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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Thursday 31 July 2014

Caddington – Short Stroll

It was unforgivingly muggy and I had been at the screen for several days, so as my daughter and her two children were coming over, I decided I needed a break, so grabbed my camera and strolled down the main road through the village, taking a close look at flowers and any pollinators that were busy at work.

It was not long before I found subjects for the 100mm macro lens on the 7D. I diverted down one arcing road which starts and finishes simply further along the same main road, and in so doing was rewarded by two displays of a flower I had never seen before – it vaguely resembled a cluster of fibre optics lit by LEDs! I have tried searching for a similar looking flower on Google to help find out its name – to no avail.

All too soon, I had to make tracks back to welcome my grandchildren to the house, but despite a few owners' comments that the displays were not that brilliant I think I captured some reasonable pictures.

The most prevalent species were hydrangeas – quite obviously a favourite of many and there was a variety of colours on display, the first to catch my eye being all white.

I also found several people were more than happy for me to venture into their front gardens, but mostly I only took shots at the boundary.

Sunday 27 July 2014

Bountiful Budliea

Having earlier complained about the lack of hoverflies and butterflies in my garden, Saturday brought the arrival at least of more butterflies, similar numbers of bees, and a hairy hoverfly. They were shot in a couple of short sessions around two Budliea bushes in the back garden

Sadly, one set of far less welcome insects were probably encouraged by the heat — midges! I am sure these also have a psychological effect of creating phantom itches for several hours after!

The challenge for me was to see how close I could come, so that I could observe and capture a record of their pollinating and cleaning activities, whilst trying to do a reasonable job of trying to take the shots with interesting and varied backgrounds, with differing colours and shapes. Since I consider these galleries to be a personal picture library, I often also include variations of framing from landscape and portrait formats as well as often placing the subject, such that there is suitable area left for placing of text or other images to be ,cut in, which may often seem like unnecessary duplication. Lastly, I like to ensure that a gallery of images fill the pages without blank thumbnail spaces. I am limited also in that the Lightroom templates I use do not allow for differing totals of images per page.

Moving in really close to these insects then taking sharp images requires a certain amount of perseverance and patience, and when you do not have the steadiest of hands, it is quite challenging; I hope that the images shown in this gallery convey just how fascinating these creatures are when viewed 'up close and personal'.

One last note; the sun was in and out, there was a gentle breeze occasionally interspersed with gusts, and my subjects work very fast, rarely settling for longer than a few seconds, very occasionally they would remain longer, but in the case of the butterflies, they would not help by keeping their wings open for long, or would choose a location where my flash was shielded by leaves, also they did not take into consideration that I might want a complimentary backdrop, so it was often vital for me to change ISO, Aperture, or in some instances the relationship between the ambient light and the flash exposure, so they kept me on my toes, and sometimes on my knees, and the camera becomes very heavy after waiting patiently for a bee or butterfly to come over the top of the florettes and into view.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Stockwood Discovery Centre Flowers

Having had only a single hoverfly visible in my own garden today, and wanting to try to get ever closer to capture more detail whilst they forage for nectar, I decided on a quick visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre gardens.

I learned that some poppies had a vast audience of hoverflies, but watching for a while I saw nary a one, and so it was destined to be for the rest of my visit, there were however bees aplenty, and far more interesting flowers, so serendipity took over and I accepted my fate and simply took a gallery of images of flowers instead.

Sunday 20 July 2014

A Second Delve into the Verbena

There is another world when kneel close to a garden bed of Verbena, or move in close to the florettes of a Budliea; when you are close to the Verbena on a warm afternoon like Saturday, you can hear an almost continuous hum from the bees as they move speedily around the tiny flowers, never staying for even as long as a second, since the flowers themselves are far too small. But for the hoverflies and other tiny insects the flowers do offer an advantage to linger, but mostly on this afternoon, a full second was generous to me.

This is a small window in which to move in, focus, and fire, but at least shooting digitally, I can rid myself of my failures in fairly short order. The sun was in and out as if it were a strobe light, which meant a constant re-assessment of my ISO setting, but at least from my last session, I had concluded that setting the Auto correction for the ambient lighting to minus a stop and a third, and the on-camera flash to plus a stop was a good baseline from which to work. I did a fair amount of ‘chimping’ to keep abreast of how I was faring, and I was careful to ensure that the flash was not being shielded by intervening leaves.

I was determined to see whether I could get in ever closer so I could capture the activity of the insects be they butterflies, hoverflies or or a lone ladybird. In this way I was able to note that in the absence of any aphids, the ladybird was not averse to sneaking pollen from the tiny Verbena flowers for a change in diet.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Hoverflies and Other Budliea Pollinators

It seemed cooler outside than in, so lunchtime took me outside with the Canon 7D and the Canon 100mm Macro with its onboard flash. The sun was in and out of cloud cover making it as difficult as possible for me to keep adjusting both the ISO and Aperture to take this gallery of images mainly of the hoverflies, of which I saw at least three different species, and within any specific group there were different ages.

Because some were half the size of the largest, I took a control shot of my thumbnail against a single flower head of the Verbena as most were found feeding on its pollen, with fewer going for the florettes of the Budliea whose size was easier to judge.

The most striking variety was a bright yellow that I had not come across before, and one looked very like a bee. I was lucky to get a few shots where the insect was still in flight, but a couple had just taken off and remained in frame from when I was taking a shot whilst they were static.

I started off with the flash set to one third over exposure and the ambient set to one third under, but eventually I set the flash to a full stop over and the ambient one and a third under with a few changes of ISO from 1600 down to 250 when the sun was fully out and I was shooting around the edges of the verbena clump.

I was reasonably happy with the end result considering how few were around despite the warmth.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Stockwood Discovery Gardens Visit

Having not visited the gardens at the Stockwood Discovery Centre for some weeks I felt that given the time I would pay a visit as the light seemed reasonable and I felt the chances of finding numerous images was good.

Upon entering the sounds of children filled the air, as I strolled beyond the Play Area and entered the gardens. At first there seemed an abundance of green, but not a lot of colour, but this proved to be deceptive, once I could see and hear the destruction of the old diamond-shaped Fountain, I then spotted the wonderful length of Lavender, and the occasional colour of a tall flower to the right.

I took a few preliminary shots then sought out the gardener, Jan and soon spotted her beyond the strewn cuttings of the hedge she was trimming at the far end wall. We chatted a while as she continued to level the top of the hedge, and then she asked whether I wanted to take a look inside the greenhouse.

I learned that it now had a young robin visiting and also a frog. I later did spot the robin, which seemed to lack its customary red breast, but I never saw the frog. I did however find much to photograph in there, and I was soon sweating profusely in the moist heat despite almost the entire length had its windows open. Once I had worked my way to the far end there was a welcoming pleasant breeze.

Once I had locked the greenhouse behind me and walked around in the fresh air, I soon dried, leaving my shirt with a white salt tide mark! I headed for the vegetable area and the lavender to get a few shots of hoverflies and bees, before heading for other sections and leaving. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of images I managed to find.

Monday 7 July 2014

Tring Reservoirs' Birdlife

Sunday promised fair weather with just a chance of a shower, so I decided that as I had not visited the Tring Reservoirs in a while, I would take myself off there with just the one lens and camera, the 5D MkIII and the 100-400mm lens. I intended travelling very light – not even the monopod.

I went to Tringford initially and met up with a couple of anglers, took a few shots of Common Tern as they swooped and dived for small fish close to the jetty. I did catch a quick glimpse of a pair of kingfishers skimming the water's surface before parting from the anglers and taking a wander a short way along the Trout stream, on the offchance I might catch sight of them there, but all there were were damselflies, a single dragonfly, a butterfly, and a multitude of insects.

I crossed the road and took to the path between Marsworth and Startops End reservoirs, stopping occasionally to capture more Common tern, black headed and common gulls. Eventually I took to the reeded area to patiently wait to see whether I might catch sight of a kingfisher at the far end of Marsworth reservoir. I was in luck, as after forty minutes a pair actually circled a bush on the far side from me, before beating a hasty retreat back across the main lake.

 I waited another twenty minutes before getting another chance when a singleton landed on a far bare branch before flying off; I just managed to capture a shot on the edge of my frame as it disappeared, and that is the shot that heads this text. More than an hour passed before I made my way back towards Tringford and capturing a few more shots of the gulls and tern.

Sussex Saturday

The weekend of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I spent with a charming couple I have known since I first spent time with them in Bormes-les-Mimosas in Provence, as the Friday would be spent with the two Peters at the hill-climb.

Saturday morning however was going to be more relaxing with a walk along the beach with Rosie and Tilly, the golden Labradors. Sunday would also be a walk, though a different location but with the same canine company. I would naturally take any opportunity to take photographs, and the two galleries are the result.

Saturday's Gallery, (same location as linked from the Title above)
Sunday's Gallery

Thursday 3 July 2014

Festival of Speed 2014

Once again, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Festival of Speed at Goodwood, and on this occasion I was joined by two Peters; one being my primary guest, and the second a good friend of the first whom the first Peter was inviting as a thank you for a spell on his boat in Antigua. The unexpected bonus from these arrangements was an invitation to the Gurney Pavilion courtesy of Ferrari who provided us with excellent hospitality, food and drinks during the day.

We had set off from Birdham and encountered heavy traffic on our journey into the venue, and misdirected by some miscreant switching the colour coding at one of the main roundabouts which resulted in our having to drive through one of the Public Car Parks to reach Gate 4, and our designated parking.

We visited the Super Car area first before heading for the Gurney Pavilion where we collected our extra passes and some programmes. The seating at the front of the Ferrari area proved to be an ideal viewing position for the right hander before the straight in front of the House, especially as it was sufficiently elevated to be clear of the straw bales at the trackside. It also provided a fairly clear view to the wider area before the bridge where many stunts were to be performed such as burn-outs, doughnuts and bike tricks.

Once again Lord March had excelled himself with the installation in front of the House; on this occasion the support structure curved over the roof of the house itself, to support two silver Mercedes from past and present eras. Despite forecasts of a high likelihood of showers we were blessed with warmth and much sunshine throughout the day.

I just love to capture the detailing of the vehicles on show and marvel at the curves that the designers achieve for both the production and concept cars that were on show, and I hope this comes across in the shots that I have taken and that appear in the galleries from this year’s event. Equally, I am amused by the ludicrous ornamentation that can be seen on American cars from a bygone era. The quality of the engineering to be found all around the Festival is awe-inspiring, and proves to be a wonderful hunting ground for photography.

The atmosphere at both the annual motoring events I have been lucky enough to attend over several years is the epitome of friendliness. On the Peugeot stand I was keen to take photos of the concept car, and the Designer himself, Dominique Larcher invited me within the barriers so that I might get better shots of the details of the car, and also his PA kindly took hold of my camera with its long lens, because he was concerned it might brush against his creation, which made my task far easier. I hope I did justice to his creation in the subsequent photos.

I cannot thank Lord March for the invitation and Leslie Walsh of Ferrari enough for the wonderful hospitality he gave us in the Gurney Pavilion, and the wonderful company I enjoyed ‘avec les deux Pierres’.

The headline text links to just one gallery – Cars on Track, but all can be found in this list:

The Installation
Cars on Track
Bikes on Track
Bike Stunts
Aston Martin Concept
Maserati Concept
Peugeot Concept
The Aircraft