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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Monday, 28 September 2020

Up the Hill, having come from Marston Moretaine


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

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Afternoon Country Images


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Bedford Park Visit


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Another Bedford Park Visit


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

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

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

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

River Gt Ouse — Afternoon Walk


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

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

More Activity at Brogborough Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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.