Welcome

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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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Happy Christmas to all or any Readers of this Blog

          Keep Safe, Healthy, Optimistic and, try to be Happy. I hope at least this entry will see the light of day, but I have made several forays into fresh air and taken photos but, currently am unable to publish them, which some visitors might have spotted, as one narrative has been put up and taken down several times as I have been unable to make a successful link to its picture gallery.

          Onwards and Upwards! All the Very Best Wishes for the Future, unfortunately I have yet to fully resolve my issues involving my inability to add new galleries, and there are now several waiting to see the light of day, and since I have taken delivery of the EOS R6 body and begun shooting with it; it promises to   offer improved burst rates, and in particular today, Christmas Day, we had a splendid sunset whilst my elder daughter and I took a late walk across the fields for some exercise and fresh air.

          Overall it promises faster burst rates for coverage of wind- and kite- surfers on Brogborough Lake, and would seem to offer advantages for my bird photography too. However, in order to obtain these gains I need to spend some time trying to make these operations simple, and second nature; some presently, involve two steps, whereas I need reduce these to a single operation. By way of example, if I swiftly wish to alter the focus area, I have to first ensure the setting is live, then make the change, then take the shot, I need the repositioning to be ‘live’ such that once altered I am ready to shoot.

          Already, I am highly impressed with the low light sensitivity and how fast it achieves focus under such circumstances, so I can see myself taking advantage of the promised forecast for Sunday.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Forest Centre Walk from Top End

 

Another Walk; Another Day. However, the destination is simply to visit the top end of the woods that bound the Millennium Park, and to do that I drive further north along the A421, and at the turning towards the station and College, I take the first turning on the right, and park up just before the turnstile to the north end of the park. Since the weather is settled, I remove the camera cover, and simply pocket the two closeup lenses, lock the car and head for the entrance.

Decisions, decisions: which way to go? — Left, or Right? The latter. Sadly, I walked a fair distance, looking right and left, up the bank, and down towards the brook that babbles gently from the recent rains an finally I find reason to switch the camera on, and remove the tethered lens cap, and take my opening shots of the vibrant green coat the tree is sporting, attracted by the curved e-shaped tree trunk that sports an interesting fungus, with a horizontal, similarly coated horizontal bough that forms the Euro symbol. Having never spotted this rich dark maroon and black fungus before, I move closer for a more detailed image before continuing to find similarly moss-clad branches.

One of the most attractive features of Autumn in the woods is that despite the general perception that this season is dominated by browns, albeit with numerous shades, the reality is that the palette is far more diverse, and never more so than when the sun is out. The next leaves I spotted and captured, makes this vividly apparent — in one image, the hero leaves are rich in both green and red, yet beyond are golden yellows, and intensely blue-biased greens. The Autumn spectrum of colours is far from monochromatic shades of brown, and as if to add further emphasis to the colour palette of Autumn, I find a lone, young white flower alongside deep maroon and thorn clad branches and dead and dying fruits.

After passing steep, muddy banks with obvious slithery attempts to climb for better views or to reach good areas from which to fish, I finally find some wooden steps that are safe for me to consider safely to reach the shoreline and get glimpses of the lake beyond. I find a lone gull perched on a small buoy, and beyond, three chimneys of this area’s past history in the Brick industry. This lake and numerous others in Bedfordshire are the reminders of the era when clay was dug to support the brick industry around this area. The county’s lakes now support wildlife, and the leisure activities from boating, sailing, water-skiing and angling to water sports like windsurfing.

Swirling, bubbling water always is attractive in photographs, and the little weir with its trapped bottle, held by the current definitely appealed, as well as affirm the quality of the lens on this camera, my handy LUMIX fz10002.

Naturally I am attracted to the colour I capture, but on walks like this it is the variety of subject matter, and often some of the details, and textures attract my attention, as do patterns that can have been formed by recognised actions, and others that surprise by the sheer oddity or happenstance — for instance the calm water at the boundary to the rippled surface which held the reflection of the chimneys on the water’s surface, and then the lack of fear exhibited by the gull when passed closely by the Grebe. Also, the textures when one part of a branch is covered in its death by new life in the form of coloured fungal growth, or the vibrant reds of berries that appear when the leaves have had their time.

The sunset that closed the day I spent out with the camera was definitely a fitting end to my walk, and to end the day, when I captured the final curtain from outside my house with the silhouette of leafless, tall willows, against the rich colours of the fading sunset.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Millennium Park Afternoon

 

Warm, calm weather settles on Marston Moretaine, and rather than drive anywhere I decide a walk along the main road away from the village, past the main entrance to the Millennium Park on the left, and the open gates to the new graveyard on my right, heading towards the turnstile entry before the allotments.

Once, beyond the gate, I walk a short distance to the perimeter path and head to the right, and soon encounter small family groups, lone runners, and cyclists, and I soon begin capturing billowing Cumulus clouds, before moving closer to the treeline to capture Autumn leaves, and a large clump of mistletoe. Leaves of varying colours from still vivid greens to yellows and gold to definite brown interspersed with red berries. My eye soon spots faces on the trunks of trees, often covered in small patches of yellow lichen. One such, resembled the face of a man, another a pig, yet another looked as if caught running in a green sack race, sporting a hula-hoop.

Leaves of gold, leaves of green, early catkins, and late blackberries, all are spotted along the winding path, then through the thicket, I spot an albino duck with its partner in the water below. The clouds begin to hide the sun and I spot a man in the distance who I thought at first was also toting a camera, but as I near, I realise it is a pair of binoculars, and we begin chatting. I come across some unusual, reddy orange berries with pink bulbous headgear. The lowering sun clears the clouds for a time, and two separate contrails form a cross against the pale blue sky. Having walked in conversation with binoculars man to the far end of the park, I bid him farewell, as it is far quicker for me to return the way I came than exit to the main road.

The journey back means I am heading towards the setting sun which gives me the opportunity for its capture beneath interesting cloud shapes. It marks the end of my walk, as it sinks below the horizon, and my penultimate image is shot with flash to silhouette the tree, yet preserve its detail, as the sun sets on my last image of the afternoon.

I met two charming ladies just prior to the last shots, with whom I chatted as one had asked a question about Photoshop, and this conversation was held with me walking backwards, so that I could speak to them whilst walking, yet keep the regulation distance.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Visit Two Lakes With my Niece


         We agree a meeting, but since neither of us have any prior knowledge of the chosen lake destination, I purposely set off early enough to arrive first so I could check out exactly where the Car Park and entrance were located. The location I set on the SatNav was close, but a couple of hundred yards short of the parking area or entrance, which I found by walking further along the road, so I suggested the same setting to Virginia, and told her to set the same details, but then drive a bit longer along the lane, where I would be waiting.

        There was no long wait, as I only had time to take a sort walk along the path to check it out. We walked around and I took a few shots, and suddenly Virginia recognised that we were back where we had started! That realisation was a surprise to me, but we were not that far from a destination for which I was very familiar, so we headed for Tring Reservoirs, in particular Marsworth Lake.

On our arrival there, the lake was far more alive with both visitors and birds on the water, so subjects for capturing was way more prolific, hence filling many more slots on the subsequent gallery. It proved to be a good move, as there was far more interesting and abundant life here out on the water. In the margins were numerous leaves from lush green to rich red, and on to golden brown, often further enhanced by the low sunlight giving a warm glow, and detailed, backlit veins. These images and the fortunate lighting made for attractive images, since they effectively covered both late Summer and early Autumn.

It was good to spot a young Heron by the reeds, with its languorous stroll by the Reed margins, and a pair of cygnets occasionally with their parents. I also had the good fortune to have the Grebe to be reasonably close to shore. I found the Mallards to be difficult to capture their  intense green colouring, more so on this camera’s sensor than my Canon lenses, not simply by the lighting direction.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Visit to Blunham — Meet Catherine

         Catherine and I discuss potential venues to meet up, and I hit on one which suggested there were good possibilities of a pleasant walk and a good chance of wildlife on a lake. I also wanted it to be equidistant between us, and was a new venue — Blunham was a good fit, and I duly gave her a postcode. Since the postcode was not specifically the entrance to the chosen destination, I made a point of arriving early, so that I could offer a more precise location and final directions with certainty. The postcode I supplied was around a a quarter of a mile distant, and I had enough time to check the parking out, and ensure there was space enough for both of us; it was barely two minutes before we met.

The rain of the last several days meant our path was seriously muddy, and much of our walking was by inelegantly straddling the outer margins either side, but this method did offer a greater margin against slithering uncontrollably and it was not long before we came across a pair of swans who were protecting their two cygnets as they fed upon some of the plants at the margins.

As we walked, Catherine was using her phone’s camera, and I was once again using my LUMIX FZ10002, hopefully I will see some of the shots she was taking, whilst I took several general riverscapes and the various colours of differing bush and tree species that lined the far bank. Berries were in profusion, which may perhaps presage a harsh winter. Other subjects caught the eye of my camera; a small waterfall, a church tower beyond an impressive house with stained glass windows, some puffy clouds, a lone sheep intently munching. We returned the way we came, offering similar views but from opposing viewpoints, before arriving at our cars, saying our goodbyes, and returning to our equidistant, respective homes, marking the end of an enjoyable and satisfying time together.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Wondering Where to Wander

The sun was out, it was warm, and I needed the exercise; since there seemed to at least be some wind, I headed for the lake at Brogborough. The gate to the Windsurfers area was locked, so that ruled out any potential activity there, but I parked up and locking the car behind me, I crossed the road and entered the lakeside area favoured by anglers. The view that greeted me at the second swim was of a lake bereft of any aquatic birdlife, but the view off to the left was excluded from here, so I ventured further, but found the situation was just as unpromising.

Returning to the car, I drove on and took the road into Lidlington and uphill beyond and onto the A507, I had gone but a short distance before seeing that in the valley deer were there in large numbers, I pulled off the main road, and fortunately the road widened in the first few yards, affording me a handy and safe parking spot. I locked up and grabbed my camera and crossed the main road. Not only was there a clear view of the fields below and beyond, but there was a handy reinforced concrete block to prevent vehicle access to the field, but it offered a raised platform to give me added height should I need it!

This spot allowed me a wide uninterrupted view up the hill to the left, across and below to the front and off to the right to some farm buildings and further fields and woods. I spent a relaxing and rewarding time photographing abundant and ever-increasing numbers of deer entering from my left in the main and coming downhill, but every so often some chose to venture back higher. Almost all the deer present spent their time on the move, making the most of the warmth and occasionally feeding. My presence had no adverse effect on their behaviour, and some ventured closer to me by the hedge, for a spell.

The general flow was downhill and from left to right, and as time passed this did deplete their numbers and eventually brought an end to my time there, but I was very pleased by this unexpected happenstance, and came away grateful for the opportunity I had been afforded; I had shots of a red kite and interesting cloud structures and pleasing landscape images, altogether a very rewarding afternoon.



Thursday, 12 November 2020

Marston Lake Visit

                 The first task of this day was to get the lawnmower out to cut the lawn within the walled back garden as well as the front patch. Although the grass was both rather wet and over long, my mower was fortunately set fairly high, so only occasionally did it snag or dig in a bit, due to a slightly raised muddy lump. I found that due to the length of the grass sometimes it was best to come back every so often as it then faced my direction of travel, so when I then went forward it cut cleaner.

I now had a conical plastic bin for grass cuttings, which created mulch, and by the time I had mown the back lawn was filling up well, and luckily the front lawn is smaller. Since my neighbour had kindly cut this lawn earlier in the year, I offered to return the favour, but he declined, perhaps due to his concern it was too wet, but I was grateful, as it meant I could catch more of the sunshine at Marston Lake.

On arrival at the gate, I found it unlocked, so before I entered I called the Water Bailliff, but he had already learned that the lock was broken; I had been concerned it had been left unlocked accidentally, but was assured, it was simply broken. Initially, my worry was having not visited for sometime, if I locked it behind me, and the combination had been renewed, I might find myself unable to leave later! Learning that the Bailliff was aware that the lock was broken, I was reassured that provided I made sure it simply looked locked, I was not going to find my exit barred when I came to leave!

Once I was at the water’s edge, I got out of the car to take a look at what activity there was both on the shore and out on the lake. Sadly, all I saw were two Cormorants and a lone gull — perched on different dead tree branches mid lake — not the most exciting prospect from a photographic standpoint! If I was to even halfway decent shots of this trio, it was worth moving further around the lake to be slightly closer.

It was when I went further around the lake, that I came across an angler at one of the swims and I thought I would say hello, and to my surprise this angler recognised me! I soon realised we knew each other from before the time I set up SOLUTIONS photographic. He was working at HK Productions, a company I used to frequent as I had developed a strong friendship with the owner, Hagop Keondjian, and many of those who worked for him. Coincidentally, only that morning I had been in touch with his wife who had emailed me about the ongoing problems occurring in their homeland. We chatted for a while before I headed further around the lake, ironically, just as we parted I caught sight of a heron taking off, beyond the intervening trees — away from the lake.

I moved further around the lake capturing  scenes of trees as they caught the warm rays of the sun as it moved ever lower.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Bedford Walk & Capture

The sun and warmth of this Autumn day drew me to visit the banks of the River Great Ouse in Bedford, with the desire to capture the activity of some of the wildlife. On this occasion, I had my hopes set on a heron that I had photographed at the weir behind the Cinema, but it turned out to be on a fishing trip by the wider weir, offering a cooling walk in shallow water further along the path. I was to spend some time before my wish was granted on the other side of the main road, photographing some very sleepy ducks, some interesting fungi on the bark of a tree, backlit leaves, and bunches of berries, before returning to the weir and walking further.

I had chatted to some of the anglers during that period, one of whom was a photographer who ran a Camera Club, he copied my details to his phone, so we may well meet up again in the future. I noted where the heron was in passing it, but the view was both distant, and heavily obscured by fine branches, so I spent some time walking beyond, crossing a bridge further down the path, and returning to narrow the distance between us and doing my best to obtain a view that was less obscured. The heron was very aware of me, and was leisurely moving to other spots from which it could observe its potential prey without a care as to whether I might have a clear view of the action! This meant often I would have to seek a new spot every few minutes, during which I had to move considerably further round. I was however rewarded by having differing backgrounds and finally by capturing its success over a substantial meal, however it downed its catch out of my sight, but I could see a slight bulge in its neck for evidence!

Currently the bird I really wish to see at some of the spots to which I gravitate, is the Kingfisher. This year my trips to the one lake that in the past has afforded me the chance of photographing this beautiful little bird have been unsuccessful — this is the lake at Marsworth, the spot where in the past every visit by me was reciprocated with avian visits, and by that I mean not just kingfishers but several other bird species, even though my raison d’être for the trip was undoubtedly the Kingfisher.

Definitely this visit’s highlight for me was undoubtedly to see the heron, especially as it kept me on the move which to me is always preferable to sitting in a hide with a comparatively static background and on this occasion, I definitely got my exercise quota as well as a ‘warm fuzzy’ from the heron and its excellent catch!

Monday, 9 November 2020

Rushmere Woods First Visit

On this Sunday afternoon, daughter Lizzy and I met up at a new location for a welcome and relaxing afternoon in the fresh air. Due to the current restrictions, her two children are unable to join us, which is particularly sad, as it means I am missing their growth and general character development at this crucial time in their young lives.

However, there is compensation — both of us relish the uninterrupted and relaxed time we are able to spend in the open air, to exercise, bring us both up-to-date, chat, joke and observe the unfolding new scene around us. Lizzy had taken a look at a map that covered a halfway point between our homes that promised an interesting woodland area we could both exercise and unwind, and on this occasion our meeting was at Rushmere, and Lizzy was definitely one up on me as she was able to view my location on her phone, then to guide me to where she had already succeeded in parking in a long lay-by close to one of the entrances to the woods.

We locked up both cars, and crossed over the main road after a short break in the traffic stream allowed us to reach the other side safely. Recent rains had meant the sawn tree-branched edging defined the limits of the path, which was for the most part a quagmire was also, uphill! As we started the climb, we both spotted a couple of items that acted as a date stamp for our day — a couple of carefully placed and beautifully carved pumpkins!

We both spent some time just wandering around this spot looking, and both of us capturing shots on her iPhone in Lizzy’s case and the LUMIX in mine. As we continued our walk deeper, we did pass small groups, and engage in conversation. We both spent some amusing time capturing broken branches that simulated Alphabet characters, interesting fungi clusters, wispy layers of leaves on small trees. We met up briefly with a couple who had come across a lone cricket high on a tree trunk.

During our circular walk we both stopped every so often to capture shots of some of the avenues we took whilst walking through this wood, interesting leaf clusters and colours, and with a bit of imagination a pair of furry booted legs!

Lizzy had two children and a husband to consider, and return to cook them supper, so all too soon we found ourselves returning to our cars and our respective trips home. It was very sad to part — all too soon! Initially I set off in the wrong direction, but soon turned round and within two minutes of my arrival back home, my phone rang with a message that Lizzy had too. I thanked her, then poured some squash and opened a packet of crisps which had been taken to drink and eat whilst out!

Later I would offload the images to form a record of our all too brief, time together on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

An Afternoon Walk at Brogborough

            I had been having problems with my main computer due to password problems, and I badly needed a break, and taking a short trip to the lake at Brogborough was a way to be outside in milky sunshine — it was mild and there was barely a ripple on the lake, sadly though, there were no birds, only a few midges by the bushes.

   I had the LUMIX with me, and not expecting to encounter many exciting subjects for the camera, I did take along some closeup lenses so that I could take shots of Autumn berries and leaves, as I knew these were very likely to be potential images. I had not been walking long before I heard voices beyond the hedgerow, and a couple had decided to take a walk around the lake, and I learned this was their first visit, and we chatted awhile before they walked further round the lake. I tarried by the cluster of brambles, looking for some of the definitive signs of autumn, the reds and russet leaves, and berries.

   I also noted that there were still signs of the overnight dew to be seen, and there some interesting patterns that had formed on some of the webs, so my foresight in bringing some close-lenses proved to be handy, also, I did see a lone bird fly close by, but it did not alight nearby, and was soon simply a passing memory.

   On this side of the lake, mostly the sun was ahead of me so on occasions when there were subjects that were of interest, I used the built in flash, but in many instances, there were gaps that led towards the bank and often even paths to the beaches below, which afforded the opportunity to have the sun over my shoulder and look back towards the path. Only very occasionally did I venture down to the water’s edge, as recent rains had made the banks muddy, and my shoes were not suited to for steep slippery slopes!

   I caught sight of a heron in flight, but on this occasion I had the closeup lens attached, so there was no chance of a shot at that time, but later, another chance occurred, but at a greater distance from me, and those proved to be the last shots I took, and by that time the sun was almost gone, but small though the heron was, at least I had some shots of it to close this gallery.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Marston Woods Afternoon


Although it was late in the day, since Winter Time had now started, when I arrived at the Car Park, no cars were present, and high fair weather clouds only occasionally occluded the sun, which still had some warmth, but nevertheless I had still put on a pullover.

I took off the soft cover on the LUMIX FZ10002, so that it would hang from my neck unencumbered by the case and ready for me to shoot; I did however put the two lowest factor closeup lenses in their cases into my back pocket, in case I need to come in close on a specific feature I wanted to capture. I did have one image I had captured earlier in the village, so the first image specifically taken in the woods was one of a series that captured the tunnelled avenues I walked prior to coming out into open landscape where the stream flowed through a culvert before once again flowing to the side of one of the main avenues ahead.

I chose the path that once again had trees and bushes both sides, but was open above and, for much of my walk I captured the trees and sunlit areas that opened around me. Whilst within the woods, I had met very few other walkers, and had enquired whether any had seen particularly interesting examples of the native wildlife, and one man told me he had seen a magpie. My interest on this occasion was for something a tad more exciting. With my arrival in a more open landscape, my eyes and camera turned to the contrasting colour of sky and clouds on Autumnal shades of leaves against the lush green of grassy avenues, the rich copper tones of leaves caught in sunshine and the large high clouds in a rich blue sky. Occasionally I caught glimpses of fresh young leaves in areas sheltered from the wind.

As I walked back towards my car, I came close to the edge of one of the lakes with a few remaining green reeds and their reflection set against the blues of sky on the water’s surface that then graduated gently into the coppery colour of khaki reeds on the distant shoreline, I also liked the detached smaller puff of cloud, neatly framed reflection on the water’s lightly rippled surface by the curve of the grassy bank.

After further walking in the open with little of note, I arrived at the final path leading to my return walk within the woods, but I took a few shots in the by now faltering sunshine as the evening sun was being shaded by the clouds signalling the onset of evening. These were of the shielding and carved wooden wall around the the bench designed by John Muir. My walk in the open areas was now coming to a close, as I captured the last views of the trees alongside my return to my car. The last couple of shots in the Woods were of the juxtaposition of fresh green leaves set against the vibrant yellow of some larger earlier ones from the same stem.

I stopped on the way back where the extra height of the lane across the main road gave me one last look at the dying sun as it made its final bow with a distant glimpse of a rainbow between the far horizon and the cloud base. Ironically, it was while I took these closing images that a van driver stopped also interested in the sunset, so I handed him a card, so that he could see what I had glimpsed and just managed to record. I hope he is not dismayed by the long delay in my putting them up on the blog, but I have faced several problems on my computer in the last few days, which I am hoping are slowly being resolved…

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Bedford–River Walk in Sunshine



On this particular day, I took a trip to Bedford and a Car Park that would give me a good spot to take a walk along the River Great Ouse. It was fairly late in the day, but there was still some warmth, but knowing the chances of rain were high, I was prepared for that eventuality, and it proved to be a well-founded perception.
 I had chosen a start I had taken before, but my intention was to follow a different route though still keep close to the river. Soon after crossing the bridge and entering the wide expanse of grass alongside one tributary of the river I spotted a lone angler, so I decided to walk along metal walkway to have a word with the man and enquire whether he knew of any nearby locations I might spot kingfishers.
He told me that he had seen some further along the stretch I was about to continue heading — I thanked him and had barely reached the spot from where I had decided to walk over to him, when I was amazed by the very species of bird I sought head from the woods towards me in a blur of blue and orange, then take a sharp left turn and fly away alongside the stretch of river I had been coming from!
Although there was naturally disappointment in not having the opportunity to get a shot of the kingfisher, I still found enormous pleasure from the sight of my favourite bird, as it had reinforced the knowledge of a potential location for the future — for that I was sufficiently pleased that I returned to the angler to recount what I had just witnessed and told him I just had to thank him for bringing me good luck!
Sad to report I was not treated to any further sighting of a kingfisher, but I did get some shots of a heron, another avian favourite of mine, and that situation came about from my talking to a canoeist who a short while later pointed out the heron to me, so on this occasion I did manage to get shots of this one!
These were the photographic highlights for me, even though I spent much longer before ending this particular sortie. Later, after deciding to consider starting my return journey to the car, I took a shot of what I first thought was a bird in the undergrowth I was embarrassed to find it was a log! It was at this point of acute embarrassment I came across a lady ahead of me, and felt I simply had to own up to this abysmal failure! We ended up walking along the same route chatting away, and it was during this walk I began noting raindrops whilst we talked. As I neared the end of my journey, the lady stopped at a point where our journeys separated, and we took our individual ways home as the rain increased.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Alternate Destination – Marston Thrift


  I had two possible subjects this afternoon, and on my trip towards the first, I encountered severe traffic congestion, it was therefore out of the question continuing the journey towards my first choice. I had solid phalanxes of barely moving vehicles in both directions, so made the decision to attempt a three-point-turn and, amazingly, a lengthy gap in the opposing traffic was just enough for me to make the attempt; and I took the opportunity, turning with one hand, and gesturing my thanks with the other, and the driver coming from the opposing direction generously allowed me sufficient time to complete the manoeuvre. I waved further thanks as I moved ahead in front of the generously helpful driver!

My first choice of venue had been to visit the River Great Ouse in Bedford, to investigate the possibility of finding a stretch with kingfishers, but now, it was to return towards home and visit Marston Thrift and the car park had only a single car, so there would likely be very few others in the park and so it proved — almost everyone I came across was out exercising their dogs. All told, during the entire afternoon, I only saw around eight people, with only a few of those out for a lone walk, and one other than myself, out with a camera.

Today's images are mainly a record on the theme of the season Autumn, with only landscapes and vegetation as subject matter, but still an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Only disappointment being that there was no sign of the squirrel I had hoped might make an appearance; I spent a few moments in the vain hope it might be in the tree where I have seen it in the past. On this occasion it was nowhere to be seen – Shame!

Friday, 9 October 2020

Windfilled Sails at Brogborough

  The sun and wind were the portents I appreciate, as when the two come together the chances of activity at Brogborough Lake rise, and despite this being on a weekday during Lockdown, the numbers at the Windsurfing Car Park indicate I am in luck. The gates were open, so I drive in and park to decide whether my luck is in.

Fortunately, the opportunity for the taking of photographs of the action on the water was good, as the numbers and activity both onshore and out on the water meant I was fortunately not going to have to leave disappointed. I returned to my car after taking in the scene that greeted me, and readied my camera. The camera for this day's visit was once again the small, but trusty, LUMIX 10002.

One of the first images was of one of the hydrofoil boards used by the Wingsail enthusiasts; to me the most notable feature was the large height that the hydrofoil had compared to the earlier hydrofoils I had seen on the fixed sail versions. The clouds overhead from the start really caught my eye as they were very striking, and as a result feature strongly throughout the ensuing gallery of images. For this reason many of the images show much larger expanses of sky and correspondingly minute figures within, but fortunately the quality still remains due to the high shutter speeds that I was able to employ to capture the images at high quality.

I will also apologise for the delay in putting this gallery up on the blog, as the large number of shots I took at the time due to my settings of multi exposure bursts as the fastest way to work with this camera. It has the downside of having to work through more images, and with a fast filling of my hard drive, which will soon force me to buy another to give me more space!

I am a fan of cloud structures as they offer excellent backdrops for greetings cards with ample space for messages, and certainly to me, inherently carry a happy feeling to convey greetings for birthdays and successful milestones, when used as backgrounds to the textual messages. Clouds set in blue skies always convey happiness and goodwill, never gloom.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Marston Meadow Photo Walk


  It took till the afternoon before the weather improved enough for me to contemplate a walk outside with a camera, and I knew that the further I ventured, the return trip became more compromised, but the attraction of being outside won the day. I headed for the road towards the station. On my right was the entry to the expanse of lawn due to become a garden of Remembrance and the extension of the nearby graveyard.

I spotted that on the far right, there was now the sight of flowers for lost loved ones, and presumably the first graves, and a man was making his way towards me from that area; he appeared to be a possible sexton returning from that site. We had a short chat, before I returned to the roadside path and after a further walk along this path, I took the opportunity to cross the road, and enter the park.

I took a different route than normal, by following a path that entered the woods, which I found soon entered a large expanse of enclosed grassland that I had never visited before; I made a note of this as a place to bring my grandchildren in the future. I learned it had been named as Marston Meadow. It was an opportune moment for the cloud cover to open and for the sun to come out.

When I was young I was led to believe that a profusion of berries at this season was a portent of a hard winter, but of late this has not proven to be valid for it is quite some time since we have witnessed a hard winter after such a precursor! I believe that the power of such a fierce force would be most welcome to counter the spread of Covid this Winter.

I made the most of the opportunity of the light and colour I found whilst in this area, especially as there were very few sharing this space; one exception being a lady exercising her dog by using a thrower to propel a tennis ball some distance ahead, and her charge returning it eagerly for a further chance to retrieve it! It turned out from our subsequent conversation her husband was a keen photographer. We chatted for a short spell, until I broke off because some features in the hedgerow caught my eye, and we parted, but not without my sharing my business card details in the hope her husband's shared interest in photography might mean we might meet in the future.

Two highlights for me in terms of images were the powerful cloud structures I captured, and the seriously powerful thorns on some rose branches. A while later, I felt the drops of rain arrive, and the clouds darkened noticeably, I took the opportunity to hide my camera beneath my pullover, but brought it out twice more for the capture of two 'fairy rings' and the unfortunate demise of my right boot which slowed my progress of retreating from the park!

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Chance Retrospective!


                    This morning I was looking back within my own blog, to simply get an idea of seasonal activity from the past; in particular, what activity I had found on the lakes at Tringford around or before this time of year, when I spotted an entry from late August 2011 when I had the good fortune to witness a wonderful cameo of a lone Grebe parent fishing tiddlers for its young Grebeling chick it was carrying on its back. It was only once I opened that gallery and reminded myself of the occasion, I realised that perhaps others, might equally enjoy the scenes I had enjoyed and recorded back then. So here is the way to revisit that item:

On the right side of the blog is an Archive of previous entries I have made in past years –

Click on the year 2011, and a downward pointing triangle will open that year's entries.

Click August, and the anti-penultimate entry there; "Tringford Afternoon Bird Watching" will reach the shots I was able to capture that day – the particular images appear on the second page of the gallery. The first page of images was devoted to another of my favourite subjects, a Heron.

Enjoy. Hopefully entering a word in my Search Bar, you may find pictures of subjects I have captured since starting this blog way back, a dozen years ago!

PS. Ironically, for those with experience of blog use, the earlier gallery can actually be found by clicking the headline, but the procedure I have described is a way of finding other subjects of interest I may have also photographed – Try: band, butterfly, cricket, Goodwood, Clerkenwell, cricket, Ouse, digicluster, Stockwood, windsurfers – you will notice this can often lead to some rather esoteric subjects!

Friday, 2 October 2020

Brogborough Lake – Berry Quiet


  The current weather has been punctuated by showers, mostly light, with occasional sunshine, and fairly warm when the wind is only light when it occurs. Since the most recent shower had died, I decided to chance the short drive to the lake at Brogborough, knowing full well that the lake would not be attractive to windsurfing activity on this occasion.

I did think there might just be some dragonflies, but I was soon to have that hope dashed — in the more than an hour I walked along the shoreline path, I had only the briefest glimpse of just one. Also, only one small white butterfly made a brief appearance.

Fortunately, the visit was not a waste of time, the early signs of Autumn were apparent in the warm colours of leaves, and the recent shower left droplets of water on blades of grass. Small long-limbed flying insects were hoping their colour was masked by the sun-dried reeds in which it had landed, but my patience and persistence prevailed.

The camera I was using was my Lumix with its long zoom range, and my decision to keep some close-up lenses handy, meant the range of subjects I was able to capture with just the LUMIX FZ10002 was not hampered by only having the one camera — I was able to use the lens at its full focal length reach for a shot of a distant bowl on the far horizon, yet also capture close-ups of small winged insects amongst the undergrowth. I was also able to capture distant landscapes and billowing cloud formations one moment then take advantage of the cameras integral electronic flash to bring out detail in backlit shots of berries high atop some of the lakeside bushes.

The scope of subjects this small and light camera can handle is impressive, and in this short walk did not even involve the carrying of any bag or tripod, just a soft camera case that I stuffed unceremoniously into my pocket, which had the two closeup lenses in their cases within.

Win, win! I got plenty of exercise without fatigue; fresh air in abundance and a reasonably varied range of images, all to a very adequate quality.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Up the Hill, having come from Marston Moretaine


It is quite some time since I made a visit to a nearby hilltop Farm. When I was last there, a considerable amount of soil had been dug out to create a large mound in an offset centre position, with a plan to prepare a sound base so that the mound could become an island when the surrounding area had been flooded to create a lake.
The intention upon completion was to create a dramatic backdrop as the central Feature for a Weddings Venue, and I am guessing that by this year, the plans were that this would be fully operational, but the Covid 19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to prospects of an early opening. It is such a shame as the isolation, the outstanding panoramic views make this, and it's central Bedfordshire location make this an idyllic setting for a Wedding Venue.
When I had parked the car, I took note as to how far advanced the work had progressed, and that water now filled the space I had last seen being excavated. I then entered the Office to speak to the Owner, and the owner's wife told me that sadly at present opening is delayed due to the obvious current restrictions. However, she mentioned that further up the hill beyond their barns and management offices there was a field full of Sunflowers. Despite the somewhat windy conditions and only occasional bright sunlight, this was too good an opportunity to miss. 
I was very grateful to be offered such an opportunity, even though the gusty nature of the wind and the fitful appearance of clear sunshine did make the taking of photos somewhat haphazard. It was especially difficult in terms of trying to compose a picture. Although the final gallery might seem overly full of vaguely similar images, I culled many, many more — I was in fact attempting to create images that could have added text messages placed within, as possible cards for memorable occasions in the future — a final use for much of my cards to family and friends. If in the very near future we are blessed with far less wind and some blue sky and bright sunshine I may seek another visit, but I really wish I had considered making my trip at least a fortnight earlier!
I sincerely wish this current Covid situation ends soon for the Venue to open as soon as practicable, because it promises to be a wonderful location for couples to celebrate their Wedding Days with its spectacular views.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Afternoon Country Images


Meeting with members of my family has naturally been severely curtailed of late, so I was delighted to have a rare opportunity to spend that socially distanced time taking a walk in the country – I drive to Sawston to meet up with my elder daughter, and we head out to visit a Sainsburys Supermarket car park, that has the river Cam (or Granta) running alongside. Whilst Catherine visited the supermarket I walked along a section of the brook. 

I follow her instructions on reaching the brook, for at this stage it is little more than a trickle, but it is known to be visited by kingfishers. So, while Catherine does her food-shopping, I follow her instructions on reaching the brook, for at this stage it is little more than a trickle, but she tells me it is known to be visited by kingfishers. I follow the brookside path from where I was able to reach it from the Car Park, feeling this overgrown stretch of water hardly seemed a likely hunting ground for kingfishers. 

Later, we headed for another wood alongside the river, which looked far more promising for the possibilities of sighting kingfishers, but irony of ironies whilst there, I parted from Catherine to walk further along the bank in search of likely vantage points for likely bird-friendly overhanging branches by the river bank — I went some distance along without being able to find likely locations, so returned to Catherine who gave me really disappointing news, that whilst I had been away, she had been graced by no less than three kingfishers! Subsequently, I did learn from Google Earth later there were a couple of lakes beyond where I had chosen to turn around and retrace my steps.

The images in this gallery are the results of opportunities taken during the day from my arrival at her home earlier, when I was in her garden, then along the overgrown section of river by the Supermarket, and later still, with images taken on another more open woodland path. A very sympathetic extension to a cottage caught my eye in dappled sunlight as did a strange mobile cylindrical trailer tank, whose original function completely eluded me, but whose rusted charm I found appealing. The overall content of this group of pictures does illustrate the very catholic tastes I have for what appeals to me – the architecture, the random nature of subject matter covering still waters reflecting the deep cerulean blue sky beyond the cover of trees, the strange dichotomy of styles of the church, and the texture of the sun-bleached gatepost. I relish such opportunities to capture this wonderful and random splendour.

We then went to the woods close by the former Spicers Envelope Printing factory and another walk by the river, which provided a particularly attractive cottage en route. The subsequent gallery therefore is an amalgam of different locations and differing images, all taken in a single day.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Bedford Park Visit


This time I wanted to visit this park, going in a different direction, so having parked in a nearby car park, I walked along the front of some commercial units till I reached the short road that led to the river, and took the path to the left, which entered the woods. Although I did test my trigger finger on some Canada Geese and some views to give location, I soon spotted a lady on the far side of the field toting a long lens, so I went over to enquire whether she might know of some kingfisher locations. We chatted a bit from which I learned she sold some of her work via Social Media. She was shooting subjects both in the bordering bushes as well as out in the newly mown hay.

I then concentrated on some dragonflies, damselflies and other insects that called these borders home. This season I have seen fewer butterflies, and saw a Speckled Wood relaxing in the sun. I enjoy the challenge of finding some tiny flying insects, since with this camera focussing can be an issue. Swans can represent exposure problems, but repay the effort, because of their grace, and how well they keep themselves.

In walking around the shore, I spotted a heron that was leisurely seeking fish by the island shoreline, and it seemed to be close by its nest, from what I could see, but I could be mistaken.

Before leaving, I decided to put this LUMIX camera's panoramic feature to the test, and the second of the two shots I felt captured the view well for a handheld in-camera stitch.

                        The reason this gallery is late is because I did another trip out before processing these shots, so they will follow in a day or so. Also, earlier visitors may well have noticed, I inadvertently posted an earlier text as the narrative; I am correcting this now.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Another Bedford Park Visit


Thursday was a sunny and warm day, and I decided to visit Bedford once again; the intention was to find a spot on the River Great Ouse I had visited on twice before, but on this occasion, to turn left to follow the river bank from the short distance from the main road, where on two previous times, I had turned right once I had reached the bank side path. However, once again I failed to find that start point!

 I did arrive at a spot where parking is unrestricted, and as I was parking the car, my eye caught sight of a grey squirrel searching for nuts, and taking short spurts from one spot to another. I had taken the LUMIX camera from the boot, and as I quietly moved closer to the squirrel, I turned it on in anticipation of being able to get close enough to get some shots whilst it was away from intervening bushes, and in reasonable light. I had moderate success, but it was not long before it decided I was best avoided.

It soon decided to climb a nearby tree with a branch that hung over a wire fence, and though I did not have a totally clear view, it did reach a spot where it was clear of intervening branches, and the sun was streaming through a thin veil of leaves, providing a golden glow as a backdrop which was very appealing. Having generously provided me a few clear shots, it decided I had taken my allocated quota, and it climbed higher and beyond view. I then headed up the road and crossed under the main road towards the backs of several Industrial units, where I caught sight of a young heron atop the weir.
This presumably is a good spot for fresh fish for herons, as I later caught sight of an older heron by the cascading water, but from my observations these fish are bite size morsels, downed in a single swallow. I spent a fruitful time there before returning to my car where, on the stroll under the main road, I took shots of some of the wall artwork, and some front garden blooms then in a final flourish, I got a last few shots of another squirrel, thereby book ending the gallery.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

River Gt Ouse — Afternoon Walk


The sun graced my visit to the River Great Ouse at Milton Ernest, and it was extremely sticky as the humidity was very high, but it was sometime since I had been to Milton Ernest and was hoping to catch sight of a kingfisher along this stretch of the river, as I had it on good authority there was one seen along here. But to save raising any  hopes, no kingfishers were seen or heard during this trip!
When I am not on the look out for animal or birds as subjects for my trigger finger, architecture can catch my eye and interest, and on this walk I was not disappointed, as one of the bridges became a subject for my LUMIX FZ10002. In this instance, it was the shine on the underside roof that caught my eye.
There were small islands in the path of the river which also caught my eye, as did some swans with their cygnets, but they managed to ensure I had no clear sight of them, and although I walked fast to try to intercept them, they succeeded in eluding me totally, despite my best efforts to try to find a spot on the bank to catch a further sight of them.
Later, I found flowers to feed my camera's hunger for beauty, so the afternoon's images certainly represent variety, where the only connection was the camera, my eyes and an insatiable hunger for capturing interesting images. I hope that I have succeeded despite not having realised one specific personal hope in my ongoing search for locations where I have a realistic chance of finding kingfishers.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

More Activity at Brogborough Lake

  School term time is around once more, so the chances of meeting up with my daughters and their families has now dwindled, and my younger daughter was uncertain as to whether she might come over. Edge to edge blue sky and a reasonable amount of wind at least here;  a short distance from the lake at Brogborough, the potential for activity on the lake was therefore high and helped make up my mind to drive over with my camera. I packed both my heavyweight gear and long lens as well as the lightweight alternative, the versatile LUMIX FZ10002.

On arrival at the Windsurfers' Car Park, the gate was open, so I presumed I was likely welcome to enter on this occasion. My surmise that the favourable conditions of sun and wind would be a magnet for members of the club proved entirely correct as for once, after a long lull due to Covid there was a good crowd onshore, and much activity on the water, with yet more preparations under way by others onshore.

I received a call from Lizzy to say they were soon to be on their way over, so that helped decide which camera I would bring out to use, the LUMIX won as it required little preparation, no tripod needed, I would be able to move around at will, and the clincher: the wind direction favoured most of the activity would be close to the near shore.

Within five minutes of my arrival I was shooting from the launch area, and after a while decided to head for the woodland path at the far end of the greensward landing and launch area. I was travelling light so made good headway through the winding path that is often used as a cycle race path, and after a brisk pace in the shade soon arrived into the sunshine and the first spot where I could make my way down the steep bank to be close to the water's edge, and get a reasonably wide angle of view of those on the water.

I stayed here for a while shooting, then climbed back up to head further round with a wider view. I moved to two more vantage points before the call came from Lizzy to say she had arrived, at which point, I stopped shooting, and at a brisk pace, headed back through the shaded woods to my car, to head for home, I did break off for a moment or two to chat to one of the newcomers to foiling, André who  had initially fashioned his own hydrofoil, before succumbing to a professional version. We had a brief conversation, before I drove home and a relaxing time with Lizzy and family. This gallery is therefore more delayed than normal before appearing.