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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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.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Brogborough Lake and Blackberries

I visited the Lake hoping for some activity and at first there were only three out on the lake, so  I started to capture what was on offer, but there was a lull, so with an itching photo finger, I took to capturing some of the blackberries ripening, until more sailors took to the water.
Sam continues to work up his familiarity with the Wing Sail, in a similar way to my continuing to explore the different way of working with the particular mirrorless camera I have been using most of late, the LUMIX FZ10002. Because of the delay involved in using this camera, it is handy to learn how best to capture ongoing action, and suffer the lack of viewfinder image whilst the camera is writing to the card.
One of the drawbacks of my full-frame Canon EOS R mirrorless is its burst rate, but ironically, due to the smaller image size of the LUMIX it is slightly faster, and despite the smaller size it has commendably good quality, and being less bulky than the EOS R, it is eminently hand holdable; (its downside is it does not go out in dusty environments or rain!) whereas my seriously long Sigma lens and full frame Canon body needs the support of a tripod.
Canon have just announced the imminent launch of two more camera bodies, which have caused my Want Glands to begin to over-secrete, and this means possible inheritance funds being depleted to purchase the lesser of the two bodies to give me access to faster burst rates that it offers!
Autumn is rapidly approaching, which might save funds yet a while, as perhaps fast moving action either on the wildlife or sports fronts may well delay such fund deployment until next season, only time will tell.
It was good to capture the day's action, as it keeps my dwindling 'little grey cells' from atrophy for a while longer as this Covid season continues unabated.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Captivating Bedford Heron Encounter

  My plan for this particular afternoon was to head for a Bedford Park entrance that had a handy Car Park close by a Cinema in an Industrial Estate, and venture into the woods that had provided photo opportunities in the past.
What happened was that I had barely walked more than a hundred yards beyond where I had parked before I came across a lone heron. Carefully, so as not to disturb it I slowly drew closer taking photos, and it casually continued to concentrate on its own plans with total disregard of my presence. I have no idea whether this was due to the care I was taking to move slowly, or whether it simply was totally convinced of its own skill in being able to take to the air swiftly if I was judged a threat.

Looking back, I think it was supremely confident that I could simply be ignored, because at no time did it pay me any notice; it just went about its own business, with languorous ease, almost in slow motion on occasion, even though I moved around to keep it in view, sometimes moving closer. In all my previous encounters with herons at rivers and lakes, I found them wary — not so, on this encounter!

I spent all my time this afternoon within a very short distance from where I started, concentrating on this, one very individual bird! In speaking to several members of the public that stopped to watch the bird and myself, many told me that this heron is frequently to be seen in this location, yet on two previous visits to this particular stretch I had never encountered it before. Sadly,  despite my general concentration, I think I did miss recording it with a successful catch of fish.


Sunday, 6 September 2020

Bedford River Great Ouse Visit

After a spell without wind, the Lake at Brogborough was not enticing excitement on water, so the need to be out prompted me to visit the banks of the River Great Ouse in Bedford, and see what activity was to be found there, for me to capture.
Fortunately finding a place to park was not difficult, and from there I was able to walk by the river in less than a minute. I noted two small jetties that I presumed were for Anglers, but this seemed to be a small lake detached from the river as there was a vast amount of green algae covering a fair part of this pool, so I made my way to the far more busy river bank and was soon fully absorbed in recording the nature of life on and by the river. It was very apparent that far more people were desperately trying to return to normality and break free from the restrictions imposed by Covid.
It was pleasantly warm, but the sun which graced the earlier part of my day, soon retreated to spend more time behind the cover of clouds, but fortunately it did not prevent me from capturing the spirit of the day as life began to show signs of returning to the earlier norm, and the season showed evidence of the journey towards Autumn.
The images from my venture, capture the atmosphere I encountered whilst I was out with my camera. The camera to which I refer is the small LUMIX FZ10002; it is small, and has a zoom lens, which covers a surprising range, which I sometimes augment further by screwing on some small dioptre close-up lenses to allow me to move even closer on small insects, or flower heads.
It did not take long for me to find subjects for my camera, the first being Swans, with their new families of Cygnets, and it was interesting that one small area, close to the water had become a bird toilet — I have no idea whether this spot has always drawn the swans to this area, or that the restrictions imposed by Covid have simply kept the area free of human interference and allowed the swans to takeover this particular spot.
I spent some time at this area as the various birds felt safe; I found one spot where some four pigeons just stayed unmoving among a patch of weeds and daisies, quite unperturbed by my closeness, as if observing a Siesta! The cygnets and a lone swan close by the riverbank either were preening if awake, or dozing eyes-closed; the scene was somewhat surreal, but  I took advantage of the unmoving pigeons and captured images of both groups.
Whilst I was by the river many of the Sculls came only so far then turned around and afforded me some subjects, and I learned later this was as far as they were able to go, so this was the area that those craft tended to turn around. This I learned from a charming young lady whom I had recorded using this spot for just this purpose and later met up with her on the towpath.
Obviously this section of the river was the place to be, for I heard violent flapping of wings resounding from the water coming from the area by the nearby bridge. As the Swan came into view, I was able to capture several shots of its takeoff, and these feature in the associated gallery of images from that afternoon, and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
There is something majestic about Swans; if you had never seen a Swan, and were asked: could a bird as large as this fly with elegance, a bird on water that seemed the epitome of grace and serenity, your answer might well be: "No!" — However, although takeoff required brute force and was noisy, the sheer power and will, allows this bird to prove you wrong. I hope that the few images I managed to capture are testimony to the power and beauty of this bird that has Royal protection and patronage. This does not excuse their abysmal toilet etiquette!
My walk along the river was not confined to just one side, I also crossed to the other bank which allowed me to witness the protective behaviour of a rook who had found some pieces of bread, and encountered a Mallard who made a failed attempt to steal them, but despite the size disparity, the rook prevailed!
This day's gallery ended with my salute to the architectural elegance of the white bridge with its avian group taking their advantage of the commanding views from its height above the river.

Can Any Blogger Help Please

Dear Blogging Community,

Please, if there is anyone who has mastered the transition from 'Blogger' to 'New Blogger' and found a means to avoid the problems of:

Putting up text that formats consistently

Putting consistent initial Indent of paragraphs, and

Avoiding unnecessary paragraphs from introducing unwanted line breaks between such paragraphs

Preventing words from being split over line breaks

Preventing Heading Images from being cropped

Some valid JPEG images from appearing at all

Line spacing of some leading paragraphs increasing very slightly (can sometimes effect single, initial paragraphs, sometimes multiple paragraphs)

These are just a few of the several problems that waste valuable time and give a significantly bad presentation to this blog that has worked flawlessly up to the 31st July 2020, since August 2008.

If any Blogger technicians could persuade someone in authority to restore the functionality of the former 'Blogger' until New Blogger is a fully functional alternative, then I, and I feel, many others, may well be – most grateful.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Brogborough's Native Life

                                  

Apologies to All Readers,

Currently, 'New Blogger' seems to be broken, and despite my several attempts to tidy up the presentation, I have just had to leave the latest entries, despite their obviously poor presentation. If there are any bloggers reading my blog who have worked out how to surmount the issues, I would be most grateful for the help.

No wind on this lake means no windsurfers, so on the offchance, I wondered what lesser life might be on the margins. The short answer was 'not a lot', but I needed a challenge, so I set myself the task of finding dragonflies, and did find one specimen that stayed in a hover for longer than most, and managed a few frames whilst it stayed at the outer reaches of the reeds. The camera I was using once again was the Lumix, and though I would have to crop, due to the distance involved, I knew it was feasible to get reasonable quality, even though the sun was hiding behind clouds.

Surprisingly, I caught sight of only one damselfly, so having spotted one dragonfly, I thought it unlikely I would find several dragonflies, but I was wrong; they proved to be more prevalent, I did see probably half a dozen, and they stayed at the outer bounds of the reeds, and often the first one I spotted would be 'buzzed' by another in a flurry of avoidance activity lasting a few seconds before hovering activity resumed.

I do not have specific knowledge to know whether this is male to male disruptive behaviour or male to female chancing, but either way, it was not likely activity that I was likely to capture in stills — I was searching for hovering activity as a challenge, or static shots, or egg-laying dips just below the surface by the reeds. I found it unusual that on a warm day I should be seeing more dragonflies than damselflies.

I spotted a few bees, but their choice of flower heads on this occasion meant their heads were obscured, which meant poor shots, which was a shame as I was able to capture images that had good detail of their 'fur', but not of their proboscis!

I did spot a long-bodied insect with very long legs, but the surrounding plants meant lighting was less than ideal, and overly fussy. Although not the most exciting group of images, once again it does show off the possibilities this unassuming camera is able to capture — it was the LUMIX FZ10002, again!

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Quainton Visit — After Such a Long While

I pay a welcome visit to my younger daughter for the first time in a long while, and it was good to see her husband Tim and the two children. Their home is in the small village of Quainton, home of the eponymous Railway Museum and the very visible Windmill.

Soon after my arrival I joined Lizzy for her trip to the village store and a walk up the hill past the Windmill, I was hoping to take a few shots of its sails in motion, but after a single press of the camera's shutter, it ended that day's motion a second after I took my single exposure! I had been hoping for a few frames of the sails in subtly different positions, 
from which to choose the ideal position!
Lizzy needed to buy food from the local store, so we walked in towards there first, then took a path that took us up the hill beyond, so we could see the whole plain below, but if I had hoped to catch sight of the engine pulling the train, I was to be disappointed as though I could see the carriages and puffing cloud of steam, I was too late to glimpse the engine because it was amongst the trees!
We climbed quite high and found ourselves in a series of tumuli which I imagined were the sites of early dwellings, from where I saw matchstick figures crossing the landscape in the distance, so rather than the more conventional view of the windmill from below, our view was from above, with the plain beyond and the distant hill at Waddesdon Manor. Sadly, on this day the sun was mostly shrouded in cloud, though for a couple of shots a small sliver of sunlight appeared across a sloping distant field. Later in the afternoon, I was able to take a few shots of some of the flowers in gardens that bounded the green.
Later still we walked along Station Road and spent a while watching the end of the day activity at the Station from the bridge over the line. The range of differing scenes from close-ups of a bee's activity to the distant hills and wide vistas of the valley is a testament to the versatility of this small LUMIX fz10002 camera and the range of its integral zoom lens, which due to its light weight is an all-day handheld camera.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Cricket Returns to Bamville

It is an age since I have travelled south and to the far side of Harpenden to take photos of the Cricket being played at Bamville. I was hoping that I had not lost the fluidity of following the action and sensing the moment when I might catch the action. Bamville the Home Team were playing against a team from Hatfield, 'The White Walkers'
My arrival was later than I had hoped as my direct route was on divert, so although I did arrive before the match was due to start; setting my kit up was rushed, which is always less than ideal as it is all too easy to make mistakes. 
I barely had time to speak to Peter Carr, the Organiser and Scorer; I learned that Peter was operating single-handedly too. After the briefest of greetings, I started to set up the Benbo tripod and mount my EOS R with the Sigma 60-600mm lens on it.
Due to concerns over not using this combination over the last several months, this is the first time I have been out with this, or any heavy tripod and long lens, so I was less confident I would be as fluid as I had become with my smaller and way lighter, handheld kit. Fortunately, this insecurity did not last too long! It was good to be using the Sigma again, and to begin with, I was using it with the 1.4x Converter, but I soon returned that to my bag allowing me to benefit from the extra stop, and if the light was less, the faster shutterspeed.
On this occasion I did not keep changing my viewpoint as I might have done on previous occasions, in case I needed to change lenses or a battery, and I settled into trying to capture the action. It may seem perverse to want to capture a batsman being run out, or being bowled out, these are moments that depend on reaction speed, so these are the gems I seek, but there is no malice, and I am aware that my pleasure is not one that receives unalloyed glee from the batsman whose bails have been captured in the air by my fast finger! On the unfortunate batsman's return to the pavilion, he is unlikely to share my joy, so shouting: "I have a great shot of airborne bails" is not the best form of greeting!
However, my pleasure remains regardless, especially as capturing a fielder with a successful catch would be way too hard, and require considerably more knowledge of the specific bowler to even contemplate aiming for such an event? I did get shots of two separate batsmen who succumbed to the fate of being bowled out.
We did suffer a short intermission due to a short shower, and I was grateful that I was close to the pavilion to seek shelter and we were blessed with it being over fairly speedily. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to capture the afternoon's action, and I am very grateful for one of the teams very kindly giving me a slice of pizza which was most welcome.
I hope I have managed to capture the atmosphere and action from the afternoon; I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to combine being out, and hopefully capturing the spirit of the match.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Sunny Afternoon at Broglake



On this particular afternoon, my younger daughter brought her two children over, and having fed and watered them at my place, was going to join me over at the nearby Brogborough Lake for a short while, prior to taking them back home, where she was due to meet up with another family close to home with the two youngsters and meet up with other school-friends at their home.

I had to verify there was somewhere to park, so I set off first, and soon arrived — but surprisingly, her two must have been keen to set off because, I had barely parked before they joined me!
On this occasion there was a good number of people who had taken the opportunity to visit, and my two young grandchildren were soon very close to the water's edge to catch sight of all those already out. The time they spent was all too short before they were back in the car, and I was waving them goodbye. I was sad to watch them leave, but I consoled myself with the joy of seeing them despite the brevity of their stay. I then turned back to the lake, and started capturing the varied activity that was in evidence this afternoon. There were many more present than my last visit, and the activities ranged from paddleboarders and kitesurfers to windsurfer's, with and without hydrofoils.
It was sunny, but typically the wind strength was varied, due to the various hills and wooded areas that surround the lake's location, which tends to surprise the unwary. However, I do feel this does add to the skill levels of those who train for these skills on our inland lakes when the more steady winds of the Coast are not available.
Understanding the wind's variability surely must add to the skill of reading the wind.
I made a point of trying to take shots which captured the differing choices of  kit on the water, as well as following the individual genres to point up the variety. The atmosphere was very relaxed in that there were several groups grabbing the opportunities offered by the warm water and sun, to remain close to the shore and chat while remaining in the water.
There appeared to be more small groups taking advantage of meeting once again after such a long time and catching up, so the gallery has hopefully captured the renewed ambiance of life on the Brogborough Lake with the loosening of the lockdown restrictions, and the slow return to some resemblance of normality.


Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Brogborough Lake Activity

 

I drove to the lake at Brogborough, and parked opposite the entrance to the surrounding lakeside path, off which are several Anglers' Swims. The gate to the Watersports gate was locked, so after locking the car, I walked back to see how many cars were there to ascertain the likelihood of Windsurfer's taking to the water. Seeing there were at least four, and there being some wind, I returned to the car and got out my EOS R, and added the Tamron 100-400mm lens, which I had considered was light enough to use handheld, and walked to the second swim to see what activity there was on the water. There was none!
I then walked further round the lake keeping an eye out for dragonflies and damselflies; damselflies were present, but because it was warm, they seemed happy to fly, only very occasionally landing; for less than a second! In such a situation the odds were not favourable, so I returned to the car to improve them, and mounted the camera on my monopod to help shorten them. I did manage a few shots of damselflies and a cricket, but they do not appear here, because I now heard the distinctive crack from a sail being snapped in the wind, and I turned my mind to windsurfer activity.
The first shots were of someone using a wingsail with a hydrofoil board, and from that moment, since there was not a lot of insect activity, I changed tack. Soon the number of sailors on the water rose, but even after my time there had ended the number remained in the lower single figures, but it was good to be using the EOS R again, and also using the light Tamron zoom for the first time this year. Using the monopod and the Tamron is handy as I can move around with ease, yet get reasonable stability, and not wear myself out lugging a heavy tripod.
This day was the first time I had seen more than just Sam using a wingsail and hydrofoil, so it will be interesting to see how many will take to it. The height out of the water was interesting to note on occasion this particular afternoon, in one case I actually caught sight of the aerofoil itself partially clear of the surface! I also noted an almost clear gybe with a good height on the hydrofoil — I wonder whether I will catch sight of a jump with a foil?! That is a shot I would delight in catching.
Overall, considering how few were on the water on this particular afternoon, I certainly I felt I had got my fix for the day, and it is only other circumstances that have resulted in this gallery arriving late.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Totally Self-absorbed Coot

On an earlier visit to Priory Park, I extracted a series of images of a Coot from the main gallery in case it was simply a distraction. But by itself, I felt it worth a gallery, purely because the Coot had absolutely no interest in me; it was totally absorbed in its own life, and I represented no form of interest or threat, so if I took pictures, well so be it! It had allowed me to capture many more shots than I am displaying here, so these are simply a snapshot of those moments in its day.
I was not dressed in camouflage, or ensconced in a hide; I had just quietly dropped to a squat, and just started recording the scene that unfolded, and was rewarded by the bird simply ignoring my presence. It is rare to find my attempts at capturing the activity of insects, animals and birds with blissful acceptance of my presence and proximity – in general, I have to be lucky to work fast and silently to capture a fleeting moment, before the opportunity has passed!
I admit that a Coot is far from the most exciting of bird species, and more often than not, the activities of a Coot that I have captured has been the frequent antagonism of one bird angrily chasing another amidst much frantic flapping of wings and splashing of water! This was a relaxed and private few moments of quiet searching and feeding.

Apology to Readers (and perhaps read by Google):
New Blogger has several bugs, and although it has taken three days of frustration to bypass several of them when creating this entry, I have yet to find out how to get past the appalling hyphenation from some line ends. Hopefully, those tasked with bringing New Blogger in line with the simplicity and functionality of Blogger, will work with their longtime users of Blogger who have enjoyed a decade and more of using the former Great Product to tidy up the current Downgrade!
Should this reach the eyes of a human at Google, I would be very pleased to describe the issues I (and likely many, many more Users have been suffering recently) – I do genuinely wish to help resolve the problems that the Update has inadvertently created as when it is able to work as efficiently as Blogger used to perform, it is a great product.
Two separate issues that need attention are Tabbing and Uncropped headline Images. When any narrative has paragraphs (sepecially when being viewed on phones) readability is VASTLY improved by Initial Paragraph indenting.) I am not asking for a full Word Processor, I just want Images and text to be WYSIWYG; so if I set a pixel dimension for width I expect this to be honoured relative to the display width, not automatically lopped from the right.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Brogborough Lake – Two Worlds

                    I parked on the Opposite side of the road to the entrance to The Windsurfers Area, and strolled to the water’s edge outside their boundary to see what activity was like on the lake, and found none initially, so I returned to my car and chose the camera I was going to use to capture the life that lies onshore.
                    The wind that was presently blowing, favoured activity such as the windsurfers, but only once I had returned with the Lumix FZ 10002, did I espy a mere couple of sailors on the lake, whereas I spotted a few Damselflies within seconds of looking; some paired up, exhibiting their heart-shaped linking, and I often wonder whether it was this shape observation that gave us humans the shape to depict our romantic inclinations. Although I observed a couple of restless Dragonflies, they eluded capture by knowing my reactions with this camera were well less than their elapsed time stationary! At least with this camera! However, a Bee, a Cabbage-white, Meadow Brown, a lone Cricket, and Damselflies were far more patient and less wary as was another flying insect. The tenuous grasp of one pair of damselflies, warranted a repairing of bonds before flying was resumed.

                    The initial interspersing of windsurfers amongst the insects is due to time differences between my two camera bodies, not simply my distraction from one subject and another! Once human activity on the lake grew, I returned to get out a tripod and the Canon 5D MkII with the Sigma 60-600mm lens which is far better suited to capturing fast action. However, the temptation to heed the over-secretion of the Want glands in relation to the Canon EOS R6 body is definitely tempting for much of the subjects that interest me, and considering up until very recently the 7D MkII body almost permanently attached to my long lens Sigma, the 60-600mm is still short of the lesser of the R5 & R6 pairing in pixel numbers, the R5 would seem a natural successor, for the burst rate would definitely be more suited to my needs, since it exceeds the 7D MKII in the one area I really feel the need.

                    The Lumix camera need not fear being sold to fund this potential camera body since it fulfils its role superbly as a quality camera with less weight and excellent focal length range that can accompany me at all times, as unlike many a mobile phone camera which simply does not compare for my needs.

                    The shots I took later with the 7D MkII certainly brought a smile to my face on occasion, since it seems an absolute age since I got shots of the Windsurfers; the only disappointment being that the wind conditions did not suit jumpers, which is a subject that keeps my senses alert when shooting windsurfers. The only shame on this occasion was that the light became less favourable as the day progressed, but the wind direction did generally keep the action reasonably close to where I was positioned outside the Club area. Windsurfing action and spray comes alive in bright sunshine.

                    It was good to get some time with two very different cameras as that keeps my brain from atrophying.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Priory Park Walk


  Priory Park in Bedford is quite varied in content, and ideal in which to walk, yet feel quite alone in the open space I find. On this visit, I was unsure whether I would find subjects for my camera, after parking my car at my destination, so initially made the decision to walk the route sans camera. that was less than ideal as it turned out as the point at which I entered the park was one long and less than exciting straight path. having walked its length, I decided I should reconsider that decision, so turned around and headed back. On a day with such oppressive heat, this was definitely a poor start, and wasted a considerable amount of energy and time!

I returned to the car and made a new decision, I would take my light rucksack and add food and flask, as well as my camera; in this instance the Lumix FZ10002 once again. Then I headed back along the recently walked path with its proven lack of interest to go deeper to see what I might find. The first item of interest I feel sure was a jackdaw feather – Its condition was pristine, which I found to be surprising for such a well-developed feather.

Early in my walk, I came across a lone Coot, that’s feeding from a part of a currently dry weir, and it seemed totally oblivious of my presence, so rather than take up a large part of the gallery of general images, I have created a standalone gallery that covers the bird’s activity as a separate entity.

The direction I later took was beneath one of the bridges along the river, which displayed considerable colourful graffiti and across the water from me, a group of youngsters set fire to something then stood around watching it envelope in flames. On my side, I spotted a partially full bottle I supposed was a lager, on a ledge, little realising that one amongst that number of kids a moment later was to appear on the same side as myself and pick it up, and wantonly throw it to the ground, smashing it. Sadly as a lone witness to his vandalism, there was little point in remonstrating since in total, the group possibly numbered around ten youths, so I just recorded more graffiti and took a shot of more civilised and relaxed behaviour beyond.

The road above my chosen path was carried in a curve around these various waters with some very interesting architecture of a far more recent bridge, which had far greater appeal, since much of my career had been spent photographing varied aspects of architecture in and around London and further afield.

As my walk continued I found myself recording bees, butterflies and cygnets and then I left the river to return to my car, and spotted an overflow of luxurious grapes hanging beyond the bounds of the house offering a bounty for passing walkers when they are ripe! Alongside also some very young acorns caught my eye, as did the skies that greeted me on my return home.  I should add also, that the route I took to leave the park was foolishly chosen beyond the bounds of the park and made the journey back to the car even longer than the walk within!

In terms of satisfaction, the shots beneath the road bridge gave me the most pleasure on this jaunt as I appreciated its curves and structure.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Another Lake Visit – Priory Park, Bedford

I visited Priory Park to see just what I might find, but initially I walked from the Car Park and found I had taken a route from there that was very overgrown, and populated largely with nettles — not an ideal proposition! I returned to where I had set out from and found there was a different route; by going out from the entrance, crossing the noisy wooden bridge and finding myself entering the Park in a far more straightforward way.
On this occasion I was carrying only the one camera, with its built-in zoom lens, the LUMIX FZ 10002, a surprisingly handy tool with its long range 25-400mm lens. This was not the first visit to this location, and once again, I chose routes that avoided crowds, and often walked in any available grassy areas beyond the paths. Although in the main I concentrated on the photographing of flowers, birds and insects, I also got a few shots of a small boat on the lake, a pair  framed by intervening trees; anything that caught my eye that were of interest, or were at least a challenge. On occasion, the viewpoint was the same, but with differing framing, for possible space for adding text, or when taking the shots of bees in one instance, I was obtaining different details.
I have noticed in the past from visiting lakes, some birds display more aggression than others — case in point are Mallard Ducks; they can often be very aggressive amongst themselves. Another aspect of taking images of aquatic birds is often the patterns they create when moving across the surface at speed, and I enjoy capturing the interference patterns caused when the ripples from two birds travelling in different directions, interact.
Textures tend to catch my eye, such as those displayed by developing new, young leaves. This is where this camera with its zoom lens excels, capturing a distant bird on the water, then a short while later, fine crisp detail of a leaf. On this lake, a mere couple of sailors were out on the lake, and managed to capture one using the light wind to jibe around a marker buoy.
Sadly, one of my favourite birds, the Grebe, rarely came close to the shore, and I did not spot any Grebe pairs or young Grebelings here. Sadly, on one of the other lakes I visit, a Grebe nest was raided by the local mink! The mink which have tended to appear on British lakes, are a very unwelcome species that have been responsible for harming both the resident fish and lake-based birds. My day was not as productive as I had hoped, especially as I saw very few Dragonflies, only getting a couple of shots of a  singleton.
However, it was good to get outside for a spell, yet generally avoiding any close encounters, and on my return I fielded a call from another fellow photographer with whom I had not been in contact for quite sometime; and it was a long call, only coming to a close when he was being called to supper by his wife!

Monday, 27 July 2020

Stewartby Lake – Post LockDown Activity

I have visited this lake before, but it was a while back, before the current lockdown, yet it was ironically less busy on that occasion. Free from the recent restrictions, the Public were out in force, often in quite large groups, which I am presuming are family-related. I was in no hurry, so taking any gaps in the trees that led to the bank of the lake was not always an avoidance manoeuvre, but an opportunity to explore. The shoreline mostly displaying the roots of its past by the vast numbers of broken bricks present. Every so often there are sections of mortared brickworks, and one of these actually resembles the shape of a small submarine with a conning tower, which certainly was not going to be missed by my camera! 
The surface of the lake was largely given over to sailing dinghies, with a few powered boats as spectators as well as rescue craft. As there was quite a brisk, though gusty wind, the swan families were keeping often close to the shore, in the areas where the trees and bushes kept them more protected from the human visitors. There was one spot where the bricks have been carefully arranged to presumably improve angling, by keeping an area clear of more of the invasion of nearby foliage, but what surprise me is there are so many steep and muddy banks which could benefit from the use of stacking such bricks to make access safer.
Perhaps, because the wind was often quite strong on this visit, I saw fewer butterflies than I had hoped, and I also witnessed a wasp attack one butterfly, and I thought this was likely to have a bad outcome for the butterfly, but surprisingly, it did not succumb, perhaps the sometimes ragged wings I see an assume as general wear ‘n’ tear are in fact evidence of such attacks from predatory wasps.
On this trip, I saw no dragonflies and only a few damselflies, so perhaps the wind was a deterrent to flying operations at this time. I did notice that the blackberries were certainly coming on, but the few that looked ripe I was not prepared to attempt to eat, in case the Virus had contaminated them, and they had definitely not reached the numbers where considering picking numerous fruit that could be washed after collection; there were simply too few for that to be a viable option.
It was fortunate that despite the powered boats were not ever close, this lens was still able to capture some shots of them at a reasonable quality, but the carrying of a longer lens and a heavy tripod was never an option for this visit. The cloud cover was often not conducive to good quality, but it was still great to be out and in some sunshine, and to chat with some of the other visitors.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Biddenham - A Long Riverbank Walk

I set off to Biddenham and the River Great Ouse to stroll along the banks to capture some of the native life to be found close by. I took a shot of the Information board, to make it easy for me to reference on the blog. I have been here before, but on this occasion I was here to explore the numerous paths leading off the main one, to reach close to the water’s edge where the subjects of my photography are to be found in fair numbers.
Fortunately, right at the beginning of the walk, there were good views of the bridge from the bank close by the Park entrance, with the river flowing fast over the shallows on the left. I took to the path that runs close to the bank, and investigated what shots could be taken along the bank side path, before finding the real images I sought; which were of the wildlife, such as butterflies, damselflies, and dragonflies and, views of the enclosing landscape of the park.
It was during the time down by the river bank, that I spotted interesting patterns in the water, so naturally they appear in the subsequent gallery of images in my blog. The River Great Ouse meanders in numerous loops in Bedfordshire, and in this area the river is often shrouded by woodland, which offers me good chances to photograph the birds, animals, insects, associated trees, vegetation, and flowers.
On this outing, there were numerous butterflies and damselflies; and the list of those, that I later managed to get shots of were Red Admiral, Brown Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Comma, and Meadow Brown butterflies, and Damselflies. One such, I had never seen before, the Emerald Damselfly. Altogether, I had a very enjoyable and productive afternoon.Later, after working through the editing I found myself with one image over a round number to fill four pages in the gallery to be uploaded to the server, so one more look through the images to decide which one is for the chop! Lastly, which image or images will head up the Blog entry, when it is ready to go online.