (Health and Safety gone mad?) I stopped at two bridges on the same line and I would surmise that no train has ventured on these lines since Dr Beeching took the axe to Britain’s rural lines in the Sixties. The twists I saw at the second bridge were certainly not the trick of a heat haze!

I took a walk along the canal near Thrupp, and the pubs along the way, must have been very welcoming of the unexpected trade due to the unseasonable warmth for the end of September. The stretch was full of narrowboats, and canoes, and the towpath offered the opportunity for fathers to repair their son’s cycle punctures, parents and grandparents to read their books and magazines, and several to take the opportunity to repair and paint their boats in preparation for the autumn and winter ahead.

I developed a raging toothache, and was very grateful that a village shop had some ibuprofen, and in this same village on my return passage I spotted a wonderful view accentuated by the lowering sun of a cottage just beyond a small pond and reed beds, with a few late flowering lilies; there had been a pair of mallard ducks, but my arrival sent them into the secrecy of the reeds. A little later in the return trip I came across some fields awash with pheasants, close by a drive beyond security gates, where a lone cyclist was leaving the grounds.