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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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symmetry + yrtemmys.

You may have noticed from previous blog posts that I like creative photographic compositions that are quite off-centre and asymmetrical.  Although that is the case, you can make very interesting images that are completely symmetrical. 

This is how I do it. First, using some backlit studio shots of smoke from a burning incense stick… 

"Smoke Nazgul" by Derek Gale

I opened the smoke image in Adobe Photoshop and cloned out all of the little dust particles that you get when smoke is produced.  Doing the cloning at this stage saves having to do it all over again after the next stage!  I made another layer that was a copy of the background layer, then reversed it using Edit/Flip horizontal.  I then changed the Blending Mode of the top layer so that both images could be seen.  The right Blending Mode depends on the image but I find that either Lighten or Overlay gives good results.  I think this image looks like  a scary creature from Tolkien, such as one of the nazgul. 

"Aircraft Turbulence" by Derek Gale

This image, produced using the same technique, looks to me like an aircraft flying towards us, and its vapour trails & turbulence. 

"Glass mirror" by Derek Gale

This image was also taken in the studio, and is of some glass objects on a light box.  The only light is coming from underneath the objects.  The glass things overlapped so the patterns formed were already interesting.  Doing the copy/reverse/blend process gave a composition that has many interpretations.  I can see tartan, eyes, a robot, masonic symbols, etc. 

"Blue cross" by Derek Gale

This image is of a single wave coming in to a beach on the Gower Peninsular.   I took the original image with the wave going from one corner to the other, so when it was copied, reversed and blended it formed a blue cross, a bit like the St Andrew’s cross of Scotland.  As if by magic I turned Wales into Scotland! 

"Sea stripes" by Derek Gale

This final image is of a series of waves coming in to the same beach on the Gower Peninsular.  Here, as well as copy/reverse/blend, I rotated the final image by 90 degrees, which has produced a water pattern image that looks much more man-made than natural. 

Making these images is great fun, and it’s always surprising just what you get.  Why not give it a go? 

Want to know more?  We’re exhibiting at The Royal Berkshire County Show (also known as Newbury Show), on Saturday and Sunday (18th/19th September).  Do come over to the Shopping Pavillion and say hello! 

Cheers, 

Derek 

www.galephotography.co.uk

A trip to deepest Surrey

For portrait photography most people come to our photographic studio in Oxfordshire.  However, on a recent family portrait shoot I travelled to deepest Surrey.  The shoot was for a family with three kids, and they were easy to work with; great fun, enthusiastic, and happy to be photographed. 

The family’s house had a verandah/porch with fabulous light. 

"Surrey 3" by Derek Gale

  The light in the verandah was mostly quite diffuse, but with a soft directionality in places.  This image of the older girl shows that to perfection.  I used a focal length of 75mm, equivalent to 112mm on a full-frame camera, which gives a very flattering look to portraits and helps throw the background out of focus. 

"Surrey 4" by Derek Gale

 I used the same location and camera settings for this portrait of the younger girl.  Her expression was great; not quite smiling, and not quite not smiling.  Because the image is a bit more complex, it works better in B&W rather than colour.  The choice between B&W and colour is always interesting, and there are definitely some images that work better in colour than B&W, and vice versa. 

"Surrey 2" by Derek Gale

 The youngest child, a boy, was very excited to be photographed, but here I’ve caught him in a quieter mood by the main support pillar of the verandah.  The garden beyond him gives good context, and frames his head nicely.  There was a roof light which lit him from directly above, and acted just like a hair light in the studio.  The crack in the pillar divides up the white area very effectively. 

"Surrey 5" by Derek Gale

 In this final image, I popped the kids down on to the doorstep into the house.  The unlit room behind them gave a good dark background, and the front door had a fabulous texture.  They were happily laughing and looking at each other, and the image really shows their relationship well.  I had to increase the ISO a bit to keep the shutter speed fast enough, as it had clouded over, and I didn’t want to use flash.  This is another image that works much better in B&W rather than colour. 

So, a successful photographic trip to the wilds of Surrey, to work with a really interesting family. 

To book your own portrait shoot ; family, couple or individual, just give me a call on 01793 783859. 

Cheers, 

Derek. 

www.galephotography.co.uk

Fine Art in the simplest things.

What’s the perfect subject for a Fine Art photograph?  Well, to me it can be anything and everything. 

"Macro feather" by Derek Gale

 Take this image for example.  I was walking along and saw a feather on the ground.  I picked it up, held it between me and the sun, and using a 50mm macro lens took a close up shot.  It works because the pattern of light and shade is interesting, and because it’s not entirely clear that you’re looking at a feather. Some people have thought it was a ploughed field. 

"Car cobweb" by Derek Gale

 This is a cobweb.  It was built by an enterprising spider between my car door and my door mirror.  Once again I used a macro lens and was able to throw the background, of water droplets on my door mirror, out of focus. I like the contrast between light and dark, and also the contrast of the carefully made radial lines and more random concentric lines. 

Water light patterns" by Derek Gale

 Sometimes it’s a simple thing like the sun playing on water that makes a great Fine Art image.  This pattern of lines, a bit like those on an oscilloscope, were on the sandy bed of a small stream near the sea.  The sun shining through the irregular water surface was getting refracted which gave the pattern.  It was changing all the time, and you could take a hundred images and get a different one each time.  It was great for creative photography

"Oily water" by Derek Gale

 This image uses the reflectivity of a water surface rather than its transparency.  It’s of the oily water in the Venice Lagoon, and shows how pollution can produce great images.  I shot it from a vaporetto whilst everyone else was looking at the fabulous buildings.  Again the changing water surface made every image different. The conversion to black and white made it simpler. 

"Wide Enigma" by Derek Gale

 This final image is an enigma.  I don’t ever explain what it is, but let people use their imagination and come with their own ideas.  It’s often thought to have been taken, “under the sea, with lots of red seaweed”, but also has been described as, “looking across a river valley to a forest”.  It’s neither, and really shows just how complex an image can be made from a simple activity/thing. 

So there you have it; a feather, a cobweb, a stream, polluted water – and a mystery.  You don’t need to find exotic subjects for Fine Art images, just look around you. 

Remember, we’re at Coleshill Open Day and Food Festival on Sep 11th.  We’re part of the Arts and Crafts displays in The Granary.  Do come and have a chat about portrait photography and photography training

Cheers, 

Derek.

It’s all up in the air.

You may have noticed that I’m interested in cars.  Well, I’m also interested in aircraft as well, and they are great things to photograph creatively, both in the air and on the ground.

"Swiss Hunter" by Derek Gale

This privately owned Hawker Hunter of “Fliegerstaffel 15” was at an airshow at Kemble in the Cotswolds.  I used a long lens (ca. 600mm equivalent) to get the aircraft nice and large in the frame, and panned as it flew past.  I was lucky with the shape of the clouds in the background, as they formed an arrow going from right to left. 

"Red Arrows 5" by Derek Gale

On the subject of arrows, here’s a shot of the Hawks of the RAF’s famous Red Arrows aerobatic display team.  Their precision flying is a joy, and this near head-on shot of all nine aircraft has a good diagonal shape to it, from top left to bottom right.  The red aircraft contrast well with the blue sky. 

"Red Arrows 6" by Derek Gale

Did I mention precision?  Here’s a perfect example of just how good they are.  The aircraft are perfectly placed relative to each other, and look like they’ve been cloned there – they haven’t!  Once again I’ve used a long lens and panned as they flew past. 

"Miss Demeanour jet blur" by Derek Gale

As I said, aircraft on the ground also make good subjects.  This is another privately owned Hawker Hunter, “Miss Demeanour”.  It’s got a fabulous paint job, and I saw that another jet was running its engine in front of it.  The heat from the jet’s exhaust gave good “wobble” to the air, so the fuselage of the Hunter went all blurry.  The nose wheel was too low to be affected so it’s still sharp. 

"C-46 nose art" by Derek Gale

Long lenses can be useful to capture details of individual aircraft on the ground. I loved the very aggressive nose art on this 2nd World War Curtiss C-46 Commando transport plane at an air museum in the USA.  The lens has compressed the perspective, so it’s not clear any more that it’s an aircraft. 

"B-25 canopy" by Derek Gale

This image is a further extension of that  idea.  It’s a perspex canopy on a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber being used as a filming plane in the USA.  I  chose the right time of day, and made sure that the very bright sun was placed behind the canopy. It’s made for a strong, simple image with the outline highlit, and the scratches on the canopy adding interest. 

So, get out there and get some great images of aircraft!  There’s still lots airshows this year. 

Cheers, 

Derek. 

Come and meet us at Coleshill Food Festival and Open Day on September 11th.  We’re in The Granary as part of the Arts & Craft displays. 

Calling all Trekkies: the story continues…

Once again I’m pleased to report a successful Photo Trek at Buscot Park.  It was last weekend and we had a “full house”.  These photographic training events are great fun, and Buscot Park is a perfect venue for them.  The group was terrific, with a wide range of photographic experience, and equipment ranging from a digital compact camera, to a digital SLR and lots of lenses.  I assigned everyone their afternoon’s photographic projects, and we were off. 

"Buscot swirl" by Derek Gale

Once again, we started under the trees near the garden entrance.  The exercise we do here is great for breaking the ice.  It gets everyone off the “Fully Automatic” setting, and shows them the freedom that digital cameras give you.  The rapid camera movement I’ve used here made for a fabulous off-centre swirl.  

"Buscot garden entrance" by Derek Gale

It has to be said that the weather at this Buscot Park Photo Trek wasn’t as good as it has been previously.  The relatively bright sky made the exposure compensation exercise even more important.  With this image of the garden entrance I tried to get as little of the sky in the shot as possible.  Even though I did that, I had to use some positive Exposure Compensation to get the details right in the stonework.  

"Dramatic Buscot sky" by Derek Gale

Moving through to the walled garden, the sky was looking very threatening.  It was great for photography, as the light was changing all the time.  We had a really good discussion about exposure, and one delegate was dressed perfectly, in white and black, to demonstrate the fact that meters always want to turn things mid-grey. 

"Buscot Trekkies" by Derek Gale

The delegates loved the terracotta warriors.   The sun came out as we reached them and it gave a really good range of light angles on the faces of the warriors.  They are very easy to photograph; they don’t move and never get bored with modelling! 

"Dramatic Buscot House" by Derek Gale

The clouds got even more threatening as we reached the house itself.  The angling sunlight across the front of the house, with the dark rainclouds behind, made for a stunning image.  There was an almost machine gun sound of shutters firing, and then, as quickly as it had come out, the sun went in.  You must always take your photographic chances… 

…and then it rained.  Luckily it was nearly the end of the Trek, so we sheltered under a handy tree and looked at everyone’s project images.  There were some stunning shots, and everyone had produced something they were pleased with. 

"Rainy Buscot water garden" by Derek Gale

A quick look back down the famous water garden, and another Buscot Photo Trek was over.  It was our last Trek there for this year, but we hope to run some more next year, so keep checking our website for details, or sign up to our e-mail newsletter and we’ll keep you informed. 

Cheers, 

Derek 

www.galephotography.co.uk