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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Tuesday 30 June 2020

Stewartby — The Small World

I have been using an interesting small Camera, since a colleague of mine mentioned how impressed a friend of his had been with it when he had bought the first incarnation of the LUMIX FZ 1000. We were at the only Photo Show in London this year, and fortuitously we arranged to meet where he was at that moment— the Panasonic stand. I had gone to the show with no intentions of purchasing anything, but simply to keep myself up to date with what was happening, and meet ‘friends of long-standing’ (thus avoiding saying I was meeting ‘Old Friends’!) I played with it awhile and after numerous inspections of the images zoomed in tightly, I was equally impressed as my colleague’s friend had been who had bought the earlier version (without the Flip ‘n’ Tilt Screen!)
It was an almost instant over-secretion of the Want Glands, as I could see immediately the potential of a ‘take everywhere’ small camera with an impressively long range zoom lens. I was fully aware that it boasted no weather-sealing whatsoever, but at the weight, price and image quality, it could be seriously useful, and way more usable than a phone camera. This is a serious camera, not a toy, but excellent value when I took into account the ‘Show Price’.
Having played with it seriously for a couple of days after the show, and seen only one snag, the maze of (to me) surfeit of different controls to master to get what I needed, I purchased the essential ‘extras’ a spare battery and a separate charger. It is now always to hand, and has proved its worth during the Worlwdwide Lockdown that followed — it does not attract attention compared to had I gone out with my long-lensed camera and heavy tripod — I am just any other bloke with a small camera! An absolute Godsend!
This last trip out was with one small addition, a supplementary Close-up ring, one of the set of four that I have just purchased from the small UK company —  SRB Griturn — every image in this gallery was taken within close-up ring permanently attached, it was the least power one, which proved excellent, with no downsides whatever. They come from this small friendly company I have known and bought from over many years. This particular ring will handily fit a plastic holder I already had, and will stay in my camera’s soft case permanently making the camera even more versatile!
This gallery contains only insects and the plants upon which they either land upon or feed from, I had hoped for sightings of the rabbits that live in this small wood, but no such luck on this occasion.

Green bottle fly, butterflies, damselflies, ladybirds, bees, hoverflies, Stewartby, opposite to Lakes

Saturday 27 June 2020

Marston Thrift – Hottest Day

Close to Marston Moretaine but North of the A421 is an area of land with a mix of woods, heathland and small lakes; it is large enough for it never feeling overcrowded. The southern entry has two roughly parallel paths either side of a stream, providing a pleasant cool walk in the woods before opening out into a series of paths that spread to several others offering a variety of ways to wander as many do, with their children or dogs.
In the cool of the walk through the woods I took shots of small areas  of plants which were illuminated by the these shafts of light breaking through the tree cover, before finally coming out into the bright sun. I have long been fascinated by the hoverflies that enjoy the nectar of the wild flowers, and how they genuinely seem to play in the shafts of sunlight that break through the cover of the trees to bathe the floor of the woodland paths with pools of shifting sunlight — they seem to spend much of their time alternately hovering in the beams, or dive-bombing those of their number already enjoying the beams. Whilst hovering they frequently flick through 90 degrees every so often, or move swiftly vertically up or down. They seem to be tempting photographers to try to capture them whilst hovering, but know that humans lack their reaction time, because every so often they hold station for a reasonable length of time, as if baiting you! Although I have on occasion been lucky, the odds definitely seem stacked in their favour. I enjoy a challenge, but on this occasion — Advantage hoverfly. 
I did find later that there were several around a particularly tasty flower, and as I concentrated on ones that were static others would occasionally fly within the same depth of field, which meant they were reasonably sharp.
Later, I had some fun capturing a pair of dogs jumping into the lake for sticks thrown by their owner resulting in a bit of friendly rivalry over returning it to the owner. I enjoyed my time in the woods, and I was back using my EOS R, but on this occasion with my Canon 100-400mm lens — it proved to be a good choice and it was a very pleasant way to be out and about making the most of the very warm weather.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Brogborough Lake — Favours Dragonflies

A warm and windless day under blue skies means the Lake favours the birds, not Windsurfers, though Paddleboarders can also enjoy the calm and the sunshine under edge-to-edge blue. Families of geese enjoy the calm too. Dragonflies, and Damselflies enjoy the sun’s warmth, with the latter also enjoying the lakeside bushes beyond the reeds.
Due to the lockdown, I am restricted to the Anglers’ vacant swims as a shooting spot, bordered by the reeds favoured by my chosen subjects, and I kept as close to the trees, to get some respite from at least some of the sun. For much of the time, the abundant sunshine meant the Dragonflies kept mainly to the air, and their main activity was chasing and being chased, with only a few paired up. The damselflies were to be found also on the field-side of the bushes, or close to the water occasionally flitting amongst the reeds, and favouring the shade. In the water, just a few feet from the shore were some bricks seemingly originally from buildings, since they were cemented together, and judging purely from their siting, I suspect these were not the normal failed brick firings that are to be found as evidence of these lakes past, but the carefully haphazard placing by photographers to bring subjects a convenient distance for their shooting! — “Not Guilty, mLud”.
But who am I to complain, when I am guilty of benefitting from their positioning. There is one noticeable downside to the bank side here, especially with the lack of recent rain — the geese and Swans have graced the shore with their droppings, due to the absence of the disturbance from Anglers. I remained in this spot for quite some time, and noted once again how the Dragonflies came in pulses of activity, with lulls between, which perhaps is a strategy for feeding, disorder that in the lulls, their prey return. If such is the general case then presumably that is the cue for myself to treat the breaks as food and drink time.

Monday 22 June 2020

Station Road, Marston Moretaine—Flowers

A Walk with a Camera Along Station Road proves worthwhile. The bees were active, especially along an entire front garden wall of Heather, and this was true on both sides of the main road, it also tends to attract the owners’ attention, and when that occurs, I often find I am shown their back gardens, or at least allowed to step into the front garden to get closer, or better angles.
Most of the time the sun was out, but on a few occasions, the clouds passed across the sun. When that happened, and the ideal viewpoint really needed the sunlight, either to highlight my particular subject, or put shadow beyond, I would have to be patient, and stop and wait awhile. Fortunately, on this afternoon trip, I was fairly lucky. On occasion some compositions needed for the breeze to die down, so I could take a shot with a flower without others  partially obscuring the main flower, or grouping.
Capturing bees either in flight, or bees on a particular flower can sometimes be difficult, especially when they alight, for mere fractions of a second. Sometimes, I found myself poised on a particular flower, and waiting for a bee to land, only to have the breeze to pick up, and dislodge the bee, or blow a leave across the bee just as I am ready to take the shot! However overall, on this short trip, I was reasonably fortunate.

MOT Visit – Photo Therapy

          Unable to do anything but wait at the Showroom whilst my car has its MOT Inspection Carried out, I resort to the only activity guaranteed to relieve any Stress or Boredom – taking pictures!
          As I always bring a camera along in case there are new vehicles which might interest me, I came with the handy small camera ideal for such occasions, the Lumix FZ10002, which allows for wideangle through to telephoto, so after taking a wander both upstairs and down, I then went outside and found a suitable break in the hedge to reach the path alongside the Parking Area where New and Secondhand Models are located, and chose a few vantage points that highlight the architecture of the Building. Sadly the light was less than ideal, as there was edge to edge Cloudy Gloom, but these photos were not destined for a glossy brochure, but simply an exercise in viewpoint selection to make the best of the interesting design, it mattered not.
          The end result is a 5x3 grid of pictures that allowed me to breathe fresh air,  remain calm, and lessen the time spent till I was called to sign off and pay for my Service. I was able to do this earlier than I had feared, so duly grateful. In return, Perhaps someone looking at the blog might even pay Thurlow Nunn a visit as a result of seeing the shots of the building inside and out…

Friday 19 June 2020

Bedford Priory-Grebe-Omitted Sequence

          In my last blog entry's images I extracted some interesting shots of a Grebe and its single offspring and their observed relationship, but then forgot to introduce it to the same blog entry. I shall now put that omission to right!
          I feel privileged to have witnessed the interaction I captured. I wonder just what the Correct interpretation Is? At the time I kept hoping the parent would take more interest in the youngster, especially as up till that moment, I had always felt the Grebe was a model of exemplary parenting!
          I suppose that now I shall never know, unless a Specialist Grebe Expert is able to interpret the behaviour from the edited sequence of images I have displayed; they are in the original sequence. The Grebeling displayed regret.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Priory Park Bedford — Nature Abounds

              I knew that the roads would be busier than of late, but definitely, it was immediately obvious that traffic behaviour was less aware than it had been before the LockDown; it struck me strongly that skills and awareness had yet to return to normal; I had barely been on the A421 from the Slip Road for a couple of minutes when the car in the left lane began moving into the outer lane in which I was now travelling; it could have simply been a momentary lapse on that driver’s part, but since the car was barely going faster than the vehicle being passed, and there was no indication, it alerted me to there being less traffic awareness due to a  long period of low volumes of traffic. From that moment on, I was on higher alert!
              The SatNav was set for Priory Park, in the hope of finding plenty of activity from birds on the lake, in the woods, and in the air, I was not to be disappointed. It was better news from the cycling fraternity on this occasion, they were far better behaved than the car driver I had recently encountered! Surprisingly, the Car Parks were not full, but since the sun was from a minimally clouded sky, I opened the sunroof to the tilted position, and slid the cover forward to keep the interior from roasting.
              I had come with the LUMIX fz10002, and a spare battery, so left the soft case in the boot, and strolled into the small closed-off area in case there was anything of note, but the Jackdaws I had noted and heard, remained in cover with only a few swift excursions, I suspected they were tending to their young from the excited chatter, but never spotted the nest. My stay there was very short.
              I was soon heading into more quiet, wooded areas before venturing lakeside where I spotted a swan gliding along the shoreline, then a far more purposeful pair of Grebe. I soon began looking at the banks and reeds, at far more of the smaller denizens; damselflies, often paired up with customary heart-shaped linking and also dragonflies. Then, on one of the lakes carpetted with tiny green vegetation — algae? 
              As I moved around the paths, I also found numerous ladybirds, of at least two differing species, whereas there seemed less diverse butterfly species. Soon, a violent flapping alerted me to a Heron breaking cover and flying through the tops of nearby trees, and this was proof, if I needed it that this LUMIX was an ideal tool for a more relaxed photography trip under such circumstances — ladybirds, butterflies to heron, and on to landscapes! And, all without the encumbrance of a heavy tripod! I was very fortunate that I spotted the heron landing close to its nest, as since I carry no binoculars, I would otherwise never had got the static shot.
              I also managed to get shots of circling black-headed gulls in flight. Catching sight of a couple of anglers soon after, I got shots of an interesting remote-controlled gadget for discerning the depth and weed cover beneath the lake’s surface, by traversing the area and sending back results to the operator onshore. This gives the angler the advantage of knowing where to place bait, and how to avoid line entanglement by weeds. To a non-angler this seems slightly less than sporting. It does however seem fairer than a wartime pursuit of lobbing hand grenades!
              Mallard males tend to be aggressive in their pursuit of either potential suitors and sometimes females, and though I might find this aggression disagreeable, it does make for excellent detail when fortunate enough to be using a fast shutter speed as it is a good advertisement for lens quality!
              Overall, I was pleased with the variety of images for this outing, but disappointed that much processing time was lost due to my car being serviced and a lack of replacement courtesy car meant being marooned till the work was completed.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Brogborough Lake Opens Partially

              The relaxation of the Lockdown saw Brogborough Lake open solely for members of the windsurfing club, so for my photography of the action, I was stationed outside the club boundary to photograph activity on the lake for both the natural bird and insect life, as well as the activity of the windsurfing community. So for the present, my not being a member precludes my presence within the bounds, so I set up just outside the Club area in the second spot with access to the water’s edge of the lake. Set up here, if the wind died down, there existed the opportunity to photograph the indigenous dragonflies and damselflies, and the windsurfers, if the wind kept the insect life at bay.
                  The wind direction meant that the windsurfers spent their activity at the distant end of the lake so, coupled with the natural lulls kept them at a distance from where I was located. Also, the narrow angle of view afforded from this spot, by the reeds also limited my opportunities for capturing the action on the lake. I came here without a firm idea as to what subjects I would capture, so the content of what I would be shooting was entirely down to happenstance. There were a few more hydrofoil craft than on my previous visits, as well as the kite sail in the hands of Sam Barnes. 
                  I also added a few more shots to my collection of cloudscapes. The main regret concerning the shots of the windsurfers is that all the activity took place at a distance, and with a restricted angle of view, but it was good to feel less restricted than hitherto recently.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Marston Lake Afternoon

I drove to nearby Marston Lake, having first ascertained that it was open once again. I parked up at the very first swim, where there was already a parked car, that I believe belonged to the local bailiff, but I could see no sign of anyone nearby, so perhaps he was checking out the various anglers on foot. After a while having taken a look across the lake to see just who was around, I returned to the car, to make my way around further swims to gain some idea of what life there was around the lake. It was very quiet on the lake, with a lone swan close to the far shore, and a few black-headed gulls endlessly working their way around the lake generally a short way offshore for most of the time, would drop to the water presumably in search of fish close to the surface.
I stopped at each swim as I made my way round the road to get differing views of what life there was on the lake, and disappointingly, it was the quietest time I had spent there, perhaps possibly due in part to the cloudy and cool weather; there was minimal birdsong, or calling. Along the way as I travelled between the various swims, I would chat to any anglers I met to question whether they had seen or heard the Woodpecker I had come across at one of my earlier trips to this lake, or had sightings of the Grebe I had come across before I learned of the mink, which gave me cause to wonder whether it was this incident that caused the Grebe to disappear.
l parked the car at the last swim accessible to the car, and took a walk to the last few swims, and finding no one, returned and took out my Sigma Sports lens — initially using it with the attached 2x Converter. With the front two Benbo tripod legs placed in the water,  I set up the camera as low as it would go, so that I could sit on the bank and be as close to level with the eyepiece to shoot. At first  I took some shots of the water lilies, and then the mating water boatmen both walking on water and on the flat lily leaves, bobbing in the wind-rippled water. I watched the gulls as they flew just a few yards from the shore, occasionally swooping down to the water presumably to catch some fish.
As I was at the bank with two of the tripod lengths in the water (a feature made possible using the Benbo tripod) so I could shoot from as low a viewpoint as possible, a Swan I recognised, due to its noticeable swelling to its neck came in close — I judged rightly or wrongly, assuming I might offer it food, but I verbalised my apologies in case it might bridge the species divide. Capturing this varied subject matter, especially the panning shots of the gull on the wing, provided me with the opportunity to continue to hone my skills with fast-moving and somewhat unpredictable direction changes, and overall I did manage to retain focus much of the time. The only noticeable failure on my part was moving the focus point around the screen; somehow that feature eluded me absolutely, so I shall have to consult the manual to work out how to unlock this currently stubborn resistance to my moving it from the centre of the screen!
This flaw apart, it was good to be using this camera and lens combo once again, but this hiatus has allowed me to get to grips with the Lumix, so the LockDown period has had some side benefits. I am hoping that in future handling, either will not be too daunting a readjustment between both cameras.

Saturday 6 June 2020

Return of the BrogLake Windsurfers

Unlike the last visit to the lake at Brogborough, on this occasion, the wind returned, and the sun beamed from a background of Cumulus Clouds scudding by. On this occasion I brought out my Full-frame EOS R with the 60-600mm lens and 2x Converter to give it an airing, and dust off my cobwebs on its use! I wanted to keep operating from a low-level, but this was not as easy as in the past, because the Swans and Canada Geese had taken advantage of the lack of Anglers’ Activity and reclaimed the shore by layering it with Guano! I searched the nearby expanse of thin reeds for suitable bricks to build myself a seat as close to the water’s edge, yet give my tripod some ground clearance, and settled to see what my subjects would be on this visit. Certainly the wind did not favour the Dragonflies and Damselflies, but as I set up, my first subjects entered Stage Left – two families of Canada Geese rode the waves close by the shore. Once my presence was noticed they chose to head for deeper water, but not swift enough for me to miss the opportunity!
The  relaxing of the LockDown regulations had allowed for a few to take advantage of the sunshine and more importantly the steady wind to attract members of the Windsurfing community to the water, from the moment of a few coming into view, my subjects for the visit’s photography turned to human activity! The new season brought two new sails to the lake, and I had to ask what this new kit was called, and learned they were wingsails from Emma Barnes, to avoid showing my ignorance! Certainly, I took more shots of these, but only put those of interest into the gallery, with a couple of shots of a particularly spectacular wipeout! Also to keep my hand in I grabbed a few shots of the aerial activities of a Blackheaded Gull as it was in range. I noted that several gulls were tending to follow the windsurfers for chances of the windsurfers distracting their prey and giving them a chance to swoop in.
Another opportunity was for me to capture skyscapes for their use as backgrounds for greetings cards, as there were some soaring Cumulus clouds around. The spot from which I was shooting was less than ideal due to the reeds and the wind direction, giving me a restricted angle of view, but it was an enjoyable afternoon to be out with a camera I had not used for a while.

Thursday 4 June 2020

Brogborough’s Lake Life

  The warmth and sunshine invited me to the nearby lake at Brogborough that would normally be the venue of Windsurfers when the wind provided the power for the practitioners to perform; but on this occasion, the water was barely ruffled by more than a whisper of a breeze, and the origins of the lake could clearly be seen by the abundance of bricks that lie strewn below, close to the shore. Amongst the reeds, the dragonflies occasionally landing would create momentary stirs in the stillness and, if the perch seemed too insecure the dragonfly would take to the air in an instant. The damselflies with their lesser weight were more patient, and on occasion, even when coupled with a mate could be seen congregating on a single reed stem.
It was this life I had come to record, as on the last visit I had spotted their arrival in small numbers, and the week long warmth had resulted in an explosion of activity since my earlier visit. I sat down intending to stay at the nearest bay to the entrance to the field, careful to avoid the Swan’s and Geese’ droppings, but after a short while I felt I needed to be closer to the water’s edge, so returned to the car for my small rucksack that has a cushion within, I use for such eventualities. I also picked a few bricks from around, to give me a sound base.
A short way into the water was a small group of bricks that I suspect was an earlier addition by either an angler as a support, or by another ‘Smudger’* as a prop for the likes of dragonflies to alight and provide a ‘natural’ backdrop lapped by water. Certainly, both Dragonflies and damselflies visited this small outcrop of bricks as did simple flies, and it is a workable distance from the nearby bank to serve the purpose of providing a resting place for these species to be captured by photographers. I have now provided a temporary seat as yet not covered by incontinent geese and swans!
I later found a sun-bleached wooden plank from another ‘Swim’ to give a clearer backdrop to see whether it attracted as a landing pad for Dragonflies, and it proved successful, but may well be removed by following anglers. Fortunately, the current Camera, (Lumix FZ10002) that accompanies me works well at these distances, but once the limitations due to the current restrictions are lifted, I will go back to using my longer lenses and larger format, but before that period ends I do wish to get some help to try to more fully understand how to reprogram some of its controls to allow me more instant access to some of its functions. Looking into the capture data afterwards, I do note, I could have lowered the overall sensitivity to lessen the Noise more when the sunshine is so prevalent, or to add greater depth of field, by stopping further down. 

          *Smudger was an early, sometimes mildly derogative description of a travelling photographer.