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 30 April 2019

Marston Lake – Grebe on Tamron 150-600mm–EOS R +1.5x

This week was not going to give me many chances for an early start to visit a lake, so Tuesday was one that allowed me that opportunity and it was fortunately not overly cold. There were two purposes for this visit, the obvious one was do my best to get some more shots of the resident Grebes, the second was get a further idea of how effective the lighter Tamron lens was, now it could be married effectively with the Canon EOS R mirrorless body. I knew it worked very effectively with the Sigma 60-600mm, and I knew there were times when a lighter lens was essential purely due to the distance I might have to travel with a long lens, and the Tamron had proved to be a good sharp lens before I had bought the early equivalent Sigma, what I was less sure was how it might perform overall with the EOS R.
This trip put my mind at rest on at least that score, but  I still have to master how to deal effectively with placing of the cursor on the screen speedily and consistently. Several times I have lost the focus square to the top edge of the screen when I need to place it more strategically to follow my subject, especially off-centre.
I am improving my success with panning, and living with the slightly stuttering movement as I follow a bird especially if in flight as opposed to on the water, The incentive to polish this aspect is because with the larger pixel count of the EOS R compared to my EOS 5D, if I get the shot it is definitely cleaner, lacking noise in comparison under similar circumstances when light is borderline.
I stayed only long enough to give me sufficient time thereafter in processing the images I managed to capture. I was unable to see a successful fishing foray with the Grebe, but did get a shot of a black-headed gull with a small fish it had just caught, and a lone Grebe, searching and calling for its mate, as it swam to every corner of the lake.

Sunday 28 April 2019

Brogborough Lake & Gusty, High Wind

Tamron have just updated their 150-600mm lens that I still own - so on this day I decided I would check it out by shooting with it on my EOS R now that I have it back with me and, I am very impressed!
A bit of back history — I have had this long focal length zoom for some time, and kept it, even after buying the later equivalent from Sigma, because of the weight difference; it is far lighter than the Sigma, and when later still, Sigma brought out the even longer range 60-600mm lens, I still hung onto it when deciding how to finance the Sigma purchase. After doing some testing with a sample kindly lent me by Sigma, it so impressed me, I sold their earlier version for the two reasons that it was largely duplicating the former Sigma and, two heavy similar lenses made no sense. The far lighter Tamron was no slouch in the quality stakes, and the clincher was selling the Sigma gave me the funds to buy its big brother! If the Tamron could benefit from the use of the EOS R and function fully when coupled with a 1.4x Converter, I would have a very handy, far lighter lens when having to carry it any distance.
Having had a dry run at home, the combo seemed just fine, but I needed a proper trial and Brogborough provided just what I needed, and I have not been disappointed, so I shall be passing on my further thanks to Tamron on Monday.
I arrived at the lake with a few sailors already on the lake and after a brief check on who was out there, I assembled the EOS R, the simple conversion ring for my earlier Canon lenses, but added the 1.4 Converter and the Tamron 150-600mm lens, and mounted the combo onto my weighty Benbo, and headed for the jetty, but after only a handful of shots, I decided that in the wind and on there, it was way too risky! Terra firma beckoned! I have already had one accident too many with my camera this year, and should disaster befall me whilst on grass, then the kit will survive.
I was hoping that on this visit despite the wind direction being less than ideal for jumps, some of the fearless amongst the sailors would at least give me a chance encounter. I was not to be disappointed except I missed one completely due to my focus point jumping to the side of the screen thereby meaning I missed the whole action, and what I viewed looked like the best and clear jump of the day. I am glad there were no ladies present, because. I admit I swore loudly! I have since washed my mouth out.
I stayed less long than normal as I knew it was going to be a lengthy time at the Mac’s screen, and I had other chores clamouring for my attention, so I may well have missed some of the later action for which I apologise for not being able to record any of those masterful manoeuvres that were performed in my absence. Another day, perhaps.
For anyone contemplating the use of  the Tamron 150-600mm in combo with or without a 1.4x Converter on an EOS R, or possibly the lesser RF, I can say it worked fine for me.

Saturday 27 April 2019

DigiCluster Gathering at University of Hertfordshire

I set off from Marston Moretaine for Harpenden In what I had hoped was plenty of time to meet up with Product Designer, Peter Carr to head for another Networking event further South in Watford. I met  more traffic than anticipated, but still with adequate time to relax before the joint run to the venue. 
We should have anticipated that perhaps the traffic I had met was indicative of further delays, as there were similar volumes on this leg too, and we initially chose the wrong Car Park, and neither of us had enough loose change for the one we entered, so added more delay! This meant at least from my angle, there was no time to lose in getting my camera out and covering the assembled delegates already gathered and already buzzing. I did however at least grab a quick drink and put it in an accessible place before spotting the most animated groups to shoot and some of the organisers, such as Syd Nadeem, putting the screens and presentation material together. There were many faces I knew, but also a good number that were fresh, and I did get a few brief words with a few whilst catching up with as many informal shots to get my eye in.
The  light level was good, but the crowd in amongst the heavy furniture meant moving around an amount of carefully negotiated strides over three-legged blue-fabricced seating to choose different groups in animated conversation. In the short time I had before the start of the formal introduction to the presentations, I wanted to ensure I had captured as many of the delegates in the small groups of conversations as possible, before I became static as far as my viewpoint was concerned. Having located a spot from where I had a good view of the group of Speakers, I asked if my seat could be kept before taking a few more shots of the group as a whole. This ensured I had a shot of the audience for the evening, and fortuitously this came as the final shot on Page 2, with the start of proceedings on the following page of images — Phew!
Enjoy. I certainly did, and thoroughly appreciated Mark McDermott’s interesting relaxed telling of his journey. I hope that the images I captured convey the spirit of the evening for those attending.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Marston Lake — Slow Start…

When I first arrived, there was not a sign of bird life on the water, but there were several anglers and their tents dotted around the shores, and I even considered changing venue, however, I am eternally grateful I did not make that decision. When I arrived there was an overcast sky and a gentle breeze, but l walked to the end of the right fork, and found a trio of friends who having set their rods were standing chatting.
I introduced myself as a photographer and asked what I might find in the way of aquatic birds I might find, and to my pleasant surprise they volunteered that kingfishers had been spotted here, beyond where we were, and on the far side. In the ensuing conversation, it became obvious that a very early start was recommended, which was welcome news, since a fruitless early start did not appeal.
So far, I had not even taken a camera out, but on my way back to the car, I spotted some beautiful young leaves, so since I had still not seen anything more than some lone Coots in the distance, so I decided to at least capture some fresh young leaves before leaving. The sun even came out for a spell, but its arrival was almost immediately followed by rain! On my return after grabbing a few shots I got into conversation with an angler whom I later found to be named Sean, who previously had been facing the lake. It was during this chat with him, that we spotted a Grebe fishing some distance out, though I did grab some shots, then decided to head back and change cameras, from the 5D MkII with 24-70mm lens to the EOS R And the Sigma 60-600mm and mounted it on the sturdy Benbo. Sean had some binoculars and very generously began acting as my spotter! He also told me about a   spot which still had the sun behind me which was in the direction taken by the Grebe.
This was to prove the making of this trip, so if you at least take a look beyond the leaf images you will be rewarded with some worthwhile shots of a pair of these Great Crested Grebe which with my added 1.4x Converter are far more detailed. It was very lucky that I found a spot where only my head and camera was in view above reeds, so I did not intrude upon the pair I was shooting. Once I had these shots I headed back to say thanks to Sean and show him some of what I had captured. Then came back to process the pictures and put up the gallery.

Monday 22 April 2019

Another Visit to Weston Turville Lake

I took a swift look at the nearest lake just down the road, but without a camera, and I walked all the way to the water’s edge; there was not a single bird on the lake and only two anglers on the far side, and sadly no sign of the water bailiff whom I had hoped to contact.
I returned to the car, after I had spoken to the Water Bailliff for Tringford Reservoir who told me that it was already packed out down there, so I decided to drive down again to the lake at Weston Turville. I had no idea whether it would be equally packed at this lake, but felt it was worth a try, and if it was then I could take a look at how easy it would be to park close to the nearby canal, as I had learned that there were kingfishers along that stretch.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that the long lay-by was far from crowded, yet once I had got through the entrance and climbed the Bank steps to the top, I found numerous groups either walking or gathered at some of the jetties. Out on the lake the main species of bird were Mallard and Coots, and in the distance Swans; at first I saw nothing of the Grebes, but then I spotted a flash of white in the distance, and took a look through the camera, and it was one, but way too distant. I spotted its mate after a bit, and they spent a lot of time diving, and then I had to scan far and wide whilst counting to 35 to 45 seconds — I have never been able to predict where they would reappear! Occasionally they would come closer, sometimes    further out.
On this lake visit there were also a couple of dinghies out on the water, only one glider was soaring above in the warm sunshine. Occasionally I would get into conversation with some of the other visitors, with my enquiring into where I might catch sight of kingfishers either here or on the nearby canal. Today’s different subject was a brief encounter with a radio controlled speedboat. And later I even met up with the parents of the boy whose speedboat it was!
I had earlier thought that the far shore was only accessible to anglers, but. Learned there was a higher level path that led behind the reed beds, and the last images were taken from a hide. I cannot claim this gallery of shots were exciting, but I was using the 1.4x Converter and some of the Grebe shots would haven impossible without it.

Saturday 20 April 2019

A New Lake to Visit — Weston Turville

On the last visit to my nearest lake, Marston Lake, I met a man who mentioned two others that may well be worth a visit, one at Clayton, and the one I chose to visit first, which was at Weston Turville, which looked very promising as parking close by seemed to be achievable. So on a very warm and sunny Good Friday, I set off in hope. My SatNav however, possibly due to an overload of families heading off for the Bank Holiday weekend, was definitely not being at its most helpful, and the lags meant that on several occasions, it was so slow in informing me of direction changes, I missed several vital turnings, resulting in various diversions to get back on course. It was not however a bad omen.
Initially, so that I had a good idea of the location, I took only one camera, the 7D MkII with the 24-70mm lens so that I could cover the ground speedily to get some idea of the layout, and I travelled a good distance to reach the farthest reach of the lake and to the canal beyond, which was the Wendover arm of the Grand Union Canal, at Halton.
This walk provided me with further signs of the new season, with its fresh young leaves emerging all around, after I had made various detours to reach the lakeside and get an indication of numerous possible vantage points, that might prove useful, I headed back to the car to get a tripod, the Benbo, and the longer lens, the Sigma 60-600mm Sports lens on the EOS R body. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, I should also have picked up the 1.4x Converter. Initially, I tried setting two the tripod’s legs in the water, hoping to remain really low, but there was no satisfactory way I could get a convenient height, so erected it on the Bank instead. For quite a while after having spotted a lone Grebe in the distance, he never came particularly close, which was a shame; had I taken along the Converter, it would have been a considerable advantage — next time!
It was good to wind down as for various reasons, the last couple of weeks have been stressful, so much of the time was spent observing and hoping, and my patience was rewarded by the Grebe coming very slightly closer, but the ‘pièce de resistence’ was the Swan making a noisy flapping from the far end of the lake and heading straight towards me! It alerted me, and I managed to twist around and fire off a few shots before he came in to land. I was so pleased, that it rounded off the afternoon, and I immediately packed everything up, and headed very happily back to the car. Once all the kit was safely packed, I headed home, very happy, and I hope what I captured makes anyone viewing the gallery equally as pleased with the end result.

Monday 15 April 2019

Woburn Park Visit in Pale Sunshine

I readied my kit, which in this instance was a tripod with a fair leg-spread to support the EOS R and the Sigma Sports 60-600mm lens with a ball head, I had two destinations in mind, but fate dealt me a different hand, and when both venues lacked attendance of aquatic birds for the first choice and windsurfers on Brogborough were conspicuous by their absence, I decided on a different venue – Woburn Park, with its deer.
Upon arrival, it looked as if I might have lucked out once again, but after a trudge with heavy gear, deeper in proved initially no more promising, I retraced my footsteps. Upon my arrival back at the small narrow lake by the entrance, the deer had relented and started heading my way from the hill, heading straight for  my stretch of water, and a drink. Initially, the stags journey towards me was made largely heads-down, which is far from being the most interesting pose for any photo! I therefore carefully watched to see when one would look up, and preferably look my way, also, it would have been generous had they formed interesting groups, rather than an amorphous mass of grass-chomping heads. I tried to assess when one might look up long enough for me to compose an interesting group.

I stayed by the island of grass by the stretch of water till they had quenched their thirst and headed up the hill away from me – rear views are generally of less interest, so I made my way out, and back to the car. As I set off the Pavilion-like building was lit beautifully, so my architectural instinct kicked in and I took a few views of this before  considering my photography had ended. Even then there was still one last series of shots to catch my eye, a swan was nesting in the reeds, and was busy with some housekeeping, so I tried to capture some shots of its labours. So my trip was rewarding.

Sunday 14 April 2019

Tring Spring — Reservoir’s Birds

Armed with the EOS R and Sigma Sports 60-600mm lens I head for Tring Reservoirs in anticipation of reasonable light and a plethora of aquatic birds. One thing I have learned is that I can never guarantee what I might find, and this is no exception. I could never have predicted what turned out to be the classic images of one rare bird I only caught sight of due to another visitor to the lake who mentioned it was out on the lake. I turned around, and there it was; he also mentioned that the day before its partner had been alongside, but he reckoned it was probably back at the nest.
I had chosen the lightest tripod, a carbon fibre one on this occasion so, but with the wrong head, thus on many times during the day, I took to using it as a monopod to give me the freedom of movement. This day was also one of those in which I had turned off the preview of the mirrorless body, to give me an uninterrupted view whilst shooting, as mentioned by Canon's Frankie Jim, and slowly I am gaining in confidence with this body, but there are some aspects I still have to master as I still do not have the fluidity I had with DSLRs. However, I cannot complain about the image quality, it is truly excellent; really helped by many more pixels.
My time spent at the reservoirs on this day just missed some rain at the end, but the angry Coot and the beautiful colours of the Mandarin Duck were the highlights of this trip to the lakes, making it all worthwhile.
The most telling time with this camera body will be when shooting sports such as windsurfers, powerboats and cars at Goodwood, if I am lucky enough to get there this year, and in terms of local opportunities, I need some wind and sun for me to capture those. I am still trying to learn how to get the best out of shooting confidently with the mirrorless body, so the best for that will be some decent winds.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Newton Blossomville – Becomes My Destination

The original plan was to continue my search for nearby lakes or stretches of river that are easily accessible from Marston Moretaine and give me a chance to be close enough once parked to be able to carry my heavy tripod to a suitable spot to observe and capture wildlife activity. To that end, I first looked at both Google Earth and recent OS Maps of the area. I thought I had located the nearest likely spot, but the traffic was moderately heavy and in my haste took the wrong turning, which resulted in a long detour before I was back on track. To compound the wasted time, I realised there was no access to the area I had contemplated!
However, I did have another option, and found myself in a familiar location, and the sun was finally breaking cover though half-heartedly, I briefly called in on a newly updated barn, housing a Car Repair and Paint Spray booth to chat briefly with the owner. After a brief chat, I continued on my way heading towards the charmingly Olde Worldly-named village of Newton Blossomville. Before arriving I spotted inviting landscape of undulating fields with young, and just opening fields of Oilseed Rape, and there was a parking spot ideally located at the best viewpoint!
There was enough light that I had no need even for a tripod, and this was too good to miss. There was another opening immediately opposite the car, so no climbing involved either. I  had the EOS R with its flip out screen so both high-level and low level shots were possible and I needed the light to give me as small an Aperture to have good Depth of Field, and since there was a gusty breeze, a reasonably high shutter speed, I varied my Shutter Speed as well as my Aperture to get the best chance of both a lack of movement, and a reasonable depth of field, relative to my choice of viewpoint. So the aperture varied from f/7.1 to f/9, the Shutter Speed from 1/250th to1/800th and the ISO I kept at 200˚, to keep the Noise level down. All shots were using the 24-70mm lens.
In addition to the undulating fields at various stages of growth, I found the nearby pylon was beautifully aligned to give the next pylons in a symmetrical positioning with an early shot in the bag, but with poor lighting and a chance later with the sun co-operating! And of course the golden colour of the rape at its base to add colour and season to the shot.
Having got a few shots, I put the camera back in my bag in the boot, when I heard the gentle clip-clop of horses’ hoofs in the distance, I took a quick check then took a few shots as they approached me, and they stopped for a brief chat. Since they seemed interested, I handed the lead rider one of my cards, in the hope of a possible additional viewer of my work on the blog.
Before returning home, I took a quick look on the far side of the village where I had taken shots of harvesting last year, and noted that they had Oilseed Rape there in place of Wheat. I also enquired about the nearby lakes opposite where I had parked as to possible avian wildlife.

Sunday 7 April 2019

Marston Lake Woods – Signs of Spring

I decided to take a look at Marston Lake in case there was some avian activity on the water, but all I saw were a few Coot and and a couple of Cormorant, but no sign of the Grebe pair I had seen on my last visit, and even those birds I saw were distant. The walk through the woods to the lakeside which last time had daffodils in bloom, now displayed withered flower heads atop their stems looking very sad. However, the new leaves on some trees were fresh and healthy, and despite the lack of sunshine were welcoming.
Presumably the lack of sunshine meant the few ladybirds I saw were lethargic and I may be mistaken but where hawthorn are in abundance, I rarely find much birdsong, and certainly on this afternoon, the only sounds were those of cars, bikes and vans passing along the lane beyond. My walk through the woods could not be described as silent, as with every step I was breaking branches noisily underfoot, so no chance of creeping closer to an unsuspecting bird unless it was deaf!
The early leaves of the Horse Chestnut were a luscious green, hanging as if wet before they gain strength and flatten out. Many of the trees I walked past were heavily covered with what I took to be forms of lichen, and where branches had broken and the wound healed they would often seem like eyes, and with imagination you could see faces, hence why I chose to capture these. On this occasion I did not take any shots of the numerous holes I spotted that I presumed were badger setts, because none looked in any attractive as some I have seen on occasion. There was a single clump of Primula which caught my eye as there were two twigs whose juxtaposition made the whole seem like a drawing of a tree, hence why I took that shot, and I promise I never moved anything; I simply took the shot from the angle that gave me the impression.
Undoubtedly sunshine would have improved the scene, but the purpose of my visit was to take advantage of the lower angles the EOS R offered due to having the flip screen, and to familiarise myself to the new way of working with a mirrorless camera, and every shot was taken with the one lens the 24-70mm with macro facility, and the flip-out screen allowed me use a low angle viewpoint.
I have an apology to make – I slipped up with this gallery earlier, and it failed to appear – IT DOES NOW – Sorry!

Monday 1 April 2019

A Climb to Millbrook Church

As many who know me will realise, I rarely travel without a camera, and on those occasions, I will have made a conscious decision not to be taking photos, or my family will have made that decision for me! Yes, I do have a phone  that Sports a camera, but for me that is not a serious option. For several years my choice has been a single lens reflex, and although I started as a Nikon devotee, there came a point where I opted to jump from film to digital, and at that juncture Canon offered a better quality than Nikon, so I jumped ship. 
Both camera makers spent the early digital years, swapping the lead in terms of quality or ease of use, but as I simply had to wait a short while when Canon was behind before the next model made a jump, I stayed loyal. This was as much due to my investment and the prohibitive financial cost of making such a jump. Both systems are very equal, and there are subtle handling differences which would mean at critical moments I could fail to capture a shot.
Recently, as I made the switch to a mirrorless body, I fell into just such a situation. I had my recently acquired EOS R and Sigma Sports 60-600mm crash to the ground, and whilst both were being repaired, I went back to my DSLRs, only to find I had lost the fluidity in the handling, that used to be second nature! The differences are only slight, but my brain is less agile than it was when I made the jump to digital all those years back!
I made a trip to my accountant today, and on the return trip, I parked the car in the village of Millbrook, and grabbing the camera I took a steep path up to the top to see what the views might be, and whatever else might be of interest. It was only when I reached the summit and saw the view, that I realised I had actually been to this same spot before, but on that occasion, I had started from the opposite side of the same hill! It had not been a wasted journey, but it was one of those forehead-slapping moments!
The end result is a single page gallery of what caught my eye, and certainly gave me a quality that justified my purchase, and its flip screen made all the difference to the ease with which I was able to get the low angles of some of the shots, and also the landscapes, due to the lack of shutter vibration, coupled with the larger pixel count inherent in the file size increase over my 5D MkIII, had I taken the same shots with the latter.
It was a useful opportunity to become more familiar with the EOS R for when I need to work swiftly and intuitively in the future.