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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Monday 30 September 2013

Bamville Cricket Club – Last Match of 2013

Traditionally Bamville Cricket Club celebrates their last match of the Season, by playing tow teams from within the Club, that way Bamville Club cannot lose. On Sunday they were blessed with bright sunshine for most of the day, and it was pleasantly warm, and Peter Carr, the Club Secretary invited me along, and he would be very pleased if I would take a Club Team Picture for that season, I duly came along together with my cameras, and I also chose to check out CamRanger again.

Because most members would be unlikely to have eaten lunch a splendid buffet was being laid out as I arrived. Rather than confining myself to only taking pictures of the match in progress, I took the opportunity to take informal pictures of many of those attending, both players and and friends and family.

I tried to make sure that I shot the very first ball being bowled, and from then on I was trying to anticipate when the bails were dislodged by keen bowling and was pleasantly surprised by how many of such shots came my way that day – I cannot be sure that the batsmen who succumbed were quite as thrilled as I was, to capture the moment of their downfall, but I was unashamedly thrilled when I managed to do so! I even longed for the classic shot of a stump flying, but that was not to be.

Taking photos of a cricket match is certainly a fantastic way to make a rod for my own back in terms of post processing as I have to be constantly trying to anticipate when a memorable picture is going to occur, so there will always be a mountain of shots where anticipated action fails to materialise, and one simply adds to the total of images one takes, and not only that you may miss something if you choose to keep deleting at the time of taking. For that reason I would recommend that hard drive manufacturers sponsor Cricket as a great way to fill large discs!

Thank you very much to Peter for inviting me, and a very big thank you for the hospitality and company, both were absolutely excellent, and an especial thank you to the lady who made some fantastic chocolate brownies.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Stockwood Discovery – Autumn

The gardens are being prepared for the next season, but this afternoon did not seem like autumn, it was like a warm summer’s day, and I felt hot rather than cool, in part due to the relatively high humidity, but also due to carrying a fairly weighty camera bag then running back and forth while trying to check out further use of the CamRanger. I am still facing re-registration issues, but I am now directly in contact with the ever-helpful developer, Dave Pawlowski, as he has invited me to beta test the product, and somehow I will endeavour to help him cure this irritating recurrence, he also says he is working hard to help me overcome a related missing component related to WiFi. This is already a very polished combination of a hardware device and app that allows both the capture of images remotely from the iPad, or in the Client mode allows the iPad to show the shots on its screen as they are taken remotely.

It was in this mode I was trying to gain further experience by allowing others to see what I was shooting as I went around with just the camera and CamRanger, moments after I had taken them. I want to be able to use both the Remote Control facility where the camera is on a tripod and aimed at either a landscape or wildlife, or close-up on some insect, so I do not represent a distraction, or I am simply trying not to cause camera shake yet able to focus accurately and appropriately for a landscape. In other situations similar to a recent networking event, where it was handy to leave the iPad in view as I took photos of the attendees, I use the Client mode. I was asked at that event whether it were possible to send the images to the large screen they were using, to which I responded: “Not presently; but that I was hopeful”. A further use is to facilitate post processing by reviewing the small Jpegs on the iPad alongside the Mac and doing the culling that much quicker.

Going around the gardens at first there seemed little on display to create a worthy gallery of images, but on closer inspection, both literally and metaphorically I was pleasantly surprised. There were no less than three specimens of the striped red, gold and green beetle resembling a bejewelled ladybird on the last of the lavender being cut back by Jan and her apprentice gardener, Sam. Seemingly it was not an insect they had come across before whereas I had seen some before, though I cannot recall precisely where. It turns out it is chrysolina americana. It seemed a shame to be evicting some of the established insects and losing the wonderful aroma that pervaded the air where they were working. I did later spot a lone clump in isolation.

I also spied a lone and careworn butterfly, some funghi, some still lush ferns, some sunflowers and bright red, and bright white berries of differing species in the gardens, before insanely visiting the greenhouse sauna to see grapes and the voluptuous leaf shapes and cacti. When I came out I was as if I had been caught in a monsoon – I was sodden!

Saturday 21 September 2013

Design Festival, London

Geoff Dann, a London photographer and I decided to take Friday as a day to tour around the City towards the end of the London Festival of Design; in my case to take pictures, Geoff’s to talk to some of the participants and take it as it came. As I write this with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight we chose our day well, but this was not certain as we set off for the South Bank in cloud, but surprisingly after taking our time walking to the Millennium Bridge, often referred to as the ‘Wibbly-Wobbly Bridge’ due to its somewhat ignominious start in life, we headed for the ‘Endless Stair’ and as we arrived so did the sun!

This was an intriguing structure paying homage to MC Escher and his famous stairs, with a very clever wooden structure made from American tulipwood, designed by  Alex de Rijke, founder of architects dRMM. It can apparently handle ninety-three people safely at any one time, but there were not that number of visitors when we arrived, so around seven of us had the entire staircase to ourselves; not long after we had explored its heights, several large school groups arrived with mayhem in tow. We moved on visiting a Swedish contingent here to promote their City for next year’s City of Culture complete with carved blocks of ice, and the Malaysians with seemingly schoolchildren dancing and surrounded by numerous movie cameramen. Not far from the itv Studios was an excellent statue in honour Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet and further along the Embankment we came across a few skateboarders in a brightly-graffitied concrete playground amidst the mushroom-like supports of the structures above.

Further along was an Ali-Baba figure dispensing a vast cloud of bubbles to the obvious delight of young and old alike; the children rushing and reaching to follow and burst them amongst the trees, and the parents and other onlookers with their phones and cameras, both video and still – there was not a glum face to be seen.

The London Eye was now magnificent against the bright blue sky inviting all those crossing the Thames and passing the statue of Boadicea (Boudicca) and her chariot to point their lenses across the river. From there Geoff and I plunged into the subterranean depths of the London Underground where Geoff felt he was entering a Space Movie or James Bond set with all the structural pipework on show to the commuting public. The internal architecture is certainly brutal and harsh, but I find all the shapes and texture fascinating, and so reaching the platform was not speedy, especially as we took the wrong direction more than once! Next we headed for the Brompton Road area.

Leaving South Kensington Station we strolled the streets entering some of the listed venues of the festival, but only when we arrived at Cassina were we to find ourselves spending much time talking to the exhibitors and photographing what we saw; their showroom was intriguing, and the lady was eager to tell us about the furniture that was on display on both floors. By now it was also time to find somewhere for light refreshment and the spot we chose allowed us to remain in the bright sunshine and be served by an extremely attentive but unpushy waitress and whilst waiting, watch the world go by, and chat, I savoured their roast corn and Geoff, their Chicken paté. From there we headed for the Victoria and Albert Museum, supposedly the hub of the event, but we found their permanent exhibition to be of more interest and we also walked around the ornamental pool, before heading back to Moorgate and the Studio.

It had been a very worthwhile and relaxing day and it was hard to believe from our tour that we were in recessionary times, but the reality for both of us is that in our commercial world it is hard to find lucrative work, despite our best efforts, but we hold our heads high and work hard to keep clients happy and seek new ones to fill the gaps left by those whom we no longer retain.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Goodwood Revival in the Rain!

From all I can gather I believe I chose the best day to visit the Revival Meeting this year, for although we even had spells of sunshine, the rain was somewhat intermittent, and the cloud cover lifted allowing aircraft to display. The personal highlight of the flying was to see a Canberra, for this was one of the aircraft I had worked on when in the RAF, and I had always been impressed by the later versions with Triple Starters that had the most stunning rates of climb after only a very short stay on the runway.

I had hoped to be accompanied by a multi-talented all-rounder – photographer, author, blogger, whirlwind PR Lady, and talented organiser, Vanessa Champion, but work proved more powerful than play, and it had always been chancy settling on the Friday, since it is a weekday. I took along a publisher and Rugby photographer at the last moment instead.

The enclosure that provides an excellent view of the exit from the Chicane, was my first vantage point, but I also spent a short time in the grandstand within the enclosure and also on the roof of the Pits. But this was a day where the ever-present threat of rain dictated that shelter be near at hand. I met an interesting American, Harold 'Howie' D. Grant who had a car or two racing there, and he pointed out one of the cars and said he'd be happy to buy some pictures, so I duly obliged, and met up with him a few more times and he introduced me to his charismatic driver. The green car was unusual in that it had four tyres at the rear.

During one of the spells of brightness I met up with Patricia Rayner and Keith Duerden of Image 2 photography; friends of longstanding, since I had first met them when Keith headed up the Photographic Unit of Mobil in Victoria. Keith has a long history of photographing motor racing, having watched and photographed Stirling Moss racing at Goodwood when he was his own mechanic! He has a large collection of  black and white photographs from a past era of the sport, and has a website selling his work, and is currently working on the publishing of a book. We all met up at the ‘Earls Court Motor Show’ pastiche and then strolled, chatting to visit the static display of aircraft, where we came across Tracey Curtis-Taylor and Amanda Stretton and the ‘Spirit of Artemis’. Tracey is due to fly solo from Capetown to Goodwood, and a film crew were setting up as we came upon them, and so this offered me a chance to capture some of the proceedings.

On my later return to the trackside I turned round at one stage and there was a favourite TV star of mine just feet away, Honeysuckle Weeks, who has been expertly teamed with Peter Kitchen in ‘Foyle’s War’, I just had to overcome my natural temerity to ask could I take some quick photos, but I could step no further back, so I had to make do with the camera and lens I was holding, the 100-400mm, and do my best to use the wide end, but she was so relaxed and unfazed, that I did get a few shots. I learned a few things she has planned and I mentioned that she was certainly blessed with a beautiful name by her parents. By her side was Peter Sandys-Clarke who it turned out had also had a role in Foyle’s War, but I had to embarrassedly state I did not recognise him, he was very accommodating and accepted my apology with great grace, saying he fully appreciated the reasons for my failure.

I was persuaded to set off early to avoid the imminent rain, which proved to be a good decision as I gather we missed the quagmire that befell those who stayed on till later, and that the following days were severely marred by inclement British weather.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Watford Creative Technologies Cluster

These events put on by Clock and West Hertfordshire College have been extremely enjoyable and interesting evenings, and this Tuesday’s event was no exception, in fact for me it was particularly so because a photographer came up to me and said he remembered me from more than ten years ago, during his time as an assistant at Mill Yard Studios in Luton. I apologised to him, Paul Meyler, for not showing signs of recognising him and he then explained that he remembered the times when I used to visit the two photographers to show them examples of retouching. During these visits he was apparently in the background which explains why I would have been less likely to remember him.

At the last event I had been surprised to see a photographer I had done work for even further back, and she was coming for the first time; we have been in touch ever since she, Patricia Rayner had been assistant Senior Photographer at Mobil in Victoria. Her husband, Nick was present this evening, whilst Patricia was working on the photography of the previous day.

I had taken Product Designer, Peter Carr, but both of us had been late in leaving, so upon our arrival, there was already a filling hall of other Creatives and members of Clock’s staff, and up to the right of the stage was the Star item of the evening – SwipeStation. Peter and I mingled, but I quickly dug out my camera and began attaching Camranger to it and switching on my iPad and selecting its ad hoc network; this seemed like the ideal opportunity to put the iPad into Client mode in the eponymous app and make each shot I took appear on its screen as I went around shooting. This made it far easier for me to engage in conversation as those intrigued by what I was doing would ask about how it was done. It also gave me confirmation as to whether the ISO speed was up to the rigours of shooting in such low light surrounded as we were by black painted walls! The best compromise for quality was to set 3,200 ISO and use an aperture of f/5.6 and hope that I could hold the camera steady at the resultant shutterspeed!

It was not long before we were called to order and Syd  Nadim, CEO of Clock introduced himself and explained how SwipeStation came about and then handed over to Sam Fresco to give us a fuller story of what it was all about. It was a bold venture that required considerable exploration of numerous disciplines and technologies – a steep learning curve with no guarantees of ultimate success, but they won through. Sam told the story from early almost Blue Peter style mockups to the final product and how it had gained them several blue chip clients along the way – Yates, Pepsi and Red Bull.

Next on the floor was Ben Barrell who gave us an insight into Future Fest and a very intriguing look at Cyborg and how a man, who was only able to see in black and white was given the means to ‘hear’ the colours of his surroundings. The evening was rounded off by more networking, delicious pizzas and more drinks. Unfortunately on this occasion Peter and I were unable to continue along to the Bodega.

An Afternoon around Stagsden

It seems a while since I took this group of pictures, but life got in the way, with a few tribulations that involved a boiler sparking out, however that is now behind me, so I have now set myself the task of trying to write up what happened on that weekend.

It was a day that began with the typical early morning mist that signifies Autumn, but warmed up remarkably quickly to present blue skies and puffy white Cumulus clouds which gave Hay Lane a full appreciation of its name, this was the Big Country, largely flat, though with hills rising and falling along a largely straight road, so I pulled over to capture the hill itself and later, the small hamlet that had grown up around a farm and small pond. I wandered with my long lens into the undergrowth beyond the pond on the offchance there might be some wildlife lurking in the scrub or thicket, and did catch a fleeting sight of a dragonfly and a butterfly, and noted the raindrops still on the long grass from the night before. I soon wandered back to the edge of the pond where I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the water and the numbers of small fish.

As I wandered back towards my car, I fell into conversation with one of the hamlet’s inhabitants who said I might be interested in capturing one of his sunflowers which had started life with just one flower head, but as the summer progressed had developed green towards its centre and then its edge to produce a total of four flower heads all conjoined. He invited me to see other flowers and also apparently a cluster of twenty four self-set sunflowers. It turns out he had been a Seed Merchant’s lorry driver before retiring to this quiet rural spot miles from anywhere. After a stroll through his garden chatting and my taking pictures, he set off with his wife and I continued to Stagsden which if I understand the sign I saw had once been known as Stachedene.

As I wandered around its church I noted that when the clouds drew across the sun, the angle was very well suited to capturing the building lit and some trees in shadow, but also the clouds were gathering more and so the chances of getting a shot were steadily diminishing. I did succeed in the end.

I then headed back out into the countryside and spotted a dried up pond with a large Weeping Willow, well that is the wrong order – I spotted the Willow and the depression and assumed a pond, but found it dried up. I drove then to the weak bridges at Oakley and the weir on the The Great Ouse, and it was there that I heard the distinctive sound of an older engine and just managed to grab a shot of this red car with its horizontally-opposed twin engine.  I completed this trip by wandering quietly along a path and under a fallen tree towards the weir. It was interesting to note it had obviously been decided to leave the tree over the path, which probably gave great entertainment to children playing here.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Late August – Mainly Dragonflies

I had short visits to Marston Moretaine, Brogborough and Marsworth but have combined all the images into a single gallery as overall I was disappointed for several reasons, in part due to timing, part through poor planning and also because I felt I had not done justice to the subjects. I was pleased ultimately by managing to finally succeed to capture some of the dragonflies in flight, but it made me admire those with infinite patience and greater skill than myself.

The park at Marston Moretaine was fairly busy with young families with both the very  young and the children of school age coming to the end of their summer holidays, so the air was full of their high spirited sounds, but also the subtler tones of walkers deep in conversation several with their dogs in close attendance. I chose to delve into areas less-frequented braving hawthorn bushes to reach the shoreline of the reservoir in the hope of finding dragonflies circling the reed beds, as in the past they had been present in large numbers, but on this occasion they were conspicuous by the paucity in their numbers. In contrast there were numerous butterflies; blues in the main, and some which were minuscule in size, the one in particular I managed to capture because it was less flighty I was hoping I might show its scale by bringing my fingernail alongside, because its wings when closed were no larger than my index finger’s nail.

I returned to base via Brogborough, but there was little wind and fewer surfers. My later visit to Marsworth was primarily in hope that I might catch sight of kingfishers, but as on so many occasions, the subjects this time were dragonflies in abundance, which meant a possibly greater challenge, though with not quite the same reward, but here I was not alone as on my way I came across Merv, who had the same hopes as myself, but the portent was not good as we found another somewhat dispirited photographer who had been an hour already with no sign of a kingfisher. He can feel consoled that we remained there for more than four hours with just two fleeting visits, but neither of us were able to get any shots!

But during our stay we were visited briefly by what we suspected was a Sparrowhawk seemingly fishing! Also a Robin, a Yellow Wagtail and lastly a Blue tit. Obviously there were numerous pigeons and also a pair of female Mallards, so we contented ourselves honing our skills trying to get shots of dragonflies in flight, but they knew us well as they hovered only fractionally shorter than the time it takes to focus, or they visit us far more closely, knowing full well that our long lenses have no chance of capturing them when they are two foot away – so they obligingly hover at that distance, for four or five seconds!

I am convinced that all wildlife is trained by camera and lens manufacturers to recognise our kit and tantalise accordingly.