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  • Welcome to Gale Photography

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

    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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Now you see me. Now you don’t.

I always aim to look beyond the obvious and try out new creative photography ideas.   

This image was taken on a location portrait shoot.  I saw the cobweb hanging down, and thought it would make a good frame for the subject.  It did, but then I realised it would be better if I used a shallow depth of field to throw the person out of focus.  I opened up the lens aperture,  reduced the flash power, and focused tightly on the cobweb.
"Cobweb portrait" -by Gale Photography

"Cobweb portrait" -by Gale Photography

It turned the image into something a bit more mysterious and abstract.  You can see that there is a person there, you can see that they are looking at you, but you can’t see any detail.

With creative portrait photography, sometimes you don’t even need to show the person directly at all.  You can tell a story in an image, or provoke the viewer into imagining their own story.

"Shadow portrait" by Gale Photography

"Shadow portrait" by Gale Photography

With this location portrait shoot image I used an off-camera flash to throw a big shadow on the wall of the room.  We look at the architecture and the pose, ask ourselves questions, and start making up a story to fit it.  Is the person relaxed or cross?  What is the room they are in?

Sometimes it’s just worth trying an old idea too.  Here’s a creative use of the common photographic mistake where you have an object growing out of the subject’s head.   Here the person is behind a sculpture, and just their hand is visible growing out of what seems to be a cut off tree trunk.

"The hand in the quarry" by Gale Photography

"The hand in the quarry" by Gale Photography

Actually it raises questions about what is real and what is unreal.  The sculpture, part of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, is a mould of the quarry face behind it.  It’s an exact copy but made of fibreglass instead of rock.  The hand is wearing a flesh-coloured glove, so is it really a person or another replica?  If it is a person, then because the glove covers up the person’s hand, in one sense we are seeing the replica rather the person.

We discuss the meaning of images at my photographic training courses, so enough of this philosophising! 

You can also experience a creative portrait shoot with me. Why not book yourself a session?

Cheers,

Derek.

gailFebruary 11, 2010 - 2:26 pm

I love what you see. Amazingly Inspirational!

Derek GaleFebruary 11, 2010 - 3:13 pm

Thanks Gail!

What can you do with a marshmallow?

Digital photography is wonderful!  It allows you to experiment with your images when you take them, and experiment with them after you’ve taken them.  You can be as creative as you want, and there don’t seem to be limits to what you can do.  It’s really all down to your imagination. 

Take this marshmallow for example… 

"Marshmallow volcano" by Gale Photography

"Marshmallow volcano" by Gale Photography

I was trying some creative lighting techniques in the studio, and came up with the idea of illuminating the marshmallow from the inside.  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but it worked really well.  I reckon it made the marshmallow look like a  mini “volcano”.  Just a bit of contrast enhancement in Photoshop, and it was done. 

You don’t need to go to extent of using a studio to get creative images.  Here I’ve photographed a car rear light cluster using a cheap optical toy – an insect eye kaleidoscope – on a digital compact camera.  It’s made a really interesting abstract image. 

"Insect eye lamp" by Gale Photography

"Insect eye lamp" by Gale Photography

Again there’s not much post-processing done in Photoshop, just a bit of contrast enhancement, resizing and sharpening.  I used my Panasonic Lumix FX-500 compact camera for this image, as the lens fitted nicely inside the toy.  It’s a good example of the fact that you don’t always need, (or as in this case, can’t use!!), a complex DSLR to get great images. 

The last image is a bit more complex as it’s actually three images combined.  The basic images are of smoke, which has been backlit in the studio with a remote flash.  You need to be very delicate with your movements and breathing when you’re taking smoke images because if you charge around, the air currents can completely spoil the smoke patterns.  The fun, and colour, in this image comes from Photoshop. 

"Colourful smoke" by Gale Photography

"Colourful smoke" by Gale Photography

I can’t put the whole process into this blog post, but basically I’ve taken one colour channel (Red or Green or Blue) from each of the three images, and recombined them into one new image.  It’s great fun to do, and you can get a completely different set of colours by taking a different combination of images/colour channels.  

My photography training workshop, “The Creative Eye”, is designed to help you to free your photographic imagination, so you can start experimenting with your own creative photography.  At the time of writing this post (4th Feb 2010), there are still places on the February 20th 2010 course at Stanton House Hotel near Swindon. 

So, what can you do with a marshmallow? 

Cheers, 

Derek 

www.galephotography.co.uk

Bringing back the craft

2010 marks the start of my 10th year in business as a professional photographer!!! 

It’s been a fascinating ten years, and the one thing that has remained constant is this; the need to continually change!   My latest change is that I’ve launched a new portrait photography service and a new wedding photography service, and updated my website to reflect these changes. 

The reason for the change is simple; now that nearly everyone has a digital camera, I think that the very informal “reportage” style of image popular in the “Noughties” is undervalued.  I reckon that professional photographers need to demonstrate their skill and creativity by using a wide range of lighting techniques inside the studio, and by taking carefully composed, unusual, and distinctive portraits when shooting on location – so that’s what I’m doing!  

Here’s an example of what I mean… 

"Directional light studio portrait" by Gale Photography

"Directional light studio portrait" by Gale Photography

This studio portrait uses a hard-edged strongly directional light to create a pool of light with areas of shadow.  It allows us to concentrate on the person’s face. 

Contrast it with the next studio portrait, where natural light from a window gave much softer lighting (nature’s softbox!), yet still produced a very powerful image.

"Window light portrait" by Gale Photography

"Window light studio portrait" by Gale Photography

In both cases the background is dark, but the difference in lighting creates a different mood in each image. 

The same emphasis on lighting is used for location portraits.  This image uses off-camera flash, and that flash was balanced with the ambient light to create a dramatic mood, again with areas of light and shadow. 

"Off-camera flash outside" by Gale Photography

"Off-camera flash location portrait" by Gale Photography

This style of portrait is much harder to get right than using more diffuse light, but the end results are definitely worth it.  They’re more dramatic, more individual, and more different.

The same philosophy applies to the new wedding photography service.  All of your friends and family will be taking loads of informal images, so instead of doing the same, I’m now offering a bride and groom “wedding fashion shoot”.  In this shoot the emphasis is on producing a great set of distinctive images of the two of you, and of each of you.

"Bridal Fashion Portrait" by Gale Photography

"Bridal Fashion Portrait" by Gale Photography

Sounds interesting?  You can find out more about this exciting new portrait and wedding photography service at the new Gale Photography website at www.galephotography.co.uk   Have a look and let me know what you think. 

Derek 

Gale Photography

Whiter than white.

The snow in Britain has been great for photographers wanting to try some creative photography!   All of a sudden there’s lots more light about as the snow acts as a giant reflector, filling in shadow detail.  Snow builds up on familiar objects, such as this wire fence, makes them look unfamiliar, and produces interesting patterns. 

"Wire fence and snow" by Gale Photography

"Wire fence and snow" by Gale Photography

The snow can also make a sharp object into something much softer, as can be seen in this shot of the razor wire on top of the Defence Academy fence! 

"Razor wire and snow" by Gale Photography

"Razor wire and snow" by Gale Photography

With the sun out, all that light bouncing around on the snowy landscape can make getting the correct exposure a bit challenging.  One of the turbines of the Westmill Wind Farm standing in a snowy field definitely looked worth the effort – even though it was bitterly cold walking to it in order to photograph it.  I’d forgotten just how hard it is to walk in 8 inches of snow!  

"Westmill Wind Farm No. 5" by Gale Photography

"Westmill Wind Farm No. 5" by Gale Photography

I used a polarising filter to intensify the blue of the sky.  As it was very windy, and the turbine blades were rotating quite fast, I used the high-speed continuous drive to make sure I got an image with the blades in the right place.  Sure is a good way to fill up a memory card! 

The sun is very useful because it melts the snow and, if the air temperature is below freezing, this can lead to icicles forming.  Like many transparent things, they benefit from a bit of back/side lighting. 

"Icicles" by Gale Photography

"Icicles" by Gale Photography

Here I’ve had to push myself against a wall so I could shoot them from behind against the blue sky.  The sun is low down off to the right.  I’ve cropped it vertically to accentuate the shape of the icicle. 

Whilst out taking these shots, I had the camera inside my jacket to keep it warm.  This improves battery life, and reduces the risk of condensation forming on the camera when it’s taken back into the house.

Finally, don’t put your camera away when the daylight ends.  You can take long exposure images of snowy scenes, which can be very moody.

"Twilight snow scene" by Gale Photography

"Twilight snow scene" by Gale Photography

Here the tungsten light on the building has made a nice warm-coloured patch of light on the snow.  This contrasts with the overall blueness of the rest of the image.

If these images have whetted your appetite, why not get out there and take some yourselves before it all melts?

If you would like to know more about creative photography, we still have some spaces on our “The Creative Eye” course on February 20th.  For details go to our website at www.galephotography.co.uk

“And so this is Christmas”

OK, so it’s traditional at Christmas/New Year to summarise how the year has been.  Why should I be any different?  

This year has been fun!!!   Let me tell you why…   

Being a social photographer and photographic trainer is as much about working with people as it is about photography, and it’s people that make life interesting.  Every portrait shoot, every wedding, and every photographic training session is different.  It’s because the people involved are different, the circumstances are different, and if you are shooting outside the light is always different.  Take this recent portrait shoot at my studio. 

"Off camera flash portrait" by Gale Photography
“Off camera flash portrait” by Gale Photography

I’ve used this background many times before, but during the portrait shoot the sun came out low to the right and turned her hair golden.  A quick balance of the sunlight with off-camera flash, and it’s a very stylish image.  The light changed everything.  On another day the images would have a completely different feel to them.

At weddings the brides and grooms have reacted to their day in different ways.  Some were calm & collected taking the day as it comes, some were excited & wanted everything to be “just so”.  However they were it was a real privilege to have been their wedding photographer, and to have helped them remember their day. 

"Bride arriving" by Gale Photography

"Bride arriving" by Gale Photography

Here I was able to shoot with available light, which gave a nice pale background, and record the emotion in the bride’s face as she arrived in her wedding car at the church. 

On our photographic training courses we’ve had a great mix of people, from serious amateurs, to people with simple compact cameras who just want to take better photographs.  Every course has had its own atmosphere and direction, I’ve had a lot of fun, and I always learn something too! 

"Window abstract" by Gale Photography

"Window abstract" by Gale Photography

So I’d like to say a big “Thank You” to all of our portrait photography and wedding photography clients, to our photographic training course delegates, and also to our blog subscribers.  I’m looking forward to another year of photographic fun in 2010!

Have a great New Year.

Derek.

AlisonJanuary 8, 2010 - 5:21 pm

Really looking forward to taking The Creative Eye course in February … I was lucky enough to receive not one but TWO new cameras over Xmas/birthday – a Canon EOS 1000D DSLR and a Samsung pocket camera – just need the creative inspiration now!