Join us once again as we enjoy this list of links from Toad Hollow Photography that shares the best tutorials, reviews, special features, collections, great photography and interesting blogs found during the week. This comprehensive list showcases some of the very finest artists in the field of photography, and we hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in bringing them to you.
Lightroom 5 Features: Using the Radial Filter – this 10 minute video tutorial takes the viewer through the process of using the new radial filter feature in Lightroom 5. This terrific new feature allows the artist to non-destructively apply local changes to an image being worked on, helping to simplify the process of creating great imagery.
Photoshop Tutorials: Advanced Masking – this is a highly advanced tutorial that takes the reader through the entire process of using different approaches and features for advanced masking in post-processing. Plenty of screenshots are included and sample images illustrate the finer key points being presented.
50 Incredible Photography Techniques and Tutorials – this is a pretty epic collection of links featuring great tutorials and articles on many different photography techniques and genres. Some of the sample shots included really give the reader an idea of what to shoot for, if you’ll pardon the pun, with a particular project.
10 Things You Don’t Know About Working With Models – Diana Elizabeth shares some great insights into shooting and working with models in photography. These brief and concise points are full of common-sense tips and tricks, helping to expose some insights into this specific genre of work.
Photographing People is Not Just About Equipment… – another article on the art of photographing people, this one penned by Joe Farace. Joe really does a great job of sharing insight into two categories of models, letting the viewer learn a little on how to direct a shoot better.
The Latest Evolution In Post-Processing: Topaz Clarity Review – how about a new review from yours truly, the Toad here, for a change of pace? We were recently asked by Topaz Labs to take their latest plug-in for image post-processing, called Clarity, out for a try. We post a detailed review on the product and show an image we created using it as an example, walking the reader through the act of post-processing the shot using these new tools.
Lahore Inferno: Losing the battle with fire – WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT – this is an important story, one that shows another side to the craft of photography. Damir Sagolj bears witness and photographs a dramatic story unfolding right in front of him and his camera, forever documenting the raw horror as desperate people fought to live, many of them ultimately losing the battle. We can all honor the memory of those people by sharing the story with others, with the hope of preventing a future tragedy of this sort from ever happening again.
A Mysterious Place: Hengki Koentjoro – mysterious doesn’t even begin to describe the images taken by Hengki Koentjoro, all taken in the depths of the ocean in black-and-white. This brief collection represents a small sampling of his incredible portfolio, and if you spend some time exploring his pieces you will find it time well spent, indeed.
Most incredible volcano footage ever – this minute long YouTube video contains something I almost guarantee you’ve never seen before. What I have to believe would have to be certifiable lunatics stand right on the very edge of an active volcano that boils and bubbles mere feet away from where they stand. Dressed in protective suits, any kind of an event in the volcano would have catastrophic consequences, making these some very brave individuals.
Wheels on Academy: Cary Classic Car Show 2013 – Jason Knight heads out to the car show with us all in tow as he comes away with a large collection of shots. Cars from all periods and genres were on display, and Jay’s great photography does the event justice by allowing us to visit the presentation with him. What a great post.
Breath-taking wildlife photography – this is a massive set of photographs featuring all sorts of wildlife in various settings and conditions. Some of these shots are guaranteed to take your breath away, sometimes exhibiting the beauty of animals, and other times revealing the raw character that comes with untamed nature.
Extreme Plane Spotting at Maho Beach, Saint Martin – this terrific collection of photographs represents pictures from various photographers of the same basic subject. The actual runway for landing jets on this tropical island is only a few feet off the beach, making for compositions that seem totally surreal with planes flying just a few feet above bystanders heads.
Great Shots of Animals while Sneaking – what a great collection of photographs, featuring all sorts of animals in various settings being rather sneaky. When taken in as a collection, these photos really do a great job of sharing a particular aspect of each animal’s personality, making for a true must-see set in this list.
100+ Portraits of Iconic People of All Time – this is a pretty amazing collection of photographs of all sorts of iconic people. Many of these pictures are part of popular culture and have probably be seen before, but yet when taken in in it’s entirety this is a great way to spend a little time.
25 Amazing Examples Of Shadow Art – guaranteed to blow away most people who pop by to see themselves, this collection of shots features great art that when lit in a way to produce shadows. When lit, the art creates great pictures projected on the wall, producing an amazing presentation sure to be the source of wonder for everyone.
20 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Happy – indeed, a light-hearted and sometimes funny collection of photos sure to make you smile. These faces are all expressing something quite special, creating pictures sure to raise everyone’s spirits.
Stroke’s Place – Scott Hovind pays homage to a good friend by creating a really great image that is also very personal. The great shot that Scott uses as the main feature for the image is a close-up of a guitar player’s hand stroking the strings, taking something totally unique and turning it into a signature.
Mr. Mallard – Jay Taylor captures an incredibly clear shot of a Mallard duck in flight, showcasing both the beauty of the details in the bird as well as the perfect amount of motion in the wing tips to create a sense of speed. The perfect depth-of-focus in the shot completely isolates the duck from the background, producing a really striking photograph.
The Eyrie – the city of Dubai awakens to a morning, bathing the metropolis in blue light as it sits under a cover of fog below. Sebastian Opitz finds the city’s skyscrapers poking through the thin veil from high atop a vantage point, creating something truly captivating.
Screech Owl – an amazing photograph of a little Screech Owl clinging to the side of a tree is captured here by Max Rinaldi. The details in the bird are truly incredible, producing an image that is truly a must-see picture in this week’s list.
An Orange Flower – this lovely image from Tim Stanley shares an orange flower with a striking bloom. This great macro shot has a razor thin depth-of-focus, drawing the viewer’s eye through the frame.
‘End of Park Ave’ – simply breathtaking natural rock formations are captured in an incredible panorama taken, composed of 10 different shots, by Scott Ackerman. This great presentation really showcases the grandeur and scale of the vista.
The Pathway – a highly dramatic picture that leads the participant through a pathway in the forest that leads off into a haunting vanishing point. Ian David Soar creates an image that expresses great natural tension in an image carefully processed to elicit a strong response.
Another Working Day – a lighthouse tries to withstand the onslaught of a massive storm that pounds it relentlessly with waves of unimaginable size. Veselin Malinov captures a powerful shot, capturing in a single frame the incredible fury of nature.
Piper J-3 Cub – the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, Va plays host to a vast collection of aircraft, originating from many different applications. Perry Bailey visits the museum and captures this shot that features this important plane to the history of aviation, and with it’s inherent surroundings we also get to enjoy several other planes and details.
face to face – an owl flies headlong into the camera of wise photographie, creating the perfect opportunity for an incredible shot. The beautiful soft and warm light from the glowing sunrise accents the wonderful beauty of the bird in motion.
The Path – Syd Weedon takes us along on a peaceful walk through the forest in this fabulous post. Syd captures various points of interest on the path, creating great natural leading lines that head off into vanishing points. He also posts a few detail shots of various features.
The spiral road – glowing light trails lead the viewer in a curvy journey through a countryside down to a civilization below. Dante JKPix captures an iconic shot that takes advantage of the dark, night sky and the lights of cars making their way up and down the ribbon of roadway.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse – an incredibly dramatic landscape under a glowing and moving sky features a fabulous lighthouse. Luke Popwell’s shot does a great job of showcasing the details and textures of this historic place, anchored nicely by the picket fence that leads the viewer into the frame.
Hoo Wrecks… – the haunting skeletons of wrecked and forgotten ships lie on the shores of Kent in this dramatic black-and-white by Tony Matthews. The picture has a classic monochromatic feel to it, producing an image that is highly sympathetic to the subject.
Opposites – Steven Perlmutter shares a really interesting shot featuring a pair of pipes pointing upwards against the backdrop of a really fabulous brick wall. Incredible textures in the brick are explored in the image, and there is certainly some artistic tension at work here.
The Garden Gate – a terrific garden gate is the star of this shot, complete with all the peeling paint, different colors and crooked lines you could want. This picture by Beverly Everson defines the expression “character” with years of love and use working with time to slowly transform the gate into it’s current incarnation.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak – so many things have to come together at just the right time to get a picture like the one we see here from Wayne Beauregard. This lovely little bird perched on a tiny twig was captured with the perfect depth-of-focus, showcasing the great details and colors in the bird and isolating it from it’s background, making for a wonderful photograph to view and enjoy.
Plic ! Plic ! Plic ! … C’est le printemps à Paris … hum … – spring in Paris, as the rain hammers the table tops of the little cafes so intensely, the splashes come alive in their size and beauty. This is a wonderful series of shots taken by Mathias Lucas, processed in a delicate monochromatic blue tint to accent the feel of the day.
Port of Call: Gudvangen – a wonderful winter scene finds a ferry mirrored in it’s reflection docked in a port that’s tucked into a fjord in Norway. The surrounding mountains are so very cold, completely draped in snow and painting the scene in an intense white. A great photograph by Lazy Desperados.
Sit down! – lines, patterns and geometric shapes come alive in this fabulous photograph taken inside a subway car. The wood veneer on the seating brings in warm tones, and the entire shot finds itself leading into a vanishing point. A great picture by Tony Goran.
Williams, Arizona – a great, vintage scene of an old gas station with a period-correct authentic car under its canopy awaits the viewer in this great shot by Ron Niebrugge. The vibrant colors inherent in the scene add to the nostalgic feel, heightening the feel of a setting from years gone by.
haunted house on the hill – this picture takes drama to a whole new level, featuring an old, abandoned building shot and processed in HDR. Wonderful details and textures in the extreme weathering come to life creating a striking image, one that leaves many unanswered questions for the viewer.
Cart – really dramatic lighting creates a terrific shot for Steven Perlmutter to capture. Steven finds an old wooden cart up in the attic area, and with the dramatic lighting it sits under enough of the surroundings and the cart are illuminated to really showcase the wear of age and all the character of the heritage mill site that houses it.
Bald Eagle Winter DreamScape – an absolutely breathtaking photograph of a bald eagle gliding just above the water, on the hunt, in the middle of a snowstorm is perfectly captured by Christopher Dodds. It’s little wonder to see it in the “popular” list on 500px this week.
Moraine Lake – the breathtaking Alberta Rocky Mountains are home to some of the most incredible natural landscapes anywhere, as is evidenced by this terrific photograph by Putt Sakdhnagool. The lovely turquoise waters of the lake gently reflect back the scenery, particularly the craggy and commanding mountains, to the viewer, adding a great dimension to the image.
Mesa Arch Magic! – this is the kind of shot that is just perfect for an HDR application, as shared here by Mike Criswell. As the morning light creeps its way up the sky, the evolving dynamics of light are ever changing around the guys out in the field photographing it, and Mike has come away with this incredible shot featuring both the vibrant and beautiful colors in the sky as well as the textures and details in the amazing rock formations.
Magnolia Plantation – a great journey back into American history finds us joining Erin Duke as she brings us along to a plantation that has been a landmark for over 300 years. The first shot in the post features the incredible architecture of the main home on the grounds, and Erin then shares some of the details found in the gardens and the petting zoo on-site.
Mount Manguanui IV, New Zealand – a lovely path leads the viewer through a forest in New Zealand in this great photograph by Gerard Pollock. The vignette effect Gerard has used in post-production leads the viewer gently into the heart of the frame where we become immersed in the natural beauty of the area.
Cowichan Bay prawn festival – Joseph de Lange brings us all along to an annual event held in the tiny town of Cowichan Bay here on Vancouver Island. This annual festival finds throngs of visitors filling up the town’s center as prawn enthusiasts come to load up their freezers for the summer months ahead. Large crowds attended this year, and Joseph has come away from the event with this great collection of shots that shares a little of the character.
Mesquite Sand Dunes – the rolling dunes of the southwestern US create the perfect photography subject for Anne McKinnell to capture. Anne leaves the national park with a set of photographs taken at sunset that showcase the incredible natural beauty of the location, presenting it in an almost abstract way in some cases.
Moments in Mayport – Barbara Youngleson creates a terrific piece of fine art in this shot merging her wonderful post-processing stylization with a great texture overlay to create a personal image. The wonderful warm tones inherent in the shot helps to create an inviting scene here for the viewer.
We Smile – a lovely and vibrantly colored piece is presented here by Rachel Cohen. The rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains form the perfect vista for Rachel, who combines the beautiful image with some of her personal insights to create a complete package.
the boiler room – great details and textures in long forgotten machinery are captured forever in this great picture by david stoddart. David’s careful use of HDR processing does a great job of creating the perfect mood for the setting being photographed, producing a really striking image to view and enjoy in this week’s list.
My First Ruby-throated Hummingbird For 2013 – what has to be one of the hardest subjects to photograph well is the hummingbird. They move so quickly and are completely unpredictable. Steve Creek takes advantage of a spring visit from one to capture a great trio of shots that do a fabulous job of sharing a little of the beauty and character of the bird.
Trailer House – we once again find ourselves joining Melinda Green Harvey on the hunt for great abandoned and weathered subjects to shoot. This black-and-white offering features a great old forgotten trailer. Her wonderful processing techniques do a great job of bringing all the drama out of the scene, and her accompanying thoughts add a layer of humor and dimension to the post.
The Tourists – Chris Nitz delivers a new piece in his style, this time featuring his toys as props captured using a wide-angle lens, overlooking the surrounding scenery. Chris’ incredible vision in creating and executing his work puts him into a category all his own.
Rust – abstracts that focus on texture and detail are some of my very favorite, as in this shot posted and shared here by Steven Perlmutter. A close-up of a rusty silo produces some striking colors and textures, and even random shapes, from the weathering process of years gone by.
Stairway to Heaven – the natural abstract beauty of the Antelope Canyons is well known, far and wide. This great shot by Ron Niebrugge explores the wonderful colors and tones that the light subtly changes as it bends around edges and corners, and it also features a little of the ladder that leads visitors up and down into the canyon proper, displaying a sense of scale in the shot.
The Skeleton – this picture is the pure definition of a study of symmetry, capturing incredible modern architecture in still waters that create an almost perfect mirrored reflection back to the viewer. John Monster’s photograph features subdued tones that play perfectly into the feeling of the scene being captured.
Park Avenue – the black-and-white processing of this shot produced by Bob Lussier takes us to a natural wonder. The inherent drama in the amazing landscapes of the Arches National Park come to life in this great shot by Bob, one that is a true must-see in this week’s list.
Green With Envy – this post finds us transitioning from the dramatic black-and-white above to a picture full of vibrant and rich colors, predominantly green. This terrific picture by Andy Gimino shares a little of what is springtime in Vermont.
Standing Tall – Chris Maskell shares a specially processed shot in monochrome in this piece. The natural surroundings add a little interest to the scene, and we also find a man on the hill frame left filling in some of the negative space.
“Weather” Spring in the Valley – a mega-panorama picture is presented here by Howard Jackman, featuring the incredible never-ending landscape of Utah. Fabulous details in both the large storm systems making their way across the frame and the architecture found in the city below converge in this picture to create a scene sure to captivate the minds of those who spend time taking in the finer details.
Public Restroom Cisco Utah – how about this room with a view? Sure, it has no windows and used to serve the purpose of being an outdoor toilet, but today it stands alone in this composition as a reminder of the town of Cisco. Rick Louie does a terrific job in capturing and processing this shot to create a picture that is highly sympathetic to the scene at hand.
When Skies Open Up: Franz Schumacher – incredible landscapes and features are explored in this short set of photographs featuring the work of Franz Schumacher. Each picture included in this post can easily stand on it’s own as a masterpiece of natural expression, and when taken in as a collection it suddenly becomes much more profound.
Graslei – the night colors cloak the city in Belgium as we look down a canal leading through the town. Sus Bogaerts captures a compelling shot to share here, featuring slightly muted tones that add a layer of drama to an already dramatic scene.
Hamnøy Blues – the stark, white landscapes of Norway suddenly come to life with the bright red colors of the buildings on the pier and the rich blue tones of the waters that surround it. Nagesh Mahadev does a terrific job in capturing and sharing a little of the character and essence of life in this community.
Aston Martin 2013 Vanquish Car Photography – the inherent and incredible beauty of this highly exotic car come to life in this shot that captures a fleeting second of the vehicle in motion. Tim Wallace’s shot of this fabulous car features great details in the car against a blurred backdrop of the background in motion, creating an alluring piece sure to be enjoyed by all.
Fate of the Vintage Mullen’s Dining Cars – Buellton, California – the romance of history on rails comes to life in this trio of shots captured and posted here by Renée M. Besta. What once formed a part of an iconic diner, these old train cars now sit awaiting their fate, covered in textures and weathering from years of neglect. This is a terrific story, even though the outcome is still yet unwritten.
Sunset in Austin – the bluest blues greet the visitor in this cityscape photograph by Jim Nix, featuring the skyline of Austin at sunset. The gentle reflections of the city’s architecture are reflected back to the viewer in this shot, as are some really great details in the buildings, sharing a view of the character of this wonderful city.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway in HDR – a beautiful landscape in HDR is created and presented in this wonderful post by Dakota Visions Photography. The wonderful mountains in the backdrop form the perfect setting for this shot of a running creek, full of great details and textures.
Foxes – this takes on a high-key appearance in the way the background is totally blown out, yet the beautiful fox as the main subject is perfectly crisp and rather incredible in detail. Ivan Kislov captures a truly amazing image, one that manages to express the spirit and personality of the fox to its fullest.
Onondaga – this shot features something totally unique… a decommissioned submarine now serving as a museum. Alex Pena’s photograph contains a lot of dynamic range, finding the ship perched on a barren, cold landscape underneath a dramatic sky full of great clouds and colors.
Field of Storms – this terrific shot by Franz Schumacher finds us out in a farming field with a storm on the horizon of such dramatic magnitude it literally creates an arch of ferocity above the landscape lying below. The lines of hay in the field serve as perfect natural leading lines, leading the viewer straight into the looming storm above.
Gorgeous Photo Of Iguazu Falls – an incredible panoramic shot of these incredible waterfalls features a set of cascading veils of water, and when you really spend time taking in the details the picture suddenly reveals the actual immenseness and scale of the scene.
Little Owls – this is really, really sweet, sharing a shot of a pair of tiny owls perched on a fence with one preening the other. The face on the owl receiving the “special treatment” from it’s friend is absolutely wonderful, looking rather unimpressed with one eye closed. A photograph by Uri Kolker.
The Take Off – prepare to have your jaw hit the proverbial floor with this one, showcasing a great eagle on take-off with a stick in it’s steely grip. Buck Shreck creates an image so crisp and clear, the true nature of this incredible bird in it’s natural setting comes fully to life.
The last kiss of light – incredible natural light illuminates a rock face in the distance which creates a wonderfully colored jagged shape against the sky. Derrick Birdsall captures this shot at the fading light of day, making for a great shot full of contrast and really captivating colors at the same time.
Are the dreams of the fishes in high dynamic range? – our very own @astaroth here on Light Stalking has posted a very interesting piece, featuring a series of shots taken using a 8mm fisheye lens. Using HDR to showcase great dynamic range, he uses the inherent distortion from the extreme wide angle lens to create unique works.
The Cooperage – a group of Urbex explorers heads deep into a huge abandoned facility that was once home to two different businesses. The background information on the site adds a further layer of drama and intrigue with the story of the EPA shutting it down due to soil contamination. The images shared here do a terrific job of sharing a sense of the immense scale of the location, and the haunting remains continue to try and speak to the viewer.
Introducing: The Arizona Monsoon Photography Workshop – Mike Olbinksi is well known for his work in the field shooting storm photographs in the Arizona region. Mike’s work has been featured on television news and other media outlets and now you can join him on what looks to be a rather exciting workshop he’s putting on. It would really be quite the experience to have a chance to go out into the field with Mike storm-chasing!
13 Traits That Make a Photographer “Professional” – in light of the changes and some of the rhetoric floating around regarding the recent upgrades and changes at Flickr, this timely post shares some insights that are practical recommendations on how to conduct yourself as a professional in the field.
Incredible 3D Printed Photography – sometimes you encounter something new, something so unique it’s really exciting. This is a great example of this, a 3-D printer that varies the depth of the media being created based on depth of contrast in the image. The thinner the area, the more light can pass through producing a brighter spot in the picture when looked at head-on. The results are dramatic and quite astounding.
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.