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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Sunday 24 March 2013

Wonderful Concert - Great Lens Check!

Sawston Village School Concert at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge was my first opportunity to use the latest lens to my arsenal, it arrived with only two hours to spare before setting off to daughter Catherine’s house in Sawston to watch her twins Holly and Poppy at their second concert for me at this school. It meant that with just the one lens I could gather a range of subjects handheld from my position in the gallery. I would be operating mainly at almost full aperture, handheld at 2000 ISO in the main, but a few shots offstage where I needed 6400 ISO!

I knew it would still be a challenge, and that challenge was met by my right hand and arm, but considering that I operated fully without any additional flash, and still a fair distance away from the musicians and singers, I felt it was very worthwhile.

The enthusiasm of all the children was unmistakeable, they obviously had put in considerable effort to reach the standards they achieved, and were passionately enjoying it. Likewise the parents and friends in the audience were definitely not there just to show solidarity with their offspring, they were there because they thoroughly enjoyed the performance, the applause and the laughter told that story. It was also palpably obvious the staff were proud of the success of their efforts.

Catherine who was up in the gallery with me had to tell me to stop humming along and tapping my feet to the beat on more than one occasion, but coming to an evening like this, my feet and hands have minds of their own, and simply react, I could very easily join in had there been ‘dancing in the aisles’!

Some of the sense of humour involved was such that you know some of these students will make it into show business in future years, there was considerable creativity and talent on display, and I hope I have captured some of that in the numerous photos I have taken and put into the gallery to mark the event. For those not shown I apologise; it is almost certainly the largest gallery collection I have put up on this blog, which is both a testament to the concert and the versatility of the 100 - 400mm telephoto and just how far digital photography has progressed in my time in the profession.

I hope those who go through the shots gain as much enjoyment as I did on the evening. Thanks to everyone who put all their time into the show.

Samyang 500mm Mirror vs Canon 300mm Prime

Recently, lens checking has taken up some of my time. At the recent Focus on Imaging Show up at the NEC Birmingham, I looked at both the Canon and Samyang stands at their respective lenses. Samyang was a name that had not entered my vocabulary – and their range intrigued me; in particular because they were displaying two 500mm mirror lenses and one 800mm. I had not seen mirror lenses on the market for more years than I care to remember! These are fixed aperture, non automatic lenses that offer good optics at prices that are way cheaper than you would have to pay for what I might term ‘conventional’ telephotos. If the limitations of manual focus, fixed aperture and a lack of automatic exposure can be mitigated then they genuinely represent a very good price point.

I wondered whether I would be able to live within those bounds, and so whilst at the show I spoke to the Area Sales Manager of Intro 2020 who had just taken up the Samyang UK distribution, and asked whether it would be possible to check out their 500mm f/6.3 lens, and he very kindly agreed he would let me test that and would I also be interested in my taking a look at the 800mm. He said he would speak to a local dealer whom I knew in Dunstable, Nick Dorman, whose family own Dormans Photographic and are well-respected in the area. The result was that Nick rang me up last week to say both lenses had arrived and would I like to come and collect.

One other point about these lenses is that they are fairly universal and just require the additional cost of a T2 Mount adaptor to match the lens for each different manufacturer. I double-checked that he had one in stock, before making the trip! The weather recently in almost the entire UK, has been grey and miserable, which completely put the mockers on being able to give a really meaningful test, but for me I knew I could make my assessment indoors, so set up a tripod, a Canon 7D and put the both the 500mm Samyang and 300mm f/4 prime Canon lens on and shot a pencil holder in the window against the light. I put the same settings I would have to use on the Samyang 500mm, and set 100 ISO on the camera and fired off a few shots; there was about a quarter of an hour between the pair shown below:

The outer image is the full 300mm picture, the cropped area is the full 500mm equivalent area

I took the card and processed both in Lightroom and processed them similarly, applying a small amount of sharpening to each, but admittedly was slightly less aggressive with the Canon, and was actually quite impressed when I brought up the same area on the 300mm to match the full frame of the 500mm. One aspect was that there was slightly more contrast in the highlights in the Samyang image, and remember the shot was largely backlit!

At the start of the experiment I was not certain how the limitations would pan out, and I learned that I have grown very used to autofocus giving me a lending hand, and so for me the limitations were too oppressive for the type of work I envisaged, but for those who work on a tripod but without the budget for own manufacturers’ prime lens prices, this does seem a well-made, good quality option. I did take a look at the 800mm, but as I suspected from the start that option was far too limiting for me, but both lenses were very well presented and come with lens pouches and caps back and front.

By way of a follow-up: Those using the mirror lens for astrophotography appear to be impressed.

So thank you very much, Intro 2020, Samyang and Nick Dorman.

Monday 18 March 2013

2013 Tringford Fish Restocking

Learning that Tringford Fishing Season opens at Easter, and that they were due to receive a fresh stock of Rainbow Trout, I drove down in time to see the two tanks’ worth arriving. A tank at a time is opened and a chute attached, then the sluice gate is opened and the fish enter the reservoir helped by the water – I swear I caught one trying to leap back up!

After the last reluctant ones were given a helping hand from the empty tank, the next task was to ensure that they all make it safely from beyond the shore; one or two somehow managed to get under the overhang and a few more seemed to want to rest by reeds at the water’s edge, but with a little tickle from a stick they were persuaded to reach out for deeper water.

The anglers’ boats at the jetty were all small reservoirs in their own rights, thanks to the rain that has been falling of late, so I now realised why the Water Bailliff was so named as shortly, canibalised plastic containers became makeshift bailers, as Bob and Colin set to, reducing the level in the old Rothschild boat.

Then all three of us went out on to the lake, so Bob could check what maintenance he would be needing to do before his anglers arrived for the start of the season. There was not too much bird activity, but I did spot a coot building its nest, and several tufted ducks, which flew off as we neared.

I felt compelled to capture some shots of Colin, because here was a face with a ton of character, and often a mischievous grin; I decided he should be portrayed in black and white, as I felt they then told much more of the man and his travels.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Batford Springs

The first chance for a while to take advantage of some very early spring sunshine.

Batford is a small village just beyond Harpenden along the Lower Luton Road heading towards Wheathampstead. Batford Springs is an area of grass across from some of the cottages where the river (I think it may be the the Lea) meanders among the trees, leading to a recreation ground, on the day I was there the grass was sodden, and many of the paths extremely muddy underfoot.

I had never been before so I took the advantage of a vacant space in the layby to park up and take a wander. In full spring and summer, I imagined it to be full of wildlife, as I could hear birdsong from all around, and it was obviously an area favoured by dog owners.

There were several bench style seats strategically located beneath the trees, and in warmer weather I can imagine them to be taken to sit and eat lunch. The weirs have been maintained and the clever stepping stones across allow a variety of routes to be taken through the woods. The sound of the water masks the sounds of vehicles along the main road, and even though when I was there it was in the afternoon, there was still ice on the branch caught in one weir.

I tried to capture the colour and the shapes the water flow made and the isolation of the place, I was pleased to get a chance to take photos again.