As the weeks roll by the list of photographers that the Toad follows continues to grow. This week finds us with a comprehensive list of tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to see as curated by Toad Hollow Photography. This list features some terrific pictures and posts from the thriving and talented photography community. We hope you enjoy checking these out as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
Toad Hollow Photography is a company that focuses on heritage, historical and landscape photography. Follow the Toad on Twitter and Like the Toad's Facebook fan page to stay up to date on the latest news and happenings in the world of photography.
How to Improve Your Landscape Photography – a well thought-out article that details some basic tips and techniques to use in the field of landscape photography. This piece covers the basics in several key areas including lens choice, tripod usage and perspective in composition.
Using and Choosing the Right Neutral Density Filter for Landscape Photography – this is a detailed post that discusses two types of filters that are great for landscape photography. Travis Lawton does a great job in creating a good balance between technical information as a background and using layman’s terminology to make the article much easier to understand for a wider audience.
3 Step Method for Bang On Exposure – Anne McKinnell delivers a great primer on how to take control of your exposure to produce more deliberate imagery. Anne’s post sheds light on this complex topic by delivering it in an easy to read format. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!
Model Photography Tips for Photographers – a great series of tips for those who practice photography using models. This short list is fairly comprehensive and is full of great ideas.
NEW PHOTOGRAPHY EBOOK
8 Ways To Accelerate Your Photography – I can hardly wait to download a copy and read it myself. Anne McKinnell has just released her latest book, which looks to be filled from front to back with real tips and concepts that almost everyone can use to take their work to the next level.
Southwest 2012: Eldorado Canyon Mine – prepare to find yourself lost in a true gold miners town in this absolutely epic post from A.D. Wheeler. This super-large set of photographs shares a portion of the photographs he came away with, focusing on the landscape, antique artifacts and old architecture of this great site.
“Sunset” 238,900 miles away over the Imbrium Sea – another post in this week’s list that is sure to keep the visitor engaged for quite some time taking in all the great images and background information. Howard Jackman knows his way around a telescope and in this post delivers a series of stunning photographs of the moon. These highly detailed images are accompanied by plenty of technical information, sure to please readers of all interest levels.
The Guns of Fort Pulaski – this post features an incredible series of images taken at Fort Pulaski National Monument in Georgia. Syd Weedon takes us along as he explores this historic location, sharing images of the cannons, fortifications and landscape that comprises the site. This site is host to many personal stories of suffering and loss, and Syd does a fabulous job of telling the stories through great imagery.
5 of the World’s Most Inaccessible Monasteries – a breathtaking collection of images that showcases ancient monasteries that have been built in the furthest reaches in the country they reside. Each picture presented captivates the viewer with really incredible details and a strong sense of scale, making for a powerful compilation that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Chocolat – Gost Ridr® uses selective color techniques in post-processing to create this compelling image. The city skyline forms an outline against the monochromatic backdrop, and with the inclusion of a very strong reflection in the water in the foreground a picture is created that keeps the viewer engaged.
The Dark Hedges of Ireland – Lee Brown takes us to one of the most fantastic places on earth, a hedge of beech trees in Ireland that are as magical as they are mesmerizing. The photos that Lee shares in this post are really iconic to this location.
A Simple Act of Kindness – a cute little forlorn puppy becomes the subject to Adam Allegro in this series of shots. Adam uses the power of kindness and consideration to help this little puppy and as a direct result of his actions he comes away with a set of really heart-wrenching photos.
21 Perfect Silhouette Pictures of People – silhouette’s can add a whole layer of mystery and interest to a photograph that wouldn’t exist otherwise. This post features 21 great shots that exemplify this concept.
Weekend Relaxer #38 – there is something kind of sad about the stormtrooper in this shot who sits by a lovely bottle of beer looking out to the horizon. This post is a metaphor for Chris Nitz who has just completed a big move to a new home. In the process, we get to enjoy this great shot.
The Walls Tell a Story: Alison Sound’s Pictographs – these incredible pictographs go back many years. They are widely believed to tell a sad story of a clash of societies. Laurie MacBride takes us along as she explores this incredible area and it’s storied history.
The Docks at Night – the only thing better than a nautical scene of a marina full of exquisite boats is the same scene but captured at night. Jimi Jones does a wonderful job with this photograph to bring the concept to life featuring an image that is full of great colors and tones as well as fascinating details.
Uchisar Belvedere – a quaint little European town sits embedded in the rocky hillside in this wonderful photograph from Giuseppe Sapori. The character that is inherent in this lovely little town is just perfectly captured in this picture.
Budding Amaryllis – lovely colors and shapes that can only be found in nature are fully examined in this beautiful picture of a flower from the studio of Mark Neal. The shallow depth of focus that Mark used to capture this shot really does a great job of isolating the flower from the background, really making the beauty of the flower pop in this picture.
Paint and Concrete – gritty details are exposed for all to enjoy in this shot of an abandoned building by CJ Schmit. The bricks in this picture are incredibly defined, and the architecture as composed creates strong natural leading lines to guide the viewer through the frame.
Simple life – a black-and-white shot is presented here that carries a few strong messages. Stefano Pedroni takes this image that depicts people who live in a house that stands on stilts above a still body of water. The people looking out one of the windows brings a nice touch of tension to the scene, and the monochromatic processing creates natural drama.
Dungeness… – a scene that truly seems to be cast from a forlorn and forgotten world is captured and shared here by Tony Matthews. This is another black-and-white shot featured in this week’s links list that produces a strong feeling of drama in the viewer.
Common Ground – Wayne Frost delivers a very colorful and vibrant piece in this post, featuring an image taken in the park where he lives. Wayne’s use of painterly processing effects help to create something absolutely unique in this photograph.
Friendship Church – Blue Hour – this is a strong image as captured and shared by Jerry Denham. A street light bathes the front of an architecturally stimulating church, creating a wonderful sensation that Jerry captures and accents here with the added touch of the moon lingering in the horizon.
Touching the Clouds – Edith Levy’s long-exposure technique brings this scene to life. A pair of commanding rocks sit front and centre in this shot, which Edith adds an element of mystery to by creating a silky-smooth effect in the waters that surround them.
Manor T – an urbex journey into an old abandoned home results in Gatesy coming away with an incredible set of photos taken inside. As time and nature conspire to use the power of decay to return the home to the surroundings that hold it, Gatesy does a great job in documenting it and as a result shares these incredibly dramatic pictures with us.
Old Québec City, Québec, 2012 – a candid street shot taken in Québec City reveals a peek of life in this historic location. The wonderful European-styled architecture forms the perfect surroundings for the people that are standing in the street talking to each other, making for a shot by Ren Bostelaar that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Walking your Path – a wooden walkway takes the visitor through an amazing scene in New Zealand in this photograph from the studio of Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck. This geothermally charged place reveals a scene full of mystery, making for the perfect spot for the Kerstenbecks to share their vision through their art.
Walk of Terror – Len Saltiel takes us deep inside one of the most amazing and strange places you could expect to encounter. The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is a photographers mecca, and this unique composition shares a view full of decaying textures, and this is perfectly accented here by the inclusion of people visiting the facility giving the picture further context and scale.
Wild Turkey – this is a great photograph of a really fascinating character. Tom Barnett captures a shot of this wild bird strolling around, and due to the perspective that Tom had to use to compose this shot we get to see this scene from a very atypical angle. This bird is full of spunk and personality, and Tom’s shot here does a fabulous job in bringing this all out for us to enjoy.
A little drama, yes? – Derrick Birdsall captures a very dramatic landscape scene in this image. Looking out over the desert as a large rainstorm pelts down, Derrick photographs the scene and then processes it in sepia to really accent the shadows, and thus the feel, of the picture.
Bulltown Historic Area – this wonderful old historic site is explored by Mark Summerfield as he takes us along to see the great architecture and landscape of an area full of important history. Mark’s stunning photography brings this site to life, creating a post sure to be enjoyed by all.
Split Rock Lighthouse – Rob Nopola shares a shot of a truly stunning lighthouse perched high atop a rocky bluff. Great details in the architecture and rich tones converge to deliver a dramatic piece with a romantic underpinning.
yellow: the A and the B – selective color can produce striking results, and this post from oneowner is a terrific example of this. The color yellow is the only color left in the images posted here, producing a striking set of pictures to view.
Marshall Point – an extremely dramatic picture is captured and shared here by Steven Perlmutter. The perfect leading line in this composition takes the viewer right down the great wooden walkway, stopping at the end with a great old lighthouse.
Beaver Up Close – Steve Creek shares a shot of this really incredible animal staring back at the camera. Steve’s shot shares a picture full of details, bringing all the character of the beaver out and creating a really special piece.
The Lowcountry – Mike Criswell goes head-to-head with a gator to capture this breathtaking photograph of the Drayton Hall Plantation. Mike’s composition here features the wonderful old home in it’s natural setting, complete with a really interesting reflection cast in the still pond that sits out in front of the house.
One Year On – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) marks a milestone on his blog with a truly emotional piece that he punctuates with some of his best photography. His love of mountains is well regarded in the field, and many of the pictures posted here reflect this. His other photos of architectural significance and various other subject material really stand on their own, making this a really wonderful collection to behold.
Trillium Sunset – gorgeous colors pop from this great landscape scene photographed by Scott Ackerman. Really rich purples and oranges splash across the sky, and the beautiful silhouettes of the rolling landscape naturally draw the viewer's eye through the scene.
Scotland – Classic One – a massive old castle is gently lit as it sits on a rocky outcropping on a Scottish Loch. Kilian Schönberger delivers an absolutely captivating picture that beguiles the imagination of all who view it.
Bedside | Eternal Sleep – Scott Frederick always delivers masterpieces with his photographs of abandoned rooms and places. Decay is beautiful to Scott, and he creates images full of drama that draw the viewer in through the delicate use of intricate detail.
Boston in Blue – this is a beautiful cityscape of Boston as night descends upon it, as captured and shared here by Bob Lussier. Wonderful details in the city and it’s architecture are all explored in this fabulous photograph.
Castle Cannons – Dover Castle sits high atop the cliffs, standing sentry over the guns that protect the shoreline. Tim Stanley composes a great shot that focuses on the details that make up the guns stationed at the site.
Arcadia Beach – this highly dramatic black-and-white photograph from Scott Wood features a rock formation that casts a formidable shape against the skyline. The misty surface of the ocean adds a great element to this picture.
Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris (Les “Vendredi” avec Anne-Laure) – we just love to shoot in museums ourselves, there is just something intrinsically interesting in all the artifacts and antiques on display. Mathias takes us inside this wonderful museum and shares a huge set of black-and-white images.
What’s Old is New – natural light dramatically drapes an old cart in the mill that Bob Lussier loves to photograph. The massive room it sits in is empty now, creating a sense of tension with the antique cart and the textures and details found in the room.
The Grey Man Expected Baguettes, But Found Furniture | The Grey Man Makes His Own Paths – the grey man series continues on Mark Garbowski’s blog with these two new posts. These primarily black-and-white photographs that feature the photographer in various states of exploration really define the expression tension as the viewer is constantly left wondering what’s next for the grey man; a man we never see the face of, only the evolving adventures.
Barred Owl – a wonderful owl sits perched on a limb, and Axel Hildebrandt does a terrific job of bringing all the character of this bird to life in this photo. The shallow depth of focus is perfect in this shot, isolating the subject from the background here and drawing the viewers eye immediately to the intricate details found in the owl.
Bulow Plantation Ruins – dedicated to using film for photography, Marks and Joey Culver shoot and develop all their work in the analog realm. This set really showcases the strength of their work featuring a large series of images taken in a decrepit plantation, all shot in black and white to fully accent the drama that is inherently found in the site.
Winds of Change – the power of photography to whisk the viewer away to places near and far points to the efficacy of the medium itself. As a mist rolls over the city of Dubai in the morning, Alisdair Miller captures a scene that is truly reminiscent of a place on another planet entirely. This is a very dramatic picture, full of raw tension and natural interest.
Sapphire – a study of abstracts found in nature is shared in this image from the studio of Anita Megyesi. This picture appears to be of a blue material that finds itself dotted with water droplets, and the shallow depth of focus that Anita used to capture this shot draws the viewer's eye through the frame quite comfortably.
Utrecht Tunnel – a brightly colored underground tunnel is peppered in graffiti and vibrant colors, making for a perfect scene to capture by Bob Israel. The tunnel carries on into the distance, creating the picture perfect vanishing point sure to be enjoyed by all who view.
Absolute Towers II – geometry, lines and shapes all are to be found in this architectural study by Roland Shainidze. Natural light gently illuminates the left side of the shot here, bringing subtle shadows to play against the edges found in the architectural styling of the building.
Mountain Range Reflection, Banff NP, Canada – a mesmerizing landscape scene can be improved in terms of layers of interest by including a striking reflection. This great shot of the majesty of the Canadian Rockies finds itself benefitting from this concept in this beautiful photograph from Mark Paulson.
Blue Street Rod – mmmmm, hot rods! These old classic cars make for great photographic studies with their character and lines. Jimi Jones captures a great shot here of a highly modified and personalized blue old hot rod, full of epic details to take in and enjoy. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for his new monthly newsletter publication, it’s sure to be something you don’t want to miss!
Quiet Interlude – this is one of those classic shots that we can all envisage hanging on a wall. Andy Gimino takes us along as he explores the great outdoors in his area, and in this shot we get to see a lovely red maple leaf laying in contrast on a rock by a fast moving stream. Slightly abstract in nature, this shot holds a lot of beauty and intrigue in it.
Newfound Sunrise – these have to be some of the most incredible colors I have ever seen naturally occurring. Jerry Denham manages to photograph a sunrise that looks out over a rolling vista that simply exudes these incredible colors and tones, sure to be enjoyed by all who pop by for a view.
The Quays Bar, Dublin – an iconic Irish scene is captured and shared in this post from the studio of Jim Nix. Damp cobblestone streets add a quaint and familiar feel to this distinctly Irish setting, and Jim’s photography really brings all the details and textures out for everyone to enjoy.
Portrait: Fahmida … – a lovely personal black-and-white portrait is presented here by Tomàs Rotger. The composition and pose that Tomàs used to capture this shot brings an intimate feel to it, producing a very striking image.
Sunday, Peaceful Sunday – a new installment in this running series from Heather Neil shares a scene of natural beauty. A beautiful stream flows through the frame which finds itself accented here by the beautiful landscape backdrop of rolling mountains.
Hawkwatching – Steve Beal grabs a mesmerizing shot of the Greenwich Audubon. The wonderful architecture of the facility is really brought to life for everyone to enjoy, and Steve provides some anecdotal information regarding hawk migration that adds a whole level of interest to the post.
2012 CSP Buffalo Roundup & Birds of Prey – a pair of images teases us as to what lays ahead from the folks at Dakota Visions Photography. The first shot features a herd of buffalo as they return to their corrals, and the second is of a stunning bird of prey.
What is soft is strong… – Sherry Galey delivers three photographs of a running river and waterfalls, each of them incredibly beautiful. The silky smooth waters are created by using a long exposure, making for a series that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
Vetted – bright red convertible Corvettes make for the best photography subjects with their graceful lines and iconic styling. Tim Stanley shares a great photo taken at a local auto show that features one such car.
Look Up In The Sky! – an absolutely breathtaking Snowy Owl is photographed by Jay Taylor. The incredible details in the image combined with the great expression the owl is sharing makes for a magnetic picture.
Zion Valley Pano #2 – this is an extremely dramatic black-and-white photograph of the Zion Valley. Aaron Barlow creates a seven frame panorama picture that conveys a scene in the valley complete with absolutely incredible clouds in the sky, some even casting a shadow on the magnificent mountains they cover.
Beautiful Glass Blowing Images – this is an extensive series of photographs featuring a glass blowing artisan at work. Scott Hovind delivers a collection that is sure to keep the viewer engaged for quite some time going through each piece taking in the fabulous details.
Museum for the End of the World, Toronto, 2012 – an exhibit so unique, this piece literally defines the terms tension and drama. Ren Bostelaar captures a photograph of the scene that showcases the dramatic lighting used to illuminate the display.
Chairs Undone – an eerie scene is cast in this dramatic black-and-white picture from the studio of CJ Schmit. An abandoned facility lies in near ruins, and CJ finds a set of office chairs in disarray that make the absolutely perfect subject to photograph.
End Of Story – an abandoned boat lies on it’s side, full of great rust and texture. KHALID ALSABT uses a long exposure to capture this scene, smoothing out the water to a point where it looks like a veil of fog. This just further serves to add to the gloomy overall feel cast by this absolutely enchanting picture.
Manor H – a heart wrenching series is presented here that features a large assembly of really great photographs of a long-abandoned manor house. This beautiful old home sits in deep decay and disarray and this set of photographs features great compositions, fabulous tones and sharp details.
Capitol Avenue Bridge – this post shares a pair of great light trail images, from the studio of Scott Wood. The first shot is his latest image from one of his favorite locations, and includes a fabulous curve for the lights of the passing cars to follow. This really helps to create a captivating picture that everyone will enjoy.
Hydrangea In Black and White – a great study in black-and-white emphasizes the natural beauty of the shapes of the flower’s petals, delicately peppered with water drops. This is a lovely photograph from Eden R. Ellis.
Big City Lights (HDR) – an absolutely stunning HDR photograph that features the epically lit city skyline of Toronto. Klaus Herrmann composes a shot that looks over a dock, with a reflection from the water that is so sharp it’s unreal. This is a fabulous photo, sure to be enjoyed by everyone who view.
Pimp My Ride – this sports car need more than just a paint job, it needs a whole makeover. Mike Criswell captures this picture that showcases a very long-abandoned car in an industrial building that is in a state of decay. A classic and iconic urbex shot, to say the least.
Montauk Point Light – an iconic lighthouse, the fourth oldest still active in the United States, is eloquently photographed and processed by John Sotiriou. John’s unique style sympathizes with this subject, creating a picture that evokes a sense of nostalgia.
Rhine River Protector – there is nothing better than an old castle for a photographer, and Rheinstein Castle is a magnificent example. Len Saltiel does a truly incredible job of capturing a shot of this imposing structure that is full of great details.
One Deep Love – the most incredible details are perfectly captured in this awe-inspiring picture from Gost Ridr®. A night shot of the city skyline of Dubai is intensified by the wonderful gentle reflection in the water in the foreground.
the silent night 2 – a damp cobblestone street reflects the gentle streetlights in this European looking street at night. A man walks off in the distance, creating great natural tension in this shot by Robert Karo.
Chicago Crash – Mark Gvazdinskas delivers a stunning city skyline study of Chicago. The crisp modern architecture creates strong shapes and lines in the picture, all naturally led to by the leading line of the waterfront pier.
Yacht Racing – the natural tension and drama of a boat in full race trim is perfectly captured and shared in this nautical photograph from Jason Manchester. This is a really great photograph that captures the essence of those personally and directly involved in both the speed and safety of the vessel.
Hagia Sophia, I S T A N B U L – this is such an amazing part of the world, full of rich ancient architecture and culture. Yonca Evren captures and shares a really wonderful photo that is full of vibrant colors and details, drawing the viewer deeper and deeper into the image.
Cripta Cattedrale Foligno (PG) – incredible ancient architectural wonder is explored and shared in this photo from Giuseppe Peppoloni. As you look through the main room in the photo down the long hallway, the natural light dapples the path creating a sense of wonder and interest.
Barbed and Rusty – Mark Neal creates a black-and-white image of an old fence post with barbed wire affixed. This was the perfect way to process this as it really exposes and brings out the rich textures and details in the scene.
Shattered Skies – as the evening sun begins to set Chris Frailey finds himself in the perfect spot to photograph a storm that’s rolling in. One half of the frame is a lovely landscape vista and the other bears the hallmark of a massive pending storm.
At the Edge of the Wood – what a lovely rural scene, as captured by nature photographer Bev. A grove of great trees on the left and a hedge on the right lead the viewer straight through the frame here. The picture’s best feature, however, is the rusty farm item sitting on the ground adding a touch of elemental contrast.
Two Kinds of Red – this post features a pair of photographs, one of a cute little red squirrel and the other featuring a bright red cardinal. Kerri Farley always does a fabulous job in capturing the character and spirit of the wildlife she photographs, and this post really delivers.
Great Egret – a gorgeous white egret makes its way into the water and finds its own reflection staring back at it. Kat White does a wonderful job in composing this shot that features the stark contrast of the vegetation and the surroundings against the vivid white egret.
Fragments: Abandoned Objects Come to Life – photographing items and artifacts that are in a state of decay is something that holds ultimate fascination for us. And it seems we’re not alone. This post features the work of filmmakers Monika Delgado and Mickey Todiwala who explore a desolate desert landscape and produce a striking film from their efforts.
October 2012 Pumpkin Patch Desktop Wallpaper – Dru Stefan Stone shares several formats of four different pumpkin themed photos with an October calendar on them. Each one is quite wonderful, and the entire collection as a whole represent a really special offering.
Royal Masonic School – August 2012 – the facility at The Royal Masonic School is undergoing re-development where the old historic building is being converted to homes while maintaining the heritage of the original building face. The part yet completed is lying unused for many years now and an urbex team of photographers finds their way in to capture some great shots from inside.
My Broken Puppy – an Ursa compilation from the old blog – this post is a compilation of several blog posts published over a period of roughly a year. Scott Wood’s dog is seriously injured and Scott does a great job in documenting the healing process, and as a result creates a very heartwarming story illustrated with fabulous photos of this gorgeous dog as she recovers fully.
A “Top 10″ Life Moment: Video of Dolphin “Super-Pod” Stampede – off the edge of the coast in South Africa supertog Chase Jarvis and explorer Mike Horn share a once in a lifetime experience. As they were sailing a massive pod of dolphins encircled their boat. Watching the scale of this event as the incredible animals swim in a pod, each breaching the surface for a moment only to slip back under the cover of the oceans surface, is something that will move everyone who invests the time to see this.
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.