Archive for the ‘Fine Art photography’ category

A right Royal event: Part 2

March 31, 2011

OK, let me state at the start that this blog post is not about the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.  No, it’s about the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition, in London from 7th June to 15th August 2011.

Their website says, “The Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art exhibition. Now in its 242nd year, the exhibition continues the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.”     Note the word “photography“.

To have work accepted by the Royal Academy for their Summer Exhibition is a real achievement, as they get over 10,ooo works submitted.  As they say, “Nothing ventured…” 

"Bokeh 073" by Derek Gale

I decided to enter two of my Fine Art Photography “Invisible Beauty” Bokeh series.  I’ve mentioned these before, and they don’t look like photographs at all.  As you can see from the image above, they are much more like abstract paintings.  The images I am entering are printed on aluminium laminate and are 1 metre wide, and there’s the complication…  Works have to be delivered to the Academy in an unwrapped/unpackaged condition, which rules out most couriers, so I’m taking them myself.

"Bokeh 048" by Derek Gale

It was interesting deciding what category they were, as different types of works need to be delivered on different days.  After some discussion with the RA it we agreed that they were, as unframed images mounted on aluminium, best categorised as “Unglazed works”. 

To keep them in great condition I’ve had to get some corner protectors and side protection foam.  With the foam on, the two works just fit into my exhibition board carrying case; it might have been made for them.  There’s no parking at the RA so it’s down to public transport. I’ve sorted out a route which involves no changes of Tube line, which will be useful with a large bag to lug around.

So off to the RA I go, and I’ll keep you posted as to how I get on.  Wish me luck!

Cheers,

Derek      www.galephotography.co.uk

PS   Once the works are safely delivered, I’ll be free to spend some time in London doing some street photography with my Panasonic GF1 and 20mm lens.  It’s a perfect combination for that.

A highly dynamic photographer

December 9, 2010

Our eyes are wonderful things.  They can see texture on brightly lit surfaces and in deep shadows, let you read a newspaper by moonlight, and even see in starlight. Cameras aren’t quite as good as our eyes.  They can record good highlight detail, or they can record good shadow texture, but most of the time they can’t record both simultaneously.  The amount of brightness and shadow that a camera can record is known as its “dynamic range”.

There’s a photographic technique that you can use to produce images that more closely resemble how the eyes see.  It’s called “High Dynamic Range” photography, or HDR for short.  In this technique you take a series of images with different exposure settings; known as “Exposure Bracketing”.  The simplest method uses images taken at; the correct exposure, one unit under exposed, and one unit overexposed, however you can take other combinations.  I’ve taken up to 9 shots with varying exposures for some of my HDR images.  The sets of images are then put together on the computer using special software.

"Canadian street HDR" by Derek Gale

This is a simple HDR image of the sunset in a small town in Canada.  Without HDR I had the choice to expose for the sky or to expose for the trees, not both.  The images were taken hand-held.  That’s always a bit of a risk with this sort of photography as you can get “ghosting” where the images don’t quite overlap because you’ve moved a bit.  You’re better off using a tripod.

"Tithe Barn HDR" by Derek Gale

I used a tripod for this 9-image HDR shot of the 13th-century tithe barn at Great Coxwell near Faringdon.  I loved the dramatic sky, and wanted to really show it against the texture of the stone barn. Converting the final image to black and white helped to give an air of mystery to the image.  I used a very wide angle lens to give a bit of perspective drama.

"Tractor & farm HDR" by Derek Gale

One thing you need to be careful of with HDR images is the “cartoony” effect that you can get.  The software I use has settings for various styles of image.  I like the “photorealistic” option as it leaves the images looking more natural.  This tractor shot shows what can happen if  you use the “surrealistic” setting.  The contrast and colour are significantly changed from the original images.  It’s OK for a few images but can be a bit intense for some subjects.

"Leopard tank interior HDR" by Derek Gale

This image is from a trip to the “tank shed” at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham.  It’s of the interior of a sectioned Leopard tank; Germany’s main battle tank for many years.  The lighting was quite contrasty and using HDR helped me to get detail in the shadows that was not recorded in a normal exposure.  HDR’s not a good technique for portraits as the need to take multiple images means your subject has to stay absolutely still.  Here the crew were dummies so it was easy!

"The Folly HDR" by Derek Gale

HDR is useful in architectural photography too.  This image, of an 18th-century folly in Berkshire, shows detail in the artificially lit interior as well as the naturally lit exterior.  On the day there was a significant difference between the brightness of the inside compared to the outside, but HDR was able to show both well.

So, to improve the dynamic range in your creative photography try a bit of HDR!

Cheers,

Derek                www.galephotography.co.uk

Fine Art in the simplest things.

September 2, 2010

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.

Saatchi Gallery!

October 30, 2009

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 http://bit.ly/3oa4ov

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.

Making an exhibition of myself!

September 16, 2009

My, what a busy weekend we had! 

We were exhibiting in two places at once on Saturday.  The first was at the National Trust “Coleshill Food Festival”.  Astute observers will notice that we’re not involved in producing food, but offer creative portrait photography and photographic training.  Well, at the show there were some craft stands, and that’s where we come in.  Mind you, the sort of thing we try and do with our portrait photography also applies to food…

Stuffed peppers by Gale Photography

It’s a nice off-centre composition, and shows the food to its best advantage.  It works with people too. 

Our stand at the Food Festival was busy all day, and we had lots of interest in both the portrait photography and the photographic training courses. 

The second place we exhibited was at Pat Elmore’s sculpture garden in Longcot as part of Swindon Open Studios.  The weather was great on the Saturday, and it looked more like the Med than Oxfordshire!  

sculpture by Gale Photography

I also had lots of interest in the Fine Art abstract images printed on aluminium.  You can check my previous posts to remind yourselves what they look like. 

Whilst I was there I took the chance to go round Pat’s sculpture garden, and to take some creative images using the sort of techniques we cover in our “The Creative Eye” course.

Roof Spider by Gale Photography

This “spider ” on the glass roof of a greenhouse caught my eye, as did this fabulous pattern on the leaf of a large plant.

Plant stripes by Gale Photography

In the “Spider” image I’ve put the main subject well off-centre, and with the pattern image there’s a lovely diagonal curve.  You can find out more about these and other compositional techniques at one of our courses.

See you soon!

Showing my metal

August 7, 2009

You will have noticed from an earlier post that I’ve produced some new abstract Fine Art images using the “Bokeh” technique.  I’ve done some ruthless editing, and got it down to about just 50 or so of my favourites.  Working on the premise that the rest of the world has a right to know about these images, I’ve joined the Swindon Open Studios (SOS) weekend in September.  “Today Swindon, tomorrow the World!”

Invisible Beauty 36 for blog

SOS is run over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of September between 11am and 6pm each day, and is an Art exhibition with a difference; it’s interactive!  During the w/e you can visit a number of locations, see the work of  many artists, and perhaps even buy something.  At each location the artist(s) exhibiting there will be available to talk to about their work.  I’m going to be at Location 25; that’s Sculptor Pat Elmore’s house and studio at Nutford Lodge, Longcot in South Oxfordshire.  It’s easy to get to with lots of free parking.

Invisible Beauty 48 for blog

I’ll be exhibiting some large (over 1 metre wide) images from the “Invisible Beauty” series, that are printed directly on to aluminium, hence the terrible pun in the title of this post.  This type of printing really suits these  abstract images.  They are lightweight, durable, and even waterproof, which means you can hang them almost anywhere. 

Invisible Beauty 53 for blog

Do come along to have a chat about these images – or photography in general.  As well as Pat and me, there are three other artists exhibiting at Nutford Lodge, so there’s lots to see.  Pat’s also serving teas!

To find out more about SOS check out their website:

Visit the Swindon Open Studios website

See you in September!!