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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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Forest Centre Walk from Top End

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Millennium Park Afternoon

 

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Visit Two Lakes With my Niece


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

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

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

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

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Visit to Blunham — Meet Catherine

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

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

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

Monday, 16 November 2020

Wondering Where to Wander

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

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

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

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



Thursday, 12 November 2020

Marston Lake Visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Bedford Walk & Capture

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

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

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

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

Monday, 9 November 2020

Rushmere Woods First Visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 7 November 2020

An Afternoon Walk at Brogborough

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 6 November 2020

Marston Woods Afternoon


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

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

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

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

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

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