A selection of tutorials, reviews and special features join the usual weekly list of great photography links as curated by Toad Hollow Photography. This week's list contains links to beautiful art pieces and informative articles, sure to keep the avid photography enthusiast engaged in a process of discovery and learning. We hope you enjoy this weeks list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Don’t Pose, Give Direction – this great in-depth piece discusses how to manage a shoot with models to achieve natural looking photographs with stellar results. Several illustrative photos are included in the piece to help illustrate the points discussed, adding great dimension to the presentation.
The Secret to Crafting Stunningly Sharp Images and Preserving It Across Media – this terrific article discusses a technique we use a lot in our practice for photography. As mentioned in the article, sharpness, or at least a factor of it, is actually an optical illusion. The eye makes all sorts of compensations when viewing an image, and it’s the shadows and contrast areas that offer and create depth and dimension to a shot. This theory applies to many different styles and genres of imagery making this article well worth the time to read.
Great Tips And Tricks On How To Retouch Hair – a 20 minute video presentation that takes the artist through some important concepts of retouching hair in portrait photography. The results are a bit subtle, but are also totally striking, adding that special touch to an image to help take it to the next proverbial level.
The Sensor Gel Stick – Clean Your Sensor Like A Pro – this 15 minute video review shows the visitor how to use a newly designed gel stick to do the unthinkable; that is to clean your camera sensor. This very delicate part of today’s modern cameras are prone to damage if not handled correctly, and this product and technique may very well be a way to deal with this problem.
Photos of Bizarre Post-Soviet Era Buildings – ranging from absolutely bizarre looking to utterly alluring, this collection of Soviet era architectural photographs is sure to delight and amaze everyone. Many of the buildings were likely considered cutting edge and revolutionary in design at the time, and when viewed in the context of a collection like this really takes the viewer on a special trip to see unique features of the world.
Winter Chill – this is a mesmerizing black-and-white photograph produced by Steven Perlmutter. Steven takes us back again to the iconic Portland Head Light in Maine where he exposes wonderful drama in his rendition of this famous and romantic spot as the cold fingers of winter cover the area in a beautiful dusting of snow.
Reelfoot in Blue – this haunting and moody piece is also slightly ethereal in nature. Jim Denham captures and carefully processes this shot to reveal all the natural wonder found in the scene, sharing a perspective of a great wooden pier leading the viewer out towards the waters in the distance, all under a sky draped in wonderful blue tones.
Another Monastery in Romania – sweeping stone arches that look to be as old as the ages create a dramatic and alluring natural path for the eye to follow in this fabulous shot by Nick Laborde. Incredible textures in the natural weathering and growth of vegetation work in perfect harmony with the vanishing point created by this composition to deliver a strong and highly dramatic piece.
Subtle Hues, Fragile Shores – west coast photographer Laurie MacBride shares a terrific image captured of the seashore on the coast of BC, highlighting the incredible natural beauty of the region in it’s unique features and discussing a little of how fragile the entire ecosystem truly is. The coast of BC is really a remarkable place and this wonderful post shares a bit of this with the world.
Down Under the Manhattan Bridge – Edith Levy shares two fabulous renditions of the same image, one in terrific color and the other in dramatic black-and-white. The great architecture of the city keeps the viewer engaged as you move through the great natural leading line that Edith used in the composition to gently guide you into the frame.
Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 – Mark Summerfield shares a bit of the history and romance of a bygone age in American railroads. Mark’s great shot features the rich character and heritage these locomotives have, as well as exploring the authentic details and textures that these units continue to exhibit today.
Black-capped Chickadee – Wayne Beauregard’s shot of a Black-capped Chickadee captured in the heart of winter does a great job of sharing some of the intricate details of the bird, as well as some of it’s wonderful character. Great contrast and a shallow depth-of-focus work in perfect harmony with this image to perfectly isolate the little bird from it’s backdrop, adding a great layer of interest to the picture.
Down the Bend – Sunrise at Oxbow Bend – this terrific landscape piece from the studio of Rick Louie showcases the raw and epic beauty of the Grand Teton National Park. The still waters in the foreground creates the perfect reflection of the scene, and as you search deeper into the image you discover the majestic beauty of the mountains in the distance, sprinkled in a covering of beautiful snow.
La Rendezvous – this terrific black-and-white shot captured by Barry Turner takes us down real low in terms of perspective to really accent the dramatic lines in the frame. The monochromatic processing of this shot accents the intense drama of the picture, completing it with a great vanishing point.
At the end of the Passageway – using a Solarization filter on this image, Andy Hooker (LensScaper) produces a striking shot with wonderful drama and artistic tension. The viewer is given a scene looking down a passageway that takes on a deep feeling to it due to the sharp contrast expressed, producing a picture that defines great photography.
Something Fishy at The Market – Mike Criswell brings his style to bear on a pair of great shots captured using a fisheye lens in a busy market. The wonderful architecture and associated details work in perfect harmony with the details and textures of the facility itself to really showcase the great character of the active marketplace.
Snow Night – bring along your parka before clicking on this link posted by Mark Garbowski. Mark shares a vantage looking down a busy New York street at night as a thick and beautiful snowfall covers the landscape creating a wonderful winter feeling for the viewer to enjoy.
Moncenisio lake – beautiful tones work together with wonderful details to expose the intricate beauty of the snowy landscapes of the Alps. A crisp reflection in a pool of water in the foreground of the image mirrors back the majestic beauty of a gorgeous snow-capped snow peak.
Concept of Infinity – Rachel Cohen explores the personality of a new car on display at the 2014 Detroit NAIAS by showcasing a detailed photo of it’s front headlight. The wonderful colors of the paint merge with the character of the explored aspect of the car to deliver a truly compelling shot to view.
50 Shades of Grey at the Grand Canyon – great layering and depth is expressed in this shot from the studio of Chris Frailey. The world famous landscape of the Grand Canyon takes on a new life in this shot with strong definition, finding further interest in the light rays that are pouring down over the gorgeous landscape below.
Stretching – this truly expressive piece shares a wonderful lion cub awaking from a much-needed nap to take on the rest of her day. As she awakens, she stands up and stretches and Stephan Tuengler grabs a shot that details her wonderful spirit… from a safe distance, of course.
seeing red pt. 6 – this collage of photographs features detailed view of various aspects of a series of classic cars on display at an auto show. Each picture showcases a different car and a different part of it’s character with an underlying common thread. Oneowner’s presentation here does a great job of expressing terrific colors, as promised in the title of this post.
White Powder – Karim Nafatni takes us to a very high location where we enjoy a terrific perspective of the city of Dubai in a thick cloud of fog below. Terrific details in the architecture of this city is explored here, with muted colors adding a strong layer of drama with areas of color to draw the viewer to take in specific parts of the overall image.
Heading Around the Bend – this wonderful shot by Len Saltiel showcases a terrific steam locomotive making it’s way down a twisting section of track. The beautiful river that flows alongside the train and the landscape around it work in conjunction with the natural romance of this classic mode of transport to create a very special image.
*Giant* – one day perhaps, but today we are looking at one of the cutest little kittens learning about itself and the big, wide world it finds itself living in. This is an absolutely endearing photograph by Regine Heuser, sure to melt the heart of everyone who takes the time to view.
Northern light on fjord – beautiful colors and tones in the sky are cast upon the stark white snow covered landscape below, all the result of the vibrant actions of the Aurora Borealis. This wonderful image by Joris Kiredjian is as gorgeous as it is detailed, allowing the viewer to witness a phenomenon not seen by many.
Shooting the canals – the epic canals of Amsterdam are explored in this vibrant shot by Jim Nix that features the incredible character and personality of this old city with it’s unique features. Wonderful architectural shapes and details are shared in this piece that also finds further elements of interest in the incredibly beautiful tones that adorn the entire scene.
Privateer Lynx – Michael Lewis Glover takes us along as he explores a replica of an old war sailing ship making its rounds in the Tampa, Florida area. Michael shares two wonderful shots of the ship, one of it sailing and processed with a great texture to give it a postcard feel, and the other as it sits berthed, awaiting time to sail out for the next big adventure.
Life Before Photoshop: Fine Dining – Joe Baraban shares his insight into the art of getting it right in-camera. This post features a great shot that exhibits the key message the shoot was going for as well as discusses how he took the photograph and produced it, all with no post-processing.
A Quick Start Guide to 6 Specialty Lenses – 6 major different kind of lenses are explored for their use and application, showcasing some great illustrative photographs captured with them to give the reader a deeper understanding of their application in the field.
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.