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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.

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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.

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Saturday, 10 August 2019

Another afternoon with the 2x Converter

Once again it was a time when I used the 2x Converter on the already long 60-600mm Sigma Sports lens, and found its performances to be excellent. For most of the time the lens was at its extreme length, but since for the greater part of the time the sun was out, so the ISO speed was not excessive, so Noise was not a major issue.
Initially the plan was to go to the nearest lake in the hope, I might get better shots of the resident Woodpecker, but it was not in residence, and nor were many other birds, in fact, I have never seen it so bereft of birds. The total tally from my observation, was a single Swan, and a lone Coot, and the trees were not alive with the sound of music of any species of bird. Even the Cormorants of which earlier there had been at least half a dozen had forsaken the Lake. Also, considering the surprising abundance of Buddliea bushes in full bloom, I counted only three butterflies having walked the complete perimeter of the lake, a couple of Dragonflies two bees, a wasp and just two small hoverflies. The absence of so much indigenous life seemed very surprising, especially since there were only two anglers, and no activity from powerful cars, normally the background sound emanating from the Millbrook Motor Testing Circuit.
I found that dispiriting, but the walk around the perimeter, with short forays towards the shoreline at the myriad Swims was good exercise and taken at a good pace. It was so quiet on arrival, that I had not even bothered to take a camera with me, and the only two possible candidates worthy of recording were a pair of dragonflies, who unpaired shortly after they arrived close by, and sadly had I attempted to take any shots, they would have been unexciting, since they were either on the planking of one of the jetties, or on the rather scrappy ground leading towards the water’s edge.
I had not even taken the camera out of the car, so I returned an headed northwards towards Harold-Odell Park, what I had not anticipated was just how hard that journey would become. I headed off in what should have been the most direct route, when unexpectedly I found myself being redirected, but after three aborted attempts, I simply decided to continue heading North until fortunately I reached a point at which I was allowed to cross the main road that was being resurfaced, and the workmen handily told me I would be able to return later via the same crossing point. As it turned out there was a way to avoid the blockage when I later made my return journey home.
Having parked in the lay-by outside the Park, I assembled the EOS R with the 60-600mm Sports lens and the additional 2x Converter, because I knew that unless I was lucky with birds that were close inshore, most of those I was interested in would either be on one of a couple of peninsular arms coming into the lake or be keeping their distance from the shore by remaining in the middle of the lake. My main interest was in seeking out the Grebe who called this home.
Quite early on, I spotted a pair of juveniles still with the remnants of the stripes they were born with, and they were enjoying each other’s company, as they zig-zagged their way up and down the middle of the lake. A while later I spied a much younger complete family with four young Grebelings where the father would head off in search of small fish to feed his youngsters while the mother kept her eye on her young foursome, at one stage the father would help a couple of his brood onto the mother’s back whilst he sought out their fish supper. The Grebe is one of my favourite aquatic birds because of their wonderful courtship routines, and their enchanting nurturing of their young. Their skill in fishing is also to be admired as they dive beneath the surface for freshwater crawfish on the bottom, or the small fish they catch and sometimes regurgitate fo their very young and  then the larger fish for their partner or themselves. They also keep themselves well-groomed.
Even though I kept the Converter attached the whole time during this visit, no shots of the birds came close to filling the frame, so I am really pleased with the quality I was able to achieve — I was stunned at how good the shots of the hovering Black-headed gull turned out considering how small they were in the frame, and considering how high the ISO was too. The EOS R body really makes the most of this Converter, and is surprisingly good at retaining focus with this Sigma Lens. I cannot praise enough this coupling of this EOS R body, lens and Converter. When you mount this on a firm tripod, such as this Benbo I use, the combination is a real joy to use, and when you see the results on screen later, it is just so rewarding.
Yes, I was disappointed not to be shooting the Woodpecker, but seeing the Grebe family behaviour was really a privilege to witness, and to capture it at such a distance means that the shackles on my wallet are loosening with outing I make, so shackles look to become shekels in the hands of Sigma.

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