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  • Welcome to Gale Photography

    Hello, and welcome to my website! I'm Derek Gale, photography trainer and Fine Art photographer.

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It’s a bit of an abstract idea.

I recently joined a new group on Facebook called “Abstract Landscape Photography”.  It is fascinating to see the sort of work other photographers put up, and also how they interpret the definition of “Abstract Landscape”. Someone, for example, has some images of the inside of a working hospital.  They’re very interesting, and do make a good Contemporary Photography set.  They might, just, fit the definition because they are details of the urban landscape.

The images I have put up are much more “outdoors landscape”, but I too have a soft spot for photography of the small details that together make up the broader landscape.

A couple of years ago I was on a walk in the Cotswolds after prolonged heavy rain.  The rivers were all very full indeed, and the fields in the river valleys were flooded.  It was a clear frosty day and I was struck by the reflected trees in a flooded field.  The light breeze rippled the water surface.  A quick flip in Photoshop so it was upside down, and the image was sorted.

Cold mornings with dew on the grass can be delightful.  Here I have used a long focal length lens to separate the grass from the background.  I chose the widest lens aperture I had, focused on a few blades and let the rest go out of focus.  The out-of-focus dew droplets have caused “bokeh” highlight circles which are very attractive.  You can see that there are fields in the background, which give the grass context.

There’s no water in this image.  There was water here at some stage in the past, but this Dorset mud is now dry so it has cracked.  It’s an image that’s fractal.  As you go closer in there’s another network of smaller cracks, and so on.  I’ve chosen to exclude anything that gives an idea of scale, which adds to the abstraction from reality.

I’m hoping to learn from the images other people put up, as I hope they might learn  something from my work.  They do seem to “Like” it.

Happy Christmas!

Just a quick blog post to wish my readers “Happy Christmas” and I hope you all have a “Phabulously Photographic New Year!”

Here are some Christmas tree lights in Bristol photographed, as they say on Masterchef, two ways.

This first image is a reflection of the Christmas tree lights in a vertical water feature.  The moving water has broken up the reflection into bands of colour.  I had to use the telephoto end of my camera’s zoom lens to get just the part of the reflection I wanted.

Here I’ve moved close to the tree then moved the camera during the exposure to produce bands of colour a different way.

Both images were taken on a relatively simple travel zoom compact camera.

Roll on 2017, and the photography challenges it will bring!

It’s a blade of light.

I’ve been trying out a new light-painting tool.  It’s my home-made version of a commercially available tool.  I’ve had some custom-cut Perspex shapes made, and bought a very powerful LED torch.  The torch has three Cree T6 LED’s, and is somewhat north of 1000 Lumens brightness.

At present my Perspex shapes are held in place on the front of the torch with Duct tape, but I’m working on a more elegant solution.  I stood in a dark room, and waved the torch around using the “Live Composite” mode on my OM-D E-M10.

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I’ve got four shapes, and this image was taken using the simple rectangle.  You get light diffused through the main body of the Perspex shape and a brighter light at the edges.  The Perspex came with a blue protection film, and I decided to leave it on for this swirly image.

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Here I stood further away and made a more complicated shape in the air, still using the rectangle shape.  The purple colour is an artefact of the HDR treatment I’ve used in post-processing.

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In the previous two images the torch was on full power.  I discovered that when it’s turned down to a lower power it flashes.  You can’t see the flashing when the torch isn’t moving, but it’s clearly visible when it’s moved.  It gives this interesting sectioned look, which I am going to explore a bit more in future.  This image used a triangular Perspex shape with a small piece of red film over the tip.  I’ve heard that some people use sweet wrappers!

I’ve decided to call my Perspex light painting tools “DEE-lights”, because I think they will be de-lightful to work with.

I’ll keep you posted.

“Get out of Gaol free”

You know that in the game Monopoly there is a card that lets you “Get out of jail free”.  This can be helpful.  Recently I got into jail, well gaol actually, but it wasn’t free.  The gaol in Reading, Berkshire, closed in 2013 but has reopened for a couple of months for an art installation by a group called Artangel.  The art is interesting but it’s the gaol’s association with the author Oscar Wilde that’s more interesting.  He was incarcerated there for 2 years.

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It’s a classic Victorian prison with metal staircases going between the upper and lower levels.  I tried to capture the atmosphere with a black & white conversion and a vignette.  It was hard to get a shot without another visitor.  The image is not quite symmetrical, with the lights being the main source of asymmetry.

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In the Old Chapel, latterly a sports hall, they had an art installation.  It consisted of Oscar Wilde’s original cell door, and a concrete slab exactly the same size as his cell.  The slab made for a useful camera support, as there wasn’t much light around.  The 0.5 second exposure shows the flow of the visitors.  You can see that they arrived slowly from the left, and left faster to the right, right?

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The gaol has changed over the years, with different groups being housed there.  In its last incarnation it was a Young Offenders’ Institution, but housed adults, including women, in the past. There are many larger structures and systems that were added since Victorian times, but there is also much evidence of smaller changes.  This image is of a cell interior, and you can see that the three missing things weren’t necessarily contemporary.  The paint underneath has changed as well.

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The light in some of the cells was a very odd colour, and it was very hard, even shooting RAW, to correct for it.  I left one this much as it was, as it gives a strange look to the image.  I couldn’t decide if it was an art piece, or a bit of litter.  It was quite hard to tell…

“Get out of jail free”?  No, get along to a gaol if you can, as long as you can leave when you want to!

Capturing Autumn colour

It’s Autumn (Fall) here in the UK, and the leaves are turning.  The deciduous trees and shrubs with their beautiful colours will be looking glorious quite soon.  As with all things photographic there’s a way to lift your leaf images, and that is to get the angle of the light right.  Take these three images of the underside of a dogwood leaf taken on a bright sunny day…

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Here the light is pretty well dead flat on the leaf.  You can see the ribs, but they aren’t that well defined.  The colour is a bit subdued too.

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Moving the leaf so that the light was coming across at an angle gave much more contrast, texture and dimensionality.  The rib structure was made much more visible..

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In the third image I turned the leaf so the sunlight shone through it.  The translucency really brings the colour up, and the contrast between the leaf and the background is increased.  The ribs are silhouetted. To me this is the most attractive image.

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So look for where the light is coming from, and try and get images where it shines through the leaves. Hurry, they’ll have fallen soon…