It's been a very exciting week in the world of photography with many talented artists producing and sharing some truly incredible pieces. Toad Hollow Photography has been searching the internet trying to find some of the finest pictures to share with everyone here, including some links to interesting tutorials, great photography and a very interesting blog. We really hope you enjoy checking out this week's list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Photomatix Pro 5 – Review of the new features – this well produced video tutorial by Klaus Herrmann shows us some of the new features and improvements in the latest version of HDRsoft’s world-class merging and tone mapping tool, Photomatix.
Amazingly In-Depth Video Tutorial on Product Lighting – Karl Taylor produces a 16 minute video tutorial that breaks down the entire process used to create a stunning product photograph. Each step and technique is explained to give the viewer a deeper understanding of how to create that next epic image.
Photoshop Tutorial: Retouching Shiny Skin – a highly interesting 25 minute video tutorial takes you through the process of improving the appearance of shiny skin in portrait photography. This unique approach produces great results and the tutorial takes you through the entire process.
Ian's Coffee Stop – our work here at Toad Hollow tends to focus on heritage architecture and things of interest to those who love Vancouver Island. Our recent project involving an abandoned city landmark has been a source of wonder and delight for us as we find ourselves amidst an outpouring of support that finally culminated in me being interviewed by CTV news and featured on TV last week. If you would like to see what all the hullabaloo is all about, pop by our blog to see the story for yourself.
Sleepy Hollow Farm – one of the best pastoral scenes I’ve seen recently, a shot that features rustic buildings sitting nestled in the beautiful countryside. Steven Perlmutter’s breathtaking shot takes you right into the frame by following the meandering road and crooked fence, creating a fabulous natural leading line.
burnt out car in derelict army barracks tunnel – David Stoddart finds the most interesting things. He then captures them, forever immortalizing things that many of us would not see without David’s art. This incredible photograph finds him encountering a burnt out shell of a car in a pitch-dark tunnel.
rust and decay – for the fan of rust and texture, a picture to delight one and all. Oneowner finds a classic Chevrolet pickup truck and delivers a detail shot featuring a badge on a worn and weathered paint job. This picture speaks to the character of the truck, once a dependable companion to someone.
Above the Fray – a beautiful landscape shot from Curt Fleenor that features a wonderful waterfall scene captured in the heart of the forest. Curt’s silky smooth running waters contrast against the lush greens and natural details in the surroundings.
Shooting for the Stars – the beauty of a night sky under the watchful eye of the Milky Way galaxy, captured by Chris Nitz. The foreground of this shot features silhouettes of the landscape adding a great dimension.
The Crabapple Garden – a lovely pastoral scene from the studio of Jim Denham finds us in a sun drenched crabapple garden. Terrific details in the landscape and beautiful natural colors fill the screen with a scene that also has a wonderful bench for an added element.
Wilson Peak Sunset – Rick Louie shares a rolling landscape with incredible beauty and snow covered peaks in the distance. Long shadows and dappled light criss-cross across the vista, producing great drama.
Boathouse at night – this is a wonderful long exposure piece from the studio of Dave Van de Laar that features simply incredible colors and tones. A shaky reflection in the water mirrors a character-filled boathouse back to the viewer as it finds itself surrounded by vibrant colored trees.
10 things I love about Halloween – Spencer McDonald shares a pair of wonderfully themed photographs, just in time for Halloween. His musings to detail a list of candy bars adds a dash of humor to the recipe, but the real star of this post is the wonderful and detailed images.
Totem Morning: A Sneak Preview – this is a really terrific concept piece by Laurie MacBride that features a super-still reflection in the mornings waters, creating an abstract image with the two halves of the perfectly composed image. As Laurie notes in her post, as you spend some time observing the piece, certain details and visions begin to appear to those with an open mind.
Mountains Shadow – one of my favorite things about autumn is always the photography it produces. No other time of the year produces vivid colors and beautiful landscapes quite like we see during this time. This terrific shot by Andy Gimino is a wonderful example of this, full of wonderful tones and details.
Autumn Colors – another gorgeous autumn scene, this one produced and shared here by David. This shot features the quintessential trees that we all look forward to and finds further interest in how the scene is perfectly reflected back by the mirror produced from the surrounding waters.
driving in the park – this wonderful fall picture finds us enjoying a lovely ribbon of roadway that leads the viewer right into the heart of the frame. Once again the gorgeous fall colors work with the surrounding landscape to produce a special piece in this picture, one the benefits greatly from the natural leading line. A fabulous shot by Nathan Brisk.
Amsterdam by night – terrific details in the architecture plays with the soft lights from the fading light of day to create a stunning photograph of Amsterdam architecture. Old stone bridges form natural leading lines, accented by the lights of the city in this wonderful image by Ming Han.
Mangart – a line of rowboats sits under the watchful eye of majestic mountains in the distance in this piece from Paolo Fanti. As we look across the fog covered lake, we find snow covered mountains in the distance adding interest and drama to the natural setting.
Red Mill, Clinton NJ. #3 – lovely colors and details emerge in this scene that finds an old wood mill sitting beside a pristine flowing river. Bill T’s shot features terrific details in the mill’s architecture and wood and stonework, set off wonderfully by the vibrant colors of the trees that surround it.
A Short Eared Owl out hunting… – an incredibly shallow depth-of-focus works to completely isolate this terrific short eared owl as it soars through the air in this shot by Austin Thomas. The spirit and personality of the bird is really perfectly captured in this shot that features simply awesome details.
Into the Mist – fog, mist, a fast moving waterfall and epic autumn colors all converge in this fabulous picture from Brian Donovan. This is one of those shots that reveals more to the viewer as you spend time with it, including a wooden walkway far below that adds great context and scale to the scene.
Moraine Magic – as advertised, the majestic beauty and magic of the Canadian Rockies is really second to none when it comes to striking imagery. Philip Kuntz’s shot features the wonderful beauty of the lake and it’s stunning reflection, and the epic drama of the mountain looming overhead, draped in wonderful natural light.
A walk around Markree – the incredible architecture and landscapes of natural Ireland are explored in this wonderful post that features a series of pictures by magnumlady. The beautiful rich greens of the countryside truly pop out of the screen at the viewer, accented by the wonderful elements and details found in this part of the world.
Chateau de procureur – the fan of natural decay and weathering will love this post that features a series of shots of the inside of a long abandoned house. Mother Nature herself has been busy dismantling this place over time, and this collection of photographs documents this all in a profound and mesmerizing way.
Pfeiffer's Closed Door – Mark Gvazdinskas’ epically dramatic shot features a natural formation that defies the will of man. An opening in a huge rock wall that leads to the ocean is pounded by relentless waves as a kayaker tries to make his way through, adding a ton of artistic tension and drama to the beautiful surrounding landscape.
Check Mate – colors and lines come together in this photograph by Joe @Plasmatico. An underground subway station is empty as Joe visits, creating the perfect photo opportunity to create this stellar picture that features all sorts of wonderful elements, brought together by the terrific vanishing point that the viewer encounters by following natural leading lines.
Soaring with Intent – the incredible majesty and drama of the bald eagle is forever immortalized in this stunning piece by Phoo (mallardg500) Chan. The incredible details in the bird are accented by the shallow depth-of-focus, and the composition lends itself perfectly to artistic tension.
Stag – a stag standing tall and proud in the golden hour is the main focus of this wonderful photograph by James Morris. As the glorious creature stares back at the camera, we find ourselves mesmerized by it’s steely gaze, wondering what it is thinking and feeling at this precise moment.
Tombs at Al Ayn – David A Lockwood captures a stunning image in the heart of Oman featuring what I believe to be very old tombs sitting amidst the incredible natural landscapes of the area. David’s wonderful composition features both great colors and details from the foliage as well as dramatic visions of the majestic mountains around it all.
Amazing Miniature Scenes Shot with Model Cars, Forced Perspective and a $250 P&S – a terrific concept married with exquisite details converges for artist Michael Paul Smith as he creates something truly unique and rather spellbinding. Based on the premise of forced perspective, this series of shots by Michael will have you taking a second and third look to make sure what you're seeing isn't really real.
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.