With another week behind us, Toad Hollow Photography has been busy trying to find links to the very best tutorials, collections, special features, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone. This week's comprehensive list features works from many different styles and genres, making for a feature presentation with something in it for everyone. We truly hope you enjoy seeing these posts and pictures as much as the Toad did in bringing them to you.
How To Capture Better Landscape Photography – it’s funny how seemingly simple things can actually be the key to unlocking a particular passion. This well written and concise post discusses a series of tips and tricks to help capture the best landscape photographs possible. Well worth the time for a visit to read.
Food For Digital Thought: How Westerners Perceive – perception is always everything, and Joe Baraban always shares great insights into this concept challenging ways of thinking resulting in an expanded artistic repertoire. This article is extremely well conceived and is guaranteed to make you pause and reflect.
Creative Camera Raw: Black and White – Blake Rudis creates and delivers a comprehensive video tutorial taking the viewer through the process of using it to creatively create stunning black and white images. Blake’s video tutorials are typically great, and this feature shares his tips and tricks in a segment of a little over 7 minutes.
Tutorial: Creating a Photo of Syrup Being Poured on a Pancake Lens – this in-depth tutorial takes the reader through the entire process of creating a pretty fabulous shot. Tips, tricks and all the intricate details are shared in this post, making for a tutorial that is guaranteed to give the budding digital artist some great new tools and ideas.
DIY: Steel Wool Lightpainting for Under $10 – this is a terrific, in-depth, article that shows you in great detail how to work in this particular style of imagery. Suddenly the process seems straight-forward, thanks to all the great tips and tricks outlined here.
Using Lightroom to Explore Photographic Geometry – in many cases, pressing the shutter is just the beginning of the journey to create great imagery. This article describes and shows detailed concepts in regards to cropping practices.
Posing Basics: Using V’s for Composition and Framing – a very, very brief article that discusses a specific mode and method of composition. A few illustrative photos add some context to the concept, making for an interesting article to visit and read.
31 National Geographic Photos – well known for the stunning photography they publish, this epic list of images of National Geographic photographs has something in it for everyone. Each and every image can be considered a masterpiece on it’s own, and when taken in as a collection it makes for a wonderful destination to visit in this week’s list.
106 of the most beloved Street Art Photos – Year 2012 – art begets art, and this fabulous collection of photographs taken of street art is a great example of this. Some of these pieces are absolutely astounding, and each is well worth the time to see for yourself.
25 Cool Ideas To Display Family Photos On Your Walls – this post features a myriad of ways to present and showcase photography on the walls of your home or office. These great concepts showcase a variety of different methods of framing, mounting and displaying, making for an article sure to leave the viewer with new ideas.
20 Captivating Photos Shot At Exactly The Right Moment – indeed, timing is everything. This post features exactly what is advertised in the title; a pretty amazing series of images taken at just the right time to share a story visually with the viewer.
The 2012 Arizona Monsoon in Timelapse – Mike Olbinski is well known for his incredible work in the field of storm based photography. The 2012 monsoon season resulted in a terrific series of posts and photographs as the season unfolded, for those who follow Mike and his blog. He has taken some of the best highlights from this work and compiled it into a 19 minute time lapse video that showcases the power and drama of nature, and Mike’s incredible ability to photograph it. Extremely dramatic and a wonder to see.
(Virtual) Hiking And Photography In Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Lake Of The Ozarks (Part 3: The Quarry Trail) – Sandra Hale creates an in-depth piece that takes us along on a comprehensive virtual hike. Sandra’s wonderful photography documents the experience feature-by-feature, making for a compelling piece sure to entertain and teach.
A Crack In The Earth – this is a great shot from the studio of Jim Denham that features the cold, winter Minnesota landscape with a really unique open setting. Jim finds a small body of water that resembles a crack in the earth, with very still waters that mirror the trees. The final result is processed in black-and-white to deliver wonderful natural drama.
Life Before Photoshop: Cessna – master photographer Joe Baraban shows a stunning shot of a jet plane in flight, taken from another plane travelling in front of it. As Joe dangles his feet out of the photography plane shooting frames, it’s hard to imagine that this occurred before the time of modern digital post-processing and thus the picture was perfect at the moment the shutter was depressed. I strongly believe that these sorts of planning and execution exercises make for better end photography.
Rawr? – gimme a second to climb down from the bookcase here, and be careful clicking this link because it’s going to put you face-to-face with a terribly grumpy 800lb Grizzly Bear. Matthew Hahnel captures a great close-up up this ferocious creature, producing great details in it’s face that are sure to run almost anyone’s blood ice cold.
Beyond the Illusion – this is most definitely one of those once in a lifetime type shots, as shot and shared here by Kent Mearig. Kent literally gets inside and underneath the Mendenhall Ice Caves and captures a terrific photograph featuring the glacier and it’s ice ceiling overhead, and a running stream that comes through the bottom of the frame. The strong juxtaposition of the ice and free-running water are explored in breathtaking light, bringing it all together and to another level entirely.
“In My Glass” Splash!! – Howard Jackman takes his work to a new level working with artificial lighting and high speed splash photography. There are many key elements to this genre of imagery to produce a striking result, and Howard does a terrific job with this in this shot. Howard also shares some insight into the process he used to create this image, adding an interesting dimension for those who enjoy this type of image.
Oludeniz, Turkey – a Mediterranean landscape that has no end, as shot and presented here by Nejdet Duzen. The beautiful blue waters of Turkey feature incredible beaches and a stunning lagoon. Taken from a very high perspective, this terrific composition of this breathtaking scene accents the natural drama.
Bali Lotus Pond – Keith Cuddeback delivers a wonderful photograph of a quintessential Bali scene featuring local architecture surrounded by natural elements. Keith anchors the shot with a splash of color in the form of a lovely lotus flower in the foreground.
Vancouver Fire and Ice – this is a terrific and breathtaking panorama that features the Vancouver city skyline under two blended disparate skies. This beautiful cityscape features some fabulous city landmarks that really exhibit the feel of city life on the west coast of Canada.
The other Toy Story – I love left turns in photography, and Bob Lussier grabs the wheel with both hands and yanks it hard to port in this great post. Bob is well known for his awesome work in the empty mills of Lawrence. The how and why behind the reason these old toys came to be in the middle of an empty mill is the pure definition of tension.
In a ghost town, do ghosts go to church? – deep, dark shadows produce incredible drama in imagery and this photograph by Melinda Green Harvey shares some great examples of this. Melinda’s sense of humor combines subtly with this black-and-white, creating a witty and totally enjoyable spot to visit in this week’s list.
Wordless Wednesday #048: “Right in Your Own Backyard” – proving once again that photography opportunities exist everywhere, Joe Farace takes us along into his backyard where he comes away with a very dramatic black-and-white. A pair of trees form a perfect natural frame for the landscape below.
Central Park Poet’s Walk, aka Literary Walk, In Snow – this great black-and-white from Mark Garbowski features a terrific vanishing point formed by his composition that uses this famous walking path as a natural leading line. Completely covered in snow, this winterscape is a cold picture to view, and is absolutely enjoyable.
Light of the Monsoon – great colors in the night sky are illuminated by the extremely dramatic tendrils of lightning crashing from the heavens to the ground below. Chris Frailey captures a shot that features great details in the lightning bolts, captivating the viewer who spends time taking in the details.
the hotel room at night – a room that seems to be made for great HDR photography is explored in this great image by david stoddart. The wonderful character in the hotel room comes to life with the intricate textures and details that are exhibited in this great picture.
The Northern Junk buildings revisited – two of my favorite subjects to shoot in Victoria are the Northern Junk buildings. Situated right in the heart of the city, these two buildings are widely believed to be some of the original buildings in the city and thus have significant historical value. Joseph de Lange visits the site and captures a great set of pictures that very well may be the last images of the original facades before the new development process begins.
Hunt's Mesa – Monument Valley- The lighthouse – the only thing better than the natural romance of an old lighthouse is to find one amidst a nasty storm, battling to hang onto the very ground it’s anchored upon. Oscar Peña captures a terrific shot of one that delivers a very strong sense of drama and natural tension.
Winterseelandschaft – this is a lovely landscape scene with a great reflection that instantly transports the viewer to a place peaceful and beautiful. Tauras Caio captures and shares this great shot, one that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Naphamethanidon & Naphapholphumisiri Pagoda – Thailand has the coolest architecture and landscapes, and this wonderful image by Preechar features both as well as some breathtaking colors in the sky. Awesome details in the Pagoda are the destination for the viewer after following the gentle ribbon of a walking path up to it.
Bled Blue Hour – the epic landscape of Lake Bled in Slovenia is captured in this gorgeous photograph from Csilla Zelko. The beautiful church has an awesome backdrop of incredible snow covered mountains, and the entire scene is perfectly reflected back in the lake’s surface.
The Cabin – in the depths of winter nothing is more welcome to those half frozen from weeks of snow and cold than a summer picture. Rich McPeek shares a great shot of his family cabin sitting on what I assume to be a lake, full of great character. A terrific visual vacation from the winter blues!
Tethered… – a lovely little row boat sits in perfectly still waters close to shore, casting a mesmerizing reflection back. This is a wonderful shot by David Mould that exemplifies peace and tranquility to it’s fullest.
Antarctic Evening – Ron Niebrugge takes us deep to the south in this shot that features the Antarctic landscape as seen from the water. Simply incredible colors in the night sky cast a terrific tone across the vista, and the commanding mountains that form the backdrop pose dramatic outlines against the evening colors.
The Gnome Doorway – tones and contrasts that are only found in film photography are explored in this wonderful image from Marks and Joey Culver. An old dying tree has the most interesting natural formation that does, indeed, resemble a gnome’s doorway.
The Bridge To Nowhere – a fog encrusted city fades into oblivion in this great shot from Metro DC Photography. A great bridge that seems to disappear entirely leads the viewer through the frame as you come back to finally rest upon the terrific boat and it’s mirrored reflection in the still waters.
GMC – these old classic trucks have the greatest lines and produce fabulous subjects for photography explorations. Although it’s been many-a-year since this great truck saw service, Aaron J. Groen finds an alluring composition that features it’s rusty shell under a bed of stars.
The Master Inspires the Grasshopper – master of toy photography Chris Nitz creates a great scene and then photographs it to the point of excellence, telling a fabulous story to the viewer in a glimpse. As stated in the title, this scene finds the master teaching a class of pupils, and Chris’ perfect processing really accents the power of the story.
Merle – haunting tones are brought out, accenting the inherent drama found in the beached ship on the shore. ijp photo creates a captivating piece with the eery sense to what feels like a ghost ship run aground.
Big Colour, Little Fuss – precisely as advertised, Laurie MacBride shares a gorgeous photograph of her geraniums in full bloom, completely filling the frame in glorious color. This image really is a harbinger of the coming summer and an awesome example of exactly how beautiful nature truly is.
Snowy Art – it’s all in the eyes, and particularly so when shooting owls close up. This incredible shot by Mitchell Kranz features a facial portrait that produces a glimpse into the character of this gorgeous bird, one that leaves the viewer with the impression of this being a bird not to trifle with.
Mallard in the sun…. – beautiful natural colors in these ducks are captured in perfect light here by Derrick Birdsall. These incredible birds sport the most interesting outfits, at times almost appearing to be made of rich, colored silk.
Enduring the elements – a lighthouse peers above a huge wave crashing against it from all sides in this powerful photograph by Veselin Malinov. The angry waters pummel the old house, creating a sense of tension as we all wonder upon the fate of the building.
Let Your Light Shine – South Carolina is well known for it’s epic natural beauty and this breathtaking shot by Erin Duke showcases a sunrise the fills the frame in gorgeous natural colors. This seaside photograph also features a terrific silhouette of a walkway in the foreground, almost lost in the shadows, and in the distance the gentle pounding waves of the ocean.
Long-tailed Rosefinch – a lovely little bird sits on a branch surrounded by the snow of winter’s icy grip, a colorful splash in a monochromatic landscape. Young Sung Bae captures a beautiful photograph, with great details and a perfect composition to bring it all together.
The Perfume Pagoda – an amazing scene, perfectly composed and captured here by Adam Allegro, takes us deep into a Buddhist Temple built deep inside the limestone mountains of the area. Incredible natural light and rock formations produce great details to engage the viewer, and the girl standing in the scene brings a wonderful touch of tension.
The Bat Signal – dramatic tendrils of lightning reach partway down from the sky, only to connect somehow with itself creating an absolutely mesmerizing loop of electricity to see. Mike Olbinski captures this incredible image that features a most amazing natural light show.
La Pagode (Les “Vendredi” avec Anne-Laure) | – Mathias Lucas and Anne-Laure K. bring us along on another of their photography adventures together. This time we get to visit a garden in a wonderful local character movie theatre. Great items and artifacts on display in the gardens allow both Mathias and Anne-Laure to express their individual perspectives of the visit, resulting in a pair of great posts to visit.
The #WayBackMachine and the cheap seats – this is one of Scott Wood’s best pieces, taken at an old abandoned race track in Phoenix. Great natural light streams in through the broken windows, creating a strong juxtaposition of the beauty of nature against the sharp contrasts of weathering by time.
Anna’s Hummer – a beautiful Hummingbird floats effortlessly as it feeds from a flower in this great shot from the studio of Jay Taylor. Incredible details in the bird are brought out in this awesome shot which finds further wonder in the very shallow depth-of-focus that makes the bird stand out from the backdrop just perfectly.
The Beauty of Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast – the nearly indescribable beauty of Ireland is explored here by Lee Brown, both in his wonderful writing and the accompanying photographs. This is a very special place in the world, full of craggy coastlines, incredible colors in the natural vegetation and sheep that at times are more plentiful than people.
Apocalypse – a terrific UK sunset with epic brooding clouds presents a stunning vista for Roland Shainidze to capture and share. Incredible details in the cities architecture works perfectly with the clouds and the burst of sun. This is a purposely considered and created piece that exhibits a distinctly dark feel to it.
The Sun Voyager – a dramatic image that presents what appears to be the skeleton of a ship’s hull made of wood. Regardless, Anna Guðmundsdóttir captures a photograph that has a dramatic sky and a beautiful backdrop to add context and turmoil.
Acadia B&W – a craggy coastline is explored and shared here by Bob Lussier, processed in black-and-white to really accent the natural and beautiful drama. A slightly lengthened exposure time does the job perfectly, creating a silky smooth water effect, accented by lingering mist.
Lulworth Cove … – Pawel Tomaszewicz features a poignant vista of the coast of England, with dramatic rock formations and a terrific little cove to discover. As a finishing touch, some beautifully colored flowers in the foreground add a splash of vibrancy to the overall setting.
Clouds Highway – an epic landscape in Norway is studied in this breathtaking picture by Max. High and steep cliffs provide the drama, and an endless vista brings a sense of incredible depth. A man in red stands on a precipice looking outward, adding the finishing touch with a bit of context for scale.
Colmar, Alsace, France – perfect composition and wonderful architecture converge in this shot by Domingo Leiva. This quaint scene finds the viewer centered over a still body of water that leads the eye naturally into the frame where we find great character and depth in authentic features and details.
Elevator Lobby- San Francisco City Hall – fabulous lines and textures are explored in this terrific shot by Keith Cuddeback that takes us inside this iconic facility. Many different layers with rich dynamic range express a large scene with depth, and in the distance a little girl adds a bit of tension.
One Sad Balloon – a great shot by Mark Neal that features a hot air balloon in the deflated state, with a face on it in such a state as to evoke sadness. Mark’s careful processing of the picture produces an image that contains great textures and details.
Painting the Nashville skyline – a commanding city skyline awaits the viewer in this awesome shot by Jim Nix. Wonderful colors in the evening sky help highlight the incredible and dramatic architecture in the cityscape.
Tomb – from around the Chalcolithic period – great natural light adds depth and contrast to this terrific black-and-white by David A Lockwood. This ancient stone structure finds further drama in the backdrop that has been enveloped in a misty backdrop, making the tomb itself pop right out of the frame.
Bookstore reflections (Marfa) – deep shadows can produce a strong dramatic element in photography, and this shot by Melinda Green Harvey delivers. Melinda’s perfect composition in this black-and-white accents the various elements that draw the viewer through the picture.
Bald Eagles At Paris City Lake – Steve Creek takes us straight to Paris City Lake where we get to see a pair of awesome photographs of the elegant Bald Eagle in flight. The first shot features an incredible mature bird in flight and the second is of a juvenile. These are amazing creatures, and Steve’s shots here do a fabulous job of bringing them to life on our monitors.
The Flow – incredible natural colors and tones are found in this wonderful photograph taken in the canyons of Utah. Koveh Tavakkol finds a composition that includes several awesome elements, including a splash of green from an unexpected tree growing in the canyon as well as a terrific wooden footbridge giving this almost surreal scene a bit of a human element.
Mister X – Mark Garbowski captures a candid shot in downtown New York after a very rainy day. A lone figure with a satchel makes his way down the street towards the famous Radio City Music Hall building, adding the perfect touch of context to a scene that takes on a slightly nostalgic feel to it.
Away from the Elements – a lovely day looking out to sea with warm, blue skies and the perfect little spot of sand to sit a spell and relax is perfectly composed and shared here by Anita Megyesi. The scene finds a terrific element of interest in the lone boat on the shore.
Frogs Under an Umbrella – a pair of frogs sit under a lovely tree in this wonderful image by Tim Stanley. A statue of a pair of delightful frogs sitting on a bench under an umbrella form the basis for this shot, and the wonderful natural setting here adds a perfect layer to the scene.
solitary life – a priory a thousand years old produces the most striking subject for david stoddart’s HDR photography skills. Incredible details and textures in the wood beams the have been holding the ceiling up for near a millennia now work in conjunction with the lovely stone work to produce tones and textures that are absolutely wonderful to take in.
Retired Light – a wonderful lighthouse stands guard in a snowy setting, striking a wonderful subject for the photography of CJ Schmit. The complete covering of snow almost brings a monochromatic feel to the image, with the light touches of color in various spots guiding the viewer around the frame to see the details.
beachcombers . . . – the beautiful west coast shores of Canada are beautiful and unique, as captured and shared here by dragonflydreams88. Wonderful colors in the tall trees and blue sky come together in this shot to feature a pair of people walking the shore, which adds the perfect touch of scale to the overall scene.
Iris unguicularis – spring is just around the corner, and this gorgeous purple flower sends a bubble of joy through the viewer who is anticipating it’s arrival. Lotus Johnson captures a lovely picture here, full of rich details.
Cathedral Center – this is a study in shapes, colors, tones and lines, as presented by Bob Israel. This gorgeous cathedral ceiling is carefully captured by Bob, and it’s inclusion in Flickr’s Explore stream is of little surprise due to it’s highly compelling nature.
Across The Pond – a wonderful tree casts a dark silhouette against the vibrant colors of the fading day’s sky in this terrific shot by Andy Gimino. Lake Champlain produces the perfect backdrop for this terrific tree, and Andy’s shot here delivers a tranquil picture sure to be enjoyed by all.
Bennet’s Neck Sunset, Cape Cod – a stunning sunset overlooking a cape is captured and shared by Wayne Beauregard. The vibrant colors of the evening sun completely bathe the scene in rich tones that produce a very warm and inviting feel.
Malaga Sunset – a beautiful sunset photograph by Barbara Youngleson casts an evening scene full of warm tones of silver and gold. This serene image is perfectly accented by the natural colors of the skies the surround it.
Performance break – a fabulous character takes a break, and Dave Wares uses the opportunity to capture a candid black-and-white street shot. The performer in front of the store is an interesting character, as evidenced by the initial impressions the viewer has when visiting this post.
Seattle Pano #1 – an absolutely dramatic and captivating shot is presented here by Aaron Barlow who features the incredible city skyline of Seattle in black-and-white. Unbelievable details in the cities architecture combines with the gentle reflection of the lights from the water in the foreground to create a piece sure to engage everyone.
Turquois – lovely natural tones in the running waters of the river produce a compelling landscape for Jerry Denham to capture and share on his blog. Jerry’s low perspective in setting up the composition creates strong drama in the scene, with the fast-moving waters being the prime subject.
The Pool Deck at Sunset – winter isn’t ready to release it’s icy grip on us up here, and no better way to escape the doldrums and the cold than a cruise I always say. Edith Levy takes us along to see a shot of a cruise ship deck complete with great lights, people enjoying themselves, and a warm and inviting sky overhead.
Canyon Waves – this is a lovely natural abstract image, from Rick Louie. The famous Antelope Canyons produce striking abstract shapes and tones and the ever-changing light drapes down over the landscape. Rick’s wonderful photograph captures the pure essence of this just wonderfully.
Across the Inlet – a lovely, warm architectural and nature study finds us visiting the shoreline of Maryland where a wonderful foot bridge divides the frame, and the great local architecture adds interest. Fabulous tones in the scene cast an inviting sense to the overall setting, making for a compelling picture to view.
The Last Light – I love these kind of shots, ones that leave the viewer with a thousand unanswered questions. An old wheelchair in an forgotten and weathered room creates a strong sense of tension for the viewer who is left wondering about how the scene came to be.
Drill! – John Mead does a fabulous job in not only capturing a shot of a reenacted battle scene. The picture itself is just wonderful with the composition telling an entire story in a glance, but the true perfection lies in the way the John post-processes this shot to give it a highly nostalgic feel.
Bringing Color – a colorful bird sits on a branch, and Kerri Farley does a terrific job of composing and capturing a shot of it. The backdrop fades out due to Kerri’s perfect shallow depth-of-focus, and this brings the true character out for everyone to enjoy.
Young White Lioness – a fabulous young, with lioness creates the perfect pose for Bev, who comes away with this wonderful shot. Bev’s perfect composition on this shot brings the face of the beautiful cat front-and-center, making for a piece that is sure to delight and compel the viewer.
Komischer Vogel Restaurant, Germany – Jan 2013 – a restaurant and hotel in Germany is the prime subject in this Urbex photography exploration. The empty spaces cast a haunting feeling to the remains of this once lively location.
Danish radar station – The secret of the forest – a massive facility lies completely left to the elements in this terrific series. This installation is now home to some incredibly dramatic elements, completely forgotten. A haunting series that showcases the fleeting nature of man sometimes.
A village hunted by wild elephants – this is an incredible story, illustrated by a set of really compelling photographs. These bodies of work allow stories like this to reach a global audience, bringing awareness of certain key issues out in the light.
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.