It's been a really exciting week in the world of photography and Toad Hollow Photography has been searching everywhere for the very best links to share here. This week's comprehensive list contains some terrific tutorials, reviews, collections, special features, great photography and interesting blogs, enough to keep the avid enthusiast busy for quite some time! The Toad hopes you dive right in and enjoy this list as much as he did in bringing it to you.
by Jacqui Barker, on Flickr
How to fix skin tone in Photoshop: Video tutorial – this 10 minute video tutorial takes the viewer through the process of using a curves adjustment layer and its associated making layer. Lee Brown’s comprehensive tutorial shares techniques that can be used in many other ways during post-processing, expanding the horizons of those who view this presentation.
Posing Tips: Expressions & Hats – a great article by Joe Farace that discusses the how’s and why’s of the importance of facial expression and props like hats for portrait photography. This brief post shares some great insights into the topic, with the points being useful for a wide range of work.
How to Get the Perfect Photo of a Steaming Cup of Coffee – this 5 ½ minute video tutorial shows the viewer how to stage, light, compose and capture that quintessential steamy cup of coffee shot. Commercial photographer Robert Grant takes you on a detailed and entertaining journey through the entire process, with phenomenal results.
Camera Settings for HDR Photography – this ten minute video presentation takes the viewer through the basic steps to get into HDR photography. Richard Harrington and Abba Shapiro host this feature, both of them leaders in the field.
Gitzo Series 1 Traveler 6x Carbon Fiber Tripod & Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler Ballhead – Edith Levy writes and delivers a completely comprehensive review of this tripod and ballhead combination, sharing some great insight into how versatile and stable these units are. Use cases and features are discussed here, producing a well-rounded article that covers the topic.
The Body in Nature: Unusually Beautiful Photographs – the human body has been used as an art subject since the beginning of art itself, so it’s highly unusual to come across a body of work that takes on an entirely different perspective of how the body imitates the natural world through a composition focusing on the abstract. The black-and-white photographs by Arno Rafael Minkkinen are just this, with many of the pieces leaving the viewer with many questions left unanswered.
Silhouettes in a Giant Moonrise, Captured Using a 1200mm Lens – the compression effects introduced by lenses with super-long focal lengths are exploited in the creation of this picture. As a full moon crests over a hill, Philipp Schmidli positions himself almost a mile away and has a bicycle and rider ride in front, producing a striking result. This is an absolute must-see post in this week’s list.
Camaro cruise in Cary – Jason Knight brings us along on an incredible adventure where we get to take in all the wonder and character of a car show dedicated to the notorious Chevrolet Camaro. Jason’s incredibly large collection of photographs features broad views of the cars as they sit as well as a terrific series of detail shots focusing on some of the finer personal elements of the cars.
The Wonder Stuff – Islington Academy – Mark Blundell works his magic behind the lens at a rock show in the UK. Mark does a terrific job in creating this set of photographs, showcasing the musicians in their natural habitats and their incredible personalities as they go about the business of entertaining a energetic throng.
Incredible High Speed Video of Lightning Captured at 11,000 Frames Per Second – super high frame rates produce incredible slow motion imagery, allowing the viewer to closely study in intricate detail the unfolding events in a one second lightning strike. Six minutes of video is produced by using this technique, and the results are absolutely astonishing.
From The Forest To The Sea – a great series of black-and-white long exposure shots from two different photographers is featured in this post. The work of Pierre Pellegrini and Volker Birke are displayed here, featuring incredible personal views of the landscapes they are presented with, producing a truly unique set of shots.
Starting a Photography Business in Today's Economy – Zack Arias produces a video presentation and shares some of his expertise on how to successfully build a photography business today. The real challenges that are faced by photographers building their portfolio are tackled head-on so the viewer comes away with a realistic view of creating real growth.
Seeing Double: Breathtaking Mirrored Images Of City Skylines – two of my personal favorite photography elements come together in this breathtaking collection of images; reflections and architecture. This collection contains cityscapes taken under varying lighting conditions, all of them reflected back in mirror-smooth bodies of water for extra impact.
14 Big Birds Captured in Action in Stunning 1150 Pixel Photographs – a completely epic collection of some of the most incredible bird pictures ever. These super high-res shots are all crystal clear, showcasing these incredible creatures in their natural environs going about their business. This is an amazing collection, and absolute must-see in this week’s list.
Contrasting effects of Day and Night Photography – 30 Snaps! – a great collection of shots featuring a series taken at night, and a series taken during the day. These shots all exhibit great details and colors, making for a really enjoyable series to visit and enjoy in this week’s list.
by Nicolas_Goulet, on Flickr
23 Eerie Pictures of Beaches at Night – a really terrific set of shots taken of beaches at night. This is a widely varied collection featuring all sorts of elements and landmarks that are a true joy to view and take in.
50 Magical Examples of Misty Morning Photography – mist is a terrific photography element that when captured in the right light can paint a compelling scene. Mystical and sometimes eerie results can be achieved when photographing in these circumstances, as is evidenced by the wonderful collection of images.
Totally Run Off My Feet… – in what has to be one of my favorite shots of the week, we find a Wild Little Owl with a purpose in it’s stride. Austin Thomas captures an amazing shot of this little bird as it runs across the frame with a terrific expression on it’s face. Really wonderful natural tension is explored in this picture that is guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings of everyone who visits.
Unbelievable Composite Image of a Solar Corona During a Total Solar Eclipse – this is definitely something that you’ve probably never seen before. Miloslav Druckmüller creates a spectacular composite of a solar eclipse using completely new processes and procedures, resulting in a shot that in my humble opinion reveals a few secrets of the universe.
Flying squirrel, falling snow – if you’re looking for great photo opportunities, head on outside! This great shot by Jules Cox gives us a great view of a flying squirrel midair. Incredible details in the little fur-friend are featured in a shot that defines tension in photography.
Courtyard Entrance.. – a lovely shot that features a garden door made of wood creating the perfect frame to guide the viewer into the picture. Tony Matthews’ picture showcases the incredible textures in the surrounding brickwork as well as a peek into a garden beyond the door that adds a touch of artistic tension.
Gates – once again our very own Tom Dinning (@tomdinning) shares a photograph and some truly profound thoughts to accompany it. The picture features a wonderful gate across the distance of a field, a beckoning sight that leaves the viewer wondering what lies behind it.
Painting the Arches – Mike Criswell and the NXNW 2013 crew come together in this post that features the epic formations at Arches National Park, Moab Utah. Mike delivers a really fabulous pair of shots from this adventure, showcasing the incredible beauty of the place light painted for effect under the night’s sky.
death valley – Edin Chavez creates a great and totally unique shot taken in Death Valley. Right after sunset Edin setups and captures a self-portrait of him standing, looking out into the vastness of the valley and the mountains in the distance. Beautiful tones and hues in the sky add the most wonderful tint to the entire shot, finishing the picture off just perfectly.
Space and Time – I love gauges and watch faces, glinting light off their polished facades with numbers and symbols that provide meaning to those who read them. This monochromatic piece by Kevin Haggith shares a set of watches sitting on a black background, and Kevin’s great composition gives the viewer a little of a sense that they are floating.
Heavy Metal in Cowichan Bay – local photographer Joseph de Lange brings us along as he explores the marina he calls home, coming away with a great series of mostly black-and-white shots featuring boats of differing shapes and sizes. This is a great post, one that shares a little of the feel of the community itself.
Pacific Diffusion – Jim Denham shares a gentle seaside image in this post, with waves gently caressing the shores, brilliant soft hues in the fading light of the day and fascinating rocks with great details in the foreground. This picture creates a sense of serenity instantly for the viewer, making for a shot that is a must-see in this week’s list.
Paris – subdued hues and tones bring the city of Paris to life in this shot by Jesús Sánchez Ibáñez. An elevated perspective shares the sense of expanse with the world-famous Eiffel Tower in the distance serving as an anchor point and an element of context.
The Twilight Zone – a brooding sky hangs over a dramatic landscape in this fabulous shot by Mike Olbinski. Mike stands in the middle of a road as takes this shot, with the road leading the viewer right into the frame naturally. The best part, though, has to be the single headlight in the distance coming at the camera, adding a great sense of artistic tension.
Under The Boardwalks – Curt Fleenor captures and shares a great shot here featuring a set of boardwalks that take the viewer right into the center of the frame. The soft skies above add a soft sense to the picture, completing the feel of being oceanside.
Old Energy – the incredible character and history that an old European windmill holds is explored in this fabulous shot by Len Saltiel. This sharp photograph features the great textures in the stonework of the huge structure, as well as some context from the surrounding landscape.
Skiddaw from High Rigg – a shot that defines the epitome of drama with an incredible landscape covered by a brooding sky. Tom’s fabulous composition with this piece highlights a building storm in the distance that almost looks like a very heavy object descending upon the landscape below.
Do I See You, or Do I See Me? – you know how they always say “eyes are the window to the soul”? This incredible picture by Anita Megyesi features a little girl tightly composed in the frame looking back at the camera. Her eyes are absolutely mesmerizing, full of a personal story based on her journey in life so far. An amazing shot sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
stairway to hell – a terrific sense of raw tension is delivered in this texture-rich shot from david stoddart. A concrete staircase in a derelict factory leads the visitor right up into a scene that disappears, leaving behind debris created by the natural weathering process of time.
On the Eastern Edge – Bob Lussier captures a stunning landscape photograph here taken in Dead Horse Point State Park. As we look out over an endless vista, the various layers of mountains and peaks take on a dimension of depth in the softening tones of each layer, producing a picture that leaves the viewer feeling a strong sense of vastness and awe.
Old Father Thames – Chris Maskell’s masterful control of contrast and shadow helps to create a very dramatic black-and-white shot full of mystery and intrigue. The extreme low-light conditions and Chris’ lengthened exposure time helps to smooth out the flowing waters of the river and produce gentle reflections of the contrast from above by the dark cloud formations.
BOOM! I’m Done Here! – Chris Nitz is well known for his use of toy props and incredible photography, creating a distinctive art form that sets him apart from everyone else. Chris uses a toy Jeep and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle as anchors looking out over a seemingly endless vista, bringing the characters and the scene to life for everyone to really enjoy.
by j neuberger, on Flickr
Hide and Seek – a wonderful and terribly cute racoon peers back at Justin Lo as it clings to the side of a tree. Justin’s spot-on depth-of-focus makes the little fur-friend stand out from the background, bringing all the spirit and personality of this little bandit to life.
Tamarama – Ewen Charlton captures and creates an abstract in this composition featuring a wave curling in the ocean. The perfect composition and the incredible beauty in the natural curve from the wave as it crests work together harmoniously in this shot to deliver a mesmerizing and breathtaking piece.
secret garden . . . – rich greens from springtime in the garden are explored in this wonderful picture from the studio of dragonflydreams88. As the city transitions from the grey and rainy skies typical of winter here, Victoria begins to come alive as spring arrives, changing greys into vibrant greens everywhere.
The Up Close and Personal Power of Trains – I never cease to be amazed at the ingenuity and collective intelligence of mankind when it comes to incredible engineering and machinery. Spencer McDonald shares this love of large-scale machinery by sharing a pair of detailed, close-up shots of various bits of the train design. Indeed, beauty can be found in the most amazing of places.
Autumn in May! – as autumn begins in the Southern Hemisphere, all of us up north look forward to summer. This stunning picture by Sam Assadi features the vibrant colors of the fall leaves, framing a lovely ribbon of roadway that leads the viewer gently through the frame out into a terrific vanishing point.
After the rains – May 2013 – David A Lockwood captures a stunning piece here, producing an almost abstract feel by his composition and the natural elements in frame. The proverbial cherry on top of the cake has to be found in the terrific reflection in the water, mirroring back the scene perfectly to the viewer.
Postcards From Cowichan Bay – the wonderful boats and marine elements that make up the lovely little community of Cowichan Bay are the prime focus for this post by Joseph de Lange. This incredible town plays host to a fleet of all sorts of boats and nautical things, all reflected back wonderfully in the gentle waters lapping in the bay.
…and yet another day is done – a glimpse into our own minds and souls, as captured and reflected upon here by our very own Tom Dinning (@tomdinning). Tom has a wonderful way of taking imagery to a whole new level with his terrific insights and personal thoughts, turning a picture into a profound look at the meaning of life.
Migration – silhouettes of new arrivals signal the beginning of spring and summer for Steve Beal. I love the feel of this shot, with a lone bird against the bright sun and the deep contrast of the surrounding landscape to deliver a strong sense of hope and wonder for the pending new season.
Reflection of Skyscraper, Korea – the mesmerizing lights of the skyscrapers are perfectly reflected in the still waters in this incredible photograph by Woosra Kim. The entire composition is filled with modern architecture under the deep blue skies of the day’s fleeting light.
“Cookies” – for the cookie monster in all of us, this week Howard Jackman creates something highly inventive and most perfectly executed. For the sake of photography a single, new chocolate chip cookie is sacrificed to a hoard of hungry ants, who in turn find themselves in the crosshairs of Howard’s macro lens.
Urban Exploration ….. Milano ! – your eye makes it way back and forth, first following the leading lines and shapes created by the concrete pillars aligned just perfectly, and then to take in some of the finer details. Davide Photographer uses muted colors within a perfect composition in creating a piece that might even seem abstract to some.
Rusty Drain – indeed, a wonderful rusty drain awaits the visitor in this great post by Jim Denham. Jim uses a 60 second exposure time to turn the water of the bay into a silky smooth blanket, while maintaining the crisp integrity of the rusty drain as the primary subject.
Guten Morgen – this shot is so very beautiful, a gorgeous morning in Austria finds vibrant colors cresting over the peak of the mountains in the far distance. Friedrich Beren’s spectacular and personal view of the vista also features an absolutely breathtaking reflection of the scene played back to the viewer in dead calm waters covered in a light mist.
The Last Goodbye – Rachel Cohen shares a highly personal and profound moment and image with everyone in this post. Having just lost her father she returns to a favorite spot of his and captures an absolutely breathtaking sunset with some wonderful colors, and shares a private moment. This post is tugs on the heart and shares something deeply profound.
Emergence – an absolutely profound picture created by a natural phenomenon that occurs just a few times a year. Daniel Cheong happens to be in the exact right spot to find himself overlooking the city of Dubai as an early morning fog blankets the brightly lit metropolis below. This is a breathtaking picture that takes on a strongly surreal feel.
Cisco | Cisco Trailer – Bob Lussier and his roving gang of photographer friends descend upon a town full of opportunity. Bob finds a fabulous pair of compositions featuring an old abandoned van and a camper in a barren landscape, carefully processed with a vintage feel to deliver an authentic impression for the viewer.
Cisco UT…Ghost Town – Mike Criswell is out and about hanging out on an extended photo adventure, and ends up in Cisco, Utah with Bob Lussier featured above. Mike’s great shots showcase how two artists encountering the exact same scene come away with such a distinctly unique set of images to add to their portfolios. This ghost town serves as the perfect subject for Mike and friends and their photography skills, and any post from these guys is well worth the time to visit.
Textures of a Canyonlands Sunrise – an endless series of layers of landscape features creates a strong sense of depth and dimension in this incredible picture by Rick Louie. Golden tones from the lingering sunrise glances off the surfaces and edges, exposing all the natural beauty of the vista for everyone to enjoy.
Blue Hour Pier – Edith Levy guides the visitor through the scene captured with a great natural leading line in the pathway she’s used in her composition. As we join Edith walking along the pier we get to take in some terrific details in the city skyline in the distance and some really beautiful natural light from the effects of the blue hour.
High and Dry – boats are full of raw natural character, and in this case Steven Perlmutter has discovered quite the vessel lying prone in the shore, stranded by low tide. The great personality of the boat comes alive in his shot here, which also features a very dramatic sky with a looming storm to add a layer of interest.
by Gilles San Martin, on Flickr
A Brief Respite – Andy Gimino delivers a fabulous photograph of a replica wooden boat sitting tied to dock, looking out over the water as the sun sets. The very unique composition that Andy uses in this shot creates a strong sense of artistic tension, as if the boat is looking out over the water anticipating a voyage.
Germander Speedwell – for those who love beautiful flowers and vibrant colors, this is most certainly the post for you! Andy Hooker (LensScaper) shares a pair of great shots of this delicate flower from different perspectives. Wonderful details emerge in these pictures for those who spend time with them.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin – an abundance of incredible architectural details are explored in this stunning photograph from the studio of Jim Nix. Jim’s processing for this picture is spot-on, accenting all the textures and details in this historic church
Firsts – this is a wonderful picture featuring an old mill constructed of wood, full of character and great details. Jerry Denham finds an amazing composition for this piece, showcasing the motion of the water through the mill and some of the great surroundings.
derelict army showerblock – a haunting and dramatic image of a long forgotten WWII shower block is presented here by david stoddart. The window frame right creates an opening for light to enter this space, creating deep shadows that only serve to add to the inherent drama found in the scene.
Waiting for the tide – some great elements come together to make this a really wonderful photograph to view and enjoy, as shared here by Barry Turner. The blue hues and the golden tones in the fading light come together to accent the sailboat featured here, capped off with a really fabulous gentle reflection in a still body of water in the foreground.
Slot Canyon Wall Color, Arizona – light and shadow play with color, lines and shapes of the walls of the Slot Canyon in Arizona in this stunning shot by Mark Paulson. This great natural rock formation creates striking abstract scenes, and this image is a great example of this.
On A Wing and a Prayer – a completely certifiable individual perched precariously atop the wing of a moving airplane at the Manassas Air Show creates the perfect subject for Perry Bailey to photograph and share here. A great vignette adds the finishing touch, leading the viewer right into the centre of the unfolding madness.
My…How Cavalier Of You! – Edith Levy takes her new Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens around the block in this post featuring her pet dog Brady. This lens produces amazing images as we really get to savor the character of Brady enjoying his day out and about.
Dual beauty – a lovely shot featuring a wooden little boat tied up to the skeleton of a tree in a still body of water, as shot and shared here by Ahmet Utgan. Ahmet’s post-processing on this shot adds a touch of a yellow tint to the scene which produces a striking effect for the viewer.
St. Mary’s Church, Yonkers – Pulpit View – this is a really well composed interior shot of St. Mary’s Church in Yonkers. Mark Garbowski takes us to a slightly elevated position where he overlooks the pews and fabulous details of the inside of this church. The rich tones in the woodwork combine with the intricate details to reveal a scene full of features to enjoy.
Reflections On La Nana Creek – lighting changes the dynamics of a scene, and even though you might plan for a specific shot to arrive on the big day to find that Mother Nature has completely contrary plans and your light is lost. Or so you might think. Jim Denham finds himself in this exact situation, but I find the image he has come away with is quite spectacular with a great muted reflection in the still waters to anchor the entire setting.
Antique gas pumps – you’d best make sure your tetanus shot is up to-date before you head into this great post full of rusty and texturey goodness by Jim Nix. These old antique gas pumps literally trickle character with great designs that are instantly recognizable, made better by years of weathering and rust.
Falls in Contrast – a picture so striking, it’s sure to amaze everyone who pops by to see it for themselves. Chris Williams captures a highly dramatic landscape shot featuring Snoqualmie Falls in all their glory bathed in light from the fading day, then carefully processed in black-and-white to really draw all the raw drama out of the vista presented.
The 2013 nXnw Pros – Chris Nitz, one of the adventuring photographers we’ve been featuring in our list the past few weeks, shares a great post that showcases all the great photogs in the group. Chris does a fabulous job of photographing the guys in action, featuring great black-and-whites of each of them. He also introduces us to the team in a personal way.
Ross Bay Cemetery V – local photographer Ehpem shares a post that features a pair of shots taken in the locally famous Ross Bay Cemetery. The gravestone being featured is that of a young girl, and Ehpem shares a little of what can be learned from putting the evident pieces together. The first shot in the pair is really striking, guaranteed to leave everyone with personal feelings and insights.
Vette Dreams – for those who love car photographs, we’ve got a real stunner in this picture captured and posted by Michael Lewis Glover. The latest generation Corvette has terrific lines, and Michael’s picture here takes the viewer across the car by following it’s natural flow. This is a great HDR shot with rich, vibrant colors and details.
Reflections – one of the largest mosques in the world located in the UAE is showcased in this striking image by Achim Thomae. The architectural study has cascading layers of arches to guide the viewer into the extended vanishing point, wonderfully reflected back in the still waters in the foreground.
Badlands National Park – the epic desolate landscapes of the Badlands National Park are explored in this pair of pictures from Keith Cuddeback. Keith’s great HDR processing techniques expose all the dynamic range and details of the alien landscape, creating a compelling presentation.
by jenny downing, on Flickr
Sheesh! – Derrick Birdsall posts a trio of great landscape shots, one of the blue hour, one of the golden hour, and a great architectural black-and-white of what appears to be a bridge. The color shots exude vibrant colors and silhouettes from the fading light of the day, producing a destination for everyone to head to and enjoy.
Turquoise Ice at Northern Lake Baikal, Russia – an absolutely fascinating natural phenomenon is captured and shared in this post on the Amazing Things in the World Facebook page. Turquoise blocks of ice peek out through the snow covered vista, producing a scene that takes on an alien element to it.
Panoramics – a breathtaking collection of panoramas showcasing all sorts of landscapes and other natural elements. There are some really fabulous reflections in this collection, and some of the pictures take on an abstract feel.
Photographer Captures Detailed Photos of the Sun From His Backyard – a very narrow band of light is captured using a specific and complex technique, all taken in Alan Friedman’s backyard. His focus on the sun allows him to create totally unique and spectacular images likely never seen before of the ball of fire we all rely on for life on planet Earth.
Sweetness – there’s something inherently innocent and beautiful in the face of a little kitten. Beverly Everson does a fabulous job with this photograph, controlling both the composition and the depth-of-focus to really bring the viewer right into the heart of the frame, the delicate little face of a new and inquisitive life.
Red Mist – a deer stag stands tall, striking a silhouette against the morning sun. Simon Roy finds a special moment, with the deer providing it’s profile as it breaths in the cold, morning air. An astonishing shot, well worth the time to visit.
Dancing with the Clouds – Anita Megyesi finds herself on a beach at a magical time with a vibrant blue multi-hued sky and fascinating cloud formations. The rolling surf creates a terrific natural leading line to gently guide the viewer through the frame producing a lovely picture that whisks the viewer away almost instantly.
Less than it was – once again we find ourselves engrossed in a fabulous post from Melinda Green Harvey featuring a great combination of photography and writing working together to paint a complete mosaic for the visitor. This post focuses on an old sign, no longer in use and now long forgotten, that when viewed with Melinda’s humorous insights delivers a rather ironic and poignant piece.
Hasselt – Mathias Lucas takes us along as he explores the town of Hasselt in Belgium, sharing a few of the details that comprise the character of the community. Each picture in the collection takes the viewer a little deeper into the experience, finishing off with a profound few pieces that wrap it up just perfectly.
Never ‘Work’ Again — On Following Your Passion with Photographer Ian Ruhter – for those trying to break into the industry, inspiration can be key to keep the creative processes running and moving those critical projects forward. Chase Jarvis features a great video presentation on his blog, sure to motivate and inspire you to take on life and your dreams head-on.
Old Color Footage Shows What London Looked Like Back in 1927 – this mesmerizing piece of video footage literally takes the viewer back in time almost 100 years. Claude Friese-Greene was a pioneer of the process created to produce color-like moving pictures, and this glimpse into life in the city of London whisks the viewer away for a place and time long ago.
What Louis Vuitton Can Teach You About Your Photography Pricing Structure – this series of points and tips reveals how being the cheapest photographer out there can actually hurt your business. These straightforward points focus on quality and the strong impression of a brand, allowing you to concentrate on growing the core business you really desire.
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.