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 26 July 2016

Burnham Bramble Burning and Butterfly

I drove down to Burnham to offer help to my nephew, Alex with his somewhat overgrown garden, so as I broke for lunch, I went to the car and took out my EOS7D Mk II camera and the 100mm macro to grab a few shots whilst the lighting was good.

I had spent the morning hacking back brambles that seemed as if they had been fed steroids for the past several years, until the break when I was able to reveal two tree stumps and two remnants of a privet hedge, one fairly healthy, the second less so; but at least now they stood a chance of survival, unimpeded by the thorny clutches of the brambles.

The abundance of roses, a buddleia and numerous other flowers demonstrated that the garden had once been well-stocked, so these hopefully will be returned to their former glory. The Peacock butterfly certainly felt the buddliea warranted its attention.

It is a shame that both he and his sister Virginia are now so more distant than hitherto, as it would be good to have spent more time there to help in the task of restoration, but I think I made the most of the short time I was there, helping him and his colleague from his nautical days, Amrit.

In his enthusiasm to burn the spoil I would have been grateful to be asked to move the car beforehand as it is now covered in white ash, and when I opened the boot, much that had been on the bootlid  was sucked into the boot space! I'll forgive him this time as he did provide me with a lunch and cups of tea. And, I now have a few more images that will serve as greetings cards at some future occasion – perhaps in the design of a Wedding gift label when he and Palka tie the knot.

Sunday 24 July 2016

Another Brogborough Lakeside Visit

The last time I visited the Brogborough Lake shoreline, I spotted a fleeting visit by a beautiful reddish Brown metallic looking dragonfly – fleetingly! Way too fast for me to get a shot. But it did make me feel I should try my best to find it or another at a later date. So having woken at six-twenty and dozed hoping to get back to sleep, in vain;  I gave in and got up, had a brief breakfast, filled a flask with a cold orange juice, put a 1.4 Converter on the 300mm lens on the 5D MkIII, and the 100mm Macro on the 7D MkII, and set off to the lock-up for my bike.

The original intention being to put the camera bag in the front basket of my push-bike, but that was wishful thinking, I had to settle with wrapping the 5D+300 carefully in a scarf and fortunately the other had a fitted case. Spare batteries and cards then went into my pockets, and I was ready to cycle.

It is hardly a marathon journey, but I am not a Chris Froome! On arrival at the lake side, I took to walking the bike though the long grass to go further along the shore than before, since that was where the elusive reddish Dragonfly had both come and returned, and I settled on the bank edge with a wide view either side hoping for some luck, but over an hour later I hardly seen anything of interest, when a young lady approached from beyond, so after exchanged greetings I enquired whether she had seen any reddish dragonflies, to which she replied that the dog was far too noisy and would have scared anything off! I stayed a while longer, but reasoned that if any were around she would still have seen them, so came closer to where I had been on the last occasion, and certainly this side of the bushes the wind was way less and the damselflies were in abundance and I spotted a lone dragonfly in the first minute.

My problem now was laying the bike down without losing the contents of the basket! Before I had at least got some fenceposts, but carefully re-arranging the contents so they would not spill out I soon managed a couple of shots of a golden coloured dragonfly, even a butterfly that was in better shape than the one I had captured previously. I got a few more damselflies, and was visited by a young Polish family whose son was taking a few photos, so I asked if they were luckier with reddish dragonflies to let me know as they were going further along in the direction from which I had returned. They came back very soon after and showed me a damselfly shot they had taken, so we swapped views and I showed them the dragonfly I had managed to capture, they then asked for directions to Woburn Abbey, and soon after I packed up and set off back to watch the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Race was not a match for the Practice and Qualifying, but I was happy with the result and seeing three separate battles was at least some recompense for a circuit where overtaking is a rarity.

A small gallery is the result of this visit, but not too exciting.

Thursday 21 July 2016

Brogborough Lake’s Fauna and Flora

On the last occasion I had been photographing the Windsurfers of Brogborough Lake, I was in a clearing above the water’s edge on the far side, and had been inundated with damselflies with only the very occasional dragonfly, so I was determined that I might take along the right lenses to be able to capture dragonflies this time around, as the wind was non-existent, so no activity from windsurfers.

I cycled over rather than use the car, and as I left the old A421 to head for Lidlington a broken branch was hanging halfway across the lane, so I laid the bike down and tried my best to push it clear of the highway, but it was not having it! I then flagged down passing motorist hoping one might have a knife so I could hack it back, but in the end a passing lady helped me to snap some of the lesser branches sufficiently to clear the road.

 I then thanked her and continued my journey to the gate into a field on the right where fortunately I was able to squeeze past, in the gap between the gate post and the trees to reach the water’s edge just beyond the windsurfing club.  I settled down close by the gate in the shade of a bush with the 100mm  macro on the 7D MkII and was soon visited fleetingly at first by numerous dragonflies, with only a very few damselflies and where I was on the bank there were wild flowers directly ahead of me which attracted a few bees every so often, so I had chosen well.

I saw a solitary reddish brown dragonfly, but it never came in close, nor did it land, whereas the blue-bodied ones often landed just a few feet away directly on the beach, and frustratingly were very much camouflaged by the scrubby detail of the ground which meant the detail of their wings were largely lost – I am tempted to find a small plank of weathered wood to bring with me next time and leave it at the right distance from where I sit to correct for that issue!

The bees were more amenable in that they were both closer and not fazed by my close presence, making them a far easier subject for me to capture. Since this area really belonged to the local anglers I was concerned when one came along that I might be kindly asked to leave, but I need not have worried, when I spoke to him, he was entirely happy for me to continue. Once the sun came around to beat down upon where I had been stationed, I called it a day and cycled back to Marston Moretaine.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Brogborough Lakes – Nature's Sideshow

On the most recent Visit to the Windsurfers’ Lake at Brogborough I had taken the chance to shoot from the far bank facing their beach, but there were fewer taking to the water and when the wind died even further I spent some of the time shooting the visitors to my location - restless damselflies in large numbers, and the occasional but far more nervous dragonflies.

I also took some shots of skyscapes for use  as backgrounds  and also some of the nearby thistles which resembled bursting fireworks, or in one case something far more dramatic.

I did not consider these as important, so only got round to creating a gallery of them after more important work. I hope I can manage some more interesting shots of dragonflies than these before the summers out.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Stephen’s Plants, Maulden – Serendipitous Find

On my return from my Accountant in Ampthill, I decided to try to find a Garden Centre in the hope of picking up some garden edging strips, and was overwhelmed by the welcome from the two gentlemen relaxing before the midday rush of customers. Sadly they did not have the product I sought, but during the conversation I was admiring one potted plant and the direction changed when I explained I had no knowledge of the names of many of the species, but loved taking photographs of a wide variety of them.

The eponymous Stephen who owned the establishment said he had no objection to my taking photographs, so I went back to the car and dug out the EOS 5D with the 100mm macro lens and proceeded to take shots around the vast area, and he very kindly did mention some of the names and pointed out particular plants that might be of interest as he also did some watering.

I had been feeling disappointed that I was not in the market for buying any of his produce and not a tad guilty on that score, but I need not have worried, for several customers appeared and they were buying, so I continued shooting feeling a little relieved as the charm of both men deserved to be rewarded with customers. They were working in unbelievable heat and the whole area was well laid out and spacious and all the plants were obviously well-tended and in excellent condition. I hope that I might return as a customer at some future date.

I can highly recommend a visit when considering a plant for the garden or the house as Stephen is charming and knowledgable and it is easy to find and to park. I hope that anyone in this part of Bedfordshire viewing this gallery will put ‘Stephen’s Plants’ high on their list of must visit places, you will be rewarded, make no mistake; I hope he feels that the shots I have taken does justice to what he showed me.

Sunny Brogborough, but little Wind

Once again, it looked at least as if there might be some gusts coming later in the afternoon, but true to the localised nature of British weather, those gusts never materialised and what steady wind there was seemed to falter too, but I was not to know that as I headed away from the Car Park to a spot on the far bank where I was in the right position for the light if the breeze were to come.

There were one or two sailors who made the most of what was on offer and managed to make turns very slowly, which I imagine proves to be harder than when the wind is stronger, but I stayed as long as there were some windsurfers on the water.

As I was doing my best to capture sequences, the gallery structure  means some may span more than a single page, so for the windsurfers themselves, please accept my apologies. I hope at least I have captured the essence of the warm afternoon and from a different standpoint.

Thursday 14 July 2016

Cold Marsworth Wind – deters not the Birdlife

Despite getting up early, the drive to Tring Reservoirs was delayed from the start – I managed to mislay a vital piece of camera gear, once found, I then faced more traffic than I had anticipated on the journey down the M1, I then took the wrong route off the motorway and when I arrived at Tringford, I felt I needed to catch up with the Water Bailiff  and one of the anglers before setting off for the far end of Marsworth Reservoir. My arrival time was an hour or more later than my initial intention.

I got myself settled to wait to see which birds might visit me, the main vista was populated by noisy and irritable Coots and numerous Mallard drakes, and for a change the single most quiet of wood pigeons, though many of its relatives gave out their normal chant: “My Toe Hurts, Betty” over and over…

I spotted a juvenile male kingfisher off to my right, for which I had to remove the camera from the tripod and which necessitated my trying to find a viewpoint devoid of intervening twigs and branches. Which reminds me one particular kingfisher annoyingly hid behind a myriad twigs in plain sight for at least twenty minutes, and he returned there later to rub salt in the wound! Or give us photographers – the bird!

A Heron headed towards where I sat, saw me and negotiated the swiftest of flying turns and headed from whence it came, which made me chuckle. I thought that the abundance of ducks might mean that kingfishers might avoid my chosen spot, but for a change, though a pair of males made at least a couple of fly-bys without pausing, individually   eventually my patience was rewarded, and not long after I was joined by a Nikon-toting photographer, who was to make me smile when he informed me he had a screw loose (fortunately, it was one on his tripod!) Well, not totally ‘fortunate’ as it did mean his tripod was less stable.

A while later and a further three other photographers arrived, one of whom it turned out, was a Brogborough windsurfer – what a small world I inhabit! By this time, my neck was stiffening, and the cold wind was taking its toll and I vacated my prime position and headed back up the bank and back to my car, but before finally leaving I took a last few shots of common Terns diving and swooping, but certainly could not match the shots I had been shown by Philip Luckhurst earlier. I did however take a shot of a humming bird, on the arm of a Scottish lass!

It was a surprisingly rewarding morning after all, but I got no shots of fish being harvested by the kingfishers. Another time maybe.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Brogborough Lake – Light Erratic Wind

Sunday afternoon hinted at least of some wind mixed with some sunshine, so I used the opportunity to check the using of a prime 300mm against the zoom of the 150-600mm zoom whilst trying to capture sequences of windsurfers gybing, and after checking whether it was worth also changing my standpoint from the frontage of the club to the stretch of bank beyond where the anglers’ entrance is to the left.

Sam Barnes was not sure I had been given a good steer, but I took that chance and headed out of the car park and along the road and back into the field beyond with my heavy Gitzo tripod, gimbal head and the EOS 7D MkII with the 300m in my camera case.

After shooting for  while using the zoom, I swapped to using the 300mm handheld, which was reasonably manageable, but my conclusion was that I should really have taken the zoom from the tripod and mounted the 300mm onto the tripod as my horizons were going to be more consistent, if still not perfectly level! From the experience gained in post-processing, the fixed focal length was too limiting when the windsurfers came close, so the quality might be there, they were often far too tightly cropped, so my previous preference for zooms was confirmed. perhaps having two tripods each with different lenses might work, but for sheer practicality the long zoom range of the 150-600mm is definitely optimal.

In the lulls between when the windsurfers were at the other end of the lake I did occasionally take shots of damselflies, and I add one such here:
I shall try to stick with zooms for a while yet!

Monday 11 July 2016

Fairford Leys Fête with the Aylesbury Community Band

Once again Fairford Leys holds its annual gathering in the centre of the village, and the Aylesbury Community Band occupies the grandstand to bring a varied programme of popular pieces to this well attended event.

My daughter is a member of the band and plays saxophone, I thoroughly enjoy their music and the happy atmosphere of the day. On this day they definitely lived up to the description of a Wind Band, having to grab for their music sheets whilst continuing to play as gusts of wind carried them hither and thither. Clothes pegs of every colour and design abound in an effort to combat the wilful wind.

This is truly a family day and the rides are all popular and the staff running each work extremely diligently with the children to ensure their enjoyment and their safety as I witnessed first hand with the family-run business that handles the Helter Skelter and Carousel. It was from the top platform of the Helter Skelter that I was generously allowed to take the high-level shots of the bandstand and overall views of the crowd.

When shooting the band members on this occasion I majored on the concentration and dexterity of their playing. I also watched as the dance crew performed nearby and how they involved the children and their parents, the energy of  the dance troupe certainly provided a draw for the children and audience.

The bunjee bouncing on trampolines certainly seemed to provide a spectacle for watching parents and enormous fun for the participants, and added a different background to some of my shots of the band.

For anyone in the Aylesbury area this is a day that should not be missed, just be warned if you come by car and do not find space in the car park, and you decide to park in a free area nearby, take a note of the road you are in – I failed in this regard and since the centre has roads that radiate from there, it becomes difficult to remember which direction you entered the centre and I took a considerable time relocating my car at the end!

Friday 8 July 2016

A Colourful Westcott Garden

My younger daughter lives in Westcott, a village close by Waddesdon Manor, and just opposite her live a couple, Linda and Jim, both inveterate gardening enthusiasts, and I was invited to see their garden as they prepare for an upcoming Open Gardens Event. Though I did not have the ideal lens for the task, as the only suitable one I had was the 35mm f/1.4, I knew it could be pressed into service and do the photographs fair justice, so I asked could I take some shots.

As I entered the back garden, I could hear the whistling calls of two red kites just beyond their back fence, with one settled in a tree only a mere twenty feet from me, and the other lens I had with me, the 150-600mm was in my daughter’s cottage, so for this afternoon they were not going to be the subject of my lens, and the wide angle 35mm was even less suited to that task than the one I was about to put it to!

The gallery of images that I took represent my portrayal of the result of many hours of hard work and diligent weeding by the couple. I feel sure that visitors to their garden will not leave disappointed, I just hope that on the day, they are as equally blessed as I was, with warm milky sunshine.

Thursday 7 July 2016

Bedford Buzz Networking Event at The Auction Room

I decided, having been emailed by Leigh Frost about this event, that if I could spare the time I would go along to this meeting as it more logically covered my area geographically. On previous occasions such as these I have always already known some of participants, whereas on this occasion I knew precisely no one, but the reception I received from Leigh was far from frosty; it was positively welcoming, and true to its name, there was indeed a buzz of conversation around me from those who had arrived before me.

I had arrived in good time and took advantage of the warm bright sun and puffy clouds to capture a few shots to help me to relax before entering the Auction Room in Duke Street. I believe having the camera around my neck at least gave others at least an opening gambit by guessing that perhaps I might indeed be a photographer, and from my standpoint that would at least mean I was on familiar ground with regards to the subject.

Before I continue the narrative I feel I should explain the somewhat bizarre image that heads this entry in my blog, it came about fairly late in the proceedings when a lady called jane Tait produced it at the bar, and I could immediately understand why she found that it made taking shots of smiling children a cinch – when I agreed that it could hardly fail, jane said it worked equally well with adults, and since it had made me smile, I could only concur!

Leigh immediately she had signed me in, introduced me to someone, and the morning began. At first I was talking to people for whom photography was unlikely to be high on their list of priorities especially since for many nowadays the ready availability of cameraphones is entirely adequate for the needs of those for whom the point of contact is the Internet – I can neither compete against free, nor under most of those circumstances can I justify the expenses of the equipment I use since really my work is best valued when used in print.

I always know that for many the work for which I am suited is hard to find, and often it is understanding what the client needs is my challenge, because often what they describe as their requirement is simply not going to tell their story. I really need to know who they are trying to reach and the story they need to be telling in order to reach their market and often what they see as important, it is not always what their client wants to be seeing.

I like to take photographs that tell a story, and for my clients that story has to be personal, simply buying a stock shot which may have been used for a completely different product or service, to me, has to be weaker than a photograph of their process, their product or their service – immediately a photograph that depicts how they tackle their client’s needs is far more potent. Sometimes I find I am educating my clients, but really I spend a lot of time asking questions, so that I begin to understand what they are trying to achieve, and it has come about from my working very often with Designers in the past, and since many of those now take their own photos, I find myself having to think more like a designer, but without their formal training. However I never try to kid myself that I have those skills, I simply train myself to think along their lines when meeting clients because of my experience in the past working with some really talented designers for whom simplifying the message, the logo, or concept is paramount.

Taking photos for print purposes in brochures, annual reports or advertising is where I see my value, and the other networking group which I do frequent regularly comes from mainly the Design stream, and it does provide me with work, but geographically they are based more in Hertfordshire, and the last job was for one of their number who found himself double-booked, so asked me to cover a celebration Dinner of the Queen’s 90th Birthday  being held in the Apothecaries’ Hall by the Imperial Society of Knights Batchelor.

One of the group today is a Printer who has recently partnered with a photographer, so the message is I should have come to these events sooner! But then perhaps like me, this may well have been his first visit, so the time was not quite right. Everyone has to find a means of communicating with potential clients with which they are at ease, and I do not chase prices down in order to win business, but I do sometimes make the decision not to charge if that gives me experience I would otherwise gain. I gave my time to a building project that lasted over eighteen months taking photos about once a fortnight, and it gave me some work t the end, but it added to my portfolio and experience and kept my eye in, and I enjoy site progress work as their is a constantly updated story, and the galleries are still being viewed on my blog more than three years after completion!

Among the few shots I took towards the very end of the meeting was to illustrate the significance of surroundings to products, especially those with reflective surfaces, hence the presence in the foreground of a red paper napkin and how it affected Jane Tait’s Rejuvenate pots.

I met some very interesting people today and something may transpire, and the experience was well worth the fiver! So thank you Leigh.

Monday 4 July 2016

Brogborough – Sunshine, Rain, and Weekend Wind at Last

I gathered my kit together and taking the car, drove just down the road to the lake at Brogborough, and from the full car park, it was obvious my hopes of a decent wind were mirrored by the throng of windsurfers putting their sails up in expectation.

I decided upon the heavy tripod and the long Tamron 150-600mm zoom, on the EOS 7D MkII, but soon realised it would be handy to have another camera with a shorter lens as the activity was close inshore, so I went back to the car and brought out a camera bag with the 5D MkIII and the 85mm f/1.4, for shots of anything happening close by me.

I had not been shooting that long when one of the windsurfers, Nick, came over and very generously gave me a couple of cans of lager, which was most appreciated, and despite the lack of an even surface, I managed to keep it propped up by one leg of the tripod, without losing a drop to any careless movement of my feet.

Rain threatened from time to time, but fortunately never became a downpour, and it did offer me some useful cloudscapes to add to my library – they are always handy for backgrounds to add drama to shots with bland blue sky, or for producing cards with backgrounds for text messages. I was visited by a Common Tern a few times as it fished for tiddlers along the shoreline and also a pair of swans and a family of Canada Geese; some of these were handy to try to retain various sequences within a specific gallery to help those sailors wishing to analyse their manoeuvres. In this respect I feel I often failed to cover a complete manoeuvre due to either another windsurfer crossing my path or my inability to keep my shutter pressed long enough, or simply because the final action came too fast for me to realise I needed to keep shooting rather than trying to use only short intermittent bursts to try to give myself less to process later!
However I came away feeling that I had covered the afternoon reasonably well.