The internet is home to a terrific group of artists and bloggers creating great content on a regular basis. Toad Hollow Photography has been searching all corners looking for links to the best tutorials, reviews, special features, collections, great photography and interesting blogs to share. This week's list features a wide variety of topics and subjects, with something to be found here for everyone. We really hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in creating this list and bringing it to you.
Retouching a Portrait Using Selective Color – this step-by-step guide includes great screenshots of the procedure in action, allowing the reader to follow along and fully understand the principles being shown. This is a powerful technique that can be utilized in many different facets and styles of photography.
Everything You Need to Know About Lens Quality – this tutorial is a little different, taking us deep into the world of lens design and manufacturing. With such a broad range of types and qualities of lenses available today, having this in-depth understanding of how it all works is certainly helpful while trying to figure out what’s the best lens to get for your particular application.
The Best Lens for Sports Photography – this basic outline discusses the various types and applications of lenses in a sporting environment. All the key points are touched upon in this post, including focal lengths and aperture size, really helping to remove a bit of the mystery for those who are interested in diving into this style of photography.
How To Photograph A “Bioluminescent Splash” – this brief article shows the reader how to create this specific style of image, one that features vividly colored fluid in motion. Corrie White’s mastery of this technique translates into a concept expressed in this post that produces really astounding results.
Fstoppers Reviews the Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 Touit Lens – this great review shares some technical details on this lens as well as a great set of sample images. If you have a mirrorless camera systems from FujiFilm or Sony this may very well be a great addition to your collection of glass.
Topaz Lens Effects Review – we’ve had the pleasure of trying out the Topaz Labs Lens Effects plugin for post-processing and were delighted with the results. Our post features some screenshots taken while working with the tool, as well as some samples created using a small selection of the effects bundled into this collection. This tool produces great results, suitable for all levels and styles of image creation.
Harry Potter and the Nokia Lumia 920/925 – this two-for-one post from Dave Wares takes us along on a visit to the Warner Brother Harry Potter exhibit where Dave discusses and shares photographs taken on these two different models of smart phone. The images produced are all terrific, exhibiting great artistic qualities and featuring some of the neat character of the facility, as well as showcasing the power and abilities of these two cameras.
The Gift of Photography – many of us look up to Joe McNally as a leader in the field, myself most certainly included. In this wonderful post Joe shares a set of photographs of a girl with an incredible story to share, one that leaves the reader hoping for the very best for her, and also delivering a source of inspiration for those struggling with their own issues..
If these walls could talk – Val Robus in Ireland takes us inside a derelict facility that once was a convent eventually turned into a nursing home and then long forgotten. The incredible textures and haunting scenes of the forsaken facility come to life in this incredible collection of photographs sure to leave everyone with a feeling of sadness and deep wonder.
Rankin Faces Death – this profound post finds us taking a look at world-famous Rankin’s project that features portraits of people suffering terminal illness. The incredible spirit and desire to live each day captured in each of the faces serves as an inspiration. This is an important piece to see, both for the incredible photography but also for the lessons embedded within those images.
Tribute To Graffiti: 50 Beautiful Graffiti Artworks – some consider graffiti to be the act of defacing a building or property, while others look at it for some of the most incredible and contemporary art we have available publically today. This series features some really fabulous pieces, showcasing the vast styles and visions of the various artists who created them.
Beautiful Portraits of Strangers – we all have one, yet somehow the act of looking at someone’s elses face seems to be a thread of commonality that is hard to define. This great collection of photographs features a series of random faces captured in the streets of Singapore. Each face tells a story, one that captivates the mind and imagination of the viewer.
Cabin Porn – this brief collection of photographs features one of my personal favorite photography subjects; old and weathered barns. The fabulous contrast between the beauty of the surrounding nature that cradles the remains of these old buildings coupled with how each of the cabins themselves seems to be bereft of any straight lines works together to create alluring imagery.
Bat Blizzard – if you only have time to check out one picture in this week’s list, this is it! Make sure you’ve got a few moments to read the accompanying story that greg du toit includes with this shot as it adds context and dimension to what you’re looking at; the largest migration of mammals on the planet. This shot and story is guaranteed to leave your jaw on the ground in utter amazement at the beauty and dynamism that can only be found in nature.
Running down that hill… – this is an absolutely marvelous photograph, featuring a tiny owl in mid-step as it runs across a log. Absolutely everything about Austin Thomas’ shot is stellar; the shallow depth-of-focus, the great natural tension and a most incredible spirit in the bird captured perfectly in a frame.
The View Through the Arch – beautiful and rich colors are captured and shared in this breathtaking landscape scene from the studio of Jimmy Mcintyre. Jimmy’s work in the field of HDR is well known and this photograph showcases just why. Terrific colors work in unison with the epic details in the landscape as the sun rises to greet a new day in this world-famous park to create a special image sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
Metamorphosis – this highly profound post by Anne McKinnell shares a set of macro photographs of a butterfly on her lilac tree. Anne punctuates the images by sharing some insights into human nature, revealing a little of ourselves through her introspective thoughts. What a great way to combine striking imagery with some thoughtful philosophy.
Cloud to ground – storm chaser Scott Wood takes us along on his latest adventures, in this case sharing a shot of a lightning strike hitting the ground from a very dramatic and active storm system high above. Scott’s terrific composition in this shot features the strike itself, a view of the storm system and the city below that finds itself gently lit from the electricity of the event. This is a very striking image, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Seafood Buffet – there is no arguing that the bald eagle is one of the most majestic and beautiful birds on our planet today, as is evidenced by this breathtaking photograph taken by Jay Taylor. At just the precise moment the eagle touches down to grab something yummy to snack on, Jay captures this detailed shot, showcasing the incredible character and personality found in these gorgeous birds.
Golden – the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco becomes the subject for Edith Levy to capture and share here. Terrific tones in the early morning sky add a great element to the architectural study of this world-famous bridge structure. The overhanging fog in the atmosphere adds a touch of drama, finishing off the picture in a perfect San Francisco way.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas photographic subjects – Mark Summerfield takes us along on a grand photography adventure that finds us exploring the artifacts on display at the living museum at El Rancho de las Golondrinas. Historical artifacts like the authentic items on display at the museum make for great HDR images, showcasing the rich details and textures from years of wear and weathering.
Staring into space #17 – Light Stalking’s very own @tomdinning produces another piece in his running series that is utterly thought-provoking and perhaps some might even consider it to be kind of controversial in the way the picture seems to break so many “rules” of photography. Tom’s unique way of weaving a story by combining striking imagery with great insights and thoughts continues to be a source of amazement, as is evidenced by this shot full of artistic tension.
Ramsau / Berchtesgaden – a warmly lit church sits under the blue sky of encroaching darkness as a fast moving river flows past it in this lovely landscape scene shot by Norbert Maier. The smooth waters work in perfect harmony with the crisp details in this frame to deliver a piece that is just stunning to take in and enjoy.
One more and then the ocean – this fabulous colorful shot by Barry Turner finds us gazing over the last lock before open ocean as the fading light of day paints the scene in a warm glow. The still waters in the foreground add a wonderful reflection in the scene.
Captions: The Time To Dream Questions – a profound and insightful piece posted here by Syd Weedon shares a shot of a outdoor seating area surrounding a colorfully lit store. Syd’s terrific thoughts and insights that accompany the photograph add a great element to the setting, making for a post sure to leave everyone feeling something personal.
Turkey Vulture At Bosque del Apache – we’ve only personally become acquainted with the raw elegance and mystique that is exhibited by Turkey Vultures after having visited a bird sanctuary recently. This great shot by Steve Creek brings us up close and personal with one that is quite steadfast to remain in place, undoubtedly because a snack is close-by.
Natural landscapes: upon reflection… – this shot originates from a slide and it features the majestic beauty of the Canadian Rockies reflected back in the waters of Upper Consolation Lake in Banff, Canada. Frank King’s gorgeous shot does a great job of conveying the strength and epic beauty of this part of the world.
Ocean Urbex – I love the raw gritty feel of this shot that features an old weathered building. Steven Perlmutter does a great job leaning out a window to grab this shot, producing a piece that really exhibits the character of feel of both a time now past as well as the great textures found from the relentless march of time.
School is out; happy summer holidays – one of our very favorite buildings in our hometown comes under the watchful lens of local photographer Joseph de Lange. The terrific details in this heritage school are all brought to life wonderfully as Joseph takes us around to enjoy several vantage points.
Visit to Fontana Lake and Dam – PICTURENC takes us along on an outing with his mom to visit Fontana Lake and Dam. Along the way he stops to capture several stunning landscape scenes that showcase the layer-upon-layer of mountains leading the viewer’s eye out into the distance. The last shots in the post feature the dam itself.
First chase of the 2013 Arizona monsoon season – Scott Wood jumps into the Arizona Monsoon season with this shot that features some dramatic and menacing clouds in the distance, and a small dust storm trying to make an appearance. The dramatic and barren Arizona landscape makes a great juxtaposition against the competing elements of the active storm in the distance.
At The Beach – Jimi Jones’ beach shot features a few great elements that help it stand apart. A group of people enjoying the morning’s light and the lovely weather are on the beach for some added context, as well as an incredible bridge span in the distance that creates a great division between land and sky.
Cowichan Bay’s Summer Boats, Cottages And Shops – Rick Doyle finds himself out and about on a lovely weekend day in the oceanside town of Cowichan Bay here on Vancouver Island. Rick’s unique look at this character-filled town is peppered with a slightly humourous look at what he sees, adding a terrific dimension to the post.
Eastern Plains of Colorado – a dramatic morning scene is captured and shared here by Rick Louie. A deserted farmhouse creates context and an anchor point as the viewer’s eye makes its way across the landscape. A storm front is delicately lit by the morning’s sun, creating the perfect finishing touch.
Steel Melt Shop – this stunning shot taken inside what appears to be a steel smelter does a terrific job of showcasing the interesting details in a facility like this, as well as a strong sense of scale. A breathtaking piece shot and shared here by Travel Shots.
Birdham Pool on a Summers Night – a gorgeous water-side shot featuring boats moored underneath the warm tones of the fading days light. Barry Turner’s panoramic format works wonders on this shot really highlighting the great details in the boats and the raw drama found in the natural light and the vivid colors from it.
A Rear View – Mark Neal shares a great composition featuring the back of a weathered building full of great character in the bricks and worn wood elements. Mark’s post features a color version, a black-and-white one and a split-tone offering that delivers three completely unique perspectives on the same scene.
The Magician – a leopard poses ever so gracefully atop a termite’s mound and David Lloyd takes advantage of this special moment by coming away with a stunning composition. Great details in the cat couples with the way it’s looking off frame for a touch of tension.
The ghost ship of Mani – a haunting shipwreck long left abandoned on the shores of Greece sits underneath the colorful winter skies, creating a dramatic element. Konstantinos Vasilakis’ shot features some just incredible textures created by years of weathering.
Bright red poppy – terrific color and toning is presented in this beautiful photograph of a poppy captured by Lotus Johnson. The perfectly shallow depth-of-focus completely isolates the flower from the green backdrop, creating a very pleasing scene for the viewer to take in and enjoy.
Skagit Highland Games – if you’ve been yearning to have a foreboding marauder looking back at you with a menacing glare, look no further! This great shot from David Williams is full of character, literally, and is sure to have you looking over your shoulder with a nervous look.
Love Southern Trees! – Beverly Everson’s shot delivers a scene of a roadway that leads into the great unknown with a terrific vanishing point. The beautiful trees in the foreground create a wonderful natural canopy for the viewer as your eye makes it way through the picture into the light in the distance.
Olympic Anniversary – my friend, local photographer Ehpem brings us along on his 28th wedding anniversary as they visit a lovely park in the state of Washington, just across the waters from our home. His terrific HDR shot accentuates the rich layers in the vista featuring the Olympic mountains.
Return to Lake Ashby – medium format film photographers Marks and Joey Culver take us into a park in Florida full of the mighty and grand Cypress trees. This pair of monochromatic shots showcases the incredible contrasts and details you can pull of out scenes using this type of gear, with a focus on the great features found in the exposed root formations of the trees.
Eagle Watch – a regal bald eagle sits atop a perch watching over it’s kingdom on the shores of Lake Vermilion. Rob Nopola’s great shot of this fabulous bird captures a glimpse into it’s personality as it sits and waits for it’s next opportunity to swoop down and find something delicious.
Albany Bridge – the terrific natural rustic features of an old covered wooden bridge in the States provides a striking subject for the photography of Wayne Beauregard. As these marvelous wooden architectural features become harder to find with fewer of them remaining, the ability to see them in great photography takes on a special meaning.
Sneak Peek: Cruiser Car Show – the old classic cars have such great lines to them, often swooping and broad, and sometimes dramatic and crisp. This colorful shot from Dakota Visions Photography features the hood of a classic old Plymouth adorned in the brightest of orange paints and trimmed in gloss black.
“Cars” End of the Line at the End of the Day – Howard Jackman performs more of his brand of HDR magic on a series of scenes featuring cars. A rail caboose and a selection of road-going vehicles grace this post that is full of great colors, details and textures.
Red – a vibrant red colored brick building in Florida is the prime subject in this great shot from Michael Lewis Glover. These great old examples of character architecture make for terrific imagery, revealing textures as well as great architecture details for those who spend time taking it all in.
The Allure of Driftwood Beach – a terrific pair of black-and-white shots by Mike Criswell that features old, dead driftwood on a beach. The juxtaposition of the stark and still subjects against the motion and fluidity of the waters that encircle it work together in perfect unison.
Rockin the Terraplane – graceful sweeping lines reflect the light as it dances off the polished surface of this classic detail shot of a car. Rachel Cohen shares both a color and a black-and-white version to contrast the vastly different appearances each treatment brings to the subject.
Phoenix Lightning – Chris Frailey captures a highly dramatic black-and-white shot of a strike on the city below. Great details in the tendrils reaching down from the heavens above diffuse light in the immediate area, creating a truly awesome image to view and enjoy.
Summer Storm – Andy Gimino shares a capture of a strong storm moving in over Lake Champlain. This dramatic landscape scene showcases the beauty of nature, even when its fury rains down around us.
Morning Suspense – I just love this shot and how the farm elements in the field below add a great anchor to the beautiful landscape. Rick Louie takes us deep into the farmlands where he captures this great early morning shot that finds a rustic scene completely draped in some of the most beautiful colors and tones.
Dimension and Significance – Gareth Glynn Ash shares another piece in his blog that features a poignant photograph and some powerful prose that work together in unison to deliver a strong presentation for the visitor. A single leaf floating in the water creates great tones, and the gentle reflections from the light refracting off the dynamic water adds fluidity and motion.
Hartwick Pines – Derrick Birdsall captures and shares a shot of some incredibly tall trees, composing the picture by looking almost straight up. The perspective is really terrific here, creating a sense of the scale of these trees as well as a vanishing point created by the huge trees that seem to reach for the heavens themselves.
Dawn at Colvill Park – this great landscape by Jim Denham features a rocky shore running alongside the river. As your eye leads you across the still waters, you find a silhouette of the land across the way creating an outline against the bright colors of the merging day.
No one’s gonna break my stride – Averil McPhedran Hall from McPhedran Phocus shares an utterly profound post with us these week that features a terrific set of photographs as well as a bit of an interesting question. Although the thoughts posed have little to do directly with the photographs published, the entire piece comes together quite nicely.
Morning light – this is an utterly gobsmacking image, featuring beautiful mountains, still waters and a breathtaking reflection of the entire thing. Birgit Pittelkow’s also features a wooden pier with a building on it that creates a terrific natural leading line for the viewer.
McClellan, Mosby and Rectortown Station – incredible details and textures are explored in this set of photographs that feature a historic site in the United States. JayJacy Photography adds some terrific context to the dramatic pictures of the old buildings and artifacts by sharing some of the historic details that comprise the backstory to the site.
Reflections of a Star – this great shot from the studio of Barry Turner features a strongly colored moon hanging over a cluster of trees. The finishing touch, though, comes in the form of a puddle of water in the foreground that reflects the vivid moon back to the viewer, adding a great element to an already captivating image.
crooked window – david stoddart’s shot taken inside a long defunct military bunker has several great photography elements at work to help make for a very dramatic image to view. As the light streams into the dark room through an open doorway and the window, the viewer is naturally drawn around the frame to take in the details. The crooked window frame adds a great touch of character to the scene.
Mist And The Red Barn – a rustic barn in a field finds itself surrounded by a veil of summer morning mist, adding a certain mystique to the entire setting. Jim Denham’s photograph is an almost iconic look at American farm-life, benefitting greatly from the efforts he went through in the composition and creation of it.
a winter’s day, in a deep and dark December… – as summer pounds down relentless temperatures in the northern hemisphere, photographs taken of a cold and wintery environment create a feeling of relief for some. Oneowner shares a strong composition with this piece that features a leaf frozen in a pool of icy water, revealing great natural tones and details.
Mesa Window – often considered a photographers mecca, the Mesa Arch in Utah creates a striking pose for Bob Lussier to capture. Gorgeous colors in the morning sky paint the scene in great tones that invite the viewer to enter right into the frame and enjoy the natural and inherent beauty.
Cathedral – they say that composition is everything, and this is a great example of this concept in action. Roland Shainidze’s takes a close look at shapes and geometry created by great old architectural details exhibited in an old cathedral.
Milford Sound – really gorgeous colors and tones permeate this still scene captured in New Zealand. Sergey Zalivin captures a breathtaking landscape with this piece, one this is a real must-see in this week’s list.
Saturday Night at the Drive-in – the fifties and sixties were a different time, and for many of us its a time we like to try and return to regularly even if only for a couple of hours on a Saturday night. Perry Bailey captures a terrific shot of a pair of classic hot rod car hoods with an authentic feeling ice cream stand in the backdrop to add an additional sense of nostalgia to the scene.
Can Ya Dig It? – the fan of heavy-duty machinery will love this post by Mike Criswell. Mike finds a great excavator parked in a field and shoots the scene early in the morning to take full advantage of the great light. Terrific details in the machine and it’s surroundings are accented here by the textures exposed in the shot, making for a terrific picture.
Lightning over Athens – Chris Kotsiopoulos creates a composite image of 42 stacked images to create one super-strike photograph taken at the Olympic Stadium in Greece. An almost surreal scene comes to life in this image that features all kinds of great details and elements.
Antelope Canyon – Falling Sand – an almost surreal scene is captured and shared in this shot that takes us into the heart of the Antelope Canyon. Layer upon layer of rock formations create ledges that sand gently falls from, much like an hourglass in this shot posted by Rich Greene.
Morpho on a Leaf – a great photograph by Bev here showcases the intricate beauty and colors displayed by a lovely little butterfly. Bev’s shallow depth-of-focus really isolates the gentle little creature from it’s backdrop making it the true star of this post.
The Music Of Living – a beautiful and vibrantly colored male Cardinal bird sits on a branch and proclaims his feelings far and wide in this fabulous shot by Kerri Farley. There’s just something absolutely magical about Kerri’s composition and the way this beautiful bird is singing, creating a shot that’s sure to leave your trappings of modern life way behind you.
A farewell message to the telegram – this poignant post takes a look at a dying form of communication through the eyes of a photography blogger. Telegraphs have connected families and people in India for over 160 years, and as of now this service has been shuttered and is no longer functioning.
You Can Install the Improved Android 4.3 Camera App on Most Android Phones – I love how open the Android operating system is, and this is a great example of the benefits that come from that. If you use the camera on your Android phone, this update may be of interest to you.
Lasers Take Down a $20,000 Camera in Less Than One Second – it may make perfect sense after you’ve been made aware of this potentially lethal event for your camera’s sensor, but it sure came as news to me as something I might not have considered without warning. The short video clip posted shows a sensor as its nailed by a laser and effectively rendered useless.
5 Essential Photo Apps for Your Phone – there’s no denying the power and versatility of the built-in cameras we all have on our cell phones these days. This short list of apps discusses a handful of really great utilities for this type of photography.
The Interchangeable-Lens Camera Market is Now Bigger Than Point-and-Shoots – advancements in both technology and how we use it continue to change the landscape in the field of photography. This brief article talks about how the DSLR market is far from finding itself in trouble, and in some ways we are seeing a resurgence in consumers wanting high-end gear. No matter what your take on the topic, this post poses some interesting questions.
Peak Design Wants to Bring You the Ultimate Camera Clip: Capture – I love great innovations, especially ones that provide an obvious benefit to the end-user. This article features a company that is working on something that is more than just a camera clip to help you carry around your gear, it’s a well thought out solution to a problem that many of us have in the field. I’ll certainly be looking for this product to go into production.
Where Do You get Your Inspiration? – Joe Farace discusses his sources of inspiration in this post that also features a great black-and-white portrait of a model. Joe’s inclusion of some of the technical details that went into the lighting for the shot adds a great element to the post.
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.