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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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    Looking forward to hearing from you! In the meantime read my blog posts below. They're full of useful info...

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Slippery when wet

My wife bought a new-to-her car recently.  It had been very well prepared by the dealer, especially the paintwork which had been treated with Autoglym polish.  As a result of the waxy polish any water on the car’s bodywork formed into separate droplets instead of forming a film.  It looked fab after some overnight rain, so I got out my macro lens and started exploring.

Photography training with Derek Gale

“The curve of the wing” by Derek Gale

As with photographing people, areas where the curvature of a surface changes are more interesting than flat areas.  This shot of the roof going down to the rear wing had a step with larger droplets, and it caught the light in the sky to give a highlight line across the frame.  It’s clearly a man-made structure, and we can get an idea of the scale from the size of the droplets.

“Wet car bokeh” by Derek Gale

I’m a big fan of images with a very small depth of field, and especially like the way out of focus highlights form into circles. It’s an effect called “bokeh”, and is best achieved with a large aperture lens wide open.  There’s almost a “mist” of circles in the background of this image, there’s no real point of reference, and it’s become hard to tell what the subject or scale is.

“Moss in a water droplet” by Derek Gale

The heavy overnight rain had knocked moss off the house roof and some had landed on the car.  This piece of moss had become submerged in a water droplet and looked a bit like an insect trapped in amber.  The almost luminous green of the moss made a fabulous counterpoint to the metallic silver of the car.  The sun had come out which really lifted the texture of the paint and showed the translucency of the moss.

Just a wet car, but a great photographic subject.

PS  I’m very pleased with these images, and my wife is very pleased with her car!

Catching the light in Umbria

Just back from 2 weeks travelling around the beautiful Umbrian region of Italy.  OK, so there might have been a bit of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany thrown in too!

Much as I love the image quality from my Nikon DSLRs and large aperture lenses, they can be a bit heavy.  I wanted to keep weight to a minimum whilst keeping the quality up, so I took my Panasonic Lumix G3 and three Micro 4/3rds prime lenses; 14mm wide angle, 21mm standard, and 60mm telephoto.  The G3’s cropped sensor gives full-frame equivalent focal lengths of 28mm, 40mm and 120mm.  It’s a great quality system and is small and light.  The 14mm lens in particular is tiny.

"Umbrian morning" by Derek Gale

“Umbrian morning” by Derek Gale

It’s often said that the light in Umbria has a special quality.  If the view of the rising sun and morning mist from our hotel bedroom window is anything to go by that is certainly true.  The mist was gone just 10 minutes after I took this image.

"Umbrian recession planes" by Derek Gale

“Umbrian recession planes” by Derek Gale

A different sort of mist in this late afternoon image of the hills south of Gubbio.  There’s a somewhat scary “funivia” ride to the top of the mountain behind the town of Gubbio, but the view is worth it.  The mist in the distant hills was enhanced by smoke from some forest fires.  It gave a wonderful series of “recession planes”.  It looks as if the landscape is made from a series of 1-dimensional cutouts.

"Catching up on the news" by Derek Gale

“Catching up on the news” by Derek Gale

The G3 system is great for street photography.  The articulated screen on the back means you can be looking in one direction whilst the camera looks in another.  These 3 women in Ferrara were clearly having a good catch up on the news.

"The pool" by Derek Gale

“The pool” by Derek Gale

As you can tell from my Fine Art page, I love abstract images.  The sunlight playing on the water of a hotel swimming pool really caught my eye.  There’s a lovely combination of light on the pool’s bottom and bubbles on the water surface.  This image would make great wall art, especially as a large print on aluminium.  Get in touch to discuss size options.

If you want to catch the light in Umbria, get in touch.  If there’s enough interest I’ll run a photography course there.

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.