As 2015 comes into clear focus, Toad Hollow Photography has been actively seeking links to the best tutorials, reviews, special features, great photography and interesting blogs to share here with everyone. This weeks list features a wide variety of content and type, produced by some of the best artists working in the field today. We hope you enjoy checking out these pictures and articles as much as the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
How to Quickly Light and Composite Architectural Interiors – the fast-paced world of real estate photography requires the photographer to have a fine balance of tools and skills to work very quickly in a highly competitive environment. In this series of video presentations, Tony Roslund takes us through his workflow shedding some light on specific techniques that are quick to setup and shoot.
How To Choose The Right Softbox For The Job: Understanding Softbox Size Vs Soft Light – Gavin Hoey delivers a new video tutorial in this presentation, discussing and showing the effects that can be achieved using various sizes and shapes of softboxes. The resulting images are quite striking, and Gavin does a terrific job here of sharing tips and tricks to help you apply these techniques in your practice.
Joe McNally Talks About Smooth Light vs Edgy Light – in this brief video presentation, Joe discusses a few various types of lighting techniques for portraiture. Joe includes sample photos and illustrates on a whiteboard to add depth to the concepts being shared. This is definitely worth a few minutes to view to gain a deeper understanding of how a master like Joe does his work.
Red Riding Hood Character Composite – Francesca Hughes shares a great composite image she created and discusses her processing techniques in making it. The picture itself is wonderful, a product of a clear goal and a good eye, and the tips and tricks discussed give you some good insight into how it was made.
Introduction to LED Panels for Photography and Video – this is a terrific in-depth piece that takes a close look at a wide variety of LED lighting options available in today’s world. All sorts of topics related to this equipment is covered, giving a reader a decent understanding of the options, the results they produce, and the costs as they stand today.
Photo by Thomas Leuthard
First Pittsburgh snow of the year – Dave DiCello delivers a stunning special feature in this post showcasing the incredible beauty and dramatic architecture of the city of Pittsburgh as the first snow of the year hits. Dave studies quite a few aspects and elements of the city, delivering a strong series full of captivating pictures that pull you into them.
Pennsylvania Railroad Museum – Jimi Jones shares a set of photographs he has created featuring the inside and the vehicles on display at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. Some of the photos are processed in monochrome to be as sympathetic as possible to their era of origin, while others are expressed in full color to show off their inherent beauty in this set.
Ray of Hope – there is something mesmerizing about these images by Michael Criswell that feature the inside of an old abandoned church in Pittsburgh. The decay filled interior of this cathedral once had to have been the pride of the neighborhood, and today it shares a poignant tale visually with the added highlight of terrific natural drama found in the streaming light coming through the remains of the windows.
* * * W h i t e C h r i s t m a s * * * – a beautiful old stone church that sits on the bluff overlooking a lake in New Zealand is featured in this photograph that is exquisitely composed and captured by Danskie Dijamco. The blue hues of the time of year serve to highlight the details and overall mood of the shot, creating a stunning piece that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
Winter Falls – a lovely long exposure piece, straight from the studio of Scott Wood in the Pacific Northwest in the US. A frigid waterfall makes the perfect subject for this shot that combines the silky effects created by long exposure times with fast moving water against the terrific details of the surrounding landscape.
Winters calm – the last rays of sunlight stream boldly into this scene captured by Barry Turner featuring a gorgeous water view in the UK. The beautiful colors of the sunset really create a strong sense of peace and tranquility with this shot, as must see for those who love deep and vibrant colors.
Fairy tale – this delightful picture features a great old stone castle in Germany overlooking a neverending vista in the valley below. İlhan Eroglu’s has terrific character in it with the way the stars in the sky and the full moon work in harmony with a shooting star to complete this fairy tale picture.
The Manti Pageant – A Summer day trip to feed the soul – Howard Jackman captures and shares a breathtaking series of photographs predominantly featuring incredible formations in the clouds above a temple as a storm loops overhead. The epic drama found in the clouds adds a perfect dash of artistic tension to all the pictures captured and shared in this feature.
Photo by Shaun Fisher
The Old Mack – you simply can’t beat the rich character that can be found in old vehicles, especially ones that have been forgotten about as the effects of time and nature take their toll. In this great shot by Paul Jolicoeur we find a rusty old Mack truck left in a field, creating wonderful textures and details that visually begets a very strong sense of artistic tension.
The Addams Family Mansion – this is a terrific HDR photograph featuring an old, stately manor. Brad Truxell’s photograph does a stellar job of exploring the wonderful character of the house, along with the great textures and details found in old structures of this genre.
manhattanskyline – this is a very well balanced image showcasing the wonderful dramatic skyline of Manhattan. Goran Rukavina’s highlights both the raw drama in the cloud formations lingering overhead as well as the rich details found in the architecture of the city below that is distinctly New York.
Mystic Generating Station – Bob Lussier delivers a terrific industrial feeling image in this monochromatic creation. In this shot Bob shoots across the Mystic River to capture a scene of a large plant and a bridge in the distance, pulling it all together in one great composition.
Wedding Road – this is a magical picture that is just perfectly executed in terms of vision here by Tristan O'Tierney. A light trail leads us up a dark hill in the dead of night, as the stars of the heavens above create star trails adding to the mystical feel explored in this wonderful piece.
** – the unusual title for this piece does not give any clue to the wonder that it shares with everyone who visits and views the image created by Przemysław Zdrojewski. A lovely roadway gently undulates through a grove of trees that form a canopy over it, creating a strong vanishing point and a perfect leading line to guide you into the frame.
Road to the Glacier – Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada – Len Saltiel composes and shares a fabulous landscape piece in this post, featuring the rugged mountain ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Len’s composition also leverages the natural tendency of the highway leading up the mountain pass to create a perfect leading line.
Siblings II! – a terrific and very expressive photograph by Itamar Campos shares a family portrait of a group of Burrowing Owls looking over blades of grass in a field back at camera. These wonderful birds are full of personality, and Itmar’s image does a great job of capturing the essence of that for everyone to enjoy.
The Burning Sun of Dawn’s Awake – this is a very vibrant and colorful piece, exhibiting silhouettes of the landscape and dramatic cloud formations to highlight the colors in the sky. JayJacy Photography brings us this wonderful piece to view and enjoy, creating a somewhat abstract piece through the art of composition and exposure.
Into the Fog – the world-famous Multnomah Falls reveal a landscape I can see over and over again, with each interpretation of the scene by an artist revealing new and wonderful treasures. In this shot by Greg Stokesbury we find the falls surrounded by snow amidst a steady rainfall as the 600+ foot falls create perfect drama.
amidst the epic splendour – Frank King takes us into the heart of the Canadian Rockies where he shares a gorgeous slide he took in 1995 featuring icey blue skies and a snow covered cabin embedded in the winter landscape. The finishing touch for this shot comes in the form of a gorgeous reflection in a pool of water near the front of the frame.
Sunrise – this wonderful photograph by Jaewoon U features the silhouettes of fisherman against the vibrant colors of the early morning sky as the sun begins to rise. Birds circling overhead add a terrific element of interest to this shot, putting a finishing touch on a simply wonderful composition.
Lake Harriet, Minnesota – this shot produced by Mark Paulson shares a view of a group of boats moored on a lake with some wonderful architecture in the background. There is a lot to take in and enjoy with this piece, a picture that reveals more as you spend time with the finer details.
New (and old) horizons… – Sherry Galey shares some musings and a pair of images in this post that are really wonderful to take in. As she discusses her plans for the new year, she also shares pictures that exhibit fascinating vignettes of a lifestyle in the area she shot them in.
In A Fog – Randy Hall captures and exhibits a quintessential Vancouver Island shot with this piece, highlighting the moody and ethereal feel we quite often find in our thick and deep fogs. In this shot, Randy’s primary subject is boats moored at a marina, peering through the thick and luscious veil of fog to reveal a little of the character that is truly Vancouver Island.
James Kerwin, Urban Explorer: Go Slow and Respect Your Subject – an interview with James Kerwin reveals all sorts of interesting facts, tips and tricks for those who love Urbex themed photography. Wonderful photographs of various locations James has visited are included in this article to add terrific depth to the piece.
Urban Exploration Photographer Finds a Stash of Cash in an Abandoned House – this is a terrific story, one that shows in a real-life scenario how the adventures of a photographer can lead you on a journey of discovery you’d never imagine.
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.