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 29 July 2019

Floral Interlude – Marston Moretaine

With some time to kill, and the need to remain close by, I take my camera and wander along the pavement capturing some of the flowers bathed in warm sunshine, that are displayed in many of the front gardens bordering Station Road.
And occasionally I take a closer look in some of the many tubs that add colour to some of the roads that join the main road. I find that among these shots there are often useful backgrounds for creating greetings cards for relatives and friends to carry messages of good wishes for birthdays and other anniversaries.
On this occasion, sadly I found that one of my lenses is in need of a service as the focussing did not work every time , so after only the first couple of shots, I had to return to swap it for another, so sadly that is another bill to pay! I returned to the task in hand and continued up Station Road, looking for suitable shots that could be taken from the pavement.
I also take such opportunities to capture bees, hoverflies and butterflies, but on this occasion I saw no bees or butterflies, and considering the buddies are now in blossom, I am surprised that I only saw a Cabbage White, and only flies and overflies, so this gallery is almost entirely of flowers.

Sunday 28 July 2019

A Tringford Lake Visit

It seems quite some time since visiting Tringford Reservoir, and having had a brief chat with its Water Bailliff, I decided that despite some occasional light rain, it was worthwhile travelling down as apparently they had been visited by a fair number of Egrets, a bird I have had less opportunity to record.
To get close enough to the activity on the lake I needed to be at the far end of the lake, and for that I needed to enter the woods over a bridge across the stream and make my way through to the shore with my heavy Benbo tripod and set up in the soft mud of the entry stream to the lake, and even then I would still need the 1.4x Converter and some further cropping later! Fortunately the EOS R with its extra pixel density handles this surprisingly well. And certainly in many instances that crop was quite extensive! Up till now I have shied away from using more than the 1.4x crop, but with this body and the Sigma Sports 60-600mm I have it attached most of the time. I will certainly be considering the 2x Converter because it would seem very good sense to use for wildlife and possibly for some Sports work.
As an indication of just how well this lens combo functions, the third picture in this gallery is a full-frame uncropped, and two frames further is a seriously tight crop, capable of an A4 colour print with great detail! Sigma have built a superb lens with fantastic capability which is a real joy to use, and the EOS R is making the most of its capabilities. The Benbo tripod supplies the necessary stability for use at the long end of the range, that I was pushing the envelope on this occasion. For most of the time I was operating at the maximum available aperture as well.
As a further indication of the sheer versatility of this lens, the shot of the mating dragonflies in frame 37 is also a tight crop at less than the full focal length at f/6.3, and that will definitely achieve a Super A3 print, and yes, I would have liked to have been closer, but knew that was simply not practical!
This camera and lens gives me so much joy in use, but it also makes me realise how much I need a more powerful Mac to lessen the post-processing time that invariably follows any outing I make when using the kit to its full potential.
My prediction is that for ultimate quality still images the next step will be a dual processor to accommodate both viewing and shooting as separate, parallel operations to allow for meaningful panning in Sports and Wildlife situations where currently these currently work against each other; my short term way of coping is to use multiple short bursts, but it is a compromise. What is life without a challenge?!

Thursday 25 July 2019

A Vast Nearby Lake

This area of Bedfordshire could well vie with the North of England for being a District of Lakes, due to the number of worked out Claypits, and I have made several trips to reconnoitred many to find ones that support varied wildlife habitats. On the Wednesday, I tried to trace one lake close by Stewartby, and found it appears to be totally enclosed and has become the site of an Incinerator very much against local opinion.
However, by the outskirts of the village is another lake, known as Quest Lake, and there do appear to be points of entry, with no signs displaying a lack of access, and so I decided to ascertain whether it might be a sanctuary for wildlife, or that it might be yet another potential characterless housing estate. I sincerely hope that it might be the former, and so entered and as I left the bordering woodland, my spirits rose as this was a place of natural beauty, although there were signs of the less thoughtful human activity of dumped bedding and discarded cans and beer bottles along a wide track encircling a beautifully undulating, steep-sloping bank to a blue expanse of lake. It certainly looked promising as the start point of a future gem. But I just hope that the abundance of hawthorn bushes is curtailed and a better choice of trees and bushes add to some of the ground cover.
One really pleasing observation I made was a scattering of Buddleia bushes. Whether this was by design or happenstance I have no way of discerning, but it was a welcome sight. Some of this expanse does need protection from the ravages of wind and sunshine and soon, before any dormant seeds are simply blown away.
Also, what was sad to see was that the earlier incumbents had strewn much of the landscape with failed brick residue, making it hard for it to support much in the way of plant life. It is certainly my opinion that Hanson should have been forced to replace this with better quality soil, so that the scars from their labours could heal, and live again. Some trees and bushes chosen carefully in relation to the nature of the soil, and the attraction of animals, birds and insects to repopulate this landscape.
The current canvas is a wonderful starting point, and the worst aspects of human behaviour of treating open spaces as litter dumps should be actively proscribed, by heavy fines and spells of litter removal at uncomfortably early hours to ensure that when responsible visitors arrive each day the area is once again pristine. All fines should be invested in providing sustenance for volunteers for any improvement initiatives undertaken.
I met a young lady undertaking an inventory of some of the current species that call this place home, apparently on behalf of Bedfordshire County Council, which was welcome news, as this area should be cherished, enjoyed, and above all preserved and protected. So I hope the Quest name defines a promising future for this jewel of a place to shine.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

A Broglake Break with Foilers

There seemed enough wind to consider that there would be those who would take the opportunity to do some windsurfing, so I got together the camera, long lens and tripod and headed for the Lake at Brogborough — on arrival I was not sure my surmise was correct as the number of cars here were fewer than I had hoped.
I parked up and walked towards the shoreline, and I spotted a single sailor out on the water, but as I reached the trees, I realised there were a few more, and Sam was among the number, so I headed back to the car and opened the boot to get the camera onto the tripod. I had also noted that one of the sailors on the front was sporting an upturned board with a hydrofoil, and I recognised him as an experienced windsurfer that I had not seen before with one. After chatting with him as he began preparing his sail on the mast, I set the tripod up on the jetty ready for when  anyone took to the water.
Here was a chance to see more people taking to foiling on the lake and, with different types of hydrofoil; even Sam was on a different design from what I had seen before. It was not long before I was shooting, and watching Sam do his best to keep airborne whilst gybing despite a fickle wind. Since much of the activity took place a good distance out, it was fortunate that I had opted for using the additional 1.4x Converter on the Sigma 60-600mm Sports lens, and increasingly I was using the Acrotech Long Lens head in preference to a gimbal, which was smoother, but did require me to lock it firmly when not shooting.
Although I was not there for long, I was tending to attempt to get sequences, so the amount of shots taken soon mounted, and this coupled with the heat adversely affecting my computer has meant it has taken way longer to get these images up, which is a shame.

Saturday 20 July 2019

A Photographer and Two Lakes

Many photographers tend to avoid others of a similar persuasion, I have noted this from my own career, that is not to say it is a characteristic of all, but certainly a goodly number. The irony is that several photographers with whom I can call friends, and with whom I can relate predominately avoid the company of those with whom you would consider they had the most in common, and therefore the greater chance of sharing interests. On Friday, one such came out to meet up with me, and in general he would admit that he tends not to seek out the company of other ‘Smudgers’ — a term historically used to describe early photographers, however I am tolerated. Perhaps I am too thick to perceive that he humours me and does not wish to hurt my feelings.
I will not embarrass him by giving his name, but he accepted my invitation to venture into the environs of Marston Moretaine, and I just wanted to take him to some of the venues I attend in pursuit of photography now that Social Media has largely decimated our careers as practising photographers. It meant that when discussing places I frequent in my insatiable desire to preserve in images that capture places, atmosphere, beauty, creatures, sports, curiosities, buildings, people, whatever… there would be at least some idea of where or what these might be.
Having travelled from London, we first had a sociable cup of tea, then drove to Marston Lake, where I wanted to see whether the bird life had returned after the apparent visit from some Mink, but there was a single swan, so the Grebe pair I had earlier captured on a nest in the reeds, had left, as had fortuitously, the Cormorants which must have pleased the Anglers.
This was as much a check on whether the birds had returned, as enlightening my colleague. We then drove on to my more frequently visited lake which was home to the Windsurfers — Brogborough Lake, and I was pleasantly surprised that despite only a mild breeze, did have a few sailors visiting. What was even more encouraging was that Jeff, a seasoned windsurfer had finally been tempted to give hydrofoiling a go, and Sam who runs the place had updated his hydrofoil, and both were due out on the Lake. This meant our trip was about to go up a gear, and I tentatively got my friends acceptance to take a few pictures. Yes, I had brought along my gear, but only on the off chance, so readied my tripod, EOS R and 60-600mm Sigma with its 1.4 x Converter for action. After some shooting, mainly of Jeff and Sam, I felt my time was up, and started to pack it all away, when suddenly it looked as if both hydrofoilers were actually going to be reasonably close together for me to get both in one shot, but that decision to stop had made I missed a fabulous shot of both aloft, and with one sweeping in arc behind the other, but I did get some with both in close formation, so with that I did dismantle everything and we left.

We headed back to my place and then walked to the local church with its separated tower, and its legend of the Devil separating each! We had some more tea and biscuits before my successful photographer friend headed back for London, and I set in motion the task of creating a gallery of images to put up on the blog, which went live in the early hours of Sunday morning after I had completed this narrative of our time together. One thing we did discuss was to rekindle our effort to produce photographic images that graphically display puns or ‘double entendres’. In the past we had created ‘A Glass Half-full’ and ‘Burning the Candle at Both Ends’. Back then I had made a list of ‘Bon Mots’, but since at the time we both had plenty of work these all fell by the wayside. However, I would very much like to rekindle the idea, as photomontage is something I enjoy.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Marston Lake Afternoon Visit— Mainly Dragonflies

This trip was made for yet more checking into how to get more out of using the mirrorless bodied EOS R with a long lens and fast-moving insects, in this instance Dragonflies and Damselfies. I have yet to use Sigma’s USB Dock to set up targeted focus zones to facilitate minimising focus travel into some presets — to do that I need to know precisely the distances that would prove beneficial, so I need to decide that from more usage. Another aspect is how to set up the focus point within the frame; it is all too easy to knock it off to an edge. Typically, if I set it using the playback screen and placing it with a finger, my nose can accidentally disturb that setting!
Also, since my time was limited, I opted for using a monopod, rather than a tripod, to give me the facility to move quickly as the sun moved around, and that at least did work acceptably, though it was tiring with such a weighty lens as the 60-600mm as well as the 1.4x Converter. Incidentally, using this is really a boon due to the extra range of this lens, especially when the subjects are small — it would be very limiting had I tried leaving the extender permanently on the 150-600mm I used to have. That 60mm end makes using the extender far more valuable.
I put the Acrotech Long Lens Tripod Head atop my Manfrotto Monopod to give me as stable a platform as I could to use the monopod, and that was a really good move as it made it fairly easy to adjust the balance of such a long lens on such a light support. Also using the higher ISOs with this mirrorless full-frame body meant that the freedom I chose was not disadvantaged by excessive Noise. To hammer that point home — the tightly cropped (2451 x 1634px) image _N3A3042 was shot at 10,000° ISO with an exposure of 1/1000sec at f/10 with +1.3 EV compensation — that just blew me away! So far, I do consider myself a total novice in relation to mirrorless camera bodies, but this is proof that I should persevere.
Two of my esteemed colleagues moved to mirrorless way before me, and I have some catching up to do, and I admit is hard to lose shots in the interim that I knew I would have got using either of my DSLRs, I will persevere because shots of this quality simply were not possible using those bodies. So ‘onwards and upwards’!
10,000° ISO, yet with manageable noise levels seems unreal! (Oh, by the way, that shot is of a pair of Water Boatmen).
I did learn another useful and not totally unrelated snippet following these fast  and adept masters of powered flight, ‘Don’t try to follow them at the longest focal length, give myself a chance by coming down, so I have more to learn in the new world of mirrorless! I also tried chancing my arm at manually presetting a distance, but since I practised that at the end of my short stint, and the sunlight had gone behind clouds, so that had little chance of success, but I will not be defeated! And the time was therapeutic — I had had frustration with the computer, and needed to get away!

Monday 15 July 2019

Aylesbury Concert Band Plays at Fairford Leys

A seriously warm day as Fairford Leys celebrates its Summer Fair with the Band to play from the Bandstand in the Centre of the complex. This was an occasion where I was able to use the EOS R with just the one lens, in this case the 24-70mm Canon lens. A mark of just how good the EOS R is can be seen by the shots towards the end where my son-in-law and young grandchildren were tiny fractions of the full frame on the Ferris Wheel whilst using this same lens — well-cropped! The other point worth a mention was the high ISO speed used, yet displaying little evidence due to that tight crop.
One of the beauties of this venue is that since there is always an abundance of activities for the visitors and a central location, not only can I listen to and enjoy the music, I can move all around the Bandstand to capture the musicians and Conductor performing, without disturbing the experience for the audience.
The Concert is in two parts, so I also get to spend some time with my young grandchildren. There is also no need for long lenses as is often the case with all the normal venues that I cover with my daughter who plays Saxophone in the Band.
I still consider myself a complete novice in the handling of this mirrorless body, there are several occasions when I simply do not perform as smoothly and instinctively as I do with my dSLRs; the 5D MkIII and 7D MkII, but with each time out, many of the techniques I use with this camera become smoother and with increasing confidence, but whereas with the dSLRs failed shots are infrequent, the Success Numbers with the Mirrorless are interspersed with either failure due to the focus point  moving to the edge of screen, or my failure when panning to be able to follow due to delays in the screen image displayed related to actuality.
Having completed the preparation of the gallery, I can say that the quality of the Concert images is good technically, only you, the viewer can decide whether emotionally the images carry the same message as the music the Band were playing, which I was enjoying. I certainly was as always, I hope that I convey the spirit of what is being played, and provide the Band with images that promote the concerts into the future. After I had made a concerted (pardon the pun!) effort to include the banners strategically, I learned that the Band is changing its Identity, so that was bad timing on my part.

I am now having problems reaching my blog to get these images online, so hopefully, this will be resolved shortly.

Friday 12 July 2019

Another Lake Visit — Weston Turville

The lake is a reasonable distance away, but I took a chance on driving over since it is fairly wide, meaning some birds tend to be a distance from the shore. I therefore immediately put on the 1.4 Converter to give me a better chance. It never came off because, as anticipated the subjects of my greater interest all kept their distance! This was a day for the EOS R, and the 60-600mm Sigma Sports. One immediate proof of this came when I moved location, and from the raised walkway I spotted a young Coot alone, out of the water, wandering close to one of the small fishing piers. Here, despite the 1.4 Converter I was able to use the close focussing distance offered by this superb Sigma optic — The earlier 150-600mm version I once owned, had it had on, the Converter I simply would not have been able to capture the shot! So, Sigma, thank you, thank you.
The long lay-by where I was parked had scarce few cars, so the visitors were limited, and many were young mothers and their children, and a couple of healthy joggers, but on two separate occasions I met up with fellow photographers, two Nikon devotees who I had spotted across the water, who had equally clocked me, and with whom we shared ‘chimped’ images (I did not ascertain that snippet from afar, but later when they arrived at the same jetty!) l later met a husband and wife photo team and chatted about our shared interest in image-taking. So it was both a productive shooting experience as well as being social.
Although I was using the Sirui gimbal head, I think on this occasion I should have used the lighter Acrotech Long Lens head. I tried some short bursts late in the day of some peculiarly aggressive behaviour between two Grebe.
Two Swans had a family of seven Cygnets, and they literally came towards me with total equanimity, however their behaviour towards a larger group of Coots was far more threatening; making deliberately aggressive lunges towards them to keep them away, which I found unusual since the gap in the reeds by the small jetty had been occupied by the Coots!
The gulls spent much of their time swooping in and skimming the surface for fish, but not once did I see a successful outcome. A Heron which had been stationed for some time on a distant buoy, took off and lazily flew low along the distant reeds, before diving left into an inlet and disappearing from view. Later, the lone Grebe came up at the end of a series of dives with a substantial fish for its efforts, making short shrift of downing it within mere seconds. After a chat with the married couple, I was about to pack everything away when I spotted an oddly aggressive chase between the Grebe and a second one but cannot be sure which one had been the successful one  I had just been shooting.
I closed the tripod legs and followed my companions out to the car; packed everything away, grabbed a welcome cold drought from my flask, and headed homeward.

Monday 8 July 2019

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019

I have been visiting Goodwood in Sussex to enjoy the Festival of Speed for several years now, and the event has grown larger with the years, but this year it seems larger than ever, and has changed even more, driven by its popularity. The two car and bike events attract more than just those motorsports enthusiasts, but have been wonderfully conceived as family events, and most noticeably the atmosphere is relaxed with few restrictions. It would appear that over the years this area has been blessed by an abundance of good weather compared to Silverstone and Brands Hatch, two motor race venues I have frequented over the years when serving as a Marshal with the BRSCC — as Assistant Chief Pits for nearly thirty years.

It has been very much a family event for me, though when the children were young I tended to take along Clients from my days as Sales Manager of a Retouching Lab, which is the way I first met the Duke of Richmond and Gordon as Charles Settrington, a top class and highly creative Advertising photographer, as the Retouchers I worked with, executed the retouching he briefed for his clients such as Osborne and Little. The Installations fronting Goodwood House are by Gerry Judah, a longtime colleague of his from those photography days.

I think this Saturday was the hottest of all my visits here, and what has been the hallmark of every event here has been the noticeably relaxed atmosphere that prevails. In the most crowded places, the goodwill of all present pervades. One year at a previous Festival of Speed was how when I spotted a stationary truck with a viewing possibility stationed strategically with a view from the Moulcomb corner to the Flint Wall, my daughter cheekily asked whether I might be allowed to take photos from there and, as he answered, he took my camera bag from my shoulder and told me where to climb aboard, and said he’d hand it up to me! This has been an ever-present willingness to help visitors enjoy the events to the utmost. Another such occasion, I commented on a printed notice on a vehicle high up the hill, saying, I paraphrase: “If you need anything, just ask and I will do my utmost to help — just ask”. I got chatting to the driver and in the course of conversation I mentioned that I had stayed at the House in one of the circular towers, and mentioned it’s decor, and he replied, telling me he it was called The Toile room, and that Lady March had chosen the curtains and needed matching wallpaper, but none existed, so the same fabric was duly mounted on metre-wide backing so the match was made! And he it was was who had the task to hang it! He offered to drive me even higher up the hill for the view, where we watched aircraft leaving from above! He later drove me back down to the House, shortening my return to the car.
The single word epitomising a visit to Goodwood is ‘Welcoming’ — I cannot recommend strongly enough just how relaxed anyone can feel in the vastness of this place. I took fewer photographs than ever, yet the variety is still present. Thank you to everyone who make these such enjoyable days. Let the pictures tell their own story of what I saw.
Sent from my iPad

Friday 5 July 2019

Further EOS R Testing

I keep taking every opportunity to test how best to set up the EOS R for the various scenarios I encounter, and on this afternoon, it was general handling, and using my go to general lens, the 24-70mm with its macro facility.
The main road that my house borders on one side in Marston Moretaine provides numerous front gardens with at this time of year in bright sunshine provides full use of this lens. The first was a hedge of Heather, that the local bees love, and there were opportunities a-plenty to get attractive compositions of flowers, that could one day become backgrounds for shots that I can use to carry greetings messages to family and friends.
The bees on this occasion were not very compliant, staying only brief nanoseconds on any one flower, making grabbing a meaningful image composition almost impossible, and surprisingly on this visit numbers were down compared to an afternoon earlier in the week when the numbers were far higher. This time I spotted possibly half a dozen individuals, earlier there had been literally scores, which was what had prompted me to find time to take a camera out to capture this lavender bonanza.
I did visit a few more gardens bordering the main road, but ended by shooting a beautifully renovated house front which in the sunshine cried out to be recorded.
This coming weekend will provide the opportunity to check out fast moving subjects, and for this, I also checked out a lighter long lens, the Tamron 160-600mm, which I am hoping to use in earnest when coupled to the EOS R.