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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Monday 30 April 2018

Aylesbury Concert Band - Fairford Leys Church

In the past Fairford Leys Concerts by the Aylesbury Concert Band have taken place outside in the central Hampden Square in the Bandstand, on this occasion it took place within the church, which presented a few accoustics-related constraints for the Band, but this did not prevent the audience from enjoying the pieces played.
The architecture within comes as a surprise from its reasonably conventional exterior, and makes for interesting reflections from some of the bells of the wind instruments such as the euphonium being played by Robin Jarvis, who was soloist for the piece under the baton of the arranger, Eric Wilson, stepping in just for this piece from The Band’s Director of Music, Robert Wicks.
The spread of the players in Band, meant that whereas normally the percussion section is hidden from viewer behind all the other members, on this occasion I was able to see extensive array of the Drummer’s Toys on this occasion (that is not meant to be taken as derogatory in any way!) and the guest Conductor, Eric was equally intrigued by the boxing of the xylophone which added to its tonality and strength.
The observant visitor will notice the difference in clothing worn by many Band members from the start of the gallery, this allows me to take shots of the players because I can subtly change my viewpoint in Rehearsal that is not possible during the concert proper. The drawback is that foot-tapping is cut short during rehearsal – just as I succumb to the urge, that rhythmic section ends! I learned later from my daughter, that she had spotted my disappointment.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Stewartby Lake – The Sunday

                    On the Saturday, I would have possibly stayed longer normally, despite the onset of rain, but the location of the camera viewpoint was a long distance from my car, and I had several items beyond my camera and tripod with me that meant that more than just my camera would be soaked if I left it till it had become a downpour. I gathered everything together and headed slowly away from the lakeside.
                                       I left somewhat shattered as it had still been a long day, and I knew that I had to download all the shots from that day, clear the cards, and prepare for Sunday after making supper, and get everything ready food and drink-wise for the same all over again, also I had failed to unplug my phone from the charger, so needed to check emails, and reply to anything urgent and remember to have it with me for Sunday. I had mentioned to one of the brothers I had another long zoom lens he could use on the Sunday, and had to keep reminding myself not to forget I had made the offer!
                    By the time I had made myself supper, downloaded all the files, recharged the batteries and headed for bed, any ideas of a full night’s sleep had vanished, but I had at least prepared flasks of cold orange and decided what food I would take, and shaved, so the morning ablutions and breakfast would be a mere half an hour with twenty minutes for the car journey, so 08.15 was set on my alarm, giving me about six hours of sleep.
                    It had rained overnight and the day was not as bright, but I had remembered the extra lens, and everything was in the kitchen ready for the off; I was still certain there would be something I had forgotten, but on arrival, it seemed as if that pessimism was ill-founded. I visited the main office thinking I would need to sign in again, but learned that as I had not signed out, I needed only to sign out at the end of the day, and guess what? It was only after leaving having passed through the gate, I remembered that vital snippet and had to park the car, get back in and sign out!
                    There are far fewer images in the this gallery, and the lack of sunshine has not helped, but I had enjoyed the day, and it added to the record, even if not providing much exciting imagery.
                    My thanks to Sue Tassell for the opportunity.

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Stewartby Race Weekend – Saturday

Here was an opportunity not to be missed. Sunshine and for me, a new experience amongst a very different sporting activity, with new people to meet. Everyone I met was easygoing and friendly, reminding me very much of the atmosphere I remember from my time as a Pit Marshal with the BRSCC at various circuits around the UK. Although the names of the drivers and the classes of boat were unknown to me, the mixture of purposeful work being carried out and the outward calm and the generally informal atmosphere despite the obvious background structure to the day ahead was familiar to me from my thirty years with marshals and racing cars and racing circuits. I left that community to allow me to concentrate on building ‘SOLUTIONS photographic’ from the early days of the involvement of computers in photography.
This was the first real opportunity to see how effective the Benbo tripod was in allowing me to have a stable platform at the very edge of the lake. Yes, I had used it at the other nearby lake at Brogborough, but there it was still very novel, here I put what I had learned there into practice, and felt far more at ease with its foibles.
I learned I had packed too little to drink for the Saturday, and put that right for the Sunday. I met up with a very keen and knowledgable family of young brothers from Lowestoft whose mother I learned had been a powerboat racer herself, and since they were keen on photography, I promised I would bring along my second long zoom lens as one of them was fortuitously a Canon shooter, so that he could play with that on the Sunday, later I also lent him the use of a monopod, which I learned he was grateful for lessening the effect of its weight! That was my mistake I had forgotten he wouldn’t need an Arca Swiss plate for it, so got that out of my boot later. 
I am afraid I did not write down their names, but they seemed to know every participant, so their knowledge was vital, but only a fraction was retained in my failing memory but for what little I retained I was still very grateful. One very obvious observation was just how young many of the participants were, I also gathered that the number of competitors was considerably down on the past numbers due to costs and regulations, but I believe that the numbers will increase if the age for entry becomes bolstered by the development of these young entrants’ undoubted skills. I have some grandchildren who could well become interested if they catch sight of the age of those I saw performing!
I was somewhat trigger happy as I explored the angles I captured, especially so on that first day, so that largely accounts for the delay in these images appearing on the blog; I hope the wait was worth it. I now have to get my Sunday shots done.

Monday 23 April 2018

Stewartby Spoiler Alert!

                    I have not taken photos of Powerboats racing at Stewartby before; the closest from the past was way back in the days of black-and-white and a 5x4 Sinar – I took black and white shots on 5x4 sheetfilm on the Thames of a first test of a speedboat after being built at a boatyard somewhere beyond Henley; panning a Sinar is really not an easy task. So at least I stood a chance with a modern camera! Sue Tassell had very kindly allowed me into the compound for the opportunity, and I was blessed with ideal conditions on the first of the two days’ event.
                    However, being a two day event, the time taken to produce the galleries covering the weekend means that the post production effort precludes a full gallery today, Monday, so I am simply posting a single teaser shot whilst I continue preparing a fuller photographic account of the splendid weekend.
                    When the galleries come, I am taking this opportunity to let everyone know that normally clicking the headline TEXT takes you to the thumbnail gallery, where the click on any individual thumbnail will enlarge the chosen image, however there is no gallery here.

The other point I shall make is that all images are my copyright, but if I am asked, and informed as to the filename of a specific image selected, a SINGLE image may be used just the once on Social Media uncropped, and complete with its embedded copyright message with a byline of “Image copyright of Rod Wynne-Powell, SOLUTIONS photographic”. I print A4 colour prints on Premium Semi Gloss paper, should anyone be interested.
                    Meantime my head will be down preparing the rest of the record of an enjoyable two days at Stewartby Lake.

Friday 20 April 2018

BNI-Breakfast Radlett Park Golf Course

Friday morning was scheduled to be yet another very warm after Thursday’s forty-seven year record for this time of year, and it did not disappoint. Around a week or so earlier a DigiCluster member, Helena Baker had spoken to BNI’s David O’Dell, the National Field Manager for UK & Ireland to invite me to their meeting at the Radlett Park Golf Club.
I duly set my alarm for 04-40, having shaved and bathed the night before, and within three-quarters of an hour, the car had been packed and the SatNav set and I was on my way, reckoning that even with heavier than average traffic, I would arrive well early. I had not reckoned on the SatNav indicating my destination was on the right as I was in the High Street. I took that turn, but it had to be wrong as the area was completely built up, I drove uphill a short distance and spotting a lone pedestrian asked her the way, she suggested I go up the hill take a right and it would be on my left a short way further – said with no hint of hesitation, so I duly followed the directions and was still within a built-up area, so I went a little further hoping to reach countryside or another person; those directions offered, were with equal conviction, but were as unhelpful, I managed to find three further willing helpers, one of which did lead me into a golf course past a security bollard, but it was all but deserted, but I found a workman who told me it was the wrong Golf Club and he handily gave me the exit code so I could follow his directions, which began by pointing me back the way I had come! I can only believe there were stooges out there to point me elsewhere employed by a BNI rival! I certainly had the place surrounded. I almost expected everybody to be leaving as I was entering, I was so late; it has only now occurred to me that I spent as much of my time in the Radlett environs as I had taken for my my projected time of 39 minutes.
As I entered, David O’Dowd introduced himself, correctly presuming who I was and immediately did his best to reassure me and asked would I like tea or coffee. I was made to feel welcome, and at least had not been peremptorily blackballed for my heinous behaviour – Phew! Awhile later he addressed the rest of the delegates and calling me ‘Rodney’ to which I corrected him with ‘Roderick - Rodney is a Plonker!’ which resonated with at least some of the audience with some laughter.
It was mentioned I would be taking to photos as a record of the morning so long as no one objected, which later made one member check if I had his best side, so I was sure at least he had no objections. Everyone made considerable effort to make not only myself but all of the firstcomers welcomed, and the underlying structure of the event meant each person would have an opportunity to introduce themselves and was asked to observe certain time limits, but many had completed their narrative well-before timeout was called, and for those who did reach this cutoff it was generally drowned out by well-meaning laughter.
The whole morning was well-run without officiousness, and the presentations were brief and succinct, and the food provided was excellent. I hope that in the few photographs I took it gives a flavour of the morning’s meeting. Thank you all for an interesting morning. The journey back was so straightforward, I wonder whether my SatNav had been sabotaged, it was so incredibly straightforward; virtually a straight line!? – I hope I got everyone’s ‘best side’ not just Lawrence Conway’s!

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Brogborough Windy Tuesday

                    My car was collected to get a service, but there was sunshine and quite a strong wind blowing, so I packed my camera and three lenses, and took the camera bag to the lock-up and my bike; I had hoped that I could put the camera bag in the front basket, but sadly it was not possible, so instead I put the individual items in separately, in so doing did not add any extra compact flash cards as I was not expecting to have large numbers of likely images; it was after all a Tuesday afternoon. 
                    I returned the camera bag to the house, donned my helmet and folded my trousers into my socks and set off for Brogborough Lake, and the fact that I have had a cough and cold for a week now meant that I found myself noticeably weaker on the pedals and I was heading into the wind. Assuming that the wind was unlikely to shift through 180 degrees that at least was a crumb of comfort for the return trip.
                    On arrival, I found the gates were open, but there were not too many vehicles, however there were several sailors out on the lake and the wind was definitely of a reasonable strength, but the overall number of visitors was not large, so I was not reckoning on there being much photos ahead, but I got out my camera and headed towards the water’s edge, and having taken just a few shots on my general purpose 24-70mm, swapped it for the 100-400mm, and soon found some more enticing subjects for the longer lens. Having no support, not even a monopod, I soon drew up a wrought iron chair and sat down to shoot which was less of a strain, as the wind was strong enough to be noticeable when holding the camera to my eye for any length of time.
                    I was also having to take more shots due to the amount of wind that was affecting my framing, and this was where my failure to bring a spare CF card was going to limit  the time I was going to spend shooting. That lack of foresight really made me feel very annoyed with myself! The card had 32GB which in my pessimism had seemed more than adequate, but I had made no allowance for my taking more shots due to the wind, or that the weather might be conducive to my taking a greater number of images. That was poor professionalism and it really irked that I should make such an inexcusable mistake.
                    I soon packed everything back onto my bike and headed back with a following and very welcome wind behind me, and once back settled into levelling horizons, lightening deep shadows and holding highlights when I had been shooting towards the sun, it was certainly noticeable that shooting handheld did make for more out of kilter horizons compared to shooting from a tripod.
                    Altogether, a satisfactory afternoon’s shooting, with albeit more images left on the metaphoric cutting room floor!

Friday 13 April 2018

Foggy Stockwood Discovery Centre

Ex-Stockwood gardener Jan and I met up to take photos in the gardens. She brought along her newly acquired macro lens and I had got a call earlier whilst it was still raining and I was about to set off, and I thought: Despite her desire to get more experience with the lens, she might be calling to say that the meeting was off due to the weather. I had misjudged her – the call was to see whether I might be calling it off due to the conditions. Both of us were willing to take the chance on it improving as it happened, so I started the car, and headed South, but I did choose to to use the country roads! By the time I entered the car Park at the Centre, the rain had stopped leaving just a foggy day, and one small benefit – there would be lots of raindrops on the leaves and flowers, and a soft light retaining more colour. The downside being that invariably we would need higher ISOs and steadier hands as shutter speeds would be marginal. Jan had arrived only minutes before and was just stepping out of her car as I initially came alongside, though realising the cars either side were perilously close, I took another slot with more space.
We both then headed for the entrance where Jan was greeted warmly by the staff, before we then headed into the gardens. At first we simply chatted as we walked around to see what was there that warranted photographing, I took out my camera and Jan then took the opportunity to catch up with a few of her erstwhile colleagues before returning and pointing out some plants of particular interest. That would often mean that we would get engrossed in one area and the other would wander further afield, time would pass and then we would find each other, share our captured images, then Jan would point out something I had not spotted. Members of the public who recognised her would chat and learn she had retired, or other staff members would involve her in conversation, it was obvious she was very fondly remembered and they were happy to see her back as a visitor. Every so often I would help her with some of the settings on the camera, or offer suggestions for framing. It is always a delight in offering guidance to those keen to learn more about improving their picture-taking and Jan has really enjoyed gaining a greater understanding of how to improve upon the pictures she takes, which I find particularly heartwarming.
Jan was very handy from my angle as she knew where to expect the new signs of growth, and headed for those, so I would look to see where she went next and head on over to see what she had found. This meant we found ourselves covering different corners, some I have rarely visited, like the chickens, where she recounted some of their history; we also visited the historical area where she explained how some of the horse paraphernalia on display were not all hung in the same orientation, an error which I found particularly poor on behalf of the Museum Staff, as this area is important educationally and should be displayed without ambiguity as this is a really vital resource which needs to be interpreted accurately, I learned that despite her making the point, no one had corrected these errors; that actually angered me as it devalued the display and history has to be reported accurately for it to be of value. Visual History is more powerful often than verbal or written history, so it is vital that it be seen to be correct. This section of the grounds was too dark to consider the taking of photos handheld, but I did make an attempt in the case of one small animal.
We returned to the gardens and by the exit took advantage of some of the items displayed for sale, before moving to have hot chocolate and Caramel shortcakes and a relaxing chat with my swapping out her card to my camera, so she could view her work on a larger review screen, and also for her to view some of my shots, before we both headed in different directions, having enjoyed our time together capturing the ongoing season in the gardens, one of Luton’s gems. On this occasion it was school holiday time, so was very much alive to the sounds of young children enjoying what discoveries they find; which in some cases was simply to run around in a safe environment!

Saturday 7 April 2018

André and Home Brew Hydrofoil Board, Brogborough

I heard that André was back out on the lake at Brogborough with his latest update to his own design of hydrofoil, and despite it being both dull and cold, I got a message to him that I would dash round to get some some shots of the board in flight. 
The wind was fitful, and apparently had been stronger before my arrival, but since he was prepared to go out once more, I hastily set myself up using the Benbo tripod with the legs in the water, and when I was happy with its stability, I attached the camera to the gimbal head, which was the EOS 7D MkII and the 150-600mm Sigma Sports lens, and was ready by the time he had launched.
I took some incidental shots of one other windsurfer to set myself up, then kept André in sight following him out to the distance and then back in again, capturing a few occasions when he was airborne; each occasion was short lived, but what I noticed was he was successfully level once up.
The session did not last long, and once he had brought himself ashore, he Sam and I chatted about what appeared to be the limiting factors, André was very honest in his assessment of his level of hydrofoil experience and confidence being a factor, but we all agreed we were impressed by his board and his control, and seemed to conclude that it was the shape of the tail wing that might well be the weak point in the design, so he will be making this flatter in the next iteration, rather than being entirely curved throughout. This would seem borne out by the study of a commercial design.
I look forward to the next version, and we all hope that occasion will be blessed a more constant wind, and sunshine!

Warner Brothers Studios – Digi-Cluster Networking

JB Cole UK, and Clock, a leading Hertfordshire Digital Agency, arranged the second visit of Creatives to the Warner Brothers Studios at Leavesden under the Digi-Cluster banner.
Dan Dark, the SVP, and Managing Director of the Studios was introduced to the audience of Creatives from all corners of Hertfordshire and others close by who come to these networking events, who welcomed those present, explained a short history of the studios in this location, setting the scene for why this group had been invited by also showing a few clips from recent blockbuster films that had been shot on this plot. He also made a point of how the complex was able to handle films of such a wide range due to the extensive and varied facilities available and the very large pool of experienced and talented people employed or brought into the site, and he extended a warm and genuine offer from the evening’s attendees to consider working alongside the facilities available. He also told of a recent occurrence where a member of the audience had brought along a young, but hitherto unknown man, who though disabled to a degree was able to shine in the environment offered at Leavesden to everyone’s pleasant amazement; pointing up how unless tapped, many such talents remain unexplored.
Before Dan had to leave for other important business, Syd Nadim asked the audience whether there were any questions they would like answered, and as per most audience faced with this opportunity, there was a deathly hush for a moment, so I asked how the expansion plans envisaged by Warner Brothers and alluded to by Dan were faring in the current hiatus caused by Britain’s Brexit issues? There was an amused reaction from the audience, and Dan assured all those present he had every confidence in the quality of creative talent in the UK, which he praised as being the finest anywhere in the world, hence why they chose this location, and its closeness to the London milieu of Soho with all the talent for World Class post-production.
His answers were well-received and was shown by the audience’s applause that followed. There were two 90-second pitches followed by a relaxed interview by Syd Nadim of Katy Howell, who had an interesting story to tell with its up and downs; it came across well and certainly explained her undoubted success, I do feel it worth mentioning from comments I heard expressed, which was that the speakers could have benefitted from being ‘miked-up’, as I did hear from some who were seated further back, but who were too polite to voice their concerns, that much of the content from the two 90-second Pitchers, Helena Baker and Liz Kirman, and the Katy Howell tête-à-tête was too low a volume to be heard, but by the time I heard this snippet it was was too late, as I gleaned this from comments during the Pizza-eating and drinks session afterwards, so I mention it here, so it is learned for the future – had I not been able to hear, I would have said something, but on this occasion, I failed miserably, sorry; one can hope that the shy audience are bolder in the future, and that the organising team ask the question of those at the back, so all can benefit from the full import of the messages from the evenings.
Fortunately, there was still good interaction between those who attended, and I hope I have captured some of that in the pictures within the gallery; I always enjoy capturing the hands used in speech communication as this really adds to understanding!
Thank you once again for the hard work put in by the teams from JB Cole UK and Clock, both behind the scenes and at the venue, and I hope that those attending got as much out of the evening that keeps the interaction fresh and meaningful for the future.

Monday 2 April 2018

Easter Sunday Stewartby – Flora & Power

I felt I needed exercise and despite the light being flat and therefore unexciting, I decided I would go out to cycle around Stewartby Lake and took my EOS 5D MkIII and the 24-70mm and 100mm Macro, the latter being really handy later, but not so much as a macro lens, but as a longer prime. The intention was to cycle down Station Road to the gate into the encircling path around the Forest Centre boundaries which was firm; what I had not expected was the level of standing water across many parts of this track, but the very first person I met was a cyclist who was covered in splattered mud, who had stopped and waited for me to make my way through the kissing gate. Before he ventured through the gate we chatted and he mentioned the parlous state of the path in some areas which explained the generous coating he and his mount had suffered!
I headed off having thanked him for his useful insight into the journey I would be making, and the going for the first stretch was puddled, but not a hindrance, but as I cycled further many of the puddles extended fully across the path and even into the once grassy boundaries, which had since been churned by the wheels of bikes, prams, buggies and the boots of countless walkers; many of the cyclists I noted had not dismounted judging by the depth of the narrow ruts they had created. I chose to dismount, and in some cases take wide detours so as to not worsen the situation for others. Where the water was shallower I walked the bike through slowly. I came across few people in the early stages of the ride, but soon spotted a couple atop the bank at one of the numerous viewing sites of the enclosed wildlife areas. The couple were knowledgable birders and both had binoculars and were naming some of the species of birds that were visible beyond, either on the small lakes or on the banks at their edges, it turned out that the husband was also a photographer and used a 400mm Canon, and in our conversation I mentioned kingfishers and he showed me a shot he had taken at Rye Meads Nature reserve that he had put on his phone.
I left them and continued my ride and after several negotiations of larger puddles entered a wooded section close by the railway line, where a lot of coppicing and hedge-laying was being done and it was at this stage I got out my camera and started taking shots of the signs of new growth against some remnants from the preceding autumn, the only sadness from my point of view was the dismal lighting for most of the time. After travelling some distance around the lake, meeting a growing number of families with young children who were following clues on posters to some of the features to be found along their route, I began to hear the roar of high-powered motors which at first sounded like bikes or Go-carts, but soon were revealed to be powerboats. Fortuitously I had run out of interesting new growth and came round to the enclosed area belonging to the Watersports Club, so headed beyond their entrance gate, and started taking pictures initially with the 24-70mm before changing to the far more suitable 100mm, but way short of what might be considered a reasonable length lens for the subjects.
After a while taking shots from this vantage point I waited at the gate hoping I might be able to ask someone whether it would be possible to enter at a future date; I caught the eye of a lady called Sue who had the bearing of an official and learned it would be possible to enter the enclosed area, and the club were due another Powerboat Meeting in three weeks time. I shall be back with a far more suitable lens on that occasion – my 150-600mm!