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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Tuesday 25 February 2014

Trafalgar Square and the Strand

This was in fact the first strand of the day I visited the London Fashion Weekend and just a glimpse of the end, and what a day it turned out to be.

The rainy start began in Caddington and continued till I parked the car close to East Finchley Station; by the time I stepped out at Charing Cross, the rain had abated, but the colour had not altered from Slate Grey (back at base my choice of Creativity background paper!) But at the far side was the Bright Blue Cockerel, which immediately brought a smile to my face – the contrast from the greys and blacks of many of the buildings and the Edwin Landseer Lions was wonderful to behold. The Lions still held their charm for climbers of all ages to be photographed between their benign forelegs, and it was a greta way to relax before the more serious task of trying to do justice to the models on the Fashion Show Catwalk in Somerset House.

I wanted a record of the new Routemasters plying their trade along London’s thoroughfares, and the cyclist on a Boris Bike, now snubbed by Barclays for our daring to criticise their flagrant disregard of their customers, their financial gambling and their extortionate bonuses. One sign caught my eye, and I realised just how poor we have become when I spotted a capital ‘L’ replacing a lowercase character on a small sign!

I used to work in London, but spent my time only considering the fastest route between one place and the next, only very rarely stopping to look around me, well not this time. The entire gallery of images were my personal observations over a period of just over thirty minutes as I strolled and observed, and after one chance encounter, started singing the words from ‘Streets of London,’ I will leave readers to guess the precise moment when my singing started.

ME Hotel – the Day had not ended…

My day started in Trafalgar Square and ended in a gem of a visit after the London Fashion Show by stepping into the ME Hotel, which is a Norman Foster building apparently; sited on the former Marconi and Citibank site.

I had no idea from this corner entrance just what the building was, and by pure happenstance neither did another passer-by, and though from his conversation with his daughters, he seemed to know more than me and was equally curious, he strode in to ask, and I meekly followed him in, and listened to the answer from the Concierge – I learned it was in fact a hotel and that the staff were more than happy for me to take photos of the interior.

They went further! They suggested I go to the Mezzanine floor where the Reception was, and after photographing the decor there I bumped into the lady who was organising visits to the Roof Garden, who asked had I been? To my response she said I must; as the scenes from that viewpoint, of the London Skyline were stunning. She was not wrong!

Whilst I moved around taking photos, the reception I was given was nothing less than wonderfully warm and accommodating, which is more than can be said for the bracing breeze that met me when the glass doors to the outside were opened for me – some of the guests were huddled under duvets at the outside tables as they sipped their cocktails! Presumably these were supplied by the ever attentive staff.

I felt as if I was a Prince whilst there, and that I had stepped back in time; I still cannot believe how welcome I felt from the moment I entered to the time I left – everyone with whom I came into contact was the epitome of charm and at the same time totally natural – if only everyone in such establishments could come close to the standard I witnessed there, the world would be a far better place – Thank you.

London Fashion Weekend – from the Pit

I am not a fashion photographer, but when Park Cameras offered (by way of thanking me for purchasing the Canon 5D MkIII), the chance to be in the photographers’ pit at the London Fashion Weekend and take pictures on the catwalk, I jumped at the chance!

I made sure that I was very early, so that I could combine the opportunity of photographing in the vicinity, namely the Strand and Trafalgar Square. Some time back I had heard about the Blue Chicken atop  the fourth Plinth, but I was not prepared for its size, nor just how prominent it would be set against the black of the Landseer Lions or the pale green fountain statues, the cream stonework, or the grey of Nelson’s Column. This was a dull London Sunday, but even despite the overcast, this cock was the brightest sight in the square; it brought a smile to my face.

I just had to shoot it in contrast to its well-established neighbours. I spent a few casual minutes in the square, before walking slowly down the Strand and to the One Aldwych Hotel where the day’s briefing was to take place. Having travelled with a leather jacket, I was extremely grateful that the hotel would look after it despite my not being a resident, as I knew our final venue would be far from cold. I found the suite Canon and Park Cameras were using and joined other early birds to chat and sip a coffee prior to a presentation by Fashion Photographer, Tony Wellington and Mehdia from Canon.* To get into the swing of things I grabbed a few ‘snaps’ of some of the other photographers seated nearby as well as those presenting. (Thanks to Mark Read of Park for assisting my failing short term memory here!)

At the end of the briefing we then headed out of the hotel and to Somerset House the venue of the London Fashion Week, where we reassembled to wait our time to enter the Photographers’ pit, giving us all a further chance to chat to others about our forthcoming treat. There were to be three separate opportunities and despite there being gaps when we could have wandered around outside very few did so and not out of fear that they might lose their chosen spot, simply because most of us wanted to socialise.

We had to be in place before the general paying public took their seats, so we watched the organisers efficiently bringing groups in to take up their places one row at a time either side of the catwalk in each of the two arms of the U-shaped catwalk or ‘runway’ as the Americans describe it. At the start of each show Angela Scanlon came in to describe what to expect and she also introduced us to a couple of the Designers. There was a fairly constant stream of video adverts on the screens either side of the catwalk entrance and loud rhythmic music backed the models as they appeared to strut their stuff. We had been warned that it would be fast-paced and we were not misled; it required immense concentration and it was all too easy to fail to follow the guidelines we had been given as to how to aim for the forward foot being flat on the deck with the other trailing, but after a while I began to realise exactly what that meant, however that did not mean I met with much success!

I hope the resulting shots can still give pleasure; it certainly gave me great pleasure to take them, then I had to start an impressive culling operation!

Monday 17 February 2014

Jonah Jones – Bond at Sixty!

Jonah Jones invited me to Babraham to join in celebrations for his sixtieth birthday; the theme being James Bond, and the plan was that I would help Catherine (Katy) to create a montage of himself sporting the body of one of his heroes, Daniel Craig as he steps from the water. This request came on the night before, so any plans I might have of sensibly having an early night went out the window! Catherine emailed me both a picture of her hero, Jonah, and Daniel taken on her phone, and neither stood a chance, so I sourced the picture from something at least a generation or two earlier and screenshotted a picture of my own to match the similar low quality of the Internet image. I also interpolated the image to nearer the size she had in mind, and sent that by email.

I arrived at Jonah's in time to take some shots of the girls getting their nails ready, and later we all headed for the Institute to prepare Catherine's other idea  which was to set up a scene such that I took shots at the venue through the rifled barrel of the guests, and had duly brought portable flash gear, but as with many last minute ideas, this failed because I was unable to sync both of my lights, so only had the single light, which was my fault and meant that despite all the setting up was never used!

For the rest of the event I planned to take handheld shots without flash at the impressive 128,000 ISO, and except for when the light was totally unavailable or the subjects moved too fast, this proved to be successful, towards the end of the evening the theatre area was used but in the opposite direction and sadly I had not been able to move all that stuff sufficiently out of view, so can be seen in the background of some of the impromptu group shots I took later from the elevation of a chair on the stage.

The whole place was brilliantly decorated for the theme; the costumes were excellent and the atmosphere of the event was fantastic with its Casino tables for both card games and Roulette wheel, and extra chips were able to be purchased and the money taken over the evening went to the NSPCC, the amount of money collected was £300 as can be seen by Liz Heard holding the jug aloft!

The whole evening was very much an extended family affair, bringing together several different strands from Jonah's six decades with everyone really enjoying themselves. Jonah himself was pleased to learn that his present had nothing to do with the Circus, unless of course one thinks of Silverstone as one!

I am splitting the shots into separate galleries: the Lodge, the main party, and the groups I photographed in the theatre.
Girls Prepare
My Setup Models
Theatre Groups
The Party Shots

Monday 10 February 2014

Sunny Interlude – Flight Theme

It is extremely frustrating that when a free moment occurs the weather turns foul, so when the sun appeared to be coming out between showers for a change I decided I just had to go out for a drive and see whether any red kites were aloft. Normally this would mean I end up photographing friendly robins or hot rod cars, but not on this occasion – I did actually catch sight of a few elusive kites, but the first few times, by the time I was out of the car having found somewhere to park, they had soared high or simply flown to another, more distant hilltop, so since low-flying aircraft are once again newsworthy hereabouts, I grabbed a few of them in passing.

 Parking was not as easy a prospect as in the past since many of the likely spots were quagmires or were alongside deep, full road width puddles that passing cars would use to cover my car with muddy and grit-laden water. This meant often lengthy walks to a suitable vantage point. Once again I became aware that wildlife is fully cognisant of the limitations humans, in particular photographers, have when trying to get close to them! I started from Tea Green, via Lilley Bottom and Whitwell,  returning by Peters Green.

One advantage of windy and showery weather is the different light that plays upon the landscape and the differing cloud shapes that occur. A horse-riding mother was being accompanied by her cycle-riding son as they took advantage of the break in the afternoon weather, and they were silhouetted against the bright road surface as they climbed the hill beyond me, making a striking shot.

On my journey back via Peters Green, I again spotted a lone kite flying low, but only managed a couple of shots before it disappeared beyond the tree line, but a young lad bid me “Hi” as he came from his cottage to walk his dog, I returned the compliment, but after several minutes I turned around and he had gone no further than a puddle a few gates down, and was squatting down with what at a distance, looked like a paper boat that he seemed to be photographing, so as the kite had decided not to return, I strolled closer and we chatted. It turned out he was studying A-level photography at St Georges’ School, and he had a project that seemed to involve fire and water, so he was taking closeups of burning newspaper floating on the puddle’s surface. I gathered from this conversation he was actually more interested in film, but this course seemed close. He was familiar with Photoshop, but I felt that he might consider Lightroom as this was likely to benefit his still camera work and provide him with a different way of handling the post processing, so I suggested he look at the 30-day free trial for his Mac. I wished him all the best and returned to the car and home.

When I was doing my post processing I spotted a very distinctive end of wing feather on one kite over Whitwell, and realised I had photographed this same bird around a year ago over Tea Green!

Sunday 2 February 2014

First of February – Country Sunshine

I had decided to get up reasonably early as sunshine was forecast from the start of Sunday, but the initial destination I chose proved futile, as did the second, but undaunted I pursued my first general idea of sticking close to the river.

The first two locations did still provide images, the determined and speedy duck, a bushes remaining trunk's sawcuts to ensure its ultimate demise, and the fascination of fast moving water at a weir by Batford Springs.

There was a good deal of walking across fields to see whether I might get closer to a herd of deer, and a pond on the outskirts of Ley Green was very typically rural English fare, but my reason for stopping there was originally because a red kite was low overhead, but once I had found a place to park it and its occasional partner had soared into the far distance, so apart from the rural idyll here and at Gosmore, I captured the farmer's wife collecting bales of straw from one location to the main farm with a yellow JCB – a formidable vehicle to meet head-on in the narrow lanes when without a bale onboard!

But it was good to be out and to see that despite the numerous lakes on the roads, many of the crops in the fields were looking far better than last year in the same area.

Saturday 1 February 2014

Bitterly cold, but Otter at Marsworth

I must make a correction to this article – for those more erudite than me, the picture above is that of a Mink, not an Otter. Please accept my honest apologies, I will leave the headline though.

A young robin must have felt I needed consolation and company as it (for I have no way to define its sex) was either simply curious or liked the idea of company. Although wary he (as I decided I should decided ‘it’ was far too impersonal for such a personable bird) flew around me to take up different positions in the branches, seemingly shivering, but also softly muttering when it alighted. I had arrived with some ends of frozen loaves from home, so I broke a few and threw them around by way of a reward for keeping me company, and rather than risk displaying signs of incipient madness by talking to myself, tried to talk quietly to him to give him reassurance.

He followed me as I changed the spot from which I might hope to get a glimpse of a kingfisher or other bird or animal life at the water’s edge close to the reed beds of Marsworth reservoir. As time wore on he came ever closer, landing on my dangling boot on one occasion, and within arm’s length on the tip of the branch I rode as if on horseback (hence the dangling feet either side) when he came close he stayed for only a few seconds; fifteen or so at the most, but at other times when just beyond arm’s length he might rest for a minute or two, and every so often he would disappear for three to five minutes and return with a worm that he would pick at and shake whilst on the muddy path by which I had entered the bushes.

All the while I would divide my time looking around for signs of elusive kingfishers and other stirrings in the scene before me and what he was up to, talking re-assuringly to him to let him know he was either too close for me to get a shot of him or asking him to persuade his kingfisher friends to visit.

During one of the times when I was concentrating ahead of me, not being distracted by my robin companion, there was a little splashing only a few feet away and an otter came out of the crystal clear water and clambered onto the half-submerged fallen tree trunk I was on and looked me straight in the eye before calmly deciding I might just be a threat and he slid back into the water. I also was visited by a squirrel, three moorhens, an overflying heron that did a prompt U-turn, several pigeons, a lone young grebe, a grey wagtail, a crow, yet few stayed in sight for long.
Seeing the otter so close was the reward for my perseverance, and as I returned to the canal path I became exposed to a bitter and rising wind, with the reservoir water being churned into choppy white horses. When I had arrived earlier I had only seen two people, one an optimistic angler, the other a taciturn pessimist who took a while to respond to my “Morning” with “Not much good about it!” When I was leaving more people were around, many out with dogs or babes in buggies, and a pair of men who engaged me in conversation asking whether I had had any luck. When I mentioned the otter they immediately told me that they had been talking to that same lone angler about otters and their propensity apparently for only eating the gill areas of fishes, yet saying that he knew of none in the vicinity. They told me after they had viewed my shots I should let the angler see them as he would be really interested in the coincidence of their conversation and my sighting. I naturally did just that when caught up with him, before heading back to the car.