With another week behind us we find Toad Hollow Photography searching all known points of the internet looking for links to tutorials, special features, great photography and interesting blogs. This week's list plays host to a wide variety of genres and topics, all posted by some of the finest artists working in the field contemporarily. We hope you enjoy checking out these photos and articles as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
Photo by Thomas Leuthard
3 Street Photography Tips for Capturing the Decisive Moment – this is a great article to read, even if you aren’t practicing street photography specifically. The article goes in-depth into concepts such as the art of anticipation, hyperfocal calculations and light metering.
Back-to-Basics: Using a Handheld Meter – Joe Farace shares a brief post on the art of using a handheld light meter, sharing a terrific photograph he captures using the technique he discusses. With many modern cameras having built-in meters, this form of light measurement is not widely used anymore, but having fine control over your exposure can make the difference in creating a true “wow” image.
Analyzing Light – How to Breakdown The Lighting Of A Photo – one of the most critical aspects of great photography is the lighting. While we learn about photography and hone our own style and technique, it’s always important to review the work of others to learn about how certain looks are obtained. This terrific tutorial covers a lot of ground in the form of analyzing and understanding lighting techniques.
Umbrella 101 for Beginners: Bare Flash vs. Shoot Thru vs. Reflective Umbrellas – this is a terrific and brief article that begins the discussion of off-camera artificial lighting. Using an umbrella as a modifier, the article shows varying techniques and their results with sample images that focus on the quality of the light. A very interesting read for those looking to get started.
Understanding Depth Of Field: A Simple Visual Animation – a terrific primer for visually comprehending depth of field or focus, Nino Batista creates this great animation that shows frame-by-frame in a steady flow the differences between f/stops. Being in control of your depth-of-field is an important element in the artistic aspect of photography, and this article should help answer some basic questions.
Found On Road Dead / Episode 006 / Forlorn, PA – one of my very favorite artists who does much work in the field of old and abandoned buildings and sites brings his great style of photography based storytelling to the internet. This time we join A.D. Wheeler in a place aptly called Forlorn, PA, where very little remains standing, but what does takes on a profound life of it’s own in A.D.’s wonderful piece.
A Haunting but Gorgeous View of Chernobyl by Filmmaker Christiaan Welzel: Beautiful Ghost – we find another installment in this weeks list that focuses on the forgotten and abandoned. In this feature presentation, husband and wife Christiaan and Kseniya Welzel visit the world-famous site of Chernobyl, coming away with several minutes of haunting footage that also tells the story of how nature finds her own beauty in a disaster by reclaiming that which was once hers.
Burning Together – Reuters photojournalist Jim Urquhart brings us, and his wife, along on a crazy adventure to take in the sights and sounds of the famous Burning Man Festival held every year in the middle of the desert. The sights and sounds at times appear to come from another planet entirely as what starts out as a deserted patch of land becomes a city upon itself, hosting over 65,000 avid festival-goers.
Photo by Ed Dunens
The Jacobite Steam Train Crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct – this picture is the pure definition of what you’d expect from a cinematographic picture. Andy Horne’s stunning shot features the cars used in the Harry Potter films being pulled by a steam locomotive as it passed over an ancient viaduct. The surrounding landscape frames the entire scene spectacularly, making for a mesmerizing piece to view and enjoy by all.
Mana From Heaven – a well known stone church sits atop a hill in the heart of the night in this stunning photograph from the studio of Timothy Poulton. Timothy takes advantage of the natural light created from the streetlights of a nearby town to delicately drape the scene in warm toned light, and his use of a letterbox format adds to the sense of expanse, both terrestrially as well as in the heaven’s above.
Portofino Vista – quaint doesn’t even begin to describe the photograph posted here by Edith Levy. The lovely little town of Portofino is featured in this picture, showcasing the wonderful architecture that comprises the character of Italy, as well as the incredible landscapes that are to be found everywhere when exploring here.
Cold morning – this moody and ethereal photograph is posted by Daniel Řeřicha on 500px. Monochromatic tones and deep contrasts highlight the overall feel in this piece, as does the square crop format which anchors and centers the subject.
Sunset on the Beeline – this terrific shot straight from the studio of Mike Olbinski features a winding ribbon of highway under the beautiful tones of a vibrant sunset. Light trails from fast moving cars adds a dynamic touch to the frame, creating a very special piece sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
Young hedgehog reflection – this is an absolutely delightful image, featuring a young Hedgehog as it drinks from the waters of a pond. The gentle ripples in the water create a soft and slightly muted reflection, mirroring the natural surroundings and the wonderful character of the tiny creature back to the viewer. Image by Jan Dolfing.
That Field – Again – I love these studies, ones that find a photographer returning time and time again to the same location to capture a great scene in different circumstances and lighting. In this post from Andy Hooker (LensScaper) we revisit a field he’s shot before that features abstract lines split by a narrow band of trees.
Photo by Alan Paone
Bug's Bedtime – Steve Shelley captures a fabulous image featuring an older, modified VW Bug at sunset. This car is a rolling work of art, and Steve’s terrific photograph captures all the key characteristics of the car that make it so widely popular.
Patrick County Courthouse – for the fan of architecture and the story behind it, this great post comes from Mark Summerfield, featuring the Patrick County Courthouse. There are distinct features about this structure that leads many to believe Thomas Jefferson influenced the design of this classic building, adding a great layer of intrigue to the story.
shoulda turned left at albuquerque . . . – ƊƦคƓ๏ƝŦlץƊгєคɱʂ88 finds the rusted shells of what once were a pair of classic cars, the remnants of years of raw weather on the west coast. Great artistic tension is captured and explored in these shots that certainly leave many more questions unanswered than answered.
Fortress – the raw romance of a lighthouse comes up against the relentless fury of nature in this awesome image by Marco Nuno Faria. As giant waves attempt futilely to pound the structure, the sheer resilience of mankind is found in the natural beauty of our architecture.
Les silhouettes passent sur la passerelle – this is a wonderful study of contrast and silhouette in this photograph by Mathias Lucas. So much is hidden in the shadows in this shot that features lines and geometry offset by the presence of a couple of people walking across the footbridge.
HDR Photograph of the Rood Screen at Ely Cathedral by Art Hakker – crisp architectural details of an ancient church are explored in this terrific shot by Art Hakker Photography. The incredible craftsmanship that went into the design and construction of this hallowed place are a true joy to behold, captured in a very unique style that tells a story in a glance.
Muizenberg – this great shot by Barbara Youngleson features what I believe are wooden change rooms on the beach in South Africa. The vibrant colors of the tiny huts are painted in a variety of vibrant colors, all of which find themselves peeling in the weather, adding a great layer of interest and texture to the scene.
Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns
Austin Boardwalk with Sailboat at Sunset – this great shot by Evan Gearing is exactly as advertised in it’s title, featuring the boardwalk, a wonderful sailboat and the dramatic architecture of the Austin city skyline in the far distance. A sense of peace and relaxation awaits you in this shot, a picture full of terrific details that express the true spirit of this city.
Sir Woody – absolutely incredible details in the face of this Wood Duck are explored in this close-up shot captured by Jay Taylor. Jay exercises extreme patience to wait for just the right moment with this picture, and the results truly do speak for themselves.
A Fairlane Sunset – classic cars are truly awesome photography subjects with each of them expressing a unique personality that is sought by photographers. In this post Tim Stanley shares a great shot of a classic Ford Fairlane that was exhibited at a local show.
Afternoon Glow II – this is a stunning, stunning landscape shot featuring a cascade of elements that make this genre of photography breathtaking. Mark Coté’s shot was captured in Yosemite Park and showcases the rugged mountains, reflections from still pools of water and vibrant colors from the fading light of day as sunset descends upon the landscape.
Fisher Towers Detail – in a landscape that almost seems alien in ways, Mark Garbowski finds the epic beauty in that which Mother Nature herself creates. The features explored in this piece uncover a series of layers and colors that are both abstract and detailed at the same time.
Drive In – Melinda Harvey has a terrific knack for finding that which has been long forgotten, and then exploring the scene to find the inherent artistic tension that remains behind even though the original inhabitants are long gone. In this shot, Melinda captures a frame of an abandoned drive-in, sharing the beauty in the weathered and forlorn.
A Photographer’s Gift To Their Family – this is a heartwarming and wonderful post by one of my biggest heroes in the field, Joe McNally. Joe helps his family plan a surprise birthday party for his mother-in-law and then captures the entire event for all to enjoy. His accompanying thoughts on the challenges and perils of being a world-class photographer add the perfect dash of the profound to this post, making it both a delight and a learning experience.
Annie Leibovitz Shoots the Important, the Powerful, and the Incredibly Talented – join world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz as she works on a special project documenting some truly amazing people and their homes and lifestyles. The video is engaging, but the true gem is the photographs posted in this piece.
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.