It's been a very active and busy week in the world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been busy searching online to find links to tutorials, reviews, special features and great photography to share here with everyone. This weeks comprehensive list features the usual great imagery, as well as a hand-selected set of special features that are sure to contain something of interest for every area of interest. We really hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
Ed Pulella: A Walkthrough of an Engagement Photographer’s Niche – this is a terrific interview, giving us some insight into how a very successful wedding and engagement photographer works. These real-world tips and tricks could be applied to many different facets of portraiture in general, making this article a very interesting read for those practicing.
Do These Lights Make Me Look Fat? Defining Muscles With Directional Lighting – this terrific tutorial covers a very advanced artificial lighting setup that is absolutely ideal for defining muscle structure and shape in portraits. A brief video feature is included in the piece, adding depth to the overall article. Even though the prime subjects in this piece are very athletic boxers, many of the tips and techniques outlined can be employed in any type of portraiture work for a dynamic and dramatic look.
Xpert Advice: Using the Zone Focusing Method for Street Photography – this brief article describes the concept behind hyperfocal distances on lenses to show you how to achieve great street photography. Moments are fleeting in this style of photography and having a tip like this one under your belt is sure to help you capture that next stunning shot.
What Your Mom Never Taught You About Natural Light – this is a terrific article, one that helps you identify and find great natural light sources that are perfect for portraits. In this post sample photographs are included, illustrating the effect this technique can bring to your work.
Five Super Sharp Portrait Lenses for Your Mirrorless Camera – for those who are shooting with the new generation mirrorless cameras, this article discusses a selection of great lenses. Sample images are included in the article to give added depth to the brief descriptions.
Photo by Tambako The Jaguar
A Fairy Tale Masquerade Wedding Day – in this week's list we share a special feature that we created ourselves here at Toad Hollow Photography featuring photographs captured at a recent event hosted in Victoria called the Modern Bride Show. We have just launched our new wedding photography services practice as part of our overall offering here at The Hollow, and this was the first show we have ever attended like this. The show was a raging success, we met all sorts of wonderful people and are quite optimistic about the whole wedding photography aspect of things in general. As an added bonus, the show ended with a live wedding which we did our best to capture in images in a very tightly crowded space.
Help Save The Lonaconing Silk Mill – A.D. Wheeler shares a wonderful project he has just published, and this time it’s up to us photographers to take heed to his story and ride in to save the day. This long unused silk mill is a true throwback to a time now long forgotten, a time when labor and toil represented the work of an individual. Today it is maintained by a lone guardian and benefactor who is actively looking for attention and visits to the site by avid photographers from all corners of the world.
World Press Photo 2014 Winners – sometimes disturbing and sometimes inspiring, this collection of photographs was selected as the best for the year 2014 by the World Press. The world we live in today is a complex place and this feature gives us a glimpse into other parts of the world and the lives that people lead in their daily struggles.
I Wanted This Beautiful Island House. Until I Read What Happened. – this brief photo essay traverses the chasm of time to show the slow erosion of an island. The last house standing has finally fallen prey to the relentless hands of time and slipped below the surface, leaving only memories and photographs behind.
Macro Photos That Focus In on the Beautiful Details of Ordinary Things – in yet another example of how you can move past ordinary objects every day of your life without a second thought, this post takes us up close and personal with a series of macro photographs of items that may be in your house right now.
Inside Hazelwood House – a wonderful classic manor that seems to have been left forgotten for quite some time gets a second lease on life with new ownership. magnumlady does a terrific job in this piece covering quite a few key aspects of the facility, showcasing both tight vignettes as well as wider shots that convey the sense of grandeur and scale such a place so deserves.
Shooting Aston Martins from a Minivan at 120MPH on the Daytona Speedway – when it comes to anything in life, the addition of Aston Martin’s takes any event and tosses it over the top. In what is a photoshoot I would seriously give my left arm to be a part of, an intrepid photographer leans out the back of a van moving at 120mph to capture some of the most incredible car shots I’ve ever seen.
The Eltz Castle – this photo essay showcases the elegance and grandeur of the Eltz Castle in Germany, purportedly still owned by the same family for over 33 generations. The amazing compositions in this series were captured during differing times of the year, creating unique images that express the stark contrasts between the epic architecture against the incredibly beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
Lady with Mask – this is an absolutely stunning portrait, featuring a woman wearing a wonderfully colored masquerade mask. Anita Megyesi does a remarkable job with this piece in both her composition and in how she takes advantage of the selected depth-of-focus to really make the subject pop right out of the scene.
Dijon … sous la pluie – this wonderful photo expose features the city of Dijon on a very, very rainy day. Mathias Lucas’s feature presentation showcases a comprehensive series of black-and-white photographs that focus on both wonderful little vignettes of the city and life there, as well as some wider shots that feature the incredible architecture and surroundings.
Reflection – this stunning New York cityscape study is captured and shared here by Krzysiek Rabiej. The dramatic architecture of the city shot as the sun makes it’s final appearance for the day features predominantly purple tones, and the soft reflections of the city add the perfect finishing touch.
“Winter Forest” – this is a wonderful pair of photographs, posted here by Rachel Cohen. The frost covered landscape creates stunning silhouettes in the white encrusted trees in the first shot, and in the second the long shadows create a very strong sense of drama amidst an incredibly beautiful setting.
Neuschwanstein Castle at sunset in winter landscape. Germany – the absolutely epic Neuschwanstein Castle casts a stunning subject amidst the forests and snowy landscapes of Germany. Frank Fischbach does a terrific job of creating an image that embodies the notion of a fairy tale castle set in perfect surroundings in this shot.
Factory of Sadness – this great post by Michael Criswell shares two renditions of the same shot, one in color and the other in black-and-white. The results are a set of architectural studies that reveal a different face and personality of an iconic structure in the state of Ohio.
H E L L F I R E – this world renowned stone church is a subject I never tire of seeing. With this shot, Timothy Poulton captures an early morning photograph that exemplifies artistic tension in the juxtaposition of the ancient stone structure against a backdrop of incredible natural beauty.
Photo by Geraint Rowland
Grist Mill IR – Scott Wood captures and shares a stunning piece in this post, featuring an old wooden grist mill amidst a big grove of trees. The infrared aspect of the capture helps the viewer focus on aspects of the image that would typically be less-noticed, delivering an almost otherworldly view of this charismatic example of architecture nestled in a natural setting.
Bernina express – a terrific image that features a red train against the stark white of a snow-covered landscape is revealed in this photograph by Michael Nebuloni. Michael’s composition takes advantage of the natural leading line created by the rail line, capturing a scene full of rich artistic tension.
Central Park Pond and Path In Snow – this lovely image features a candid glimpse of Central Park in NY as a snowstorm swirls around dusting the landscape in bright light. People walk by the pond in this shot captured by Mark Garbowski, adding a perfect dash of tension to a scene that does look like it came out of a publication from the 19th century, as Mark so eloquently notes.
…morning has broken… – the early morning blue hour comes to life in this gorgeous landscape piece captured by Felix Inden in the heart of winter in Norway. The snowy landscape works in perfect harmony with the stark white snow, creating an image that is peaceful to take in and enjoy.
The empty cafe – a wonderful black-and-white shot posted here by Dave Wares showcases an empty cafe. Varying shapes of seats work in harmony with natural leading lines in this shot to truly deliver a piece that takes the viewer through the frame on a journey of personal discovery.
The Mosque – Sheikh Zayed, Abu Dhabi – wonderful shapes and geometric entities are explored in this breathtaking architectural study of the interior of a large and dramatic mosque. julian john takes full advantage of the scene presented to lead the viewer into the frame on a journey of discovery that eventually leads out to an exquisite vanishing point.
Blue – this is a wonderful shot, straight from the studio of Barry Turner, with a focus on blue tones as the predominant color in the palette. Barry’s seascape features wooden piers in the foreground acting as a terrific visual anchor, and in the distance the city of Portsmouth twinkles in the fading light of day.
Casual Kayaking in Alberta, Canada – this epic landscape study by Chris Burkard features a series of very strong visual elements in convergence to create a truly lovely piece. The jagged Canadian mountains create a dramatic element as a backdrop against the still waters of a lake in the early morning as a kayaker enjoys taking it all in.
Photo by Thomas Leuthard
Feed Sign – this is a great shot, full of great colors and textures, all forming the perfect frame for a painted sign on the side of a red-brick grist mill. Bill T captures a nostalgic shot with this piece, sharing a peek into bucolic life from decades ago.
Prisoner Cell Block Z – Art Hakker Photography captures a powerful and dramatic piece in this shot that features a long abandoned cell block underneath a dramatic and brooding sky. By using a long exposure, Art creates a very dynamic sky with a sense of fluidity behind it that contrasts perfectly against the still details of the facility below.
Penguin – this incredible photograph from local photographer Alan Story takes us deep into the Antarctic where he shares an image of a lone penguin on an ice flow. Alan’s wonderful composition in this piece creates a strong sense of artistic tension in the questions that remain unanswered within the image.
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.