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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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Always carry a camera!

One of the things we suggest to people on our photographic training courses is that they should always carry a camera.  It’s much easier nowadays, as there are some very high quality compact digital cameras around, that hardly weigh anything. 

I’m often asked what the best camera is and my answer is, “The one you have with you.”   Here’s a series of images that illustrate why you should always carry a camera…

We were out walking at Rhossili, on the Gower Peninsular near Swansea, and we saw this female wheatear on top of a drystone wall.  It was very confident and wasn’t bothered about having its portrait taken with my Panasonic Lumix Fz-50 camera.

"Female wheatear" by Gale Photography

"Female wheatear" by Gale Photography

You could even say that it had posed for me!   It was a very different story when a kestrel flew over.


"Kestrel" by Gale Photography

The wheatear saw the characteristic falcon wing shape and pushed itself into the drystone wall in order to hide.

"Wheatear hiding" by Gale Photography

"Wheatear hiding" by Gale Photography

Once the bird of prey had passed, the wheatear resumed its confident perching on the wall.  If I hadn’t had my camera with me then I would still have seen this all happen, but wouldn’t have been able to capture a lovely little sequence of images.

It was obviously a day for interesting flying things.  A bit further round the coast we saw this plane flying very low, and as my camera was out and ready I took a shot as it flew over us.

"C-130J" by Gale Photography

"C-130J" by Gale Photography

It was a Lockheed C130-J “Super Hercules” transport, operated by the Royal Air Force, and probably based just up the road from us at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. 

So, these images sum up how important it is to always carry your camera (at the ready), know how to use it, and that you should try and get a series of images, so you can put them together to tell a story.

You can learn more on one of our training courses, or Photo Treks.  Check for details.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Phil Allcock, Alison Neale. Alison Neale said: RT: @galephoto: Blogged about how important it is to always carry a camera, or you'll miss things. #ln<<< good stuff! […]

I’m so shallow.

While I was becoming a more serious SLR photographer, I was obsessive about getting everything in focus.  I think this came from having used box cameras that had small maximum apertures, and compact 35mm cameras that had wide-angle lenses.  Small lens apertures and wide-angle lenses lead to what’s called a “large depth of field”.  This means that everything from the foreground to the far background is in focus.  As I improved, I realised that you can get much more creative images if you control the focus point carefully, and limit what’s in focus to a small area.  It’s called a shallow depth of field.  Here’s an example:

"The Poppy" by Gale Photography

"The Poppy" by Gale Photography

I’ve focussed on the foreground poppy, used a telephoto lens and a wide lens aperture, to throw the background wire fence out of focus.  It makes for a much more evocative image, with a relevance to Remembrance Day. 

You can also use control of the focus area to make images that are ambiguous, and open to many interpretations.

"Sequins & lights" by Gale Photography

"Sequins & lights" by Gale Photography

The warm-toned out-of-focus circles in the background mimic the patterns of the in-focus sequins in the foreground, but we’re not sure what their spatial relationship is, or even their sizes.

With portraits you need to focus on the subject’s eyes.  If you let the rest of the image go soft, it allows the viewer to really concentrate on the “windows to the soul”, and gives great communication.  Here I’ve taken it to another level by only focusing on the nearer eye, which gives even more impact to the image.

"One eye in focus" by Gale Photography

"One eye in focus" by Gale Photography

If you are inspired to try and take these sort of images, the best way is to use a telephoto lens,  or zoom your compact camera’s lens out to its maximum, and use a wide lens aperture.

Have fun!

Saatchi Gallery!

As from today I now have my own Fine Art Photography page on the Saatchi Gallery website!  Yes, THAT Saatchi Gallery.  You can find it at

It’s on “THE WORLD’S INTERACTIVE ART GALLERY” according to them.  It would also appear from looking at other artists’ sites, that I’m a “lens-based artist” rather than being a photographer.  Does sound rather more “artspeak” doesn’t it?

To celebrate, here’s a shot of a flying shoe.   It’s in homage to an image I saw several years ago, where someone had thrown 4 balls in the air trying to get them into a perfect square in the sky.  They didn’t succeed, and the image shown was the best of loads of attempts.  This shoe shot was the best of one…

"Flying shoe" by Gale Photography

"Flying shoe" by Gale Photography

Anyway, it’s all good stuff, and I’m looking forward to the results of my increased exposure to the Fine Art world.

Only connect

One of the best things about being a social photographer is that you are working with people.  Landscapes may be beautiful to photograph, but people are really interesting.  It’s been our pleasure to work with some families more than once, and we’ve become the “photographers of choice” for their family events.

Here’s an example.  We photographed Claire and Chris’s wedding a few years ago at Newtown Church, and Elcot Park near Newbury.  They had a fabulous wedding day, and so did we.  They were great fun to work with, and the croquet match will live in my memory for ever…

Clare & Chris by Gale Photography

Claire & Chris by Gale Photography

Also at their wedding, with his fiance Stephanie, was Claire’s brother Iain.  He was one of the ushers. 

Steph & Iain by Gale Photography

Stephanie & Iain by Gale Photography

They loved Claire & Chris’s wedding images, and we were delighted when they chose us to photograph their wedding as well.  Fast forward to 2009 and it’s their turn.  Their wedding at Sonning Church, and The Berystede Hotel at Ascot, was delightful, and it was great to meet everyone again.

Stephanie & Iain by Gale Photography

Stephanie & Iain by Gale Photography

To  make it all nicely symmetrical, Claire & Chris were at Stephanie & Iain’s wedding.  Claire was a bridesmaid, Chris was an usher, and they had their young son with them.


Claire & Chris & son by Gale Photography

It’s always special to be asked to photograph someone’s wedding.  It is after all one of the most important days of their life, and they’re putting their trust in you to do a great job.   If you know the people from a previous event, it gives everything an extra edge, and of course, you’re under even more pressure to deliver.   That’s what makes it such great fun!!

Tripping the light fantastic

Working in the studio I try and keep my lighting simple.  It’s easier, and helps me concentrate on getting the best images for our portrait photography clients.  It’s very interesting how you can change the feel of an image by some simple lighting changes.  I’ll illustrate this with some recent portraits.

In this first image there’s a main light (a softbox) to his right, and what’s called a fill light to his left.  This lighting gives nice modelling to the face whilst filling in any shadow areas.  It’s a classic style of portrait photography lighting.

"Classic Portrait" - by Gale Photography

"Classic Portrait" - by Gale Photography

Here a simple change to the lighting direction relative to the subject’s face makes for a much more dramatic image.  He’s now looking straight at the main light, and the fill light has become a light for his hair.  He’s closer to the light, which means an exposure change, so the background has become much darker.  I’ve added to this photographic mood change by slightly changing the colours of the image in Photoshop.  It’s now a much more creative image.

"Dramatic Portrait" - by Gale Photography

"Dramatic Portrait" - by Gale Photography

Next, I’ve used a large window to light the subject.  This light is strongly directional, and gives her face some lovely modelling.  I’ve asked her to turn her head sufficiently towards the light so that both of her eyes were lit, and so that her hair on the left of the frame got enough light to show its shape.

"Window Portrait" - by Gale Photography

"Window Portrait" - by Gale Photography

In this final image, lit with a studio flash in a softbox, the lighting on her face is more diffuse, but I’ve balanced the ambient light outside and the flash to separate her from the background.  This gives a slightly surreal feel to the image.

"Balanced Portrait" - by Gale Photography

"Balanced Portrait" - by Gale Photography

To see more of our portrait images, have a look at the Portrait Gallery on our website    If you would like to see images of yourself, why not book a Portrait Experience with us?

Squire StarsquidDecember 24, 2009 - 1:34 pm

Great tips there, thanks!

Derek GaleDecember 24, 2009 - 2:03 pm

Thanks for your comment. Keep looking at my blog for more Tips!