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 27 January 2015

A Visit to Slapton Lock – Gull War

I decided I might like to check out the Lensmaster Gimbal Head, manufactured in this country at Grimsby with both the EOS 7D MkII and the Tamron 150-600mm lens, so I headed for Slapton Lock.

As I was about to leave my parked car a large estate pulled up and three men came out, seeing me with my camera and tripod, we got into conversation and I learned they were interested in locating a shrike that was rumoured to be nearby, I had heard a day or two back one had been seen near a bridge on the Grand Union Canal, but could not be sure of the number, though I thought it was 128; they had a chat amongst themselves and set off for Bridge 118 as they reckoned it was more likely. I later learned from at least two others that the shrike was indeed at 118 and they had all met up.

Since it was too far to walk encumbered with my gear, I took a chance and stayed alongside the canal, in the end all I had to my credit were gulls fighting for a landing spot on a canalside pole, but that was certainly better than nothing, and I did find it amusing. Some birds managed to retain their perch, but others squawked noisily but relinquished their tenure with minimal opposition; two against one made that a fair choice! The burst speed of the EOS7D proved its worth in these shots, but some of these could have benefitted from my pausing to lower the ISO when the sun broke through a bit.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Tring Reservoirs – 7D MkII 2nd Test

A second outing with the Canon EOS 7D MkII, again with the 150-600mm Tamron Lens, this time on all three of the Tring reservoirs, Startops End, Marsworth and Tringford and once again in bright sunshine; not that it contributed to my warmth, that was provided by far more insulated undergarments.

The subject matter was varied, but unexciting, but I was there primarily to get to understand the features of the new camera body, whilst there was reasonably good sunlight.

The response of the new body was excellent and I was impressed by the burst rate, now if I only my body would react with equal agility, my anticipation and reaction still need to improve if I am to get the peak of actions such as a duck diving, a dragonfly or a kingfisher taking off. Frozen limbs and fingers do not help; had I kept my hand on the camera the entire time, it would likely need thawing with a hair dryer! Memory is another of my failings, I forgot that the gimbal head does not remain in the car boot, so had to use a ball head in its stead.

The last shots of the gulls were taken using either the tripod with only one leg extended to form a monopod or hand held, as they were swooping and diving close to the bank. I also found that when the camera was on the tripod animals were happy to come close but off to one side, leaving me only able to watch helplessly, unable to release the camera quietly and speedily. This time it was a mink which climbed down a branch above me, then across another to disappear beyond the tree trunk and back into its hollow in a dead tree stump at the water’s edge. I suppose I should not be too disappointed as I really did only have a back view!

Sunday 18 January 2015

Canon EOS 7D MkII at Wilstone

The forecast was for a dusting of snow at around eight and it was likely not to settle for long and simply become dull, but I awoke to no more than a light suggestion on the roofs of cars. Then a while later the sun appeared to break through weakly, but it lasted barely an hour before a couple more fitful falls of snow returned; it looked as if any chance of using my newly acquired EOS 7D MkII  this day had diminished to zero, so I busied myself cleaning and tidying for the next few couples viewing the house, and just hoping I might get half a chance to go out and not be around for when they came. I took the opportunity to put some washing into the machine and paid the gas bill and posted it off and ran through the rigmarole of paying the Vodafone bill via a semi-automated numbers game and transferred cash to cover the camera body to avoid going overdrawn, and as I left the house to post the gas cheque, I found the sun was out and the sky had cleared!

I hastily gathered up the 7D MkII and the Tamron 150-600mm lens and headed for Wilstone Reservoir for a change, parking alongside the cemetery. The walk was slippery in parts, but I managed to keep my balance, and told myself to take extra care, as to damage the kit on its first outing didn’t bear contemplating. Arriving at the lake, I saw very little avian activity, even fewer humans walking dogs or children; I did see a few coots, but they hold no attraction. I walked towards the centre of that side, and caught sight of a wagtail, but before I could even get close or a clear view, it took off and away towards the fields rather than along the shore line, passing the little promontory with a bench I did then catch sight of some grebe and pochard ducks, but at first they were against the sun and rather too distant, but as I turned the corner at the end of that side, I saw others much closer to the shore.

I was in luck after all. There were more pairs of grebe, and some youngsters more coots and more pochard; at last I got to take pictures and the lens and the new body performed beautifully, exceeding expectations, and the shutter was both fast and quiet. For quite a time I forgot the biting wind, cheerily greeted those that past and got into conversation with some the others who had braved the conditions to be out in the sunshine, the longest conversation being with a man called Dave who was a gaffer in the movie business, and he seemed to be known to several passers-by as we chatted and I occasionally grabbed a few likely shots. After he departed I stayed probably another hour and more before finally succumbing to the bitter cold as the sun became weaker and was swallowed by the clouds; I took a very brisk pace as I strode back to the car as my body needed to generate some heat.

Amongst the chats I learned that red crested pochard were now on the Tringford lake which was news, so I can see I will be down at the Tring reservoirs when next the sun shines, as they are truly beautiful birds.

Thursday 15 January 2015

British Wildlife Photography Awards 2015

I have been taking photos at the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton over some years now, and had a meeting this morning with Ian Haswell who heads the Exhibition and Visitor Attractions side of the operations there. After our meeting, he invited me to a sneak preview of the exhibition of wildlife pictures that is due to open this weekend, so I have taken a few images to give an impression of what visitors can expect should they come along.

Naturally I have avoided majoring on individual photos, rather I have just chosen a few different angles to give an impression of the layout. What I can say is that once again the standard of the photographs on display in the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition is very high indeed, and I look forward to visiting to take a close look at all that is on show.

Whether you have visited this annual exhibition in past years or not, you will not be disappointed by these pictures, and I highly recommend anyone take the time to come along to this display of photos taken by people of all ages and appreciate the talents of those who have captured these moments in the lives of these animals and birds.

You might even take a look at the more permanent exhibits in the Transport section, or if the weather is not too inclement, take a stroll in the gardens; they are truly a gem in the crown of Luton's many attractions. At this time of year, the gardens are being pruned and preened for the coming season, so there is not the colour there will be in Spring, but a stroll along the paths that wend their way through will still be rewarding, you could be lucky to see a pair of small owls or a red kite being mobbed by a pair of magpies as was the case just earlier this morning, there are squirrels, sadly grey not red, and there are robins and tits.

As I walked back through the garden on my way out, I saw this shadow with a backdrop of grasses blowing in the breeze; it caught my eye and I had to time it just right to get exactly this image, but it is not the shadow of a flower!

There are many examples in the garden, where different colours and textures present interesting backdrops to grasses, foliage and flowers…

Sunday 4 January 2015

Marsworth Reservoir – Life in the Cold Mist

I should have known better; the forecast was that the mist would lift early on and the sun would come out, but with so much reservoir water in the vicinity, I suppose I should have realised the mist would be slow to clear. But as luck would have it, after showing through the mist as I walked between the two lakes, the bank of cloud came rolling in and the sun was never to be seen again all morning.

I met up with another photographer, Ian, who was kind enough to allow me to come close to a suitable place to strap my monopod, and from his position he was later to be able to catch sight of a gold crest and a kingfisher, but I was only able to capture a blue tit, a squirrel and a lone moorhen drinking, though I did attempt on four separate occasions to capture shots of a pair of herons flying by, but I did not stand a chance!

I stayed for a couple of hours after Ian left, but I left it so late that I was shivering despite all my layers of clothing, and my fingers were sore with the cold, so much so that I did not completely disassemble the camera and monopod till back in the car.

Friday 2 January 2015

January in the Gardens - Stockwood Discovery Centre

I decided upon a swift visit to the Centre’s Gardens as there was a bright blue sky and it was less cold than the last day of clear bright sun.

I just needed to get an idea of what state had been reached with preparations for the coming season, and it was apparent that a considerable amount of trimming and clearing had gone on, but here and there there were still a few hardy specimens left from the last season, and in the greenhouses had several young flowers being readied or the tropical specimens being stored to protect them from the frost.

I asked whether I could be allowed in one of the smaller greenhouses to record some of these and the reply was positive, so before leaving I took a few more shots and thanked them for their kindness.

It’s always a surprise just how many images can be found when you’re prepared to look; so forty-five images for such a short visit and at this time of year was rewarding.