It's truly been a great week in the world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been looking at all corners of the internet to find the best list of links to share with everyone. This week's list features a pair of tutorials and special features, as well as a review for the new lineup of SONY cameras. We also find a list of links to some truly great photography posted by some gifted photographers and artists. We hope you enjoy perusing this week's list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Playing around with steel wool at South Arm, Tasmania – Alex Wise produces a 4 ½ minute tutorial here that shows how to effectively use steel wool to create flying sparks and capture them using long exposure. Alex’s illustrative photographs are really quite wonderful, showcasing the effects and results of this genre of image creation.
A Guide to Making Better Photos With Natural Light – this tutorial discusses all the different kinds of natural light found when photographing, and how best to leverage it for great images. Pros and cons of each variety are looked at in fairly good depth in this piece, making for a great article to shed some light on this topic, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Sony Aims for the Bleachers with Full Frame Alpha 7 & Alpha 7R – this detailed technical review takes a close look at these two new camera offerings in the SONY lineup. Performance on paper looks to be terrific with some really great features and enhancements that one would expect when buying a camera with a full-frame sensor housed in a compact body.
On Safari – Wounded Pride – this photo series posted by John Mead takes us on a safari deep into the wilds of Africa where he photographs a pride of lions. Harsh realities of life in deep Africa, even for the most ferocious of predators, is explored in this set of incredible images. Several of the photos in the set feature a wounded mother lion and are slightly graphic, yet they tell the tale of truth of life in these very harsh conditions.
Must-See Tilt-Shift Time-Lapse Shows Off an Incredibly Creative Way to Use the Effect – master tilt/shift photographer Keith Loutit produces and delivers an incredible time lapse video in this piece. Using the technology in new ways, Keith is able to create a short presentation that absolutely captivates the viewer, drawing you right into the scenes as they unfold with a sense of wonder.
Rufousize – Jay Taylor is a master when it comes to landscape and wildlife photography, as evidenced by this terrific shot of a tiny hummingbird hovering around a flower. The incredible details in the tiny bird and the rich colors of the flower work in harmony in this piece to really create a very special image to view and enjoy.
Bridal Veil Falls – raw power in the falls finds perfect harmony with the beautiful colors in the autumn foliage and snow dusted surroundings in this epic shot by Rick Louie. This area is so majestic with the way the forest and the rugged mountains live together, creating some of the most incredible landscapes ever seen.
Kanarra Creek – the incredible canyons captured in this shot by Thomas Fliegner produce some of the most striking natural abstract forms found in the world. A wooden ladder leads to the upper level adding a great element of interest and scale to this breathtaking image.
Badlands Moonrise – Len Saltiel delivers a breathtaking shot in this post featuring the rugged landscape of the badlands as a full moon rises above the jagged peaks in the distance. Terrific layering in the vista comes alive in this shot that takes on a distinctly abstract feel to it, producing a strong sense of depth and dimension.
Porsche Auto Show at the Art Museum – Jason Knight does a stellar job in this post in showcasing some of the finest details on display at a Porsche car show. Many different generations of this fabled sports car were on display and Jason captured some of the best vignettes found there, showcasing the character and allure of this line of automobile for the enthusiast.
The House of the Setting Sun (Banteay Kdei Temple, Angkor, Cambodia) – this ancient temple in Cambodia has history going back hundreds upon hundreds of years. Anita Megyesi shares a terrific shot of the temple as the sun begins to set, adding great drama to a landmark that belongs to human history.
panning with a red kite – terrific details and an incredible sense of motion come together in this terrific shot. Ronald Coulter tracks the fast moving raptor as it streaks it's way through the air, creating an absolutely mesmerizing image.
Church in Ripley Tn – a Victorian church in the heart of Tennessee comes to life in this fabulous shot posted by Diane Frey. The wonderful colors used on the church work in perfect harmony with the detailed architecture to produce an image full of the character of the location.
My Life – leading lines are terrific elements in a composition, creating natural paths for the eye to move around the frame in the process of discovery. This shot by Bruce Omori features a wonderful ribbon of roadway that meanders through the countryside in Hawaii, culminating in the distance in a terrific vanishing point that finds itself amidst a burst of beautiful natural light.
Beautiful B.C.! – once again the Canadian Rockies come to life in photography in this breathtaking piece posted by Brenda Widdess. A lovely lodge sitting lakeside creates a gentle reflection in the wonderful waters of the lake, with a dramatic and commanding vista in the backdrop in the form of rugged mountains.
Baltic… – this long exposure piece by Krzysztof Browko creates a dramatic scene that really takes on an otherworldly feel to it. The colors in the sky work perfectly in conjunction with the silky effect of the clouds and waters captured in long exposure times to deliver a strong effect.
Withstood Time – this wonderful black-and-white piece from CJ Schmit features an old wood and brick constructed church full of terrific character and texture. The rich contrast in the image creates a strong sense of dimension and definition while still holding onto many secrets held away in the deep shadows.
Into the Grey – the epic beauty of the Rocky Mountains are explored in this awesome black-and-white shot created by Chris Nitz in Telluride, Colorado. The deep contrasts shared in this picture create a strong sense of definition and dimension to the rugged landscape that is so very beautiful.
Autumn Path – a terrific piece posted by Mark Neal takes us out into the woods to take in all that autumn has to offer. Mark shares two versions of the image, one in color and the other in black-and-white, with the color version being my personal favorite in the way that it accents the rich colors and beautiful scenery found in fall.
Monsoon Rain – terrific power and drama only found in nature is captured and expressed in this great shot posted by Chris Frailey. The dark colors and brooding drama found in the cloud formation creates a strong image full of great tension.
Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory – architectural studies will always remain one of my favorite genres of photography, and this wonderful pair of photographs posted here by Jimi Jones is a stellar example of this. A historical facility that has just recently undergone a renovation is the prime subject in this post, and Jimi’s fabulous photographs showcase the intricate details and inherent beauty in the facility just wonderfully.
Ski Fever – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) delivers a new image featuring the snow covered peaks of Monte Rosa situated on the Swiss-Italian border. Dramatic light and shadow play off each other to create layers, delivering a strong sense of scale and dimension to a picture that features some of the most incredible natural landscapes found anywhere.
Blue Cart – a very dramatic piece from Bob Lussier takes us into the old mills he is so famous for exploring, this time at night to shoot with a prop. Bob paints an old card with blue light during the long exposure used to create this image, producing strong shadows and tones that accent the profound drama found inherently in the scene.
Portland’s Tree of Life – a dramatic and moody piece is created and shared here by Scott Wood. Shadows and light play amongst the incredible limbs and colorful leaves to create a stunning piece sure to be enjoyed by everyone who visits to see for themselves.
Something Fishy in Cisco – for those who love urbex and gritty themed photography, this is definitely the post for you. Mike Criswell joins a group of fellow photogs and they come together to explore what appears to be a ghost town full of forgotten relics.
The great grey – the incredible beauty and grace of the Great Grey Owl is captured in this shot by Ari Hazeghi. The magnificent bird flies straight towards the camera in this shot, creating a highly dramatic piece sure to take away everyone's breath.
Sea of No Cares – Gareth Glynn Ash creates a rather surreal image in this capture that features a lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Great tones and details merge to deliver a shot full of natural tension, creating a romantic view of this icon.
Branches of Gold – wonderful warm tones found in nature in fall grace the screens of everyone who visits this great photograph by Rachel Cohen. Golden warm colors seem to express the very heart of autumn in imagery, and this wonderful photograph is a terrific example of this.
The ruins at Holyrood Abbey – ancient ruins form some of my favorite subjects to view and enjoy in the world of photography, and this shot from Jim Nix really showcases this genre wonderfully. The remains of the incredible architecture of the site work in perfect harmony with the textures and details found in the scene to deliver a purely dramatic image to take in and enjoy here.
Osprey, Everglades National Park – the incredible details of the Osprey come to life in this pair of photographs captured by Anne McKinnell. Anne’s compositions and timing work to share a bit of the character of these wonderful birds, accented perfectly by the sharp details in the images.
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.