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 26 May 2019

Breezy at Marston Moretaine, Less so at Brogborough

Upon arrival at the Car Park at Brogborough Lake, it had become obvious there was far less wind here than where I had just left, so I did not immediately go to the boot and pull out the tripod or camera to set up for shooting, I simply walked to where several of those who would be out on the lake were chatting. There was no sense of urgency to be out on the water, since the prerequisite for windsurfers lies in the name! I did learn that here a while there had been a reasonable blow, but it had dropped, hence the relaxed atmosphere.
I did spot that Richard McKeating was now with a hydrofoil on his board, which prompted me to forego the chatting and get back to the car and set the Benbo tripod up, and mount the EOS R with the 60-600mm Sigma Sports and 1.4x Converter attached.
By the time I reached the shoreline, he was out on the lake. However the wind had not the enthusiasm needed for lift-off, but if anyone could make the most of what wind was on offer, I was going to be ready to capture that separation of air between surfboard and water! What I did notice was that Sam Barnes was no longer the sole sailor with a hydrofoil, and so though I never captured  three foilers airborne in the same frame, I did find them in the same shot; all on the surface!
By the end of the time I was lakeside, I had captured two out of three aloft, which considering the conditions was a good proportion, and with the possibility  of wind forecast later in the Bank Holiday weekend, I may well be making a further visit later…
To show just how versatile this Sigma lens is, not only was I able to capture action close to the Bank as well as close to a distant shore, but I turned the camera towards the reeds, and was able to get a shot of a mating pair of damselflies by swivelling through 90 degrees, (and a tight crop admittedly!) It does however point to the incredible versatility of this lens, and on this occasion because there was good light, the Sigma 1.4x Converter was in place throughout; a real tribute to the designers at Sigma, and also Canon for their full-frame mirrorless body.

Saturday 25 May 2019

In Search of Rivers and Lakes

Using the SatNav map, I search out locations with reasonable access to spots where carrying a heavy tripod and long lens is manageable from where I am able to park. On this occasion, I investigate the path leading to a bridge over the River Great Ouse in the village of the beautifully named Newton Blossomville. The first walk is exploratory carrying the EOS R camera with just the 24-70mm lens, and I am reminded of the words “fortune favours the brave”, because I made that decision on the possibility of carrying the many times heavier tripod and long lens in vain. I mention this because there were many more brighter periods in that initial trip than the subsequent one with the heavier kit! The sun brought out simply countless demoiselle damselflies on that exploratory trip!
I returned to the same spot a short while later and the sun was behind the largest cloud in the sky with a long wait for the wind to blow it it by, but I did manage at least a couple of shots. Their colouration is very striking in comparison to the far more common light blue damselfly.
The river divides into several individual channels, and later I learned from two local gentlemen that the ruins I had spotted had been a water mill in the early part of the last century, the bridge I was later to cross, effectively bridges the island that lay in the path of the river at this point. I did see a bed of reeds on the far bank that looked as if it had been a Swan’s nest, but there none in attendance during the entire time I was there, and two women I spoke to seemed to confirm my observation. Another small islet had been taken by a Mallard pair who were using it as a preening station.
I heard many different birds calling, but most seemed to be tree bound, and many were well-hidden, occasionally spotted only when moving briefly to a new spot before disappearing from view once more. In the field beyond the blue painted bridge, the numerous sheep were gently grazing, and as I moved close to the river bank, I moved slowly to avoid spooking them, but the views of the bridge from this side were almost non-existent due to the dense tree cover right up to the water’s edge.
I will likely visit again on a sunny day with my much lighter long lens to see whether I can capture further shots of the elusive, and beautiful demoiselle damselfly, now I know they favour warm sunshine, and hide when the sun is shaded. The time was well spent, but sadly no sightings of Kingfishers which was largely the reason for that afternoon’s trip.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

An Interesting Visit to Tring Reservoirs

On my arrival at the Car Park at Tringford Reservoir,  I noted several cars already there, so rather than immediately set up the camera and tripod, I decided to check out who was at the lakeside. It was good to have a chat and one outcome was that I was treated to a privileged trip through the woods to visit one swan on her nest. Before that, I recorded the gathering of the circular bales from the now otherwise bare field, by tractor with twin spikes. These early shots were handheld on my EOS 5D MkII using the 24-70mm lens.
I then set up the Benbo tripod and Gimbal head and mounting the Sigma 60-600mm with the 1.4x Converter on the EOS R, and headed over the road to the Marsworth Lake, where I met up with a new young family of Greylag Geese. The new Season’s youngsters were in evidence for Swans, Geese and Ducks, which is always a welcome sight, and in the sky above the Lakes were black headed Gulls, Tern and Pigeons, and on the banks were luckless anglers, one of whom had put out bread and bait to attract fish, which only attracted the gulls which demolished every last scrap as if their lives depended upon it!
Much to my regret, I saw no sign of Kingfishers and precious few Grebe, though I spotted two Herons, they were at a distance, and as if to rub sand in the wound, upon my return to my car a lone heron was in the middle of the very field the car was in, but too distant even for my lens, but I did attempt to lessen the distance but in vain, for I had barely reduced the distance between us by five feet, it took off into the distance!

Sunday 19 May 2019

Bell House Nature-themed Exhibition by Five Artists

               Just over a year ago, I was invited by Photographer, Benjamin Rice to the one man Exhibition of his work at Bell House, a beautiful period property in Dulwich, not too far from the eponymous College. This year Ben is joined by four other artists; David Caldwell, Alan Marsh, and Michael Tedaldi, who all have drawn their inspiration from Nature to form the theme for this display of their work. I was invited to the Preview, by Ben, giving me privileged access to capture the informal gathering of the invited guests against the backdrop of the Artists’ work.
Despite giving myself more than twice the expected journey time to travel down from Bedford, I arrived more than a quarter of an hour late, and I desperately needed to pay a call of Nature myself, as I was in considerable pain, and had no time to grab my camera. I leapt from the car and hobbled to Bell House to gain some relief. I returned to the car and was fortunate enough to be allowed to park within the House’s grounds, where I wasted no time in getting the camera into shooting mode to make up for lost time, as guests were soon filling the space with conversation, greetings and spontaneous eagerness to feast their eyes on the fruits of the labours of those exhibiting.
I tried to capture the groups of friends enjoying their interest in the subject matter and also the gesticulations that accompanied much of the discussions taking place. You could certainly describe the atmosphere as humming. Although I was very much an outsider, in that I was known only to a handful of those present, I found myself involved willingly, and was able to mingle with ease, and made to feel at ease, which made it comparatively easy to capture the true atmosphere of the event, and I hope that comes across in the subsequent imagines within the gallery, when it appears on the blog. I hope that over the weekend those of the Public visiting enjoy the same welcoming warmth I found at the preview. I also hope the British weather does not dampen things.
 I can only apologise for not getting the gallery up before the exhibition closed, but at least it is up as a record of the happenings at the Preview.

Thursday 16 May 2019

Another Marston Lake Visit – Dragonflies

Initially, I set off to consider another lake to find birdlife, but having got it surrounded, It became obvious the one I had been considering was a non-starter, as there was neither a handy car park nearby, nor did it seem to be publicly accessible. So, after twice parking up and taking short investigative walks to try to find ways to reach the lake, I turned back and headed for the nearer lake at Marston. On arrival, l keyed myself in, and sought out the Water Bailliff, so that I could show him the images I had of the Woodpecker that we had heard first from the farther shore of the lake.
I stopped off at the swim where I spotted his car, and hearing him on his phone, took the time to dig out the Woodpecker prints from the previous visit to let him take a look. When the call ended,  I showed him both the Grebe couple on the nest in the reeds and a couple of the Woodpecker, before moving further round the lake to see what I might come upon, though thus far the lake was both calm and with no sign of any aquatic birds, despite an abundance of birdsong from the surrounding trees.
I headed further around the lake, and initially, since the water was bereft of any birds, I simply put my long lens and EOS R on a monopod to take a look at far margins. I did find a lone coot, but almost as I was about to consider packing up and leaving I spotted a Grebe, so decided it might be worth putting up the Benbo tripod and the EOS R with the Sigma Sports 60-600mm and 1.4x Converter.
On my return to the bank, I spotted a lone dragonfly, so despite the challenges of a lone and elusive subject, I did at least have the prospect of capturing some of the life on this small area of water. In my favour also was the light which gave me a better chance of  getting the shot with the extra depth of field and a higher shutter speed. I thought for a moment the dragonfly might be doing a circuit around the reeds, but it only happened the once. Why that was something that I relished was that if that were to happen regularly enough, I might capture an image in flight, because there would be a chance to prefocus at a spot along its path, and pick it up and pan it. That was how I had succeeded much earlier, on the very first day I used my 300mm after its purchase, but the dragonfly did not oblige on this occasion!
I had several long gaps in shooting this day, so also went and got my DSLR and the 85mm f/1.8 lens to capture other shots, such as an unusual red-winged butterfly, or maybe daytime moth, some of the springtime blossom abundance, and also the mirrorless EOS R with the 60-600mm and 1.4x Converter atop the Benbo tripod and Sirui Gimbal head.
This gallery shows the main kit I was using, a daytime moth and a small butterfly that visited me from the tunnel of trees that led down to the Swim I was at.

Monday 13 May 2019

Southill Visit – Millennium Wood

Having had the good luck to capture some shots of a woodpecker, albeit at quite a distance, it reminded me that the other location where I had caught sight of one was in a small wood in Southill which though at a greater distance from me, had one distinct advantage as where I had come across it was in a clearing within a clearing atop a mound at the Millennium Wood, so that was where I was headed, and also of note was a small secluded lake nearby. However, that turned out to be a non-starter as it was within private grounds, and clearly defined as such with signs displayed at its high hedge boundary.
Due to my somewhat laggy SatNav on the phone, I also managed to add several miles to the outward journey by passing the junction on the A421, and having to travel to the next one and retrace my path to the earlier junction!
As my visit was at a weekend, I was in luck with parking meaning there was no distance to walk from the car, and anyway I was travelling light with just one camera, the EOS R, and the 24-70mm lens with its macro facility which came into use on a couple of occasions. The Wood is in the midst of adding more trees, and the established ones still had the first leaves of the season so were looking very fresh. It was however very noticeable that there were a preponderance of very insistent flies, something I associate more with hotter climes, and in the time I was there, became very annoying, and considering the small lake was not too distant with a far more suited habitat, I cannot account for why they should be so abundant.
The light was good throughout, and I only encountered three other souls during the time I was there, and the sounds of birdsong was almost constant with one particularly loud and insistent bird giving it its all, though I never caught sight of it! Needless to say on this visit I never heard nor saw a woodpecker, but was treated to the lament: “My toe Hurts Betty” from wood pigeon or pigeons almost as continuously as the unnamed bird I first encountered upon entry. Considering it was a warm Sunday afternoon I was very surprised to find so few visitors to this haven of Peace and freshness, so alive to the sounds of birdsong.

Friday 10 May 2019

Marston Lake Surprise – Greater Spotted Woodpecker!

Despite the forecast suggesting showers, the clouds were generally high, and though billowing, seemed to be slow moving which gave me the impression that rain was far from imminent, and the rain from the previous night was being burned off in the sunlight.
I decided that I would drive to the nearest lake just beyond Millbrook Station to see whether I might see the Grebe I had last seen searching all around the lake calling seemingly plaintively, for his lost mate. However, not only were there were no Grebe, I saw no birds of any sort on the water at all. I drove clockwise from Swim to Swim to view the reed beds from all angles, and stopped to chat to some of the anglers in the hope they could  suggest where they might be, and learned that an Otter had been reportedly been seen which may have spooked the birds. One angler I met also shared my interest in photography and I learned from him that he almost always had his camera to hand, and been very lucky over the years with what he had captured.
I met up with Water Bailliff, Mark as we both headed around to the far side of the lake, and halfway around caught sight of a Mallard couple in the distance, and finally arrived at the last Swim and Mark and  
We both the heard the characteristic tapping of a woodpecker which appeared to be coming from a stand of bare trees not too far from the last swim on the short leg anti-clockwise from where the entrance road branched to right and left. It was certainly a long shot to consider that I might spot him, especially as the trees were still a good distance from the farthest one could go in that direction. The only plus point was when we were on that far side the woodpecker’s tapping seemed to be coming from the end trees closest to that last swim.
I should not have been so pessimistic, because, after arriving by the swim, the tapping resumed, and eventually the woodpecker came into view and with not too much intervening cover! I had by that time had the camera and tripod all setup, like a good Boy Scout, and felt rewarded beyond my wildest dreams, this was the first time I had been lucky enough to be getting shots of a woodpecker! I moved my tripod onto the small jetty to get the best uninterrupted viewpoint and got a reasonable number of differing shots whilst it preened itself interspersed with a brief bit of leisurely tapping every minute or two. It finally moved out of sight around the tree, and so my privileged viewing came to a close. I was thrilled.

Friday 3 May 2019

Spare Moments at Stockwood Gardens, before Eye Test Appointment

I had around an hour free before my appointment at the Opticians in Luton, so decided to utilise the time in The Stockwood Discovery Centre Gardens trying to really get to fully understand how to get the best out of the mirrorless full-frame EOS R camera; I am determined that I reach the stage where every setting that I need to make is second nature, as currently I am a long way off that state; I spend an inordinate time menu-diving.
The ability to easily and speedily place the focus point into position, and subsequently re-position equally effectively is essential. My conclusion favours using the compass quadrant tilt switch, which though slower than using the touch screen with a spare finger, is precise, whereas the moving finger over the screen, often involves collecting it from the outer regions of the screen, before being able to place it in position, meanwhile the shot is lost!
Feeling completely confident in altering settings on the fly is very much a Work in Progress, and is not made any easier by the lack of space in my ageing brain! However, this is a journey I am determined to navigate, because the improved quality the camera provides, is worth the effort. The single page gallery here gives an indication of the quality that is possible from its clean 30MB files. Most images were captured at ISO 500, at 1/200th sec. at f/7.1 - f/8 and the variations to arrive at the image quality displayed, was around a half an f-stop with the prevailing flat lighting.
From my ongoing observations the extra pixel count versus the EOS 5D MkIII, means I am getting more than either a whole extra stop of light or higher shutter speed benefit. How I take this benefit is dependent upon what I am shooting; often when taking wildlife I need speed, with landscapes it is depth of field, so I can gain more foreground, for sports, dropping the ISO speed gives me greater detail, so images can be larger. I can also afford to take the safe shots first then explore the boundaries with riskier slower speeds say for Sports for added drama, but to do this I still have to reach the stage where everything becomes instinct+give, and I am not yet there!