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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Wednesday 27 April 2016

Westcott Neighbour’s Blooming Garden

Taking the day off to help my daughter seemed too good to miss any opportunity to take photographs in brilliant sunshine, and her neighbour opposite was fortunately not averse to my getting down and dirty with my macro lens on her various bedding plants and tulips. The colour was splendid, ranging from the subtle yellows of the narcissi, and palest pink tulips to the bold red of other tulips and the rich orange yellow of a daffodil talking to a small bedding plant. The neighbour also pointed out the white blossom on a form of miniature pear tree, so I made sure my lens captured its fleeting glory as well.

It is only a slightly larger gallery than the one of the Red Kites soaring in the sky above us at the time.

Westcott Red Kites

My daughter unexpectedly needed me to allow her a chance to leave my youngest grandchild in my tender care such that she could visit her loft and dig out some needed documents on a weekday, so I found myself taking a trip to Westcott. Knowing that there was a good chance of sunshine and that the local Red Kite often flew low over the village, I decided I would take my long lens with me in case I managed to get some time after my babysitting duties and ladder-holding to get some bird photography in.

Fortune shone us all that day, for the documents were found, Tilly despite a bad night of incessant coughing was in good spirits and I was rewarded by getting some time taking a few photos, and the sunshine was giving the raptors a chance to soar and thronged at my daughter's end of the village, possibly encouraged by occasional chicken carcasses put out by the neighbour opposite!

Hence this small gallery devoted entirely to the beautiful bird, the Red Kite; one frequent visitor is less than perfectly beautiful that has acquired the name of 'Broken Wing' as it has some feather damage and is therefore more memorable.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Bus Stop Birds – Well, in the Nearby Bushes

After passing the bushes in Station Road on my return to base, there was so much avian activity that I felt I had to grab my camera and capture some of the activity as the light was so good, and for a change, for much of the time I was able to actually capture the singers rather than simply hear them though never catch sight of them. In part this was due to the less than full cover offered by leaves, but not totally so, because they were far less shy too.

I returned with my carbon fibre tripod complete with the gimbal head and the Tamron 150-600mm lens on the 7D MkII body and much of the time I was fortunate not to to even need the full 600mm and the passing cars of those returning from work meant there was constant traffic to provide a distraction from my camera and me. Twice men came up to see what I had captured and also one of my neighbours with her two schoolgirls said hello and looked at the camera back to see what I was taking.

The birds were hardly exotic, since most were House Sparrows, though I did catch sight of a much shyer visitor with a flash of blue on its wing which could have been a Jay, though it seemed too small, but had I blinked I’d have missed it totally! I see numerous Starlings generally in the open, but a few visited the bushes on this occasion and I practised my ‘tseeeuw’ call which seemed to make one of them keep looking around! Since they are apparently good mimics I was turning the tables as I have been trying to master their own calls. As I came away I grabbed a few more shots of tulips in some of the gardens on my way back.

I now have a few more images for greetings cards in the future.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Birds in Two ‘Mars’ Names – Marston Moretaine and Marsworth

The Starlings are an abundant species around Marston Moretaine; at a distance they seem a boring black, but close to, and especially in sunlight they are a magical mixture of iridescent blues and greens and they are often to be heard whistling amongst a gathering on a nearby telegraph pole; their call a Tseeuw, that I have been mimicking in the hope I can attract them closer in order to capture their true colours, and on this Sunday morning in bright sunshine I lured them in with a mixture of toast crumbs from the toaster, seeds and bread I have to cut off in order for my Bloomer bread slices to fit the new toaster (why did I buy a toaster that did not accept my favourite bread loaves? Answer – because an even browning was more important, and cutting a sliver from each frozen slice meant I had a fresh source of feed for the birds – QED!)

Reckoning that English Weather Forecasts are notorious for unpredictability, I thought I’d take a chance and head for Tring Reservoirs to see how the birdlife there was faring since it was bright from the start and the scheduled later rain might not materialise. Unfortunately I somehow managed to dislodge something in my back and was in considerable pain, but reckoned that no gain without pain, so persevered and headed south cross-country avoiding the M1. I am fortunate in being allowed to park my car with the local anglers and met the Water Bailiff and some of them briefly before heading away from Tringford to Marsworth Lake. It was tough on my back, but the weather was still so good it would have been a shame not to make the attempt and suffer in silence.

I probably spent at least four hours, and all of it standing as I decided on a different spot for a change and sitting was not an option; the pain did not let up and I did have to keep transferring my weight around, but it was manageable and I found that air was alive with all manner of birdcalls, most of which I was unable to place, and certainly most of those calling were never seen. I reckon overall I was lucky in what I managed to capture, even though some birds never succumbed to my trigger finger, even though I had tracked assiduously through the undergrowth – in that category were a Dunnock and Wren, and there were overflying herons and Greylag geese.

However even the pigeon gave me couple of interesting shots as did a robin gathering what I took to be food for its young and he or she was brave because it was straying into the territory of the resident Robin that I regularly spot and sometimes feed (and on a disappointing day, talk to and implore he ask a Kingfisher or Woodpecker to call by!)

To capture a flirting Bluetit pair cavorting, a Long-tailed Tit a Grebe or two and a Kingfisher, I felt was well worth the visit, and I was warm!

Thursday 14 April 2016

April Showers – Tulips in the Garden

The weather today is classically English – April Showers!
Earlier I had put out some washing, as it did look as iff it would be while before the clouds gathered and precipitated rain, and the forecast had said should it did so, the lack of wind meant the rain might well linger, so I carefully pegged, with one eye on where any rain might come my way.

However, I failed to take into account just how much of the sky was hidden beyond the house beyond – as I neared completing the last of the clothes I felt the moistness of a few gentle drops on my face and hands. I had hung the last few socks, so I lingered with indecision for a minute or two and spun the whirl line to hopefully take some dampness away whilst I dithered some more, but soon it became apparent that this shower was definitely due overhead any time soon, so I swiftly unpegged everything and completed the operation just in time, convincing myself that the clothes had benefited from their brief airing.

During the time spent outside I did however observe that I now had some open tulips and several closed heads due to appear given a modicum of sunshine. Two days before I had spotted white blossom at the base of the plum tree my daughters had given me as a housewarming present; so here was a plant that my gardening prowess had failed to kill!

I stopped of for a late lunch and the sun occasionally broke cover from the clouds, and raindrops adorned the leaves and flower heads, so I popped the 100mm Macro lens on the 5D MkIII and took a few shots to break the spell of photo famine since my trip to the Stockwood Discovery Centre Greenhouse.

I did have a mere two daffodils earlier and they came and went in matter of dull days and incessant wind, and sadly the current predominant colour is still yellow. However some images may well make card fodder at some time.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Greenhouse Visit at Stockwood Discovery Centre

I have not paid a visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre for a while, but the opportunity to visit came along and I drove down braving congestion on the M1 caused by a Car Transporter having to be offloaded due to its breakdown.

I had contacted one of the gardeners to check whether she was in work, but the reply came rather late and I had almost given up making it this time, but I realised there was just about enough time, if I gave lunch a miss and gathered my kit and headed off straightway. I walked around most of the gardens upon arrival and there was not much growing. The Easter holiday and sunshine in the Play Area meant it was packed out with mothers chatting as many of their children were making the most of the warmth and activities on offer. The air was alive with the shouts and screams of happy children, so I was hoping the greenhouse would be more productive, and so it proved.

I met up with Jan the gardener who was watering all the plants within the greenhouse and she pointed out a few possible subjects for my camera so I set to trying to capture them in the best possible light; in this case not simply metaphorically as there were large numbers of small seedlings in individual pots taking up almost every spare space! She was happy for me to move them into areas where the sun was able to get through and I could find some space around them. Many though were not movable, so I had simply to manoeuvre myself into the best possible position to achieve a suitable background.

I spent some time there before trying to take a few quick shots in the propagating area hoping to catch up with Jan to thank her for the access.

Monday 4 April 2016

Incidentals from a Visit to Houghton House

I have been living in Marston Moretaine for some ten months and overall am feeling reasonably settled, but to date have mainly concerned with familiarising myself with the important details of living in a new area – knowing where I can obtain competitively priced fuel and food, and learning what businesses might be interested in my services. I already knew two locations where I might take photographs that might form an introduction to this area; the windsurfing lake at Brogborough and the Marston Nature Reserve. Yesterday since the weather was very average and yet dry and windless, I decided I would simply drive in directions I had not previously explored in case something turned up. I spotted the signs to Houghton House which I had not visited for a couple of years and decided I might at least take a look as I had spotted Red Kite soaring close by on a previous visit.

The ‘House’ can more truthfully described as a ruin, though in its day in the seventeenth century, must have been quite inspiring as it commands an incredible vista of the Vale of Marston with now, the aforementioned Nature Reserve that sports a large Wind Turbine. Houghton House started life as a Hunting Lodge really only used in the Summer months by the original owner, the Dowager Countess of Pembroke, Mary Herbert. Only upon her death was it to become a home for the new owner Robert Bruce who added a grand staircase, that can now be found in ‘The Swan’ in Bedford after the house was abandoned and dismantled in the late eighteenth century. The owner of nearby Ampthill Park, the Earl of Upper Ossory took over the land and commissioned Inigo Jones to incorporate the ruin into his new landscaping of the former Hunting Park.

I took a few photographs of small details that had survived the dismantling and subsequent weathering and then the somewhat misleading ‘Restoration’ that had been undertaken by English Heritage; ‘Stabilisation’ would seem to be a more apposite description and I spotted that English Heritage do appear to consider it in this light as I spotted the telltale signs of targets for taking regular measurements of movements of the structure!

The construction of the chimneys and some of the interior windows is intriguing, and it is very apparent from the number of fireplaces that this must have been a very cold house, so it is unsurprising it was abandoned in favour of the far less exposed Ampthill House.

On my earlier visit here I had not noticed the large number of trees with the characteristic spherical clumps of  Mistletoe, something I remember finding in even greater profusion on my visit to north western France with Nick Zoller, when he and I paid the area a visit whilst he was searching for a house there in March of 2008.

I was pleasantly surprised when processing the small gallery of images just what I was able to extract using some of the newest tools within Lightroom – I feel as if I was able to bring the sunshine out from the clouds!