Archive for August 2010

It’s all up in the air.

August 26, 2010
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. 

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Calling all Trekkies: the story continues…

August 18, 2010

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

I’m just a regular guy: Part 4.

August 12, 2010

It’s the “regular guy” thing again!  

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a real privilege to photograph the same people over a period of time, especially kids.  You see how they’ve grown and changed, and the shoot is easier, because you’ve photographed them before.  

At a recent portrait shoot, two brothers and their respective families, came along.  I’d photographed the family of one of the brothers twice before.  With the other brother’s family it was the first time I’d met them. 

"Looking up 1" by Derek Gale

On their previous shoots I’d gone for a natural style, with diffused lighting, so to keep the  same look and feel as the previous images, I did the same for this shoot.  Here I’ve concentrated on the girl’s eyes, which were slightly accentuated by the angle I chose.  

"Looking up 2" by Derek Gale

This image of her brother uses a similar technique.  With this sort of image the conversion to black & white really helps simplify the image, and in each case I’ve used a long(ish) lens (80 mm equivalent) to throw the background out of focus. 

"Looking up 3" by Derek Gale

I didn’t need a black and white conversion here.  The boy’s skin tones were fantastic, and it would have lost too much of the colour contrast with his blond hair.  Again I’ve used a long(ish) lens to simplify the image.  He was great to photograph, with a really good “resting face”. 

"Looking left" by Derek Gale

Here you can see the difference between looking down on a subject and being at their eye level.  In this image I dropped down to his level, and to me he looks a bit older because of that.  It’s much more of a “moment observed”, as he seems unaware of the camera.  Once again the black and white conversion helps to make the image stronger. I didn’t need the colour contrast, and didn’t want the green foliage in the background to distract. 

"Looking right" by Derek Gale

His brother was really fun to work with.  He was asking “Why?” to everything, and was very lively.  He had a very expressive “active face”, and a great grin.  This image, of him looking off camera, caught his personality well. 

So, all in all it was a great shoot.  I look forward to the next one! 

Cheers, 

Derek 

www.galephotography.co.uk

The Car’s the Star!

August 5, 2010

You may have noticed from previous blog posts that I am a bit of a fan of cars.  I own a classic Pininfarina Spidereuropa.  It sounds glamorous, but it’s really just an old FIAT in a party dress.  

The shapes of cars are fascinating subjects for creative photography, and I love the little details. 

"Jaguar C-type bonnet" by Derek Gale

This is the bonnet of a Jaguar C-type Le Mans racing car from the 1950’s.  I was attracted to the louvres – cut into the bonnet to help engine cooling – and the way that the highlights in the background made a complementary pattern.  I used a long lens and a wide aperture to give great bokeh

"Le Mans Audi grime" by Derek Gale

Often, selecting just a part of a car can tell a story.  Take this image for example.  It’s part of the front/side bodywork of the modern Le Mans 24 Hour Race-winning Audi R8.  You can see just how effective the aerodynamics of the car were, because the oil from other cars has spread in perfect lines on the Audi’s curves.  Not really pretty, but it tells us so much more about the car than completely clean bodywork. 

"Maserati Birdcage reflection" by Derek Gale

This car, the Maserati Birdcage concept car, does have completely clean bodywork.  It’s very shiny, and reflecting the chequered flag pattern of the marquee the car was under.  It’s made a great pattern/abstract shot, which also reflects the fabulous racing history of the original Maserati Birdcage. 

"Mercedes star" by Derek Gale

Bonnet/radiator badges on cars are a perfect example of branding.  This 1930’s Mercedes badge really sums up everything about the car; quality engineering, style without (too much) ostentation, and exclusiveness.  I don’t need to show the rest of the car.  You get enough of an idea of how it is from the out of focus bonnet hinges, and the split windscreen in the background. 

"American car tail light" by Derek Gale

This car did have style with a lot of ostentation.  It’s a 1950’s Cadillac, and was made in the era where cars looked a lot like jet fighters or rockets.  These tail lights have it all; lots of chrome, space-age design, and they are “loud and proud”.  I used a long telephoto lens to throw the second light in the background out of focus.  This lets us concentrate on the foreground light. 

"Bentley Mk VI bonnet" by Derek Gale

Lest we forget, cars are made for driving, and not just for admiring their design.  This image is of my view from the passenger seat of a friend’s early 1950’s Bentley Mark VI Park Ward convertible.  It shows an empty open road, the sheen of the coachbuilt bonnet reflecting the sky, and the proud Bentley “Flying B” pointing the way. You can follow the line of the bonnet, and that of the road, to that magical place called “just around the corner”, that makes you want to keep on driving. 

Cars and photography; the perfect partners. 

Cheers, 

Derek 

www.galephotography.co.uk