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  • Welcome to Gale Photography

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

    If you are looking to improve your photographic creativity, skills or knowledge, check out the Photography Training pages.

    For beautiful Fine Art images that showcase my personal vision take a look at the Fine Art Photography pages.

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Speed or speeding?

One of the fun things we do on my “The Creative Eye” photography course is a session about the creative use of movement.  There are two sorts of movement; camera movement and subject movement.  They can be used separately or used together.  In each case you need to choose a shutter speed that gives the effect you want.

Let’s look at these two brolly twirling shots.  They are examples of subject movement…

"Twirling 1/20th sec" by Derek Gale

“Twirling 1/20th sec” by Derek Gale

This image was taken with a shutter speed of 1/20th of a second.  It’s quite clear that there’s movement, but it’s also clear that the brolly is made up of different coloured sections.

"Twirling 1/20th sec" by Derek Gale

“Twirling 1/4 of a sec” by Derek Gale

This image used a shutter speed of 1/4 of a second, and the sections of the brolly have averaged out to give a streaky white effect.  There’s also a lot more movement in the arms and hands of the person* holding the brolly.  *It’s not me by the way!

I prefer the second image with the longer exposure, but there is no “rule”.  As with a lot of photography, the right way is the way that you prefer.

Want to know more about use of movement?    Why not book some 1-2-1 training or place on my “The Creative Eye” course?

Who needs flash?

There’s a common misconception that you need lots of light and lots of lighting to take great portraits.  Well, that’s not the case.  Modern cameras have excellent high ISO performance (ISO in photography is a measure of sensitivity to light), so the amount of light you need to get a practical exposure is reduced.  The images in this post were taken on a very gloomy day.  Because it was raining it was not easy to be photographing outside.  Actually it was very easy, but you got very wet!

Daylight portrait 1" by Derek Gale

Daylight portrait 1″ by Derek Gale

I had a very small space to work in, and was between the subject and a window.  The light was lovely and soft, but there wasn’t much of it so I put the ISO up to 1000.  In this image I used a very symmetrical composition and a large lens aperture (f1.8) to accentuate the subject’s large eyes.

"Daylight portrait 2" by Derek Gale

“Daylight portrait 2” by Derek Gale

Here I used a smaller aperture, as I wanted to get a reasonable amount of her front eye, lips and nose in focus.  By using a high ISO setting I was still able to use a shutter speed of 1/60 sec to avoid camera shake, and the smaller aperture has given some softly contrasting texture in the background.  The off-centre composition gives her plenty of space to look into.

Bad light?  No such thing.

Only 2 days to go!

“SOS Venue 24” – Derek Gale: Photography

There’s now only 2 days to go to the start of SOS (Swindon Open Studios 2013).  Today I’m doing the finishing touches such as direction signage and info labels.  All the images are ready, and I’ll finish hanging them tomorrow.

Do come along, to 7 Eagle Lane, Watchfield, SN6 8TF, if you can.  I’m open from 11am to 5pm on 7th/8th and 14th/15th.

I’m hoping the weather stays fine so you can enjoy the garden too.


SOS is coming up!

I’m now in the middle of setting up my 1-man show which is part of Swindon Open Studios (SOS).  SOS is Swindon’s own Visual Arts Festival, and if you’ve spotted that I’m actually in leafy South Oxfordshire rather than Swindon, SOS is for artists living or working within 15 miles of Swindon, so that’s OK.  Setting up is always an exciting time, and the images are looking great.  Well I would say that wouldn’t I!

“Smoking samurai?” by Derek Gale

I’ve blogged about SOS before, but to remind you, it’s on over two weekends in September; 7th/8th and 14th/15th from 11am to 5pm.  As well as my photography, there are some acrylic paintings.  All works are for sale, (you can choose from limited edition prints on aluminum laminate or metallic paper*, or open edition prints in card mounts), but you are welcome to just browse and chat about photography.

* such as the “Smoking Samurai?” image above.

My show is at my studios at 7 Eagle Lane, Watchfield, SN6 8TF, but please park in Watchfield High Street as there’s only limited parking in Eagle Lane.

Hope to see you there, and don’t forget to visit the other SOS venues!

Photographs with a certain flare.

According to Wikipedia, “lens flare” is, “the light scattered in lens systems through generally unwanted image formation mechanisms, such as internal reflection and scattering from material inhomogeneities in the lens.”  This definition implies that it’s unwanted all the time, and that’s not true in photography.  Flare can be used to add drama, to introduce a balancing compositional element, and to help tell a story.

“Stonehenge flare” by Derek Gale

In this image, of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK, I have shot directly towards the sun.  The lens flare introduces colour (in the form of blue circles), produces sun rays on the right-hand side, and gives a contrast change across the frame.  It helps with the narrative of the image, as Stonehenge is believed to be a sort of solar observatory/calendar.  It  needs the sun to fulfill its purpose.

“Kite and flare” by Derek Gale

Likewise this image, at a kite festival, uses flare to add to the composition.  Without the sun heating up the earth’s atmosphere there would be no wind, so a kite needs the sun.  Obviously the sun’s disc is completely overexposed, but there are attractive diffraction rays around it, and colour patterns produced by the massive amount of light being bounced around inside the lens.  There’s a darker highlight in the top of the frame which helps to produce a nice diagonal line from the bottom right to the top left.

So flare can add flair to your images.

Caveat: As with any activity that involves looking towards the sun, please remember that direct sunlight can damage your eyes.  Only look at the sun indirectly – such as on your camera’s rear screen.   I used a compact camera for these images, but if you use a DSLR that doesn’t have live view be extra careful.