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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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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!

Same person different look #3

I published a couple of blog posts on this theme before, but it’s a point worth making again.  It’s amazing how a simple lighting change can dramatically change how a portrait looks.  Both of these portraits were lit with a single light, but they look so different.

"Wide light portrait" by Derek Gale

“Wide light portrait” by Derek Gale

This first image has a broad light source, a north-facing window, coming from the left of frame.  The light is softly directional, with good falloff from one side to the other.  There’s some nice modelling on her left cheek.

"Slit of light portrait" by Derek Gale

“Slit of light portrait” by Derek Gale

This image is also lit by a light source from the left, but this time it’s a shaft of direct sunlight coming through a gap in a door.  The light is hard and very directional.  I noticed that with her head in just the right position the shadow side of her face made a profile portrait.  It’s an optical illusion but most effective.

So: 1 light from roughly the same direction, the same model, but completely different looks.  Try it!

Stuck inside ‘cos it’s raining again!

It’s probably not escaped your attention that here in the UK it’s been raining quite a lot this winter.  There’s a limit to how many water images you can shoot (I’ve shot loads this year!), so what can you photograph when you’re stuck inside again because of the weather?  I reckon there’s lots, especially abstract images!  Just turn on your imagination.

"Kaleidoscope window" by Derek Gale

“Kaleidoscope window” by Derek Gale

You could get out your optical toys, here a simple plastics-lensed insect eye kaleidoscope, and just look out of the window.  You need to use a camera phone or compact camera for this type of image as DSLR lenses are just too big to fit inside the toy.

"The clothes airer" by Derek Gale

“The clothes dryer” by Derek Gale

You could take advantage of the lack of light when it’s raining, use a long shutter speed, combine it with flash, and move the camera during the exposure.  It’s a fun way to get images where there’s blur mixed with sharpness.  Here’s the clothes dryer!

"Wrapping paper" by Derek Gale

“Wrapping paper” by Derek Gale

Not got a clothes dryer?  Wrapping paper works well too!  In this case it’s holographic wrapping paper which gives spectra from incident light sources. The swirling colours and shapes are fabulous.  Don’t use flash, just use a long shutter speed and move the camera in a twisting motion.

"Kaleidoscope toes" by Derek Gale

“Kaleidoscope toes” by Derek Gale

If you’ve got access to a better quality insect-eye kaleidoscope you can get different types of  images. Just ask a passing person if you can photograph their toes, (OK, it was a visiting friend), and behold “foot flowers”.

Stuck inside because of the weather?  It’s a great photographic opportunity!

De-composing an image

Just the one image today, but a very useful one indeed.  It’s a great example because it shows just how complex an image can be whilst seeming to be quite simple.  It’s of a piece of marble sculpture, and was a jagged line going up into the sky, like an inverted lightning bolt.

"God Rod - no lines" by Derek Gale

“No added lines” by Derek Gale

I carefully choose a low angle to get rid of any background distractions, and to emphasise the height of the sculpture.  I made sure that the composition started in the bottom left corner and went diagonally up to the right.  I was also very careful to ensure that the white tip of the sculpture reached, and defined, the top edge of the frame and “trapped” the cloud inside the shape to its left, leaving a dark area to the right.

"God Rod - main diagonal line" by Derek Gale

“Main diagonal line” by Derek Gale

Even though there’s a break in the line, where the sculpture kinks sharply, you can see quite clearly that the main composition line goes from corner to corner.  The final third of the line is implied rather than explicit.

"God Rod - corner lines" by Derek Gale

“Mirrored corner lines” by Derek Gale

In the top right corner the last part of the sculpture crosses from right to left to form a triangle with the edges of the frame.  In the bottom right corner there’s another, less defined, dark triangle that mirrors it.  It’s formed by the soft edge of the cloud and the edges of the frame.  This shape mirroring makes the composition more interesting.

"God Rod - triangles" by Derek Gale

“Implied triangles” by Derek Gale

There are other triangles in the image.  Having these triangles adds to the image complexity, and the soft edged ones contrast with the hard edges of the sculpture.  For example there’s a triangle formed by the “trapped” cloud’s edge and the kink in the sculpture, and another below it formed by the cloud and the frame edge.  If you look hard you’ll see even more!

As for the patterns in the marble being similar to the texture of the cloud, or the colours/tones of the sculpture matching the colours/tone of the background, or both the sculpture and the background going from a darker base to a lighter top…

Not such a simple image then!