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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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It’s not just to go over your shoulder

I was at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire recently and saw a fantastic water lily in one of the ponds.  It was a fabulous colour and I reckoned that it would make a great subject for a photograph.  There was a problem however.  The pond had a stone wall around it, and the pond itself was set low down so the water level was about 6 feet away.  It was impossible to get down to the lily without jumping in.  That would not have been popular…

“Lily on a strap” by Derek Gale

I solved it by using my camera strap!  I set my Panasonic GF-1 on the useful “take 3 shots after a 10 second self-timer” setting. To take the image I prefocused on something that was about the right distance away and in the same light, fully pressed the shutter, leant over the wall and lowered the camera down to the water level on the strap*.  After the shutter had fired three times I lifted the camera up again, and checked the images. Sorted!

*If you do this it’s important to wrap the strap round your hand so you don’t drop the camera.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

You can learn many other tips like this in my 1-2-1 training, which can be on any aspect of photography.  Today I have some clients who want to learn more about landscape and garden photography, so it’s very topical.

A few reflections on car photography

At a car show in the streets of Bristol I was struck by the paintwork on a particular car, a De Tomaso Pantera GTS.  The petrolheads among you will know that this was designed by an American, was made in Modena Italy, (just down the road from the Lamborghini factory), and had an American Ford V8 engine.  To add a further layer of internationalism, the company was founded by an Argentinian-Italian.

The paintwork on the car was spectacular.  It was sort of candy-apple metallic red, and was highly reflective.  It was so reflective that trying to get an image of the whole car just recorded a lot of people and buildings.

“De Tomaso reflection” by Derek Gale

I decided to make the reflections work for me instead of against me, and to record a detail of the car rather than all of it.  I chose the engine cover because it was fairly flat, and made sure that the line of the reflected building didn’t cross the line of the air vents.  In fact the corner of one air vent sort of fits into the top corner of the reflected building.  The deep colour of the paint contrasts well with the black and white vents.  I flipped the image upside down in Photoshop to make the perspective look more interesting.

The moral?  Don’t think, “Damn, everything is reflecting”, think “Great, everything is reflecting!”

“Oh we do like to be beside the seaside”

I have it on good advice that the weather is about to improve.  Just in time for the school holidays.  Hooray!  That means that we’ll be able to go to the seaside/coast and take in the sunshine.  It also means that we’ll be able to take advantage of the beautiful light you get at the coast, where the sun reflects off the sea.

“3 Cliffs Bay – Gower” by Derek Gale

In this image, of the wonderful 3 Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsular in South Wales, I had to wait till the sun was at the right angle relative to the sea.  At this time of year that means shooting quite early in the morning, because in the middle of the day the sun is almost vertical and you lose the reflections.  The long focal length lens I used compressed the perspective which made the sea and cliffs seem closer together.

“3 Cliffs Bay – Gower” by Derek Gale

Here’s the same place on a different day/time, with a wide angle lens, and with the tide almost fully in.  It has a completely different mood to the first image.  However you shoot it it’s still a great view, and I envied the person who had the beach all to themself.

Get down to the sea and catch the light!

PS  I have some portable studio backgrounds/stands for sale.  Take a look here and here, and get in touch if you are interested.

The “Rule of Thirds”?

There’s a “rule” in photographic composition called the “Rule of Thirds”. Put simply, if you imagine your image with lines on it like a “Noughts and Crosses” grid, the main point of interest should be on one of the intersections of the lines.  It’s just guidance really, so you don’t have to follow it slavishly. Sometimes it’s better to break the rules…

“Rule of Thirds?” by Derek Gale

This British summer at the seaside image is an example of that.  I’ve carefully divided the composition into three section; one very grey sky, one blue patterned hoarding, and one grey wall.  It’s made a sort of  blue sandwich.  The composition just didn’t work with the NO PARKING sign on a Rule of Thirds intersection, so I centered it left/right, which works much better.  Even though it’s high season it has the out of season look that I wanted to convey.

Lesson?  Photographic “Rules” are not real Rules, they’re just advice.

Keep on taking the tablets: Part 5

Here’s another image in my occasional series taken with the camera on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer.

“Galaxy kaleidoscope” by Derek Gale

A friend, knowing my interest in optical toys, gave me a kaleidoscope for Christmas.  It’s a simple cardboard tube with the usual angled mirrors inside and some plastic beads at the end.  It’s remarkably effective.  I noticed that the eye hole was about the same size as the lens on my Tab so I thought, “why not?”.  I set my Tab to macro focusing, and used the self-timer to give me some time to line up the kaleidoscope and the camera lens.  Result?  An attractive abstract image.

I thought a little bit of enhancement would help, so I took the image into Photoshop and made a layer copy to which I applied the Find Edges filter.  This layer was blended with the original untouched layer using Overlay mode, and it gave a bit of extra punch to the image.

Just a child’s toy and a tablet computer, but capable of producing great images.