It's been a very exciting week in the wide world of photography and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy checking out all sorts of places and sources for the very best links to tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone. This week's list is full of great images and blog posts from some very talented artists and photographers, representing the very best of the craft today. We really hope you enjoy checking out this week's list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Anthophora affabilis, M, face, Pennington County, South Dakota_2012-11-15-16.21.13 ZS PMax by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory, on Flickr
Learn Studio Tabletop Photography step by step: a Droid shot – master product photographer and teacher Alex Koloskov takes us on an in-depth, behind-the-scenes tour during the creation of a great photograph for a customer. By showing us how he configures and places his lighting, we all get the benefit of learning some of his advanced techniques. Even if you don’t work in this specific field in photography, the information provided is pretty much guaranteed to teach everyone a little something about lighting.
Photographing Architecture | How to Tips and Tricks – this is a short article that gets right to the heart of the matter, discussing tips and techniques for capturing great architectural photography. Lighting, angles and crops are all examined, producing a concise guide that is sure to expand almost everyone’s concepts on this genre of imagery.
How To Fix Extreme Wide Angle Shots – Blake Rudis delivers a video tutorial taking the reader through the process of fixing issues in extreme wide angle photography. Natural distortion produced by the lens and composition is a non-trivial issue to solve, and Blake’s great video tutorials always show us the best and most straight-forward method.
Photos: The Ruins of Detroit – this is a poignant and profound piece that photographically details some of the key ruins found in the Detroit area after it’s financial struggles. This collection portrays a sad and forlorn city, but finds strange beauty in the weathering and decay. This series comprises a selection of shots that Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have included in their book recently published featuring these incredible structures and their history and story.
Hammersmith Riverside – the incredible power behind the capturing and delivery of blue hour images is displayed in this breathtaking photograph from the studio of Chris Maskell. The Hammersmith bridge sits in the far distance with it’s lights illuminating a pathway across that forms a great natural leading line in the frame. The soft reflections from the lights in the river add further to the shot which really finds its star-power in the rich blue hues and tones prevalent throughout the picture.
“Antique” Deere Dash – a great collection of images showcasing the ability of carefully shot and processed HDR imagery to deliver rich details and textures. Howard Jackman finds a collection of farming implements full of interesting details and comes away with a fascinating set of photographs sure to be enjoyed by the rustaholic in all of us.
“Reckless Abandon” – the magic of photography finds us getting a glimpse into sights and worlds we just wouldn’t without it. Peter Brannon captures a heartwarming picture featuring a baby owl who is practicing to launch into flight. The absolutely perfect depth-of-focus in this shot reveals the wonder of the little bird by isolating it from the backdrop.
Trumpeters – a family of swans are wonderfully photographed and shared here by Diane Jarvis-Schuller. This set of images portrays perfectly how these regal creatures live by sharing their inherent beauty and grace through fine photography.
Cow Bay Boat House – a wonderful study in natural abstraction is delivered here by local photographer Ehpem. An afternoon visit to a lovely little ocean-side town produces a plethora of photography opportunities, and Ehpem finds an incredible scene that features the tin siding on a boat house, complete with a reflection so clear and still your mind’s eye plays with your imagination blurring the lines between original and mirrored.
Lonesome girl road trippin´ – this is a fabulous collection of photographs produced with a very nostalgic look to them that features a model posing in various outdoor settings dressed in high fashion. By using a classic American car as a prop as well as various pieces of architecture and then processing the set in a subdued, almost sepia feel, this set takes on a life of it’s own.
Reading Crime and Punishment? – Len Saltiel captures and shares a scene from within the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia that features one of the cells with an old chair and desk in it. The truly incredible textures and details found in the surrounding walls of the cell work together here to create a piece that is sure to keep the viewer engaged.
Dark Shadow – an epic battle of darkness versus light delivers a delicious mystery held deep within the dramatic shadows in this conceptual photograph by Roland Shainidze. Faint patterns repeat, creating natural leading lines that lead in and out of the deep shadows, holding tight the secrets that remain just out of sight.
Bridge on a Foggy Morning – a modern bridge takes the viewer through the frame deep into the fog that drapes across this scene. Steven Perlmutter creates an image here that is full of drama in the black-and-white presentation, which converges with a great vanishing point into the distant fog. This is a true must-see shot.
Now, how did that happen? My 100th post – Sherry Galey shares a wonderful milestone post here and starts the celebration with a beautiful photograph of a field of sunflowers in full bloom. Sherry then goes on to express her thanks with a personal touch, and in doing so shares a few links to a few other great blogs worthy of a visit.
Male Wood Ducks, Minnesota – a pair of ducks on a tree limb create the perfect pose for Mark Paulson to capture and share here. Mark uses a razor sharp depth-of-focus in creating this picture to isolate the ducks, and in turn we get to enjoy a captivating photograph.
Morning Reflection – a very dramatic piece as shot and shared here by Rick Louie delivers a landscape black-and-white photo of Lake Isabelle. Great depth and scale is perfectly accented by the wonderful still reflections in the lake that mirror the vista back to the viewer.
Le Louvre – Egypte – Mathias Lucas comes away from Le Louvre with a fabulous series of black-and-white images featuring their artifacts on display. Each image is meticulously composed to share all the inherent drama found in the items. Take a virtual tour of this section of the museum with Mathias!
Old Man Mushroom – a detailed photograph taken at eye level with an interesting mushroom is presented by Benjamin Madison. The perfect shallow depth-of-focus makes this little fungi stand out from the forest backdrop in this really wonderful photograph.
insomnia in Venice – Bob Byington captures a night scene in the romantic city of Venice and then carefully processes it with a gentle texture overlay to convey the feeling and sense found in the heart of this historic location. The wonderful gentle lights emitting from the buildings that line the street add interest, making for a beguiling image to view.
Blue Cove – rich and vibrant blues bathe the scene in color as Jerry Denham captures a shot by the shore. A fabulous natural rock formation forms the main subject, with several key elements creating natural leading lines and providing details for the viewer to enjoy.
Night Falls – the incredible power and splendor the Great Dam on the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts is brought to our screens in this great post from Bob Lussier. The incredible engineering that went into the creation of this dam and the volume of water rushing over it work together to create a breathtaking scene.
Morning light – this is one of those images that embodies the power of light and shadow. The early morning desert light creates long shadows the create depth and definition to the surrounding sand dunes, making for an abstract piece perfectly photographed and shared here by Mohammadreza Momeni.
Seattle Space Needle at Night – a segment of the top of the Space Needle in Seattle is explored visually in this great photograph from sugarsandphotography. The intricate lines that compose the structure itself form a fan pattern that is quite pleasing to the eye, making for an architectural study of this icon that is both unique and fabulous to take in.
Top 5 Photos of Dakota Visions – this is a wonderful compilation of the best images as photographed and shared over the last year by Dakota Visions Photography. These landscapes are absolutely breathtaking, and there is little wonder as to why they have been so popular over the course of the year. If you love beautiful vistas, you will enjoy this post!
A Chance Encounter – a pair of autumn leaves lie in a shallow pool of water that finds it’s definition in the naturally forming lines created by shifting sands. Jason Hines finds and shares this great scene that exposes a touch of the abstract with a touch of nature, all combined in one lovely image.
Falling Into Darkness – a fast moving waterfall steps it’s way down the countryside, creating a beautiful vista to take in and enjoy. Curt Fleenor risks life and limb to come away with this wonderful image, one that features some great natural elements to draw the viewer in.
Power Disconnect – this is a powerful black-and-white shot that takes us inside an abandoned building where the remnants of the previous tenants are in a continuing state of decay and weathering. CJ Schmit creates a detailed picture with intense textures, a great example of Urbex photography.
Twist – Andy Gimino delivers another fluid themed photograph carefully staged and composed. A drop of cream is delicately illuminated, and as it drops it creates amazing shapes and designs in the water. This is a complex image to create, and Andy does a fabulous job in pulling off the technical bits to create a very fascinating picture.
Uncertain – a sweeping road creates a perfect leading line in this black-and-white photograph from the studio of Jim Denham. The viewer is taken right through the frame naturally, finding all sorts of interesting features that leave you feeling introspective and hopeful.
Jefferson Memorial at Dawn – a landmark memorial is perfectly lit, creating a striking figure against the dawning sky. This gorgeous photograph by Metro DC Photography finds further depth with it’s incredible reflection, finishing it all off with the moon hanging over the horizon.
Flight Deck of the Yorktown – Mike Criswell takes us aboard an aircraft carrier where he conducts a study of the beauty found in jet aircraft design. Mike’s incredible HDR images portray the incredible lines and shapes that are dictated by physics to get this machine to fly.
Dawn Over the City – as dawn breaks over a town in Thailand, a gentle fog emerges that sits just above the homes that are awakening to a new day. Anita Megyesi captures a photograph that exhibits incredible depth through layer upon layer of interest.
nightview – a stunning city skyline at night finds its reflection in the perfectly still waters that sit at its feet. lee geon photopia presents a detailed photograph of a Korean city that includes great details in the lit buildings and crisp details. The vibrant city nightlife explodes in light in the city streets below, creating a picture with many layers of interest.
Variable Ladybird Beetles III – the beauty of nature finds expression in this colorful photograph by Niko Vass. Great natural tension in the composition and negative space around the tiny subject works with the complimentary colors to create a striking piece to view and enjoy.
Serendipity – a full moon peers above a silhouetted tree line, casting a striking shape in the evening sky. Sympathetic tones from the hanging orb against the blue sky evoke an emotional response from the viewer, making this a must-see shot in this week’s list. As photographed and shared by Tom Wilkins.
Scottish Rurex – the haunted remains of homes in Scotland produce the most striking scenes for photographic explorers seeking to capture their character and essence to share with a wider audience. This is a comprehensive collection of photographs featuring a variety of settings and scenes, as captured by theboatman.
Malostranská – patterns intersect in the distance as an incredible vanishing point is revealed at the end of a long tunnel in this great shot by Alexander Dragunov. This is a captivating image, full of great diffused reflections and crisp details.
Photoshopping with Shining Armor – Mark Neal captures and shares a very dramatic image in this post, featuring a shining suit of armor carefully processed to bring out all the shadows and thus create a sense of mystique. The details hidden in the shadows are just as compelling as the visible elements in this great shot.
Avian Friday: SEO – Jay Taylor does a magnificent job of capturing a shot of a lovely Short-eared Owl as it sits resting. The perfect natural light plays with the features of the incredible bird, and Jay’s perfect depth-of-focus highlights the natural grandeur inherent in it’s personality.
Buachaille Etive Mor – the beautiful mountains in Scotland form the perfect backdrop for this wonderful landscape photograph by Mark Mullen. Rich colors in the autumn foliage offset the fast moving waterfall, combining with all the other natural elements in the surroundings to cast an impressive scene to photograph.
Crossing the Blue – the Hammersmith Bridge in the UK creates the perfect subject for the photography of Chris Maskell. The rich blue tones capturing in the blue hour here work with the crisp lines of the architecture, creating a mesmerizing piece to view and enjoy. The finishing touch is found in the gentle reflection cast back from the fast moving waters.
Two Weeks in Irresistable Ireland – Part 6, Cliffs of Moher – truly breathtaking details in the natural landscapes that form the coasts of Ireland form the perfect matter for the lens of Lee Brown in this post featuring some of his pieces from his latest travels. The rich history and character of the area can be defined both in the scenery and the lives the locals live, and Lee does a great job with this post in sharing a bit of this.
Sadly another day ends – beautiful colors in the night sky as the sun sets low over the horizon create strong silhouettes of the surrounding features in this breathtaking photograph by Barry Turner. The lessons of the day remain hidden in the deep shadows and the beautiful and bright colors bring hope for a new day tomorrow.
with bells on . . . – a beautiful flower is gently backlit in this photograph from the studio of dragonflydreams88. The perfect shallow depth-of-focus used to create this further centers the viewer on the main subject, exposing a plethora of wonderful colors and light to take in and enjoy.
taking a stroll – a beautiful autumn path finds itself under a canopy of fall colors in this wonderful image from photobypawelp. The way the path finds itself elevating in the foreground, only to drop off in the back forms a sense of tension for the viewer who yearns to see what’s just around the next corner.
Menorca … – a haunting scene is presented here, showcasing the raw natural drama that can be found in a simply composed black-and-white photograph. Tomàs Rotger captures a picture of a pathway that exhibits strong contrasts, producing a distinct feel for the viewer as you follow the path off to the distance towards a fabulous vanishing point.
Seeing the Forest Again – photographic metaphors can be powerful tools to share a vision and story. Laurie MacBride does a fabulous job with this concept, sharing a post that outlines some recent technical woes she has been working through and punctuating her story with great photographs that create the underlying metaphor. A great post, well worth the time for a visit.
Moonrise Over Flagstaff Lake, Maine – a rich dusk sky produces striking blue tones to accent the surrounding landscape, as photographed and shared here by Rob Hanson. There is so much beauty in this image, but the real treasure lies in the gentle reflection of the moon in the waters of the lake.
Convergence – fabulous reflections in the waters that surround the two bridges in this shot produce a strong element of interest in this shot from Chris Frailey. All the great details in the architecture and the beauty in the reflections come together just perfectly with the vanishing point that naturally leads the viewer through the frame in this shot.
Summer storm – blasts of color rain down upon the dramatic landscape as a storm moves across the vista in this incredible photograph by Silvia Georgieva. Dark and light spots in the land play off each other, leading the viewer in and out of the areas of interest in this gorgeous and awe-inspiring image.
Blue Macro – Mark Garbowski shares an image that showcases the beauty and colors that are found in flowers. The epic colors that Mark brings out of this shot literally jump out of the monitor at the viewer, drawing you in to enjoy the tones and details that are found in nature.
The Kiva at Bandelier – peering out from a cave into the surroundings, Derrick Birdsall captures and shares a striking image. Great details are found in the long shadows inside the cave, but the real gem of this shot is the joyful and vibrant sunflare that comes in through the opening to drape the scene in bright light.
Watery sunshine on the dike in Diemen, The Netherlands – a wonderful black-and-white photograph from the Netherlands is displayed in this post by Joey Culver. A tree lined pathway creates a leading line and strong vanishing point, and as this shot was captured using traditional film we get to enjoy all the natural grain in the image as well as the surrounding details from the landscape.
The Seattle skyline – the Seattle city skyline strikes a grand pose in this photo from the studio of Jim Nix. Great and powerful modern architecture graces the skyline, and the lovely mountains in the backdrop and ocean in the foreground work together in tandem with the city to deliver a picture that is sure to catch the imagination of the viewer as you spend time taking in the details.
AUTUMN IN DOLOMITI – a wonderful Italian church sits perched on the side of a hill in autumn in this wonderful picture by Tomas Morkes. The incredible tones inherent in the vista capture the viewers eye as you work your way around the picture taking in the intricate details. This is a magical scene, perfectly captured.
Milwaukee 111812-74 – a set of weathered piers take the viewer through the picture, leading to a far away city skyline that peers out from behind the landscape. Bob Israel captures and presents an image here that exemplifies terrific colors in the sky and the waters below.
The Dart and Daytona – Tim Stanley takes us to a car show where two cars from distinctly different eras sit side-by-side, exhibiting features prevalent from the times they were designed. Both share a similar color, which adds a lot to the inherent interest in the scene, allowing the viewer to really take in the subtle differences created over the years of design.
Looking at You Kid – squirrels make for great photography subjects; always inquisitive, full of character and spirit and seemingly always willing to pose for a camera. Chris Nitz grabs a shot of one such fellow perched high in a tree, capturing all the great personality of this particular squirrel in a photo for everyone to enjoy.
Unlimited playground – a race car on the sand dunes prepares for the upcoming Dakar race held annually. Tristan Shu uses the opportunity to come away with a great shot that shows off the raw power and speed found deep in the desert as the car makes its way up and over the countless dunes. Great light and shadows are captured here, bringing out all the details and giving the scene depth.
The Blacksmiths Workshop – details and textures are often key elements that get wonderfully exposed in HDR photography. Barry Turner captures a picture inside a blacksmith’s shop in the UK that at first glance delivers great examples of these core elements, but when the viewer starts to spend time working their way around the frame you are presented with great items to explore visually. Tons to take in, tons to enjoy!
in waiting position – the majesty of the tiger is perfectly captured and displayed in this incredible image from Sonja Probst. The awesome markings on this cat find accent in the rich colors in it’s coat as it sits primed on a ledge, waiting for opportunity to come. The spirit and character of the tiger is perfectly brought to life in this striking image.
Jo també sóc un Illòman … – incredible rolling landscapes, wonderful lines in wooden fences and long shadows converge to a point with this great shot from Tomàs Rotger. This is one of those dramatic black-and-white shots that draws you in for some reason, with a sense of gentle drama and mystery held within the unanswered questions.
Night Spires – an incredible architectural study in ancient gothic styling is shared and presented in this post from Len Saltiel. The indescribable beauty and wonder held within the spires of the Cologne Cathedral make an incredible subject at night for Len to shoot, who then comes away with a photograph pretty much guaranteed to be the source of delight and amazement for everyone.
Orchid Xtreme to High and Low – we get to enough a frame processed in several different ways, each creating it’s own voice and variation that is wonderful to view and enjoy. All seven versions contain their own unique magic, producing a personal feeling in the viewer that differs from the rest. As captured and processed by Mark Neal.
Crossing The Stream Part II – black-and-white photography has a great way of capturing the essence of a scene and conveying all the drama held within. This beautiful landscape image from Jim Denham is a great example of that, taking us to a wonderful waterfall that Jim carefully composed with strewn logs, creating a piece that is as equally enthralling as it is mesmerizing.
Landscape – Heather Neil captures a beautiful black-and-white vista that features a distant set of mountains, a forest and a most wonderful soft reflection in a body of water. This is a most peaceful setting, one that is sure to elicit feelings of beauty and natural wonder in everyone who visits to see.
Malibu Pier at Sunset – this post features epic natural leading lines in the piers working their way out to the ocean and great colors in the sky as the sun slowly sets. Adam Allegro delivers a striking series in this post, the perfect getaway view for those trapped indoors looking for an escape to more tropical locations.
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine Tour – Brian Moran takes us inside an old coal mine, sharing a view of a track that leads deep into the heart of the mine. Great details and textures in the mine shaft are created and presented in this post, with the best part being the great vanishing point Brian creates by leading the viewer down the train tracks into what seems to be an endless tunnel.
Cowichan Bay Sea Lions – a recent photowalk we participated in with some of our local friends resulted in us coming across a gang of sea lions on a dock in the tiny town of Cowichan Bay. Another of our good friends, Joseph de Lange then set out to capture a series of photos of these magnificent creatures as they go about their lives. The results of this adventure are shared in this post, in the form of a terrific set of photographs of the animals at leisure and play, peppered with Joseph’s fabulous commentary. Well worth the time for a visit.
A Lot of Bull – this is a great photograph, featuring a shot of a bull grazing, as captured and shared here by Bev. The horns on this bull definitely parlay a sense of strength in this photo, and his great character is really brought out as well for everyone to enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving – Kerri Farley welcomes the US Thanksgiving festivities by posting a great shot of a red robin sitting in a tree. The carefully composed and photographed bird is perfectly presented here with a very shallow depth-of-focus, separating the bird out from it’s background and bringing it to life.
In the Gold – a beautiful yellow flower is photographed to be shared by Kat White in this post. Gorgeous natural colors in the flower are captured, and the lovely shadows playing off the petals give the flower a sense of depth and scale.
Hospital R Revisit October 2012 (Chair Fetish) – a very old and abandoned hospital delivers a stunning series of sets for the adventurous urbex photographer cloakedup. A haunting series depicting the contrast between human construction and life-signs, and the ravages of time.
Awe-Inspiring Architecture – this article features some incredible architecture, much of likely unseen before. The incredible designs and structures here cast incredible shapes against their backdrops, showcasing the beauty and grandeur of human design principles.
Nuclear Bunker – October 2012 – we go deep inside on an exploration the reveals the hidden secrets of an underground nuclear bunker complex. This short feature by CookieRaider takes us into the heart of the complex and features poignant imagery of what remains behind.
Awe-Inspiring Digitally Manipulated Photography – prepare to be amazed by the images presented in this post, featuring the work of Michal Karcz. Michal’s evocative view of the world we find ourselves living within is reflected back to us through his incredible images, all of which are carefully constructed and created using advanced software techniques. Each image can easily stand on it’s own, but the collection of a whole is sure to leave everywhere beguiled with lingering questions.
Sunrise Through the Mist: Beautiful Mornings in Poland – these landscape images present the viewer with an ethereal world bathed in glorious rays of light that make their way through a foggy landscape to gently bathe breathtaking details in soft light. Boguslaw Strempel’s dedication to his style and craft pays massive dividends in this collection, sure to be the source of amazement for everyone who visits.
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.