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

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The Surrey without a fringe on top.

Recently I was in west Surrey for a few days, and took the chance to revisit a few places (I’m originally from the area), and visit some new ones.  One new place was the Watts’ Mortuary Chapel in Compton.  Made between 1896 and 1898 it’s a bizarre Arts and Crafts building with every internal surface covered in decoration.

"Watts' Chapel ceiling" by Derek Gale

Inside the chapel was another photographer shooting HDR images with a Nikon D3 and tilt/shift lens, on a tripod.  I was travelling light so only had my Lumix GF1, 20mm lens and no tripod.  Luckily there was a lectern in the centre of the chapel and I was able to rest my camera on it pointing upwards.  I stopped the lens down to f5.6 to get enough sharpness, and this gave an exposure of 5 seconds.  I used the self-timer, set on a 2 second delay, so the camera stability wasn’t affected by pressing the shutter button.  What’s interesting is the flare coming from the chapel roof’s 4 windows.  They were very, very, bright compared to the interior, and it’s resulted in 4 blue areas.   The 20mm lens has no hood so it was hard to reduce the flare.  It adds a bit of mysterious glow to an image showing all the little faces looking at you – quite unsettling…

"Watts' tile" by Derek Gale

The outside is decorated with tiles made nearby and fired from a local clay.  They have very complex designs in what has been called, “Angels and Arthurian Legend meets Edward Burne-Jones”.  They were made by local villagers under the control of G F Watts’ widow Mary Fraser-Tylter.

A fascinating place, and great to photograph.

Keep on taking the tablets: part 2

I’ve been out with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer again, and here’s another image from its camera.

"Mmmm Galaxy" by Derek Gale

I put my faceted insect eye optical toy in front of the lens, and took an image of some crocuses in the garden.  It was quite tricky aligning the toy and the tablet and pressing the shutter button at the same time.  I’ve cropped it square in Photoshop but it’s otherwise untouched.

I reckon it’s pretty cool, and it would be hard to do with a big lens on a DSLR.

But there’s a drought!

Here in the south of England we have got a drought.  It’s hardly rained or snowed all winter, and the water level in some quite significant water bodies is very low.  For example, the River Kennet has gone dry upstream from the town of Marlborough; this is very unusual.  There are however, great photographic opportunities in the water that’s still running.

"Buscot Weir 1" by Derek Gale

Here’s some water running over a sluice at Buscot Weir, which is on the River Thames between Lechlade and Kelmscott.  I used a longish lens focal length, framed to give a good diagonal, and chose a short shutter speed (1/400th sec), to stop as much movement as I could. There’s a lovely gradation from a convex curve in the water at the bottom of the frame, to a concave “U” shape in the dark area at the top of the frame.

"Buscot Weir 2" by Derek Gale

Here I chose a quieter bit of the weir and used a longer shutter speed (1/10th sec) to give a completely different look to the image.  This time there’s lots of movement in the water.  The top of the frame shows the power of the faster, deeper water, and the way the slower, shallow water fans out from bottom left is delightful.

Buscot Weir is a great place for photography training.  So if you want some bespoke 1-2-1 training on location do get in touch.

Keep on taking the tablets.

Here, as promised, is another image taken with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer.

"Tulips in vase" by Derek Gale

It’s a simple image of yellow tulips in a blue and white jug.  Blue and yellow go very well together (if it’s good enough for the Swedish flag it’s good enough for me).  I used an Android app, Pixlr-o-matic*, to apply a film effect, vignette the image, and apply a texture.  The film effect I chose made the image very red as well as vignetting it.  I just wanted the vignetting, so I shot the original using the “Incandescent” White Balance setting which made the image very blue. The film effect cancelled it out, giving strong natural colours and the vignetting I wanted.

*It’s a little bit like the Hipstamatic app for Apple iPhones and iPads.

Keep checking back for more Galaxy Tab images.

A contrasting view.

In landscape photography the weather isn’t always in your favour, but you can add impact to your images by looking for subjects that have good contrast.  You can then balance your composition using the areas of light tones and the areas of dark tones.

"Wreck" by Derek Gale

The bones of this shipwreck were poking up out of the sea, and the contrast between their dark tones and the greyness of the sea and the distant cliffs made the image stronger.

"Rock hole" by Derek Gale

With this image, looking through holes in a coastal rock, I used the dark areas of unlit rock to frame the light areas of sunlight bouncing off the sea.  The extreme contrast has made it much more of an abstract, almost map-like, image. It could even be crunched up silver foil on black velvet.