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 31 May 2020

Sunny Priory Park, Bedford

Supposedly a tentative loosening of LockDown, but the roads were busy with traffic, and the Car Parks at Priory Park, Bedford we’re filling steadily, I found one of the few vacant spaces in my chosen one. In the branches of a tree above a black bird sang heartily, and a robin came from the bushes to the path seemingly searching for food. Poppies bloomed in the grass alongside the path, and numerous dog roses bloomed in the hedgerows, out on the lake parent Canada Geese formed a close guard on their young as did the Greylags. Watching the ducklings, there are often some more adventurous than others, but the parents were keeping a wary eye out for those that strayed. Early on I was pleased to see a Grebe or two, but these were adults. I soon took the less-travelled paths and found numerous mating pairs of damselflies, and dragonflies in reasonable numbers on the reeds.
On the water in the smaller lakes, were Mallard families, as well as more Canada geese groups, out on various handy perches were gulls relaxing and watching for potential prey. I soon found a Grebe with a single youngster nestled on its back, and from its condition, I suspected it may have had a fight to protect its young as normally Grebe are very well groomed, and this one looked tousled. The floating lilies were yet to open, but those in the reed margins were well ahead. In the trees were a pair of nesting Heron, but In the distance, and  had I not been in conversation with a lady photographer and her husband, I would not have seen them, and although I was able to get a shot; armed with only my handy LUMIX, this was definitely a shot for my grown-up camera and it’s 60-600mm lens preferably with its 2x Converter! Perhaps with the lessening of restrictions I will return with the EOS R!
Perhaps the highlight of my visit on this occasion was to squat down and capture the lengthy grooming of a swan, which I found fascinating; the swan seemed to have all the time in the world to ensure its plumage was in tip-top condition. It did keep its beady eye on me at frequent intervals, but never once showed any animosity towards my interest. It had evidently been at this task for some while due to the evidence of white down all around! I stayed at this spot for quite a time, in the main due to my fascination in how it was able reach every part of its body, yet for 99% of the time I was there, it only occasionally lifted one or other leg simply to extend its reach and retain balance. During my time spent at this spot, a group of young lads who had been present on my arrival, had a visit from other friends before finally leaving; the couple with whom I had chatted earlier and a Czech pair of girls were the only people that ventured to this location. One of the two girls had gone to the end where the lads had been earlier, but when the swan I had been observing came up to the path, unwittingly they had become separated either side of the swan! Once I realised the girl had wanted to rejoin her friend, but was afraid of the swan’s intention, I told her to slowly walk past, and it would be fine, and she definitely was not going to move fast, as I could appreciate from the look on her face! The second girl did speak English, so she translated my suggestion and very tentatively the nervous colleague passed the swan and joined her friend. I then watched the swan return to the water’s edge, but missed the full extent of its stretch and flap to remove the last of the down, and its actual launch into the water.
I do have a very full set of images of the mammoth preening I had witnessed. Appearance for a swan is definitely a high priority! After this spell, I made my way back to the more public area, and got a few shots of youngsters sailing dinghies, and got a closer shot of the Grebe and Grebeling, and a Magpie wandered across my path, on my return to the car.
Altogether a very enjoyable way to enjoy the afternoon in the Park, I suspect it will not be too long before my camera becomes the EOS R with the Sigma 60-600mm and I am lugging a heavy tripod once more! I am also hoping to speak to an expert on the LUMIX who can help me to set up some of the controls to improve access to those I need speedily!

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Brogborough Lake Path Walk

Since the Lake is not open for Windsurfing or Angling currently, I parked to one side of the gate to avoid blocking access, and entered the path that encircles the lake along with my currently ever-present LUMIX camera, ironically in the hope of capturing this year’s Dragonflies, but although they were around, they rarely settled, or hovered awhile, and also rarely came close, whereas the damselflies were numerous and were even to be found In the field margins.
There were spiders either hanging around or very busy linking up several different branches or leaf groups. I also noted a strange winged insect with long tails, but my first interesting bird was a distant Wagtail which, as I quietly manoeuvred closer would loop past me to hop around the same distance from me, but on the other side of me! I moved closer to it, but even more slowly, and have relied on cropping the images to use at a fair size. It kept me busy for a while, as it was rarely still for long, and they are interesting birds. I did get some shots of one Dragonfly, but at one stage the reed he was on fell into the water, and wet its wings, so when I spotted that it had become partially submerged, I got a small branch, and lifted the reed out of the water, so that it’s wings could dry out, and after five minutes, was relieved to witness him dry enough to flap his wings, and moments later take to the air. I was mightily relieved, and it lifted my spirits in realising I had likely saved its life.
Two Geese families soon appeared slowly from the right of me as the respective parents carefully watched me to see if I represented a danger, the appraisal lasted a couple of minutes, then both the Greylag and Canada Geese families slowly brought their charges gingerly past. They had judged that I was not a danger, and both sets of parents kept their young close as they passed by; so they were still taking no chances.
I had thought that the Dog Roses would soon have finished flowering since I had seen the first of them quite some time back, but they were still making a good showing as I continued walking further around the lake. The still waters on this trip meant that it the bottom of the lake clearly showed the origins of their past life as the numerous bricks were evidence of where they had been unceremoniously dumped if they were damaged or otherwise sub-standard. At least now the large planting of trees and expanse of water coloured by the reflection of extensive blue sky and high thin clouds made a most attractive sight, which once the current Lock Down becomes a distant memory will return to, become the background to joyous human activity for Windsurfers, Hydrofoilers, Paddle-boarders and Swimmers, not forgetting the Swans, Ducks and Geese that call this expanse of water their home too.
On this trip, I spotted later a gap in the bushes where a small makeshift bridge had been built over the stream, and decided to risk crossing over, and found myself on a raised bank, with a path bathed in shafts of light from gaps in the cover of leaves which attracted the flying of hoverflies. I decided here was an interesting challenge for this camera, to try to capture then in flight, or possibly static on the back of my hand, but this is one activity that is hard to master using a mirrorless camera, but I do like a challenge, and I spent fully half an hour in attempting to capture at least one, in flight. It was not going to be a great shot, but that was no reason not to make the attempt! They do not match the quality of the rest of the images, but it occupied my brain hand and arms, and I hoped the hoverflies might take a leaf out of the lone fly’s book, by realising I meant no harm.
My last two shots were of the shadows cast by shafts of sunlight through the trees that silhouetted some of the taller weeds in the wide verge.

Friday 22 May 2020

A Country Garden; Flowers, and Birds

I travelled further afield, and put the camera to the test once again to capture the Summer Colour of late Spring in an English Country Garden, and the beauty that abounds. Some flowers are now beginning to fade, but new ones begin to take their place, all under a cloudless sky and in very warm sunshine.
On my journey, it was noticeable how recent talk from the government had already had an effect on the volume of traffic, both of vehicles, and upon both families and individuals taking advantage of the great outdoors. Fortunately, I found that overall behaviour seemed controlled and relaxed, I just hope that the coming weekend retains the same reserve, and that common sense prevails and restraint is observed, so that no rise occurs in infection.
The gallery on this occasion depicts interesting young birds being fed by a parent, and the colours of flowers at this moment in the season. I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to capture the results of the owner’s hours of diligent work.
Once again, all these photographs have been taken using the eminently versatile LUMIX FZ10002, and handheld, and had I not been wearing a bright blue shirt,  I might have been able to approach a tad closer on occasion, and it was certainly a joy to work silently and not disturb the young Starlings whilst being fed. I am exceedingly pleased that I bought the camera earlier in the year, because my much heavier gear being toted around during this enforced Lock Down would definitely have attracted adverse comments whereas this camera attracts no interest by either humans or the wildlife!
I was rather surprised by a Mallard on a nearby roof ridge, that was not what I expected of a duck! Altogether a very satisfactory way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Riverpark, Bedford — What LockDown?

I decided that although I was very much aware that almost anywhere I chose to visit would be crowded, so would require careful navigation — there were two possible Bedford locations large enough to make keeping my distance acceptably straightforward. On this occasion, that destination was Riverpark. Close by the car Park, was a quiet enclosed area which naturally drew me in! Though my camera was  to hand, the reaction of a Muntjac is way faster, especially for a mirrorless camera, but despite my speedy reaction, it had disappeared from view way faster than I was capable, I did marginally better with a rabbit a while later, but rear ends of most animals fleeing are rarely of great note! But, I kept the two shots of its exit.
An overflying light aircraft gave the chance to practice my skills at shooting distant, moving subjects when out and about with this mirrorless LUMIX FZ10002. The most serious handicap with this camera is focussing in fussy scenes, or more detailed backgrounds behind a small or diffuse subject. I need to speak to someone with an understanding of how to set up custom controls so I can speedily alter apertures to define the depth of field I might need.
Other subjects that I managed at least some shots were damselflies and Demoiselle butterflies, ducklings, goslings, Swans and Jackdaws, and an overflying helicopter, which is testament as to how versatile is the LUMIX with its fixed zoom lens. I enjoyed the exercise, and it was good to see that all the youngsters behaved well with the birds and their young, and everyone I came across were very respectful of distancing at all times.
There are numerous well-shaded paths, that wend their way around small lakes, and I spent quite some time sitting on a conveniently sited stone by one of those small lakes capturing shots of the activity in amongst the reeds. When I next venture out I will likely visit the river Great Ouse, but walk in the opposite direction to the one I took on my last a fortnight or so back.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Second Choice Location

I spent quite some time looking at Google Earth and the Ordnance Survey map to investigate a potential lake that might have public access with possibilities of varied wildlife, so I found somewhere nearby to park and investigate whether there was an available entry. There was a building nearing completion at the corner of the road, and I spotted two men chatting outside the front entrance of what looks like becoming a new hotel or restaurant. I enquired whether I might park the car for a while. The man to whom I spoke was happy for me to park in the front by the boundary.
I grabbed the camera and took a wander by the boundary of the lake area, but soon spotted signage denoting that the area was private, with no public access, which was disappointing, I did also look elsewhere, but there were no other entries, so that location was ruled out. I had not wasted the time however, and as I walked around the boundaries, I had captured some attractive shots of some dog roses and leaves. On my return to the car, I met up with the man who appeared to be the most senior man on site, so I did chat to him about the possibilities of progress photographs for his project. I offered my backup business card for him to capture my details in case to his phone; there was a possibility I might be able to offer him my services.
My original plans scuppered, I headed back to Stewartby, where I parked back by the roadwork gas pipe laying, and chatted with the builder who was just considering finishing for the day, and for the second time that day offered my details in case there was a future possibility of some photographic opportunities. I then took a chance of further images to capture, and was rewarded by a rabbit, more dog roses, and a a poor shot of a lone butterfly,due to the scarcity of blooms for its supply of nectar. I did not stay long as the wind and the overall lack of variety of blooms meant there were fewer photo opportunities, but I had not spotted earlier that the ruins of Houghton House were also visible from this spot, so I took a shot of that as well.

Friday 15 May 2020

Brogborough Lake PhotoTherapy

After a trip to two separate supermarkets for food supplies, with moderate success in these straitened times, I returned to do a small amount of housekeeping, then made up my mind to see whether in the short space of time before a link up with the Adobe US Prerelease Team’s fortnightly Internet Meeting, I could capture some of the late afternoon sunshine at Brogborough Lake. Although the Windsurfers’ area is closed, there is a path which follows the shore, that is mainly a spot favoured by dog walkers. I took a stroll from the entrance to the left of the Windsurfers’ area, and finding the surface of the lake still in the absence of even the slightest zephyr stirring the water, took a few shots that told the story of the lake’s origins — having exhausted the supply of good brick-making clay, faulty brick detritus, littered the lake bottom in abundance, clearly visible in the shots that open the gallery of images.
I was out of luck if I had entertained any idea of finding Dragonflies, as although not cold, there had not been enough warmth to tempt them out in the late afternoon, but I stayed by the reeds for a short while in case I might catch sight of any such activity, but in vain!
I walked further along the bank looking carefully in the vegetation, before finding a tree that stood clear in the afternoon sunlight, and other lakeside scenes that caught my eye, as in the past when taking this walk, the pylons have always seemed like walking giants that have been frozen in time during a march across the landscape, and against a clear blue sky, this is not the first time I have taken photos of their strides. I also spied a lone poppy, and a conspiracy of ravens, that makes me wonder what the collective name for pylons should be? — a March of pylons?
Sadly, though I did spy a lone Grebe, and Swan, both were at a distance, so on this LockDown Walk, landscapes,and lake views predominate, but they lifted my spirits, and at the end of the day (to coin a phrase!) that was was the purpose of my trip. I hope they can provide viewers of this blog a similar lift in spirits. I took a long walk in the woods capturing shots of the overgrown paths, and some of the plants, leaves and blossom that caught my eye on the journey. I hope it will not be too long before I can meet up with family again, because my own company is less than adequate.

Sunday 10 May 2020

A Marston Thrift Sunshine Visit

It was obviously very noticeable just how much effect the warm sunshine had on the Public’s desire to escape the confines of their homes, because this visit of mine encountered a full Car Park where around a week ago, only one other car entered to park when I arrived and when I came to leave on that occasion, mine was the only vehicle remaining.
In the main straight path, numerous small family groups passed me, as well as lone cyclists and a few singletons, in the main because having walked this route only recently, there were far less subjects of interest, so I was looking more closely for new subjects. Once I had completed the long tunnel of overarching trees and come out into the open, I chose the sinuous path that parallels the stream to see whether I might catch sight of the Squirrel I had encountered on earlier visits, but despite staying by its home tree for several minutes, I was not graced by its presence. 
I decided I would return via a parallel path to the small reed bed close to where I had left the wooded path earlier. I soon spotted a dragonfly darting from one of the taller reeds, and here was a subject that I definitely enjoyed trying to capture, also it was not a kind I had photographed before, and it was frequently on the move, so it meant the backgrounds would vary, as would the angle it would present itself to me.
The dragonfly soon grew bored of this area, and headed off elsewhere, and although I waited awhile in case others came along, seemingly that was it, so I moved on. Whilst I was walking alongside the grassy bank I spotted an intriguing plant for which I can find no name, so currently I have put out a call to my horticultural guru to learn whether she can enlighten me as to what it might be. I recognised the two stages in its life cycle due to its stem which I describe to myself as boxes, which stack themselves up along the central stem closed then when they have stacked enough they all then open to produce an abundance of fine green ‘hairs’ like a feather duster (on this occasion, Google was unable to elicit an answer for a name from my description!)
I was far more successful with this description for the butterfly whose name temporarily escaped me and so I entered the following description: ‘brown and orange winged butterfly with bifurcated wings’ — as soon as it came up, I realised that the name that had eluded me was one I would have known instantly normally, due to its link to punctuation — Comma! I am now trying to remove the inane grin from my face as I continue to complete this narrative!
One of the last images I took I have included was because I took advantage of the recently restored swing from a tree that I had decided to relax in; whilst I sat there I tried to capture the makeshift bridge, and due to the fading light the exposure was around one second, I then tried to create an attractive end result, and the third exposure is one that appealed! The swing had a habit of twisting, which gave quite that pleasing result.

Friday 8 May 2020

Meeting the Neighbours, and Two Gardens

My reason for being outside the house, and with a camera was because of the sound of a piston-engined aircraft overhead that had caught my attention, but I was unprepared, so though I did manage a single shot, it did not merit appearing here, but I will give honourable mention to a young man I met later that morning, who did capture a very worthy example of that aircraft’s flyby. I crossed Station Road, to chat with the two ladies, one being the mother of the lad who took the shot. The mother had called out to me, so I crossed the road and joined them to more easily chat, but still at the required distance.
It was during this exchange that the opportunity to take some photos in my neighbour’s front garden was offered me, which I was very happy to accept, as she has put considerable effort into the flowers that adorn her house frontage.
I had already noted the flowers in the garden opposite, and so was thrilled to capture these blooms at their best, and in such bright warm sunshine. These shots will definitely make the basis of some excellent greetings cards to celebrate birthdays and other memorable occasions in the future. In the short term they appear below as a memory of a welcome break and meeting of neighbours for the Early May Bank Holiday, for which I am very grateful.
The rest of the day was spent preparing these images, interspersed with watching some excellent celebratory television programmes, observing the Two Minutes’ Silence, and a short film about our local hero’s Army career to commemorate Colonel Tom Moore, and his walk that raised all those millions of pounds for our National Health Service, which has now resulted in our Community’s new Blue Post Box to mark his achievement. There was even a commemorative franking of our mail to mark the occasion; so Marston Moretaine is definitely on the map.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Marston Moretaine - Thrift Walk

On this occasion, I used my car to reach my start point for a walk around Marston Thrift and Rectory Wood, since once there I would be definitely walking far more than the trip to the entry to the Woods, but to no advantage! I wondered just what changes I would find since my last visit might be. The trees had acquired far more leaf coverage, and although only one car had driven ahead of me to the Car Park, we were the sole vehicles. The other person had taken the path to the right, so I took the left one.
My first images were of fresh new leaves that were heart-shaped, which from my scant knowledge were probably likely to be described as weeds, but to my eye it was their shape that appealed, not whether gardeners would categorise them derogatorily as weeds. It was whilst I was walking along this straight stretch, that I caught sight of a very busy, and unusual flying insect, but it proved to be utterly indefatigable and on the few occasions when it alighted, it barely remained beyond a twenty-fifth of a second, and certainly beyond my chance of getting a shot, but it was not a species I had seen before, so I wasted several minutes in a vain effort to see whether I might get a shot of it — this is my most serious disappointment with this mirrorless camera (the FZ10002), I might at least have had a chance were I using a dSLR. 
My reason for the persistence in using this camera, is that firstly, it is a very capable camera, that I am determined to master; it is vey light, produces excellent quality results, and the fault lies with my difficulty in adapting to its controls. Also, it does not advertise my activities that for some might consider to be nonessential. It is very capable despite its lack of weight, and has rewarded me with some excellent images. The greatest drawback lies in the way it’s operations are arranged via its numerous controls, and the difficulty is also very much related to my age and my brain is not blessed with much available storage space. However in my defence, I do believe that the controls are not ideally laid out, so if I could get someone to set some specific features I need to be immediately accessible I feel it would become indispensable.
I am aware that it is very possible to program the controls to suit differing ways of working, but if I play around I could well make matters worse, without some informed input, so whilst under Lockdown there is little chance of some informed guidance. I have certainly learned some ways to speed some settings, but all too often, if I hit the wrong button, suddenly I lose vital settings, resulting in lost shots!
Overall on this outing, I managed to capture most shots with minimal fuss, from close-ups of insects to landscapes and an overflying light aircraft, fill-in flash to balance contre-jour shots of leaves, and a five-shot handheld panorama. So, not too disgraceful, but having learned deer roam these woods, it is a shame I did not get that opportunity! I did manage low-level close-up shots of bluebells, so definitely not a waste of time for the amount of walking I did to keep fit. And importantly very few contacts with fellow humans.