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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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It’s all about the angle

I may have mentioned it before, but the angle of the light on your subject can make a massive difference to your images.  With natural light you are more limited than with artificial light, but it’s always worth looking closely at your subject and working out where the light should come from to give the best image.  With moveable artificial light sources you have complete control.

Here are four macro images of some paper packaging material.  They were taken with a fixed camera, a fixed subject, and a moveable light (electronic flash).  All I have done is changed where the light comes from.

"Flat frontal light"

“Flat frontal light”

In this image the flash is close to the camera’s pop up flash.  The light is from the front, flat, and uninteresting.  There’s no real idea of the 3-dimensional structure of the paper.

"Light to the left a bit"

“Light to the left a bit”

Here the light has been moved so it’s coming from the left of the frame at about 45 degrees to the paper.  We’re now getting some shadows (large and small), which begins to show some dimensionality.

"Light to the left a lot"

“Light to the left a lot”

Moving the light further to the left, so the light is coming at a shallow angle across the paper, gives this image.  There are now lots of strong shadows, and you get a really good idea of how much structure there is in the paper.

"Light from behind"

“Light from behind”

This final image shows the light coming from behind the paper.  There’s a loss of depth information compared to the previous image, but there’s now a lovely rim light on some of the holes, and the paper’s texture is much more visible.

Four light directions, four looks.  You have the power to make the image look how you want it.

Goodbye Didcot Power Station

In the next few months we may well see the demolition of one of Oxfordshire’s most famous landmarks; the cooling towers of the “Didcot A” coal-fired power station.  The power station closed a while back as it could not be made to meet EU emission standards.  It reminded me to look at some images I took before it was thought that it might close.  To give you an idea of how long ago it was, I took the shots with a then-new Olympus C2500 which had an almost unheard of 2.5 megapixels!

"Didcot Cooling tower" by Derek Gale

“Didcot Cooling tower” by Derek Gale

This is one of the 6 cooling towers that form such a part of the landscape of South Oxfordshire.  There was an attempt to save them but to no avail.  They will be demolished.

"Didcot pipes" by Derek Gale

“Didcot pipes” by Derek Gale

Power stations are very complicated things, and here’s some pipework to show you just a little bit of that complication.  It would be interesting to try and replace one of the lower pipes!

"Didcot Control Room" by Derek Gale

“Didcot Control Room” by Derek Gale

Here’s the heart of the matter; the control room.  These days power stations are full of very large flat monitors, but not here.  There are a few CRT displays, but it’s mostly dials and lights.

It felt so large and permanent and I didn’t think it would all be gone in my lifetime.  At least I have some images to remind me.  That’s the power of photography.

The devil is in the detail(s)

I recently went to the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival (BIAMF).  There were lots of exotic cars, but it was hard to get a whole car without someone in the frame.  The solution?  Get in close and get those little details that make a car different.

"Diabolo badge" by Derek Gale

“Lamborghini Diabolo badge” by Derek Gale

Take this (very yellow) Lamborghini Diabolo VT.  Just the badge and the vent/duct in the background tell you all you need to know.  It’s an extreme sports car.

"Lamborghini headlight" by Derek Gale

“Lamborghini Aventador headlight” by Derek Gale

The headlight detail tells the same story.  It’s on a Lamborghini Aventador, and it’s all angles and aggression.  The squashed insects tell you the car’s been driven “briskly”.

"Sebring filler cap" by Derek Gale

“Maserati Sebring filler cap” by Derek Gale

This image take us back to a more genteel time, when Grand Tourers were high-speed cars you drove across Europe in a day, and stepped out of at a grand hotel.  It’s the fuel filler flap of a 1960’s Maserati Sebring, a car that’s all grace and elegance compared to the brute force of the modern Lamborghinis.

Details are great.

If you want to talk cars and photography, come and see me at this year’s Oxfordshire Artweeks from 3rd to 11th May.


Get out into the garden!

Now that spring is well and truly here it’s time to get out into the garden and photograph the flowers in all their stages of blooming.  So how do you that, and what’s the best lighting for flower photography?  As with many things in photography the answer is, “It depends”…

"Shady  tulip" by Derek Gale

“Shady tulip” by Derek Gale

This fabulous tulip was in a shady corner of the garden (and also out of the wind).  The low contrast meant that the colours were very subtly rendered.  The neutral graded background, and wide aperture on my 60 mm macro lens,  allows the flower to stand out in all its glory.

"Backlit tulip" by Derek Gale

“Backlit tulip” by Derek Gale

This tulip was in the sun, and a front on image with the very sharp light was too contrasty.  I choose to go in really close and get the light shining through the petals from behind.  Once again the wide lens aperture has controlled the background, and there’s a lovely change of colour from bottom to top of the flower.

"Colour contrast macro" by Derek Gale

“Colour contrast macro” by Derek Gale

This isn’t a whole flower.  It’s a couple of petals that had fallen off a tulip that was over.  I held them up to the sky and got the sun shining through with a plain blue background.  I’ve boosted the saturation so the colour contrast is very strong, but there’s still some lovely colour changes across the petal.

"Thisis an ex-daffodil" by Derek Gale

“This is an ex-daffodil” by Derek Gale

It’s still worth photographing flowers when they are over.  I popped this “past it” daffodil into a vase and placed inside the house and near a north facing window.  The B&W conversion took away any last vestiges of colour from the flower.  To me it looks like a very flouncy handkerchief, or the elaborate sleeve of a 17th century “fop”.

Get out there and experiment!

Artweeks is coming!

This year is my first time exhibiting as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks.  I trialed my show  last year during Swindon Open Studios, but this is a much bigger event.

"Invisible Beauty" by Derek Gale

“Invisible Beauty” by Derek Gale

It’s from 3rd May to 11th May, and I’m open from 12 pm to 6 pm every day.  There’s lot’s to see in the way of images and a chance to chat with me about art and photography (not compulsory!). There’s a lovely garden, and there are lots of other artists in the area. Why not make a day of it?

"Tagus fish" by Derek Gale

“Tagus fish” by Derek Gale

Most images are for sale, the one above is quite popular, so you could go home with a fabulous souvenir of your visit, but you’re most welcome to come along simply to look.

Hope to see you there!