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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Sunday 30 December 2018

A Visit to Tring Reservoirs and its Birdlife

          The sun shone hazily when I left from home, but by the time I reached the road towards Dunstable, cloud cover had become complete, and as I proceeded further south, mist came down getting denser till I reached Pitstone, when it began to lift, but any hope I had entertained that sunshine might prevail were dashed, as it simply became a typically dull British day.
          I drove to Tringford where I spotted the Water Bailliff, Bob Menzies  and another angler chatting by the entrance, and before I could get out to open the gate, Bob began doing so for me, allowing me to enter the field to park. Another angler soon joined the group before they all set off to the Pub. Before I could set up my camera and lens I had to close the gate as members of the Public just wandered into this Private Angling Club. I then began assembling the camera, gimbal head and tripod and closing the gate behind me headed across the road to Marsworth Lake.
          My trip got off a good start because the first bird I saw was a grebe, one of my personal favourites — it was at some distance which was a shame, but no worry I was going to be around for a while yet. I was using the Benbo tripod, and so did not close the legs to save time whilst moving along the path between the two lakes. I would stop every so often to change my viewpoint and thus the camera was immediately available. However as I write this piece, having edited the images, it is apparent that was probably not my best decision, as it meant that I was not carrying it well, as I am in quite a bit of discomfort from my back now. I just hope that a good night’s rest improves the situation.

          The tally of different subjects from the afternoon, covers a gull or two, a shoveller, swans and cygnets, a grebe and some pochard. So, considering I also broke off to chat to some other photographers, some of the anglers, and members of the general public, I had quite a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

Saturday 29 December 2018

Brogborough Lake — a Short Spell of Wind

          I did not harbour high hopes of high winds or sunshine; just a keen desire that I might be lucky enough to get a decent breeze to encourage some sailors to choose this time for some outdoor exercise on the lake, and upon arrival there were certainly a fair number of windsurfers out on the lake, and there was certainly more wind here than I had experienced at Marston Moretaine, just up the road.
          At this point it did not look particularly promising, so for a short while, I just stood and watched, however, the wind improved, and the sun at least was attempting to break cover from the clouds, so that made me get back to the car and breakout the Benbo tripod, attach the gimbal head and take the 7D MkII with its Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens and lock that in place. I spread the legs, set the central column vertical, and locked the tripod and set the lens balance in the long Arca Swiss shoe, and hefted it on my shoulder after closing the boot, and locking the car, headed for the jetty.
          The legs were not perfectly aligned with the slats; but two out of three was not too bad! Holding the camera and lens firmly, I loosened the bolt, put the last leg in place, aligned the central column vertically, then locked everything firmly. I loosened the gimbal head’s two nuts, did a quick check of ISO speed and exposure, and was ready for action — just in time for the very first jump of the afternoon. The omens were good!
           The sun even brightened a tad and although while setting up I had spotted Sam on his hydrofoil and without having to pump his board to begin planing, I was too late to capture any shots of his activity. However, I did manage to capture some more jumps by Richard and Geoff, and also a newcomer from the North, so I felt rewarded for my decision to head out to the lake. The spell of reasonable wind did not last for too long, so for a change, I was left with a good time to get the gallery of images up on the blog before the end of the same day as the action. This was a great way to end the year on a high.

Friday 28 December 2018

Marston Lake — a Second Photo Visit

          The day started overcast, that brightened by around ten, but l got involved in relaxation having lain in a dream state before heading to a wash and shave. Breakfast over I decided to head towards the small lay-by I had used on my previous visit, but on this occasion I intended shooting with my heavy Benbo tripod and the 150-600mm Sigma Sports lens.
          Having assembled it, I planned to turn right as  I came to the junction by the lake and walk the short distance to the end of that track, where I met an angler called Andy, who had been there since the morning before. We chatted as I set up the camera, and I learned he had never seen any kingfishers here, which was not the news I had been hoping to hear! He had been to a spot in Germany where there had been several — not the reassurance I was seeking!
          In the course of further conversation, he did however say he would keep an eye out, and let me know if any ever appeared, and where he spotted them, and so I gave him a card should the occasion arise. I was most appreciative of that offer, because he was a frequent visitor and always for longer periods than I could manage, so that was very welcome.
          On my arrival, the cloud cover was almost total, but for a while, it lessened breaking into parallel lines, with pale blue beyond — a pattern I saw just once before earlier in the year, though on this occasion it was less clearly defined, and beyond, in the middle distance, the pattern was repeated but at ninety degrees to the first group! On the water were several small groups of Coots, occasionally chasing each other with gusto, for reasons only they understood, but it just seems Coots are just noisily antisocial as a breed. Of greater interest to me were a fair-sized group of Tufted Ducks, and I glimpsed possibly the same lone Grebe I saw on my last visit.
          I saw that a circling Gull had landed, and I was lucky enough to get a short burst as it took off a short while later. Although Cormorants are not one of my favourite birds, one came just within reach, so I grabbed a few shots as it passed by. Also, the Robin paid us a visit, but despite being offered some fish bait, it kept its distance and was always behind intervening branches, so does not feature in this gallery. The light became too low eventually, so I bade my angler friend farewell, and headed homeward.

Monday 24 December 2018

Marston Lake — a Possible New Venue

         Since the rain had stopped, I decided to nip round to the lock-up and get the bike and reconnoitre a nearby lake just beyond the turn off to the station beyond the Allotments. I was heading towards Lidlington, but before there, there was a gated entrance to a lake reserved for anglers and just beyond, a small lay-by. I checked this out first because I had in mind that it would be ideal for me to park the car, if I were to visit with a heavy tripod and the big lens at some time in the future.
         On this occasion I travelled light; without any camera; there is a small pedestrian gap beyond the gate, that I wheeled the bike through, then I parked it beyond the bend, so as to be hidden from the road, and leant it against a tree, and followed the road around yet another bend, and came to a junction, where the track went around the perimeter of the lake in both directions. Ahead was a parked estate car with its rear door open and its driver engaged on his phone, I nodded that I’d wait patiently till he was free and withdrew to a distance to allow him the privacy to continue his call.
         Shortly he wound down his window, I enquired as to whether he felt that since I was not an angler, whether it was possible for me to enter the area to take photos. He answered immediately that there was no objection, and during the ensuing conversation I discovered that he was the local Water Bailiff; so I had definitely found the very best person to learn more about the lake and its wildlife. Most importantly I learned they did have kingfishers, and he even suggested where they were most likely to be found. He explained that the path to the right was short and only went as far as the last jetty from which the anglers fished.
         I decided to investigate this path first, and found it was a very short distance. I returned to his parked car and continued our conversation, and even in that short period of time I noticed that there was a fair amount of bird life. We chatted a while longer, then I set off around clockwise from the junction, having asked his name having volunteered mine and given him one of my business cards.
         I strolled slowly along the path, every so often taking paths towards the foreshore to get an idea of the viewpoints each offered. As I returned to the main path, I tried to remember the man’s name, and realised that it had not registered at all in my failing brain! I was going to have to embarrass myself, by asking him when I next met up with him! I refer to the route around the lake as a path, but it is in fact a road in that it is wide along its entire route with enough width in parts to accommodate cars being parked without blocking it for others going further round.
         Every time the route forked off to give access to a small area from which to fish, I would investigate, though in some cases, I did not go right to the water’s edge, because either I did not want to disturb the angler, or I could see that it was very muddy and steep due to all the recent rain. I soon reached the bank directly opposite to the bailiff’ car, and soon after that I spotted that on that side, there was no enclosing fence, and between there was an area of scrub with a public footpath beyond.
         I walked as far as I could in that direction then turned back and returned to the bailiff’s car, where I apologised for so swiftly forgetting his name, and learned it was Mark, which I realised was so easy to mark for the future, had I made that simple mental note on the first occasion! We chatted some more, before I then headed back to my bike and rode home.
         At that time I was not sure when I would return, but in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, I returned with my lightest long lens the Tamron 150-600mm and this time parked in the lay-by just beyond the entrance, set up the lens and camera on my carbon fibre tripod with the gimbal head, locked the car, and headed in towards the lake. I decided that as the sun was already getting low, I would head to the right and the short distance to its very end, where I set up the tripod on the short and somewhat fragile wooden jetty. After a while I heard the whistle-like call of a robin who came to investigate. I also caught sight of a blue tit, but it was far shyer, as was a blackbird, out on the water I spotted a couple of cormorants, several coots and a lone young grebe, and I was lucky enough to capture its good fortune to succeed to secure itself a reasonable sized fish for tea.
         I soon found that the sun was falling into clouds as it fell towards the horizon, so I took a few further shots as I headed for the gate and my car, and a couple of the setting sun over Brogborough. Though brief, it was a very good way to head into Christmas.

Monday 10 December 2018

Fairford Leys Christmas Concert in the Centre

After a dash back to Marston Moretaine to change into clothes that were more suitable for the afternoon in the centre of Fairford Leys and to also offload the pictures taken at the lake of Windsurfing activity so there was no danger of their suffering any mishap before I was back to processing that afternoon’s images, I collected a group of lenses that I felt would be suitable for the inevitably low light levels I would encounter.
I gave myself a reasonable amount of leeway as I knew there would be a higher level of traffic as the route involved passing Milton Keynes, and to add further insult the A421 road now has a 40mph limit which actually simply backs up the traffic such that even that speed most of the day is an unfulfilled dream; it tends to be a series of 20mph spurts between 10 second standstills, I found it pays to hold back and keep a steady speed of around 18-22mph and save fuel, frustration and brake wear, and fortunately the driver behind seemed to agree as he did not come up and sit on my rear bumper – that was a pleasant surprise.
Although the traffic was still fairly heavy after the spell before the new sections, at least it moved at a fair pace, so I arrived in reasonable time such that my daughter and I were able to take a relaxed pace as she collected her music and most importantly some pegs to anchor it to the music stand, though she did find she was missing some of the necessary pieces she was due to play.
We arrived early and found a place to park with ease and headed for the centre, however, actually reaching the venue had still proved to be somewhat circuitous, as it was later to be repeated when leaving! As we took the saxophone and music bag from the car it dawned on me that my camera gear was still sitting in Quainton with Tim, Lizzy’s husband and the children – they were due to follow shortly, and when Lizzy broke the news to Tim, he had very fortunately not left the house! Acquiring the missing music sheets fortunately presented no problems and the afternoon went well, so whilst Lizzy got herself organised I simply stood around like a spare part, but was soon very relieved to see Tim with my camera bag (some Professional Photographer I turned out to be!) Tim very generously did not make a meal out of it.
I set up the most likely lens I would be shooting with; the 35mm f/1.4 and took a few shots and set ISO 3200˙ and found I could get by at:

Yes, ‘get by’! – if I needed more speed, I had a stop in hand but at least I could cope with the inherent grain at this speed – Thank Goodness for Image Stabilisation or what my friend Adam refers to as Anti-Shake, also when you have my level of unsteadiness I am grateful for the burst, because sometimes the second image can be usable if the first suffered from my tremble.
I think I did occasionally open up to f/2.8, and 1/8th of a second I think was my slowest shutter speed, so I am grateful for the technology jump from my earliest days when 400 ASA still meant I had to use auxiliary lighting and a tripod! Even in Brighter light levels!
Flash under the situation such as this was out of the question as it would have been extremely distracting to those who were playing as well as killing the ambiance of the scenes I captured.

Brogborough Lake Saturday Early

The forecast promised wind, and from a good direction and certainly as I set off, it was living up to that, so after a chat with some of those already, and just unloading, it looked very promising; so I returned to the car and started to set up the camera and Benbo Tripod.
A short while later I had the Sigma 150-600mm on the 5D MkIII body for a change. Normally I go for the 7D MkII as it has a faster burst rate, but it seemed worthwhile checking out just how the different body worked in practice, and I can report that generally it seemed fine, though the distant shots maybe failed to focus accurately on occasion, but that was down to me rather than the camera I reckon! The wind however was not behaving as forecast and was as fitful as the day previous.
There were a few brave souls already on the lake, one of those being Richard McKeating who was not alone in choosing to cover his face well as the windchill was definitely evident. This visit was not going to be a long one for me, but had nothing to do with the weather; I had learned only the night before that my daughter who plays Sax, was due to play at the Fairford Leys Christmas Carol event, and I always enjoy the Aylesbury Concert Band playing.
I set myself up on the pier, and every so often it was severely rocked, and on the second time I looked round to see why – the dog had leapt onto it then back onto the land! I had mistakenly assumed it was one of the waves, even though they had not seemed that large. Sam Barnes was out twice using the Hydrofoil; the second run with greater success.
Since there were not too many takers early on, I did also try to keep my hand in shooting passing cormorants and gulls. I was lucky enough to catch a few jumps performed by the afore-mentioned Richard, but missed one when suddenly I realised my preparations for Lizzy and her Concert had made me make a silly mistake which was not to reformat my Compact Flash card and so it swiftly ran out of space, and to make matters worse, the pre-existing shots were of my last visit to this lake, so working out which had to be deleted was in danger of removing this day’s images. Sorting this out took me valuable time, as I had specifically only put one card in the bag because I needed everything for later in the day.
I stayed long enough only to leave when the wind began to improve, but since I was Roadie for my daughter I could not arrive late and I had to change into smarter clothes before driving over, and, for safety, offload these images, so they were ready on the computer for my return. I apologise for my abrupt departure.

Friday 7 December 2018

December Wintry Sun at Brogborough Lake

There was a slight breeze in Marston Moretaine, but that was no definite indication it would be equally windy at Brogborough Lake, but no wind here definitely meant No Wind at the lake, so it was worth a trip to see whether any windsurfers had turned up.
I packed both cameras and set off in hope, and was rewarded; as I turned into the entrance, I spotted two sails out on the lake, though there were not too many vehicles parked, but with the anemometer spinning the omens were good, but, until I was sure, I did not tempt fate by unloading the boot so locked the car and wandered to see who was around and Sam was togged up, so I chatted to another windsurfer and it seemed I was in luck, so returned to the car and started to set up the tripod. On this occasion I was going to use the 5D MkIII rather than the 7D MKII body, and the Sigma 150-600mm lens to see how I fared with this combination as at least I then had the full frame even though not the fast burst rate.
Sam decided he would risk a run with the hydrofoil despite the gustiness of the wind, so initially I concentrated on that, but it was apparent the wind was too gusty and although he did get it up, it was not sustained, so he came back out with a conventional board, so I then took shot of the others on the lake, the wind dropped after a short spell, and came came back in for another attempt and on this occasion at least for a short spell he was airborne, so I managed a few shots, before he returned to swap again to a conventional board.
I was also lucky as I was treated to a couple of jumps, even though I gathered the wind direction was less than ideal, I also managed some shots of three sailors in a group which is always handy.
I stayed as long as I could, as standing at the water’s edge in a high cold wind the windchill soon began to get though my light clothes as I held onto a cold camera and lens, with only minimal movement unlike those on the water who by expending much more energy were able to keep reasonably warm.
I did notice that using the full frame body the distant images seem small, but upon examination were just fine, but when close to, it was noticeably easier to frame, knowing that the quality was there. In the past I was always more concerned with the burst rate, but in the situation here this was far less of an issue compared to trying to capture birds and insects in flight, where the speed of the cropped frame sensor body was a definite benefit. I shall use this body slightly more often in the future.

Monday 3 December 2018

2018 Aylesbury Mayor’s Carol Concert

Not only is Warming Global, it is local to Aylesbury for December, and the atmosphere at St. Mary’s Church in the centre of Town is equally welcoming as it is the time of year for Carols Sung to the Aylesbury Concert Band’s backing to the Choir’s and Congregation’s cheerful singing of familiar and happy tunes to celebrate Christmas. The Conductor of the Band was Rob Wicks.
The Congregation’s singing is augmented by the voices of the Aylesbury Choral Society’s Singers and the Bedgrove Junior School Choir. There were no less than six Readings, read in order by the following people: Aylesbury Town Mayor, Councillor Mark Willis,
His Honour Judge Sheridan, DL,
Group Captain Katherine Wilson, Station Commander RAF Halton,
Mr Stephen Archiebald, CEO Carers Bucks,
The Right Honourable David Lidington, CBE, MP,
Sergeant Joe McNicholas, Mayor’s Cadet.
Father Doug Zimmermann officiated and gave the Christmas Address to the congregation and invited everyone to stay to partake of the Mulled Wine, Fruit Juice and Mince Pies served by the Councillors of Aylesbury Town Council  and Volunteers from Ayesbury Lions.
I can personally vouch for the excellent sounds provided by the Aylesbury Concert Band and the enthusiastic singing by all present, a very enjoyable evening and much milder than we could have expected and the rain held off making packing all the musician’s instruments less of a stress than might have been the case were it raining heavily or been far colder.