What a great week for photography, full of great posts, articles and pictures from the community. Join us as Toad Hollow Photography shares this week's list of tutorials, reviews, special features, great photography and interesting blogs. This week's comprehensive list contains some of the best links found online over the last week, and we really hope you enjoy checking them all out as much as the Toad did in bringing them to you.
Photo Ops: Window Light – natural light is a key tool in the photographer’s bag of tricks, and mastering it can produce the most profound results. Joe Baraban creates an in-depth article discussing lighting subjects for portrait photography by the light of a window, no matter what time of year it is. Joe punctuates his key point in the post with some incredible photographs.
Basic Fashion Photography Poses | How to Pose a Model – a brief but great article that discusses various common model poses for great results. Sample photographs are included to give the reader great context into the topic being discussed.
Using Retro Props in the Studio – a great article that talks about the great results that you can get with using old items as props in portrait shoots. Joe Farace discusses specifically using old cameras, but the concept can be widened to many other antique and old items that you may have access to.
Hands-on Photo Tips: Creating a Non-destructive Vignette – this 13 minute video tutorial from Klaus Herrmann shows us how to create non-destructive vignette layers for use in post-processing. This detailed video will leave the viewer with a new tool to use in their toolkit.
In the Studio: Rotolight RL48-B LED Lighting Kit – a great review that discusses the applications and uses for this lighting kit. Joe Farace’s great article shares a behind-the-scenes shot of the gear in use, as well as a fabulous portrait piece to showcase it’s results.
How Do I Know When It’s Time to Leave my Job? – yours truly, the Toad here, was guest on a radio podcast recently where I was interviewed about our pending leap from the fast-paced world of IT into a career filled with Fine Art Photography. Mai Vu from Reinvention Circle did a great job of posing questions that may be of interest to other people facing similar changes in life.
The evolving eye–or why archive diving is a good idea – Robin Black picks up her digital pen and writes a strong and engaging piece discussing the merits of going back through your archives as your skills and talents progress over time. She brings her terrific article to life with some absolutely incredible photographs she took a few years back, but just recently post-processed to her satisfaction.
Partner Makeovers – profound and poignant, both in the words and the photograph shared here by Erik Kerstenbeck. A great pier leads the viewer out to the epic sunset slowly being created in the distance, delivering a sunburst between the pier’s legs and a sense of hope for the visitor.
Whitstable Revisited – a terrific set of photographs of this iconic spot, featuring the great character in the local architecture and the surroundings. Chris Maskell captures and shares a series of blue hour shots here that are very expressive and compelling, showcasing a little of life in this part of the world.
Sailfin Sculpin – local Victoria photographer Amanda Marie shares the incredible results of a night dive and photoshoot she conducted right in the ocean surrounding this beautiful city. The incredible little creature poses and shows off it’s great character, and this collection really brings it to life.
Coffee – Left behind… – Howard Jackman creates a truly thoughtful series based on a theme of abandoned coffee cups left out in the wilds of society. The common thread throughout the collection makes for a wonderful journey to share with Howard, who executes the concept just perfectly.
The New Subway Train in Toronto – Roland Shainidze captures another incredible scene from inside the new Toronto subway. The cars go on forever, creating a great vanishing point in the far distance that adds natural tension to the really interesting natural lines created by the cars and Roland’s composition.
Goat Canyon Trestle – wooden trestles make for exquisite photography subjects, producing a distinctly human architectural element amidst the raw beauty of the landscape they sit within. Ron Niebrugge’s image captures a great composition of the Goat Canyon Trestle that is the longest, tallest curved wooden trestle ever built in the United States. Our local trestle here on Vancouver Island, Kinsol Trestle, was featured in our blog post “A Bridge Of Hope” at Toad Hollow.
Ural Owl in Flight – what a fabulous shot of an Ural Owl in mid-flight, as shot and shared here by Bev. The perfect natural light in this picture makes the ends of it’s wings slightly transparent, making for a shot that captures both the natural beauty of this incredible bird and the sense of power and motion it exhibits.
The Capitol State Forest in IR – Scott Wood delivers another of his epic pieces shot in IR. This genre of imagery creates striking pictures that reveal details that would be lost in the normal spectrum. This high-resolution panoramic is stunning, well worth the time to visit and view.
Mount Evans Range – a truly stunning monochromatic photograph featuring a mountain range is perfectly captured in this shot by Rick Louie. As you make your way through the layer upon layer of mountain peaks, the great contrasts expressed in this shot define depth and scale to the viewer.
Flying Dutchman – an island in the middle of a body of water creates a striking silhouette against the incredible colors of the sky as the sun rises, in this lovely landscape photograph by Ondrej Pakan. The waters create an incredible mirror of the scene, adding a great dimension to a beautiful vista.
Pensive Leopard – breathtaking natural light dapples across the face of a beautiful leopard, perfectly captured with incredible detail here by Barbara Youngleson. This incredible cat finds itself frozen for a moment forever in this emotionally charged shot.
A Deceptive Calm – Kenny Barker delivers a long exposure piece that finds the viewer exploring a series of cement piers that form a natural leading line out into the ocean. A trio of smaller piers in the foreground of this scene find a gentle reflection in the smoothed waters, adding a great touch and dimension to the scene.
the future of (my) photography – a fabulous high-key image punctuates a truly profound point by oneowner in this post sure to leave the visitor with many more questions than answers. No matter the answer to the head-scratching question posed, the photograph of the cold, snow covered landscape is preserved in the minds of those who pause and visit.
A Little Wonder – the lovely community in the old city below starts to twinkle and shine as the sun sets in this beautiful shot by Almer Frades. Crisp details in the old architecture and beautiful surrounding landscape makes for a compelling picture to visit and enjoy.
Snow On The Evergreens – I just love the great drama that’s found in long shadows, and this fabulous shot from Jim Denham uses them to their fullest. A snow-covered forest seems to have an endless horizon here, accented by the careful black-and-white processing Jim used to create the image presented.
Strait Masts – tall ships produce striking photography subjects, and when caught in their natural element on the open waters, a strong sense of longing and romance can be induced. These great shots from local photographer Ehpem has a prime subject of a ship captured in a pool of light off shore in the ocean.
The lonely road – the dark, brooding skies open up with a fierce lightning strike creating dramatic tendrils from the boiling clouds to the still ground below. Mike Olbinski delivers another of his incredible storm themed shots here.
Outside In – Mark Garbowski creates an image that features us looking through a hallway in a building right to the other side. The mind's eye sees the hallway, even though the depth of range is so extreme it’s literally gone. As a result it creates a great vanishing point.
The Golden Gate – Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco is explored from a lookout in this dramatic black-and-white night shot by Chris Frailey. A wide aspect ratio really brings this wonderful city to life in the background with it’s lights twinkling.
Caesar reflected – the world-famous hotel in the early morning hours is the captured and shared here by Jim Nix. Las Vegas is famous for it’s grand architecture, and this shot does a great job in showcasing a piece of this.
Night bridge – sharp, crisp lines define this architectural marvel of a bridge, as it finds itself lit at night casting a dramatic pose against the dark night’s sky. Jaewoon u utilizes the perfect composition in this shot, exposing the scale and context of the great lines in the bridge itself.
Vibrations of Light – a long-exposure seascape creates a dramatic gradient effect in the sky in this terrific photograph by Iván Maigua. A set of piers standing out in the foreground from the misty waters adds a great layer of drama.
Bring or Take? – a lively discussion followed a post from McPhedran Phocus who discusses a fine point in proper grammar. She also shares a great set of nature photographs, featuring seascapes, local animals and plants in Tasmania.
Lanakai Beach – a gorgeous beach in Hawaii creates a stunning natural leading line to guide the viewer through the beautiful scene. A person in the distance adds a touch of tension, producing a strong sense of scale and context.
Path to NYC – an incredible cityscape is revealed, showcasing the skyline of Manhattan across the smooth waters. Dani Diamond captures an instant classic, detailing the incredible architecture of this world wonder.
I have a dream… – an intensely profound black-and-white photograph featuring an absolutely incredible cheetah lying on it’s back, daydreaming. The connection this creates between the viewer and this indescribable scene leaves an indelible mark forever. Photograph by Wolf Ademeit.
Reservoir Doors – an intricate study in the warm tones of wonderful woodwork, the details of fine ironwork and the art behind great stonework. Len Saltiel shares a vision here of a pair of really incredible doors that lead to places unknown, creating a picture full of great character.
The Gray Ghost – prepare to be totally blown away as you take in the enormity behind this photograph by Axel Hildebrandt. A huge Great Gray Owl flies directly at Axel in the midst of a true Canadian snow storm, creating an imposing figure against the stark white backdrop of the active storm.
Driftwood Butterfly – a great shot hosted here by Adam Allegro finds a piece of driftwood on a beach acting as a wave barrier, causing the motion and power of the ocean’s water to splash up and over it. This creates a very interesting shape in the moving waters, one that does indeed take on the look of a butterfly’s wings.
Love is Universal – a mother monkey gently holds her baby in her arms as the pair of them sleep curled in the arms of each other. A striking photograph by J.J. Taylor that instantly connects the viewer with the monkeys.
Peep Death: Leo Style – Chris Nitz carefully creates and captures a setting to showcase his unique style of work. Chris’ pieces always exhibit great controlled lighting, and in this case the image creates a silhouette of the two main characters with just enough detail poking through the shadow to deliver a touch of context.
Rusty Car, Havana, 2013 – Ren Bostelaar captures a black-and-white here that features an old, rusty car on a Havana street. As a pedestrian makes their way past creating some natural tension, all the details in the car spring to life for those who love rich textures.
City Garage, Salado – a throwback to a time now long past, this old garage is complete and authentic with it’s weathered wood siding and antique gas paraphernalia. Jim Nix’s great shot here features all the character from the scene, with great colors and tones in the old gear.
The London Eye – Bob Lussier captures a shot of this landmark attraction in London using a unique composition to focus on the great geometry and shapes that it creates against the blue tones of the sky as the day fades. The eye wanders through this frame comfortably due to it’s key strengths in lines, shapes and colors.
Glacier Peaks, Banff, Canada – the incredible sharp and craggy edges of the Rocky Mountains in Canada are explored in this breathtaking photograph from Mark Paulson. A cloud formation that lingers over the tips of these majestic pikes adds a great dimension.
Nature’s Bridge – a terrific, terrific monochrome piece by Marks and Joey Culver shot in film and carefully processed in the darkroom to achieve this great result. A tree lies prone in still waters, casting a striking and deep reflection that draws you in as you spend time enjoying the picture.
Approach to black and white – a trio of images and a great discussion about the art of processing digital photography for black-and-white. Joseph de Lange creates a great blog post showing disparate results based on techniques employed.
Down The Hall – a fabulous architectural study of the State Capitol Albany in NY features a look down a hallway. John Sotiriou finds a composition that features great natural and artificial light, and how it plays off the polished floors adds a great dimension to the image.
The Newspaper – great candid photography can at times leave the viewer feeling a bit of a voyeur, taking a peek into a personal moment someone is having. This fabulous photograph from Rob Nopola shows us a man sitting and reading a paper, creating a strong sense of tension and leaving the viewer with lingering questions.
Palo Verde lightning – Mike Olbinski’s talents in capturing lightning images are well-known, and this great shot is a new addition to his portfolio. As the tendrils work their way around the frame, a nuclear power plant in the distance gives an impression under the purple clouds that are bursting with raw energy.
Sunset’s Path – a lovely, warm image from the studio of Rachel Cohen finds us gazing into a setting sun across a snow covered lake. Subtle shadows add depth to the shot, and the juxtaposition of the warm tones against the cold of the frozen landscape adds a great element.
Looking Up – perspective is everything as exemplified in this great shot from Rich McPeek. The crisp, modern architecture of Pittsburgh is featured here by Rich looking straight up… and as a result, he captures great lines and a fabulous reflection of one building in the other’s windows.
A Cooper’s Hawk Patrolling My Neighborhood – a pair of great images are the basis for a great blog post by Steve Creek. This incredible bird is a fearsome creature in the wild, and Steve’s photographs bring it’s wonderful character out for all to enjoy.
My neighbourhood – Sherry Galey captures a perfectly framed bird in a wooden window, and by using a fabulous shallow depth-of-focus, the bird is isolated against it’s background. The perfect way the bird is looking produces a compelling element that draws the viewer right into the frame.
Hell Gate Bridge and Bronx Lighthouse – an architectural wonder is lit by golden morning light, jumping right out of the frame with great lines and shapes to engage the viewer. Mark Garbowski shares a great shot, revealing far more than the initial glance divulges.
Swansong – a beautiful swan sits front, center and nearly full-frame in this great shot from the studio of Barry Turner. The gorgeous colors in the sky from the setting sun cast a warm glow over the picture, eliciting a feeling of joy and hope in the viewer.
Urban Flip Side – a terrific shot of downtown Milwaukee showcasing both the interesting architecture at night and a sense of motion from the light trails of moving cars. CJ Schmit grabs a great picture here, full of details to explore and enjoy.
1491.39974 watts . . . – time to head for cover as a pair of black horses running at high speed straight for the camera leave you clamoring for safe haven in this great shot from dragonflydreams88. The perfect timing for this capture produce a strong sensation of the power of these grand animals.
Hennepin Bridge – a gentle vignette leads the viewer straight into the heart of this photograph, the architectural details of the Hennepin Bridge in Minneapolis, MN. Bob Israel’s monochromatic image does a great job of showcasing the architecture.
Forest Retreat – a truly beautiful black-and-white forestscape is explored in this breathtaking piece from the studio of Andy Gimino. The gorgeous natural features of the scene work perfectly with Andy’s careful post-processing, producing a compelling image.
Scarlet Sails – an absolutely incredible large sailboat under full sail moves away from shore, featuring some of the most fabulous sails you’ve ever seen on any boat. The rich scarlet tones of the sail make this beautiful boat pop right out of the viewer’s monitor. A great photograph by Alexander Pavlov.
Once Upon a Time in Angkor – the historic and world-famous Angkor Wat temple is the focus of this wonderful photograph by Anita Megyesi. Anita’s sympathetic processing produces a monochromatic piece that exposes all the details and depth inherent to such a landmark location.
To Stand Apart – what a terrific picture as Curt Fleenor creates an abstract from elements manmade and composed and executed in a very purposeful way to deliver something special. Cement support pylons cast a captivating fuzzy reflection in the waters that Curt smoothes out by using a long exposure technique.
Lucky Black Cat – David A Lockwood let’s us peer through ancient doors to explore in this great black-and-white photograph taken in Oman. A little black cat casts a striking silhouette in the doorway, adding a great dimension to this fabulous photograph.
Summer Cottage – an absolutely breathtaking piece of heritage architecture is lovingly photographed and shared in this photograph by Len Saltiel. Once a mansion on Newport, Rhode Island, today it is the administrative offices for Salve Regina University, casting a commanding figure against the beautiful grounds it sits upon.
Hills – Heather Bauer captures and shares a spectacular landscape scene here, one that features gentle rolling hills, terrific layers and a vista that seems to go on forever. This lovely picture is definitely one that is sure to please all who visit to see.
Liberia Office Desk – this picture is of an antique desk, complete with all the items and bric a brac that one would expect to see in such a setting. Perry Bailey’s great shot is carefully processed to accentuate the nostalgic feel of the scene photographed.
Ribblehead Viaduct In Snow – a terrific black-and-white image from Mark Mullen that showcases a stone viaduct in the snow. The great natural light adds a touch of drama to the scene that finds an ancient stone structure in the middle of a landscape.
Around The Bend – great tones that accent the feel of the scene are explored in this photograph from the studio of Jerry Denham. Rich and deep contrasts help to hide certain secrets deep in the forest, while exposing others and giving the viewer a sense of dimension.
None can lock the spring #shanghai taken by iphone instagram 满园春色锁不住 by Lawrence Wang 王治钧, on Flickr
Cherry Creek State Park – Geese Sun bath – a gathering of geese begin to stir as the sun comes up over the frozen pond. Rick Louie’s great shot let’s us join these beautiful birds as they welcome in the morning with the warmth of the sun as it comes up over the horizon.
Rolling Green Palouse Hills – great, long shadows create definition and depth in this rolling landscape photograph from the studio of Zack Schnepf. Wonderful colors and tones play off the shadows and land definitions to create abstract shapes that draw the viewer right into the picture.
ıııı – just wonderful tones and a terrific pier work together in conjunction to create a truly mesmerizing piece that is almost minimalistic in nature. The simplicity of the frame serves as a peaceful element, with a perfect natural leading line created by the pier.
I’m Watching You! – Baroness Danuté captures a fabulous photograph of a large cat sitting in a tree looking past the camera into the distance. Great natural tension is created with this composition and the expression on the mighty cat’s face.
waiting ! – fabulous details in a tiny frog perched on the petal of a very colorful flower grace our monitors in this great shot from bug eye. The perfect shallow depth-of-focus creates the perfect setting for the tiny creature by isolating it from the background, making for a pillow of color for the tiny frog to sit within.
The master hunter – a Great Gray Owl is coming in, undoubtedly about to pounce upon an unsuspecting snack. This terrific composition from Ari Hazeghi does a fabulous job of sharing the personality and spirit of this really incredible bird in action.
rescued by a sinking ship – this monochromatic piece features blues as the predominant color. lennon baksh captures a nautical shot that features a pair of boats, and he uses the colors and tones produced to create a distinctly dramatic feel to the shot. What a captivating piece.
Imperial Sand Dunes in Black and White – Anne McKinnell captures a shot of rolling sand dunes, and by processing it in black-and-white she allows the viewer to focus on the dramatic lines and shadows created. This abstract piece features great textures in the sands and the shapes created by relentless blowing winds.
Cathedral of the Sea – the underside of a pier produces great lines both in the feel of a cathedral hall from the overarching elements and the terrific vanishing point that is creates. A strong image with great colors and tones from the studio of Curt Fleenor.
Life on the Tracks – a fabulous black-and-white from Edith Levy that shares a view of a romantic streetcar juxtaposed against the man sitting on the edge of the tracks. He appears to be down on his luck from this perspective, and Edith’s shot really explores the sharp contrasts between the elements.
Embraced by Stones – the ruins of a 1,000 year old temple are the basis for this photographic exploration from the studio of Anita Megyesi. The feet of those who have walked here before are tangible in this shot that features stone ruins and nature’s reclaiming of those things forgotten and left to her devices.
3 14 13 – crimson colors adorn the screen in this highly dramatic abstract piece from oneowner. The silhouettes of the trees work in conjunction with the man made structures to create great natural lines to enjoy in this shot. This great shot almost comes across as a scene from another world entirely.
The Breakout – Bob Lussier takes us deep into the heart of an unused mill where we get to enjoy and explore interesting textures and details in the old materials used to construct and maintain this facility, as well as some great graffiti. This shot culminates in an opening in the side of the building, creating rich natural tension.
View from Pier 14 San Francisco – my good friend Keith Cuddeback takes us to this iconic spot in San Francisco where we get to see a bit of a self-portrait of Keith sitting on the bench taking in the beautiful lights and sights. Several other shots are shared in this great post, including a great one of him and his son silhouetted, as taken by his partner Mai.
Flat-tail Horned Lizard – look carefully or you might miss him entirely! This terrific shot features a lizard that is completely camouflaged by its surroundings, making it almost entirely disappear into it’s surroundings. A great shot by Ron Niebrugge.
Images of love captured at Burning Man – a poignant series of photographs depicting this incredible annual festival in the desert. This collection focuses on the interpersonal connections found in the people attending, finding the raw emotion of some moments, exposing the human element at work.
A New Weapon In The Armoury – Canon 24mm TS-E Tilt Shift Lens – this great post by Mark Mullen shows us the features and benefits of the modern-day tilt shift lens. Mark’s description on how it works is easy to digest, and he includes a great sample photograph to really show the reader one aspect of this lens’ abilities.
Surreal Photography by Katerina Plotnikova – Katerina takes us deep into her world by seeing visions she has created. Her soft images are extensions of her vivid imagination, taking the visitor to a world that is a touch surreal and completely enthralling.
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.