An absolutely incredible week in the world of photography has passed us by once again, and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy searching the internet for the best links to tutorials, reviews, special features, great photography and interesting blogs to share. Check out this week's comprehensive list, there's definitely something in here for everyone. We really hope you enjoy this incredible collection as much as the Toad did in creating it for you.
Close Up Portrait Photography Tips – a brief and concise series of tips and tricks for portrait photography. This is a short, well-written piece that discusses some of the finer points from a high level for capturing and producing great portraits.
Photographing the Full Moon – Keith Cuddeback captures a fabulous HDR shot on the golf course featuring a full moon and a group of dedicated golfers whacking the ball around the course. This shot could easily stand on it’s own, but here Keith also shares some very useful tips and tricks on how to shoot the moon, so to speak.
Winter Photography Ideas and Tips For Breathtaking Photos! – as the winter season is in full force here in the Northern Hemisphere, wonderful opportunities for breathtaking photographs are all around us. This well conceived and concise list of tips shares some common sense insights into what to look for and how to capture those fabulous snow covered scenes.
tutorial on hand-held HDR processing from the tate modern staircase – this is a stunning HDR architectural shot, featuring a gorgeous staircase. david stoddart shares this great shot and a link to a post that teaches you how to produce work of this caliber.
88 Secrets of Photoshop — Mini Bridge – Richard Harrington creates a video tutorial that takes the user through the process of using this tool in Photoshop. The visual aspect of showing everyone how to use it through video makes for a short presentation that takes you to the heart of the matter.
Mastering the Lightroom Adjustment Brush – 20 minutes spent reviewing this video looks to be time well spent. This video tutorial takes the viewer in-depth into using the adjustment brush in Photoshop, and shows you how to get the most power and impact out of it possible.
Portrait Retouching with Adobe Lightroom 4 – a terrific video tutorial that shows you in fairly decent depth how to do portrait retouches in Lightroom. The tutorial is just over 8 minutes in length; plenty long enough to showcase the prime point being discussed.
Introducing the NEW Lowepro Flipside Sport AW 20L – Robin Black does as most photographers do when faced with an exciting trip that will ultimately be about photography; take stock of her gear and plan for toting it around. As such, Robin gets her hands on a new product from Lowepro that she does a great job of reviewing in-depth on her blog. If you’re looking for a new camera bag, you’ll want to read this in-depth piece before heading out to the store.
Filters for Digital Infrared Photography – a brief article that describes IR filters, as written and posted here by Joe Farace. IR imagery creates striking images that are unique in the field, and Joe’s terrific post here features a few sample shots to illustrate the key point.
Life Before photoshop: Microsoft/Leader Of The Pack – Joe Baraban takes us back to a time before photoshop and digital processing to discuss capturing that “wow!” shot right in-camera. Although digital processing is a powerful tool and is definitely here to stay, spending time when composing and shooting a shot to minimize the need of post-processing is good practice, to say the least.
Put A Frame To The World: Joel Sternfeld – a fabulous body of work is explored in this post featuring the incredible works of Joel Sternfeld. An active and avid photographer since the late sixties, this post goes in-depth into his career and vision, and makes for a fascinating post to read. Quite a few examples of his work are included as well, adding a great dimension to the article.
Illuminated – Scott Ackerman takes us deep into a field at night where the shell of a wooden barn provides great context under a sky of stars and color. Scott gently lights up the building, which creates a terrific feel in conjunction with the beauty of the night that envelops it. This is a very captivating piece, sure to leave the viewer wanting more.
Marina Bay Skyline – Anita Megyesi captures a shot of the Singapore city’s skyline, delivering a piece that is sure to captivate all who visit to see. Great tones in the sky add a warm feel to the vista which features the incredible modern architecture of one of the world’s greatest cities.
Black And White Pier – a highly dramatic landscape piece featuring a great wooden pier that naturally leads the viewer through and out the frame is presented here by Jim Denham. The way that Jim processed this shot creates a very strong vanishing point with the pier, gently guiding the viewer towards the back of the frame where a soft landscape creates great contrast.
The Conversation – I just love the raw, natural tension in this terrific black-and-white photograph by Andy Hooker (LensScaper). A pair of gentlemen sit at a table, engrossed in deep conversation, and Andy’s perfect shot creates a strong silhouette of the men, and as such creates a great picture that embodies the concept of tension.
The Castle on the Hill – the captivating town of St. Goarshausen in Rhineland-Palatinate is home to a stunning castle on a hill, as the title aptly suggests. Len Saltiel’s perfect composition brings in some context and scale to the scene, finishing off a beautiful landscape with an element sure to captivate and beguile all who see it.
Fishermen, Matanzas, 2013 – the silhouette of a bridge creates a perfect frame for the other key elements in this great shot by Ren Bostelaar. In between the massive spans of the bridge, we find a huge ship off in the distance, and the silhouette of a pair of fisherman getting their day started. A shot the exudes the concept of artistic tension.
Ship Fossil – a haunting scene is presented in this shot, one that depicts the remains of a wooden ship partially submerged and well under way into a state of decay. shikhei goh captures a shot that features fiery colors in the sky and silky, smooth waters from the long exposure, all working together to create a distinctive feel.
This old house – nothing that a wee bit of paint and some drywall won’t fix, really. The remains of a long-abandoned manor in Sligo, Ireland create the perfect visages for magnumlady to capture and share on her blog here. The incredible natural weathering process is long underway, creating a scene of mystery, leaving the viewer with thousands of unanswered questions.
Western Snowy Plover #2 – Aaron Barlow captures and shares a black-and-white image of this really cute little bird. Aaron’s great composition works flawlessly with the expression on the bird, making for a piece that shares a little of the great personality the bird exudes.
Bridge the Silence – Alisdair Miller delivers a stunning image that features the cityscape of Dubai, post-processed in almost a monochromatic way. This great HDR shot features the incredible architecture of this city, as found by following the bridge in the foreground into the city.
Crocuses: Nature’s Anti-Depressant – a gorgeous picture featuring a little grouping of these spring flowers is carefully captured and shared here by Laurie MacBride. Rich and bright colors create a strong sense of warmth and joy, a sign of pending spring here.
The Red Fuji – Mount Fuji finds it’s tip painted with the most vibrant tones as the sun sets in this epic photograph by Agustin Rafael Reyes. A natural phenomenon is revealed here, creating an almost otherworldly feel sure to captivate all who visit.
The 12 Project-March – Heather Bauer finds and captures a lone tree left standing after the effects of a raging forest fire. Heather’s terrific words that accompany this poignant photograph bring a huge dimension of depth to the post, making for an introspective and profound piece.
Bow Bridge in the Fall – a lovely fall photograph, as captured by Rick Louie, presents a view of an iconic iron bridge in NY’s Central Park. Gentle reflections in the waters and rich colors from the turning leaves all find harmony in this very beautiful image.
Glorious Color, Glorious Walk – another bridge in a park setting, this one from Jay & Jacy Photography. The intense fall colors in the foliage strikes a fascinating landscape for the viewer here, one that can be enjoyed time and time again.
Alone – a lonely tree stands in a field, creating a strong sensation of tension for the viewer in this great shot by Mark Neal. Mark’s perfect composition on this shot creates a vista that takes on a bit of an abstract feel to it, with the added drama of the lone tree standing tall and proud.
Ruins in Panama City – a commanding and incredibly strong series of architectural details forms the core base for this terrific shot by Jim Nix. These remains of a very old building reveal some really great textures for the viewer, delivering more as you spend time taking in the great details.
Fenton – Bob Lussier takes us into the heart of one of the local mills he loves to shoot with this shot that features an empty floor of the mill with a red wagon in it. The great wagon still holds all the hallmarks of a child’s toy, creating a wonderful element that is distinctly out of place yet remains fascinating beyond description.
redruM – a never ending hallway leads the viewer through the incredible decay and weathering of this long forlorn building. Mike Criswell’s terrific style in photography compliments this scene just perfectly, sharing a haunting scene that also delivers a mesmerizing vanishing point.
Church on the Corner | The Little Church That Could – my good friend and fellow HDR enthusiast recently visited the island we call home. He’s now shot and shared a few great little spots from around here, including this iconic church in the middle of one of our towns. The broader architectural study is delivered in black-and-white to enhance the great drama inherent in the scene, and the detailed shot of the door is in color to accent the rich tones. A terrific pair of posts by Keith Cuddeback.
Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge – a fabulous shot full of nostalgia both in the subject focused on as well as the great sympathetic processing that Derrick Birdsall has used to create the image. These old trestles are full of great details and textures, especially the original ones to the area like this one here. Derrick also includes a short video in this post that takes the visitor across the bridge on a motorbike… very, very cool.
Orange Square – Rob Nopola captures a gorgeous orange flower, and by using a square crop he creates a picture that’s simple and beautiful. Terrific colors in the petals are accented by the shallow depth-of-focus that isolates the flower from it’s backdrop.
Rock Pool No2 Wadi Qurai – a wonderful little pool of water is found and photographed here by David A Lockwood. Rich textures in the surrounding rocks are enhanced by the beauty of the water pool and the greenery it brings to the setting.
“Curving Light” – shapes, lines and colors are all explored and expressed in this great shot from the studio of Rachel Cohen. Rachel’s detail shot of a car does a great job of isolating the flowing lines of the car body, with incredible shades of yellow taking on different intensities from the soft shadows and lights that illuminate it.
Frozen Embrace – an icy vista is captured and presented here by Andy Gimino. As winter’s frozen tentacles cover Lake Champlain, great natural ice formations are created. Andy’s fabulous shot here showcases this natural event, creating an almost surreal landscape scene.
My face, my heart – a lovely portrait shot of a barn owl by Alessandro Rossini shares a bit of it’s great spirit and personality. This wonderful photograph displays great details of the bird, even as it appears to emerge from the shadows to the viewer.
Stone Smokestack – Bob Lussier’s work documenting the old mills is highly regarded, and this picture of one of the original smokestacks of the factory shows just why. Wonderful details and textures in the old brickwork are all brought to life in this shot.
sardine wars ep. VIII – this shot features a small group of dolphins making a charge into a bait ball of sardines near South Africa. Alexander Safonov’s incredibly strong underwater picture shares a glimpse of the struggle for survival under the covers of the world’s oceans.
The Sechelt Pier – a cold, blustery, stormy day on the west coast of Canada provides a perfect canvas for the photography of Jordan Oram. Jordan finds himself under an incredible pier on the coast, watching the forces of nature work around him. The great mood found in this picture is definitively west coast, and really captures a glimpse of winter on the coast.
Moonlight – a wondrous full moon makes it’s presence known above the cresting waters of a boiling ocean. This black-and-white shot by gwang_Bok Bak embodies the concept of natural drama, making for a shot sure to capture the hearts of all who see it.
Clear Blue Morning At The Jefferson Memorial – terrific colors in the breaking morning sky work in conjunction with the incredible landscape and architecture that comprises the Jefferson Memorial. This is a great shot from Metro DC Photography that showcases this iconic facility.
A moment to remember – Christine Berkhoff finds herself in a frigid landscape with the glorious aurora borealis lighting the sky up with rich, vibrant greens. This natural phenomenon creates a vista that only is visible at the poles, making for stark and cold landscapes that add an element of interest.
Under the Western Sky – Derrick Birdsall’s incredible photography is on display at the Mesquite Arts Center. Derrick features some of his very dramatic monochromatic pieces that do a fabulous job of delivering drama and inherent beauty through his processing that takes on a nostalgic feel to it.
Golf: it’s untrustworthy | In the rough | Nuisances – a trilogy of posts that features a long abandoned miniature golf course from several unique perspectives. Melinda Green Harvey’s personal insights are poignant and at times totally hilarious, adding a huge dimension to very profound black-and-white imagery.
Reflections Of Fall Past – rich, gorgeous colors that can only be found in the fall foliage is displayed and explored in this wonderful photograph by Harold Begun. The still reflections from the surrounding waters mirror the incredible landscape back to the viewer.
Corner – a fabulous shot that features, well, a corner inside a building. The Stone Mill makes for great photography opportunities for the camera of Steven Perlmutter, who comes away with shots like this one. Awesome textures and details in the old building all come to life with Steven’s composition, making for a piece that’s really captivating.
It’s about me – you are immediately struck by the incredible tension in this shot by photobypawelp. As a lone person walks across the frame, forming a silhouette against the vibrant colors of the sky in the backdrop, you are left with a series of haunting questions.
Orange Crush – for fans of the color orange, we’ve found your spot this week! Erin Duke shares a set of images featuring the vibrant tones of orange, each one unique in itself yet working together as a collection intended to express… color! This post features a beautiful flower, a powerful tiger and epic autumn colors in a tree’s leaves.
Lost in the details… – Sherry Galey finds a wonderful oceanside detail to capture and share in her blog post here. As the vibrant blue waters crash up against a rock formation, Sherry’s great composition takes this natural act and creates a complete picture by looking at those details as a whole.
power plant k by [AndreasS] – an abandoned power plant in what I believe to be Europe casts a haunting setting upon the lens of Urbex photographer AndreasS. Fabulous details in the control room and it’s equipment left behind tells a story of what once was a bustling facility.
Dusk Between the Towers – Tim Stanley delivers a great architectural study in Houston, Texas. The frame is flanked by two modern skyscrapers that create a great natural frame to take the viewer into the heart of the frame.
The Blue Hour across the Marsh – a breathtaking vista is explored in this great shot from the studio of Barry Turner. A fence leads us into the frame which then leads the viewer into the field in the center of the shot and finally back up to the sun flare, bringing a sense of hope and joy into the beautiful scene.
Destined to be forgotten – another post from Barry Turner, this one featuring the skeleton of a wooden boat on shore, surrounded by other boats. The way the boat sits on the shore adds a strong lonely feel to the scene, leaving the visitor with a ton of unanswered questions.
F-86 Sabre | Lockheed P-38J Lightning – Perry Bailey captures a pair of shots of iconic jet airplanes and with his extremely careful post-processing creates a vision of these important craft that are both striking and compelling. The way the final results are rendered brings the true power and fascination of the planes to life for everyone to take in and enjoy.
Must Be Nice – a lovely home situated on the waters of Florida just screams luxury and opulence. Bob Israel’s fabulous shot here is full of details sure to captivate the imagination of the viewer, drawing you further into the frame itself.
Winteransicht – a winter’s scene, creating an almost abstract feel to it, graces the monitor as you visit this great shot by Tauras Caio. Wonderful tones in the sky frame right bring a dash of color to the landscape that slowly is revealing itself in the details shared.
Early Morning In The Lake District – Mark Mullen gets up at the very crack of dawn to find himself immersed in an iconic location, ready for the morning sun to cast its glow upon the landscape below. Mark’s trio of shots in this post are all wonderful examples of blue hour images, with great light highlighting the amazing wonders that the location reveals to the visitor.
Sitting on top – a tiny frog clings to the top of a little branch in this great shot, as captured by Christopher Schlaf. Christopher’s perfectly shallow depth-of-focus and crystal clear details on the frog work in perfect conjunction together to deliver a truly compelling piece.
Blue Hour at The Palace – a fabulous architectural study of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco California as shared here by Mike Criswell. The blue hour casts great tones upon the scene, highlighting the beauty of the facility in accordance with its surroundings.
Harrier – a wonderful harrier in flight is the prime subject in this great shot from Jay Taylor. Fabulous natural light illuminates this graceful bird mid-flight, making for a captivating picture.
Portal – Syd Weedon shares a set of photographs all featuring portals from different places. Each image tells it’s own unique story, and when viewed as a collection this post delivers a poignant tale.
A walk through Alcalá – Light Stalking’s very own @astaroth takes us on a journey to explore some of the iconic spots of the city he calls home. This wide ranging series of images features a diverse set of subjects, all delivering on the promise to take us on an exploration.
A long way to go – this shot features several great photography elements, bringing them together in a great image captured by Frans Deeders. A pathway leads the viewer right through the frame culminating in a great vanishing point, and a pair of people walking the path adds a touch of great tension.
Winter in Hangzhou, West Lake – a picture with so much white in it, at first glance you’re left feeling you are looking at a high-key image. In reality this landscape is so full of snow it’s turned it almost entirely white, revealing great details in the architecture and natural elements of the scene. As shared here by Eddie Cheng.
Chain Reaction – Jeff Lewis captures a seaside shot featuring a vivid California sunset. Absolutely epic colors in the fading day’s sky paint the scene in rich, warm tones, pulling the viewer into this highly engaging image.
Amazing photography of the night sky with light beams – master of light Kevin Cooley uses a completely unique approach to creating his highly compelling imagery. Kevin uses light flares and long exposure techniques to create his personal and captivating style of photography.
Bled – what has to be one of the most iconic spots on earth to photograph, the castle sitting on the shores of Lake Bled produces a striking subject for the photography of Gitta Sladič. The incredible natural beauty of the surrounding landscape creates the perfect setting for such a dramatic piece of architecture.
Snowblind – Jerry Denham takes us river-side in the winter where he captures a breathtaking landscape shot. Snow blankets the trees that straddle the powerful river, creating a unique beauty that Jerry perfectly captures to share here.
Bridge Of Life… – an almost haunting scene finds a wonderful stone footbridge crossing a fast moving body of water. The incredible colors in the surrounding foliage deliver a punch of color that works together with the bridge to create a magical scene. Photograph by Samet Güler.
Paradise Found – Adam Allegro finds himself facing a stunning sunrise with colors that really do look like a pastel paintbox exploded on the screen. Oranges, greens, blues, browns and a plethora of other colors in natures palette are all found in this shot.
French Quarter Vespa – great architectural features and details create the perfect stage for a lone Vespa bike to sit and pose in front of. Edith Levy’s shot does a great job of sharing the unique character and spirit that makes up the city of New Orleans.
The Amazing Beauty of Horses – the great folks at Jay & Jacy Photography deliver a great shot, featuring a pair of horses on a snow-filled day. The great composition used here really does a wonderful job of capturing and sharing the unique character that makes up these grand creatures.
Nos deux regards au musée Carnavalet | Nos deux regards… – another pair of posts here by Mathias Lucas and Anne-Laure K. deliver on a great concept, one where we get to see the same facility photographed by two different artists. The results are astounding. Each uses their own style to create a unique set of shots featuring le musée Carnavalet in Paris, France.
Spruce Forest Artisan Village – what a terrific set of shots, as photographed and shared here by Mark Summerfield. The Spruce Forest Artisan Village is a community comprised of old and heritage buildings and homes, perfectly refurbished. Today they are home to a group of very talented artisans that work on their crafts here. Mark’s series is carefully processed to bring a touch of nostalgia to the scene, sharing details of a place sure to be enjoyed by all.
Facade – this is a beguiling photograph, featuring the face of an old, historic mill. Steven Perlmutter’s picture exhibits and displays all the great textures and details that can be found in these old brick buildings, with each detail telling a story of the history behind the iconic structure.
Good Night Farm – a wonderful classic wooden fence creates a great leading line with bright red buildings in the background bringing added interest. Rachel Cohen finds herself immersed in a rural setting that makes for great photography as the sun begins to set for the day.
Just an old tree – Scott Wood delivers another picture from his highly acclaimed series of IR images. Incredible contrasts not typically seen in conventional imagery are all wonderfully explored in this shot, delivering something that is alluring and quite magical, both at the same time.
Cascading Walkway – what a breathtaking study in how to compose for epic vanishing points, as captured and shared here by Len Saltiel. Len’s shot features a series of bricked archways that lead the viewer right into the frame, deeper and deeper, finding the end of the image long before finding the end of the scene depicted.
Fernwood West – one of my first and favorite photography subjects always is old homes and buildings. Local photographer Ehpem takes us on a brief explore where he shares some shots of the character found in our architecture on the island.
Dignity – a fabulous black-and-white shot that showcases the inherent drama in a forlorn boat left sitting in a foundation of water. Keith Aggett uses a long exposure to capture this piece, creating a silky, smooth environment to enhance the natural mood found in this scene.
Yellow Bill – Bev captures a striking side-profile shot of a raptor, close-up on it’s face. The terrific details in the bird’s face are highlighted by the perfect focus spot right on the bird’s eye, making for a captivating piece to view and enjoy.
Beautiful In Blue – Kerri Farley’s wonderful photograph of a blue jay sitting on a branch while the winter’s snow swirls around it is sure to be enjoyed by all. This gorgeous bird in it’s natural habitat is perfectly captured and expressed here.
Best Photo Locations: The Most Amazing Libraries in The World [Photos] – Chase Jarvis interviews and publishes the results of a great interview with Marcellus Turner, the librarian at the Seattle Public Library. The interesting interview is peppered with a variety of great shots of libraries from places all over the world, making for an engaging post.
Man Follows Girlfriend All Around the World – I love unique concepts, especially when they deliver something you’ve never considered or seen before. A simple concept, perhaps, but no less enthralling for it. Murad Osmann produces a series of shots from all over the world, featured by following his girlfriend through these famous and iconic spots. This is a wonderful series, one that has to be seen personally to fully appreciate it.
It’s Only a Paper Moon: Good Times, Vintage Portraits – a concept long forgotten by me personally, this collection of vintage photographs features people all posed and using a paper moon as a prop for the image. A highly captivating series, full of great potential for reminiscing.
Justice Department Affirms the Right to Photograph Police in Public – balancing state security against personal freedoms is an ongoing area of contention for photographers. This article is very interesting in this regard, showing promise for the future of our craft and our ability to perform it 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.