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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Saturday 30 March 2019

Harrold-Odell Country Park Birds

I now had the EOS R mirrorless camera and Sigma Sports 60-600mm lens back, and was keen to set everything up again, and also having learned from Canon how to shoot sequences with breaks in shooting, without the interruption of the saved files in the viewfinder until I needed to review the captured images. I did not find it as fluid as when using a conventional DSLR, but with practice I believe I will manage to master it. When you learn how to set this up, it is straightforward, but I had to find the setting by asking my Canon Guru!
Now if I need to review the image I click Preview rather than have to wait as the sequence is displayed in the viewfinder, when what I was trying to do was continue shooting once an action continued. Thus far it is not as fluid as my earlier experience with a mirror flipping, but I am hoping I will master it with more practice. One piece of advice offered was to slow the frame rate, but that would seem counter-intuitive, but I will explore all this as every opportunity arrives. What I have already found is that the quality of the captured images exceeds that of the earlier lenses due to the reduced camera shutter vibration and the larger inherent file size; in other words the image quality exceeds what I previously achieved. Another factor also comes into play in low light levels; the image brightness improves both the cameras ability and mine to focus accurately.
The adapter to use my existing investment in lenses is yet another benefit of the move to a mirrorless body, but it has been a steep learning curve, and as yet I do not have the fluidity I experienced with my earlier bodies (and my brain is older, and less tractable!) My own body has a similar issue with my wonderfully stable Benbo tripod, whose weight is a severe issue when travelling on foot for any distance!
On this trip the only bird that was in any way special was a lone Grebe, but the trip was mainly an exercise to gain confidence in the mirrorless body and the Sigma 60-600mm lens, which I fulfilled albeit not spotting the incorrect setting of colour temperature, which fortunately I was able to sort in ‘post’! I still have further settings to reinstate, but for anyone considering the change to the EOS R, fear not.

Thursday 28 March 2019

Marston Moretaine Church – Environs' Bird Life

I have been in pain due to inflamed bowels for several days, and now the medications are finally having some effect, and the lack of exercise gave me cause for concern — sunshine came to my rescue, and made it possible for me to give my bowels some gentle massage whilst being distracted by the onset of Spring around me as I concentrated on capturing some of the boundless beauty that was a mere short, gentle walk by the local semi-detached church — the tower and chancel are separate entities, with a story of an annoyed God punishing the Villagers by parting the two asunder!
The one thing of extra note is that Capability Brown definitely did Not design the surrounding environment, perhaps the angry God decided the church should be hidden from casual view, by enclosing it from most angles of view beyond, with trees and bushes. This is sad, since the architecture is quite appealing, though entrances deemed in need of being sealed do not appear to have been given much love, looking very utilitarian. l have therefore made a conscious effort to take the viewer’s eye away by choosing an angle that leaves the original arch visible, but the blank wall is obscured by a bush to spare the blushes of the diocese.
I have tried to find angles that show Nature giving us a glimpse of what the coming season offers, and details that caught my eye as I gave my body a gentle work out. I used a lens that gave a general view in my initial walk, then returned later with a longer lens that allowed me to isolate  a view of what I found of interest, and get something to drink to keep me hydrated and allow my body to recover.
By pure chance I spotted the courtship of a pair of pigeons, and the longer lens on the second trip was fortuitous. Since my walk was solitary, the camera provides both company and the chance to capture the scenes I find and share them to a wider audience whilst keeping my eyes attuned to the differing challenges in capturing the colours, atmosphere and happenings around me.
Whilst I was beyond the trees, on the early trip I was surprised to see an egret fly overhead, heading South South East between two other lakes to the south, and this was what had prompted me to come out for the second excursion with the long lens. I also spotted a flock of doves that circled the buttressed tower of the church before landing. This narrative is more than a day late, since I went to Elstree to collect my repaired EOS R from Canon, and  yesterday saw the return of my Sigma 60-600mm lens so therefore I had been delayed in completing the processing of  the shots taken from both trips as I wrote this. I will now let the pictures tell their own story.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Marston Lake – Offchance Visit

It was possible there might be some breaks in the cloud cover, so I took a chance to see whether there might be some avian activity on the small fishing lake that is a short drive from home. Once I was lakeside, I spotted some distant evidence of anglers, but no one actually fishing, but there was a pair of crested Grebe in the middle of the lake, and they were heading towards the bottom area of the lake towards the enclosed area. I therefore took my Benbo tripod-mounted camera down the right hand path to the last swim on this side of the lake. Sadly they did seem to be heading further away, which was a shame as I had not taken along my 1.4x Converter.
Although initially the pair had distanced themselves from me, but by the time I was ready to shoot they had come slightly closer, and I had been watching the territorial dispute behaviour of Gulls on some of the branches of submerged trees by the extensive reed beds to my left.
Once the Grebe pair had seemed to begin their ritual courtship dance, I began to hope this might develop, but although the early signs looked hopeful, the interaction lacked precision timing and it seemed as if this was one dance that did not gell. Perhaps, it was not yet warm enough, or simply a trial run. I went back to concentrating on the Gull activity, and the immaculately groomed male Mallard ducks as they sailed with their less colourful partners. I also recorded the last Autumn colours in the hedgerows and the fresh Spring blossom just appearing on some of the branches.
The brief spell at this lake was still fruitful whilst I await the repair of the EOS R and damaged personal Sigma 60-600mm lens, whose return is hopefully less than a fortnight away.

Monday 18 March 2019

Briefest Brogborough Visit with Biting Wind

          I was thinking that with a stiff breeze, there might be a chance of some activity on the nearby lake, but upon arriving at the Car Park for Brogborough’s windsurfing and paddleboarder afficianados; I found there were few takers.
          It was a bitterly cold late morning, with an added bonus of a biting wind, perhaps the cold was enough to deter all but the hardiest of windsurfing sailors from venturing out on the lake. Only when the winds don’t blow do the paddle boarders take to the water. However, on this occasion the low temperature was enough to deter all but the most determined, unless some were hidden from view the total was a mere half dozen.
          Sam Barnes who runs the show reckoned the cold would not draw too many on this occasion, and it was a while before the number, rigged and on the water, rose to three, which meant it was worth my while to put the camera onto the Benbo tripod and set up on the shore or the jetty to get shots of any action that caught my eye.
          I cannot promise that what I captured was earth shatteringly exciting, but before leaving I did take a few shots of the Benbo with it as Hero, because last weekend I learned that the Distributors, Paterson would very much like to see shots of the Benbo in action.
          I moved it around the shoreline with the lake and windsurfers as background in a small gallery to say thank you for their very useful, and firm tripod. It takes to water well, since the lower leg sections are closed at the bottom, so can be immersed in more than a foot in water with impunity.
          Click this link to view the Benbo tripod I used for these shots with the 5D MkIII and Sigma Sports 60-600mm

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Aylesbury Mayor’s Concert – Concert Band at St. Mary's Church

Although the need for a ‘Roadie’ for my daughter is hardly necessary now she is no longer playing Baritone Sax, I still enjoy the excuse of her Concerts to meet up and keep my hand in (read shutter finger!) covering her concerts — I enjoy the music, the company, and it gives me the chance to keep in touch with her and the children, on a reasonably frequent basis.
I travelled over to her house with my camera and lenses, and on this occasion we went to the venue in her car, as my longer wheelbase might have proven a tad tighter when taking the spiral in the Car Park she intended using, so on this occasion it was I who was the passenger. We made our way through the shoppers and arrived moderately early and though we arrived at the familiar church, both of us found that with the layout being reversed relative to the last time we visited it was unsettling. However, the shock over, it seemed a far better orientation. Another bonus was our visit was in daylight, and the sun was shining brightly, and the church was surprisingly warm too!
On the last occasion, not only was it dark, but I found it necessary to use a monopod for stability, on this occasion, I was able to use even my long lens handheld, and without resorting to high ISOs and the attendant noise. Nevertheless, I spent the freedom of movement that the rehearsal offered to capture as much of the informality to record the life of the Band’s natural interaction, and record some of the Band’s members who are normally less featured through being hidden behind the front rows, such as the percussion section, and the lone guitarist.
This church offers no high viewpoint, which could offer the chance of  capturing some of the less visible musicians, but rehearsal gives me the freedom to make amends, and since my shoes were clean and dry, I took the opportunity to gain some height by standing on a chair every so often. The Mayor arrived early and immediately busied himself shifting chairs into an ordered layout that put the front rows a tad further back, which meant the Band had space and the audience’s ears stood a chance of a reduced volume of sound to improve their appreciation of the music. The opportunity of  projecting a hardworking Mayor offering a helping hand was too good a chance to miss!
The beauty of taking photos at the rehearsal is in the capture of some of the lighter moments, as well as the chance of differing viewpoints, and although I am sometimes close to the action I am careful to keep a respectful distance and tread carefully, and silently. However it does mean that outer garments and various bags do make their presence apparent, and often the less formal dress does mean the images tend to be less useful from a Publicity standpoint, but they do provide a record of the fun and enjoyment of the participants. On a previous occasion, I separated the Rehearsal and Concert images, but on this occasion, I have provided one complete entity, and I hope this gives the true flavour of the event. One last point; Carl Quaif and Marie Biswell, who compèred and signed from the distant platform are seen in the gallery far better than could be seen by the audience, by my using a long lens to drag them closer. I hope this means that the blog audience can put a face to each of these two distant figures and a disembodied voice.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Stockwood Discovery Centre, National Wildlife Photography Exhibition

The Wildlife Exhibition offered an ideal opportunity to visit both the Gardens and the Gallery, so I arranged with John Sentinella, and Jan Tysoe to meet up there. It provided the chance to view the stunning work of others in the exhibition area, and the opportunity to take our own photographs of the bounty of new life within the garden at the beginning of Spring this year.
I arrived first, and John who had parked elsewhere joined soon after, with Jan coming in after a spell doing Pilates. I had taken a brief stroll around before their arrival.
We all took a look at the fine work of others, and John later left us after the wander around the Exhibition, Jan and I stayed longer before going around the gardens in the search of subjects that caught our eye. It will be interesting later to see Jan’s images, to see what I might have missed, because she has the advantage of knowing what is likely at this early time of the season. I must also find out what differences she found between a lens I lent her to compare with the one she uses.
On the whole we were lucky with the light and the weather, and later we adjourned to the cafeteria for a hot chocolate to catch up. We parted and I made a call to a fellow photographer, Colin Bowles to see whether I might visit him and his wife, to catch up on their news before heading back up to Marston Moretaine, and it was a good move because from there it proved a really good trip back, rather than up the crowded M1. Altogether, a very productive and enjoyable day.

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Interesting Multi-Purpose Vehicle - Right Outside!

At the junction of Squires Road and Station Road, Marston Moretaine is a rectangular flower box on the left as one enters, and on the other a fire hydrant; this morning a large multi-purpose vehicle pulled up close by the latter. Since in an earlier life I had worked at a Photographers in Weybridge who had one very frequent user of our services for photographing their various body conversions to standard chassis, the sight of this vehicle  seemed to be calling me to bring out a camera and take some photos. That company from my earliest days in commercial photography was Hawson Garner. 
We would drive to the client and follow in our own vehicle, or be collected from our studios in Weybridge High Street, in the vehicle to be photographed, either way we would  be given a brief for the shots needed, if there were more specific details to be highlighted we might meet up with the client or take the brief from their driver, the most frequented site for the pictures was at a spot by the banks of the Thames. I just tried seeing whether using Google Earth I could find the spot after all these years — I failed! Perhaps after the length of time that has passed perhaps I should not be too disheartened!
Back to the present; I just felt that as the sun was shining, despite being from the wrong direction,  I just had to get out there and get some shots. I did wonder how many shots I might get before the man had finished his task, and helpfully the Stop cock attachment was the wrong size which forced a delay before one of his colleagues came by with the correct-sized key, giving me a few extra minutes. Eighty shots was not too shameful in the time.
Back in the day, I was shooting those shots on 5x4 sheet film with a Sinar, and on a tripod — these images are in full colour and have been tweaked, and available the same day, whereas I would be in the darkroom to unload the slides, heat the tanks to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, clip them in frames and stay by them in the dark for the Development time which was around eleven minutes raising and lowering the frame each minute, before transferring them via quick rinse into the Fixer for another ten minutes, they then had 30 minutes wash and twenty or so minutes in the Dryer —  that only got us to the Negative! The printing of the half- dozen or so shots would take probably another hour or two to get exposed, developed, and printed also in the dark before being washed and generally glazed on a heated stainless steel drum. With other work going through in the same time frame our regular turnaround would be three days, though obviously if needed more quickly this could be reduced, though not the price! Rush fees were the way to allow us the time to work efficiently rather than in mad bursts!
Today’s images taken in the morning, reach the blog in the same day and they possess both quantity and quality. And I am not even being paid for these!

Sunday 3 March 2019

Marston Lake Bird Activity

          The sun was out and it was warm for late January, so a short drive to the nearby Marston Lake seemed like a good idea, since with no wind, the other lake at Brogborough would not be likely to be hosting windsurfers (the clue is in the name!) and Stewartby mainly hosts powerboats and sailing dinghies, and those two exponents tend to be weekend activities or require a wind.
          On this visit the Camera was the 7D MkII, the lens was the Sigma Sports 60-600mm augmented with the 1.4x Converter, since the birdlife on this lake tend to keep their distance.
          On my last visit I had spotted a lone young Grebe, but on this afternoon, there did appear to be a pair, and later there was a tentative exploratory dalliance,  but it petered out without the ritual offering of weeds. Unlike previous visits where I only spotted two Cormorants, there were at least half a dozen and some did take to the air to search for their prey, but the seemingly choice spot were two clusters of dead trees that seemed to warrant a territorial dispute, but the occasion I witnessed, the two established birds hung on and the attack failed.
          As ever, every so often the Coots would become bellicose and there would be some noisy flapping as one bird would launch an attack on another. From my observations Coots seem bad-tempered fairly frequently, often continuing for several bouts, but on this occasion, this petered out fairly speedily. A pair of Swans glid serenely across the lake fairly aimlessly, and unlike the last visit here, there were fewer gulls, and one Tufted Duck seemed to consider one gull to be on its patch, and made a menacing torpedo-like dart at one, but the gull simply took to the air before settling back on the water, comparatively unfazed.
          Alongside a pair of Tufties a single bird of a different species of duck had attached itself, and it was not simply a female of the species, I took an enlarged image, that I plan to send to my Birding Guru to learn just what bird it is, but if anyone else knows please let me know below in Comments.
          The visit was a pleasant way to relax, and get the feel of the lake, and already I have noted the signs of Spring appearing, though listening to the forecasts, this may be premature, since there are still warnings of snow.