With another terrific week in the world of photography passing us by, we find Toad Hollow Photography has been searching high and low in all corners of the internet for links to tutorials, reviews, special features, great photography and really interesting blogs to share with everyone here. This week's list features some really interesting articles and tutorials, as well as some incredible special features. And, of course, we've got a comprehensive list of great images to check out as well, all carefully collected and curated by the Toad himself!
A Mathematical Look at Focal Length and Crop Factor – this in-depth piece takes a close look at the physics and mathematics behind varying focal lengths and sensor sizes in modern DSLR cameras. This highly technical piece explains it all in great depth, and even for those who don’t fully grasp all the points being discussed the article will still reveal a few of the secrets behind this topic.
New Fuji 55-200mm lens for IR! – Mark Hilliard writes a comprehensive article taking a close look at the new Fuji 55-200mm lens for IR applications. Mark includes detailed notes as well as a handful of example photographs to visually show the topics being discussed.
Orbs — the easy way… – this is a terrific article complete with sample images and screenshots to take the reader through the entire process step-by-step. This great tutorial by Sherry Galey gives an in-depth look into the process for the reader, one that can expand your repertoire in post-processing.
9 Low Light Photography Tips for Professional Photos – this is a basic, common-sense list of tips and tricks for low light photography. This challenging genre introduces it’s own series of problems to overcome, and all the highlights behind these issues are covered in this article.
How to Use Your Phottix Odin Radio Flash Triggers – a highly detailed article that shows you how to go wireless with your flash photography. The Phottix Odin system is explored in great detail by Jose Antunes, who shares a few photographs to help the reader visualize the points being shared.
Build Your Own DIY Ringflash – this 15 minute tutorial takes the viewer through the process of designing and creating your own ringflash unit. These devices can produce quite striking results, making them rather popular in the field. They can be rather expensive and in some cases it would be great to try it out before plonking down a lot of money and this video tutorial shows you how to do this.
Personal Pearls Of Wisdom: Ok, Let’s Keep It Clean. – Joe Baraban shares some of his great wisdom in this post, discussing the “less is more” motif of composition and explaining why. This article has some great insights for everyone, no matter your level of skill or genre of photography.
Thursday’s Car Show Photography Tip – car photography is definitely one of my favorite past-times, and Joe Farace has created this brief article on the topic with some great tips and tricks. For the automotive enthusiast, Joe also shares a great pair of shots to enjoy.
Gear Review: Samsung Galaxy Camera – what a great way to turn conventional thinking on it’s head! For the last number of years, smartphones have becoming more and more pervasive in the field of photography, especially since the advent of sites like Instagram. How about turning a camera into a smartphone? That’s exactly what Samsung has done with this device, and Ren Bostelaar does a great job of reviewing it and sharing some sample images.
This Is Shanghai – in what has to be one of the most incredible presentations of modern life I have seen in quite a bit, we get to enjoy the dynamic and vibrant city of Shanghai from all sorts of unique vantages and perspectives. Weaving a tale that takes us in and out of day into night, focusing down to details of individuals and then whisking us back to for a broad view of the city, we get to really enjoy the feel and character of this modern city. This video collaboration was created by Rob Whitworth and JT Singh and is simply a must-see in this week’s list.
Skateboard Travel Photography by Jonathan Mehring – an absolutely fascinating compendium of shots and anecdotes about this particular genre of photography. Jonathan Mehring travels the world looking for great locations for skateboarders and comes away with an incredible series of action photographs. This article showcases a small selection of his images and some of his background information, complete with a group of links to follow for further information for those interested.
Eye-Popping Photographs of the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Mexico – almost everybody enjoys a nice explosion, how about actually partying in one? This annual festival in Mexico finds enthusiasts from all over coming together to enjoy great pyrotechnic displays and festivities. Photographer Thomas Prior visits one of these festivals and creates a really compelling set of images from the event in this post.
Ants Sipping Iris Nectar – Time Lapse – this terrific presentation from Ehpem features a series of still images and a time lapse video. As ants make their way around an Iris, sipping it’s nectar, Ehpem captures a series of stills that he then converts into the time lapse presentation, making for an absolutely mesmerizing close-up look of an ant’s life.
Photographing the World’s Biggest Shark – this presentation features a short video and a really stunning still photograph. Tom Campbell’s work staging a shoot and capturing an iconic shot is covered in this feature post, as well as the resultant shot of this incredible fish.
Eerie – an incredible photograph is accompanied here by bone-chilling details in this post from the studio of Len Saltiel. Len visits a long closed institution, coming away with this shot that exhibits incredible light pouring in from the rooms to the side of the hallways further deepening the sense of raw drama, culminating at the end in a terrific vanishing point at the end of the hall. This poignant and profound piece reveals some secrets, but leaves so many more unanswered.
Blue hour at Big Ben – what a terrific shot of an icon, as shared here by Jim Nix. Jim brings us all along to peer at Big Ben across the River Thames, featuring wonderful colors and tones from the fading light of day and the illuminated architecture.
Justin’s View – this is a profound piece from Bob Lussier that finds us looking out at an expansive landscape full of details and natural beauty. Just down below Bob’s vantage point stands a fellow photog, Justin Balog, who adds a terrific little touch of context and scale to the scene as well as some great natural tension.
Sunrise at Schwbacher Landing – this is an absolute must-see shot in this week’s list, as captured and posted here by Rick Louie. The incredible vista found in the early morning hours in the Grand Teton National Park finds a wonderful still body of water in the foreground to produce a striking reflection and jaw-droppingly gorgeous mountains in the backdrop, perfectly lit and accented by the rising sun and the new day.
Thirteen tall ships – this great post from the studio of Sherry Galey brings us all along on a wonderful adventure on the high seas. A group of tall ships visits Brockville, Ontario and Sherry brings her camera to the festivities, coming away with a great series here. The excitement, intrigue and romance of the high seas comes to life in this terrific post.
Turbulences – Daniel Cheong delivers a dramatic piece, featuring the tops of the architecture that comprises the city of Dubai peeking through a thick cloud cover. The incredibly sharp details in the shot are accented by the monochromatic processing used to create it.
Bridge over the Koksilah River – Joseph de Lange captures and shares a pair of haunting images that feature one of our original rail bridges in the valley here on Vancouver Island that is now long abandoned. The incredible foliage that is encompassing the scene definitely adds to the dramatic sense of eeriness inherent in the landscape, making for a great pair of shots that reveal as many secrets as they keep hidden.
Set the Night on Fire – the viewer finds themselves following a land spit out to sea where we enjoy the romance and intrigue of a lighthouse in Holland. The beautiful colors in the fading days light add a warm glow to the scene, bathing it in inviting tones.
Red Turned Gray and Green | The Old Farm – CJ Schmit creates a terrific study in textures due to weathering in these photographs that showcase the rustic character of very old wooden barns. CJ’s perfect compositions highlight the worn wood on the barns and all the surrounding details that help to create an authentic and iconic scene to view.
Barn VI – this incredible barn shot delivered by Aaron J. Groen features a very old wooden structure sitting under a star-filled sky. As the facade of the barn is lit by a nearby farm, it sits underneath an incredibly colored and detailed sky, really highlighting the juxtaposition of farm life beneath the watchful gaze of the universe.
Neuschwanstein – castles create dramatic and striking photography subjects, and the one depicted in this photograph is no exception. This amazing facility produces a fabulous architectural study to view and enjoy, as photographed by Martín Pérez.
Clothesline – this fabulous shot delivers an old stone home sitting alongside a waterway with a clothesline to add a great dash of color and interest. This great picture by Ton lع Jeune does a great job of featuring the inherent character and charm of the area being photographed.
Englands Jurassic Coast – this incredible photograph features a rugged and craggy landscape that would be impossible to imagine without an image like this. Barry Turner delivers a shot of the coastline that is famously known as a World Heritage Site.
Manassas City Police Dodge Charger – Perry Bailey encounters a really cool police cruiser while out on a walk and comes away with a great shot of it. The setting Perry finds the car in adds a great element of interest and color to the picture, creating a shot sure to be enjoyed by everyone enthralled by police cars.
Dynamic Veins – Karim Nafatni captures and shares a cityscape of Dubai taken high above from an elevated perspective. The incredible details in the architecture below are highlighted by the moving light trails from all the cars making their way around the big city.
Belfast – the rolling cityscape of Belfast is shared in this photograph captured by Gerard Pollock. Terrific layers of detail all come to life as you spend time taking it all in, making for a truly compelling shot to visit and view.
Naples after Sunset – this long exposure piece from the studio of Edin Chavez showcases the inherent beauty of sunset in Florida. Wooden piers form the foreground in this shot, leading the viewer through the frame into the gorgeous colors in the sky.
Lily in Yellow – An Artistic Photo Expression – a lovely and vibrant lily delicately fills the frame in this gorgeous shot from Mark Neal. The fabulous details in the flower work perfectly with the great colors to create a piece sure to delight and amaze everyone.
Edgartown Lighthouse at Sunrise – this is a really neat presentation, showing the exact same scene captured at two different time; one just before the sun makes it’s appearance for the day and one immediately after. The differences in the colors and tones in the shots show how light is an ever-evolving and dynamic entity.
What? – Beverly Everson brings a tiny damselfly to the big screen with this terrific photograph. The extremely shallow depth-of-focus that Beverly used in capturing this shot does a wonderful job of isolating the tiny creature from its backdrop, really bringing all the character out for everyone to enjoy.
Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge – Tim Stanley shares a great shot here that showcases this incredible bridge span and some of it’s surroundings. The lines created by the bridge form the perfect natural leading line, guiding the viewer through the frame to find all the little details held within.
seeing red – oneowner brings us along as he explores the color red found out on the cruise nights. Old, classic car features are the primary target for him with this series, making for a small collection of images that show off the beauty of vehicle design from an older era.
Killdeer – a tiny bird is captured here by Jay Taylor with an effective 1000mm focal length. The clarity and shallow depth-of-focus in this shot work together to deliver a terrific piece sure to be enjoyed by everyone who likes wildlife photography.
Green Fort – we’re whisked away to the lovely country of Ireland in this post created by Val Robus. Val’s recent history tour serves as a terrific foundation for this series of shots, giving the visitor a glimpse into the landscapes and scenery of one of the most beautiful countrysides in the world.
Escape – a perfect composition by Anita Megyesi finds us candidly looking at a woman resting on the stone steps at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The natural tension from the scene finds expression in the woman, leaving us all with thousands of unanswered questions.
fred the frog – sure, I have a propensity to particularly enjoy photographs of amphibians, but it’s not just because I’m widely known to be a Toad. It’s because these creatures are really quite wonderful to watch. Mark Bridger captures an absolutely awesome shot of one tiny little frog who is looking back at the lens with a really incredible expression.
Copperhead Or Cottenmouth? – I have to admit that snakes creep me out a bit, especially the venomous kind. Steve Creek encounters one and when he does it freezes in it’s tracks making for a fabulous photography opportunity. These shots are pretty much guaranteed to frighten and fascinate, both at the same time.
Sometimes you feel like a nut… Psychedelic Tulip in the Wind – this highly processed image takes on several distinct personalities, featuring a painterly look at a tulip living it’s life in the wilds. This vivid and colorful image from the studio of Dakota Visions Photography asks and somewhat answers the age-old question of “is life imitating art, or the other way around?”
Multi-Color Dreams – as a huge car fan myself, posts like this draw me in like a moth to a flame. Tim Stanley captures a great shot of a car show in Texas, showcasing the wonderful and beautiful lines that went into the design of cars from this era, wrapping it all up in vibrant and stunning colors.
Old Money – prepare to be blown away by this incredible image produced by Mike Criswell. Mike’s shot features the epic Biltmore Estate captured in IR, full of rich details and architectural delights sure to please everyone who visits. He also includes some really terrific background information on the house, adding a great dimension to his shot and post here.
The Dairy Queen – a profound photo and set of insights as shared here by Melinda Green Harvey captures a fleeting look at an icon in town that is now long abandoned. The local DQ’s were often places to congregate for people of all walks of life, and this shot by Melinda focuses on one that is unlikely to open anytime soon.
Fear – this terrific long exposure black-and-white piece by Bob Lussier literally exhibits the feeling of fear. The huge drama captured and exposed in this shot is found by looking out at the Cape Fear River in Wilmington North Carolina, and Bob’s use of a vignette to lead the viewer into the heart of the frame also serves to heighten the natural drama and tension.
Trastevere – Edith Levy takes us into the rustic scene of an Italian cobblestone street. The beautiful day serves to highlight the gorgeous architecture of the old city and all the people as they make their way around town, some even stopping in the outdoor cafe’s to take in the local ambiance.
Bridge Nuts and Bolts – Jim Denham delivers a terrific black-and-white study of patterns, lines and textures. Jim’s shot features a wooden train bridge, using the tracks as a natural leading line that creates repeating patterns. This great shot takes on two personalities for the viewer; one being a look at a great piece of architecture, and the other being an almost abstract look at the scene presented.
Van Isle 360 – Vancouver Island is a wonderful place, one that we love dearly and call home. A recent sailing event hosted here on the island produced some stunning compositions for Diane Jarvis-Schuller who carefully captures and shares them in this post.
Moose Calves – this terrific shot was captured by Ron Niebrugge who shares a scene of a mother moose and her two young calves. The vibrant greens from the spring work perfectly with the brown tones in the animals to create a shot that showcases a little of these incredible creatures personalities.
Schloss Nordkirchen – this photograph by Robert Karo is both a terrific architectural study as well as showcasing one awesome reflection. Taken during the blue hour, the building finds it’s outside artificially lit, creating both a striking subject as well as a truly mesmerizing reflection in the waters in the foreground.
Iconic Oxbow – Jeff Clow takes us back to the breathtaking Grand Teton National Park we we get to enjoy a fabulous landscape shot. The majestic mountains in the backdrop of this picture are lit perfectly, creating a striking subject that finds further interest in the delicate reflection of the scene.
Τhe “golden” Castle – an iconic Greek scene finds us looking at a gentle hillside peppered with incredible buildings and homes. Perched high atop the hill sits a great old castle, standing out from the rest of the scene in warm tones emanated by the artificial lighting that basks the building in light at night. An astonishing shot by George Papapostolou.
One Fine Day – as the sun sets on Lake Champlain, Andy Gimino finds himself taking in a lovely sunset just in time as a pair of folks in a boat paddle by. The results are really incredible, featuring the silhouettes of the boaters against the colorful evening sky.
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? – what a fabulous shot, straight from the studio of Rob Hanson. A bee finds itself on a beautiful flower and for some reason falls asleep. This makes for a terrific photography opportunity for Rob who captures and shared this wonderful image.
Wildflower Sunset – I tend to spend a lot of time in the field with my compositions, for the exact reasons that Jim Denham outlines in this blog post. This shot features a great wood post with some beautiful flowers around it sitting under the warm tones of the sky as the sun sets on the day.
The cemetery – an utterly profound picture finds a further dimension of interest in the accompanying story that goes along with it in this great post from Melinda Green Harvey. A sad story will now forever be immortalized in Melinda’s picture and insights, making for a real must-see in this week’s list.
Rose City Round-up 2013 ( Picture 1 | Picture 2 ) – Bob Byington captures and shares these two shots featuring old-school hot rods at a show. These great old cars literally exude character, lovingly designed and created to reflect the personal taste and personality of their owners.
The Sun and the Moon – a color-filled photograph featuring the beautiful and vibrant city of Guilin at night is featured here. Adam Allegro composes and captures a stunning shot of the city at night, lit up by all the neon signs and lights that bathe the scene in glorious colors. The wonderful reflection in the waters in the foreground add a terrific dimension to this shot.
A beach in Maui – there’s nothing better than forgetting all your cares and sitting back on a great beach in Hawaii. Jim Nix and his wife find themselves on an exploration of the island and discover this gorgeous beach, featuring an incredible ocean view framed by green covered hills that are almost instantly recognizable in their location.
Embraced by decay – a profound and poignant piece that showcases incredible decay in an abandoned building, focusing on a wheelchair left in the room. The natural tension from the wheelchair in the room takes on an almost palpable feel to it, creating a truly haunting scene that leaves the viewer with many questions unanswered.
“Sailing with You” – Rachel Cohen pens a terrific poem that finds further color with the picture included in the post. A sailboat in the distance creates wonderful natural tension in this scene, delivering a sense of peace to the viewer in a glance.
Fading Light – as the day draws to an end the shadows get longer, creating extra depth and drama in the landscape. Len Saltiel captures a great shot of a running river with what looks to be a bridge in the distance adding context and dimension to the image.
Oly at night – the city of Olympia, Washington sits under a blanket of stars in this shot taken by Scott Wood. Scott includes a new feature with his post, an audio clip that adds great dimension to the picture.
“Humor” Spinning Laughs! – what a terrific pair of shots, really well conceived and perfectly executed! Talk about taking you back in time in an instant, this post by Howard Jackman features clever photographs of comedy records from years gone by. Howard adds color to the post with his personal thoughts and observations.
Dollhouse, Iron Face – it’s funny how some things are one thing in reality but look like an entirely other thing to the observer. This is a great example of this, featuring a massive piece of equipment in what appears to be an abandoned factory that reveals a face, personifying the item and creating terrific artistic tension as a result.
8 things I learned about Japan – Spencer McDonald takes us along as he visits Japan in this post, featuring one of the iconic train stations. Spencer adds some great personal insights to the shot, creating a post sure to broaden everyone’s horizons as well as getting us all scrambling to board a plane to check out this great destination.
The Quest for Pastel Skies – Jay & Jacy Photography shares a trio of shots all showcasing the incredible beauty found oceanside. All three shots exhibit fabulous colors and tones, making for a set of landscape pictures that are just incredible to see in this week’s list.
Ghost Water – an incredible long exposure shot is shared here by CJ Schmit. CJ’s great composition with this image creates terrific natural leading lines, leading the viewer through the frame and into the heart of the image where we take in the grand beauty of it all.
Don't Look Back – sage advice really, whether you are being chased by an angry bear, a lawyer or a massive wave, sometimes not looking back can be the best course of action! This stunning black-and-white shot by Toby Harriman captures and shares all the sheer drama of the moment as a surfer rides out a wave with a massive crest about to crash down all around him.
zanzibar beach – all the character and intrigue found in the beauty of Africa is brought to light in this shot by Vincent Xeridat. A wooden sail boat sits near the shore here, exposing the incredible personality of the boat and it’s passengers.
Patiently Waiting – this striking composite image features a very stern and dramatic looking vulture perched on a limb with incredible colors in the sky behind it as a backdrop. This heavily processed image by Wim Bolsens is subtly created to deliver a strong sense of drama, with a focus on the terrific details in the bird as it sits looking for it’s next target.
brand new bambi . . . – this is really, really cute. A mother deer and her nearly newborn baby stand in front of a garage door looking back at the lens in this shot by dragonflydreams88. This is a very heartwarming image, one sure to be enjoyed by everyone who visits.
Dead Horse Point – a neverending vista greets the visitor in this shot captured and posted by Mark Garbowski. Layer upon layer of incredible landscape is revealed as you spend time taking in the details in this frame, making for a really mesmerizing shot in this week’s list.
Monsoon Season is Upon Us – as this wonderful time of year comes around once again, Chris Frailey and his photography friends head out in search of great storms to shoot. These two images posted here really show the incredible drama and intense beauty that can be found in the heart of these storm systems, and I am looking forward to more of Chris’ shots during the summer.
Juvenile Bald Eagles – what an incredible set of images, featuring a pair of juvenile bald eagles on Vancouver Island as shot and shared here by Anne McKinnell. These awesome birds are majestic and beautiful to behold, and Anne’s photography really brings this all to life for everyone to enjoy in this post.
Old Chevy – I love old cars, they just exude character that you just don’t find in most modern cars. This great shot from Scott Prokop showcases one such find, a red Chevrolet left long unused. Scott’s careful composition uses a reflection in a pool of rainwater to add extra depth to the shot.
Webcam Captures Volcano Explosion and Shockwave in a Time-Lapse Video – this is one of those things that you’re happy to have a chance to see, but really are happy to see it from the safety of your computer as opposed to be standing near it. As a very active volcano in Mexico vents pressure, a time lapse video is captured and produced to show the incredible power of nature.
How to Shoot Portraits without People – who we are as people can sometimes be loosely defined by our possessions. This photograph and article discusses how to capture a picture of someone’s essence by focusing on their personal belongings.
New Kickstarter Project! – photographer Jason Hines starts a new video based project that looks to take a close look at his life as a photographer, husband, and father. The Art of the Chase is a feature length documentary he is beginning to work on and his initial project of capturing this year’s supermoon in all it’s glory looks to be a feature you won’t want to miss.
Photographer Sues BuzzFeed for $3.6M for Using Photo Without Permission – this is definitely an interesting story to be aware of and follow in this modern age of digital delivery and easy sharing. The outcome of this case could theoretically have far reaching impacts in the future.
Not Impressed by Adobe Creative Cloud’s Launch Features for Photographers – the whole Adobe cloud thing for Photoshop is a rather contentious subject out in our space at the moment, with lot’s of opinions from both sides being shared. This post from Trey Ratcliff shares his perspective on the whole topic and is an interesting read.
Photographer documents subway construction nine stories below Manhattan – this post takes us on a subterranean explore of an entire world being constructed deep underground. Patrick Cashin documents the process as it continues, and this set of photographs showcases a world that most people just wouldn't have a chance to see otherwise.
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.