Nothing seems to make the Toad happier than being able to hop around the internet looking for great links to share with everyone. This week's list of links includes tutorials, reviews, special features, collections, great photography and interesting blogs to check out. Toad Hollow Photography is happy to present this comprehensive list to you.
Top 15 Photoshop Tools Every Photographer Should Know – this is a comprehensive video tutorial, almost 2 hours in length, featuring the work of Jeff Cable who shares some really incredible insights into post-processing. For those looking to step up their game in the realm of Photoshop, this might be time well spent.
Turn Your Tablet Into a Studio Light – light is light, and if used properly can produce astonishing results in photography. This great article outlines in good detail how to use apps available for both iOS and Android platforms that transforms your smartphone or tablet into a source of illumination that mimics a softbox lighting setup.
Creating Double Exposures Digitally – originally conceived of and used in the world of film photography, double exposures make their way into the digital realm with this great video tutorial that walks you through the process of creating this type of image. This great tutorial is presented here by Andrew Childress.
Hands-on Photo Tips: How to create a spotlight effect in Photoshop – a fabulous video tutorial from Klaus Herrmann takes the visitor on an in-depth adventure showing how to create an artificial spotlight effect in post-processing. Klaus’ detailed video tutorials are terrific presentations, typically condensing advanced topics into segments that are easy to understand and follow.
Studio Tuesday: Knowing Where to Place the Lights – a brief tutorial by Joe Farace features a pair of great photographs to illustrate the key points. This post shows us how the same photographer, gear, setup, model and camera can be used to create two distinctly different photographs just by moving the photographer and leaving all other elements the same.
Secrets of mouthwatering food photography – this is a short list of tips and tricks to use when doing food themed photography. Even though the article is brief in nature, it’s full of really great tips that everyone can benefit from.
The Rusty Truck And Topaz Labs Detail 3 Plugin – this review is done by yours truly, the Toad, and features a series of photographs we took recently of a very ironic scene with an old rusty truck sitting underneath a Used Cars sign. This old truck is full of rust, from top to bottom, which served as the perfect subject to use for a new review we wrote about Topaz Labs Detail 3 plugin for post-processing. If you like rich textures and details, this is a post for you!
Canon 5D vs 7D for Birds in Flight – although this post by Lee Brown is specifically comparing the two camera bodies in a particular genre of photography, the points he discusses could be of interest to anyone interested in these cameras. Lee’s points outlined in the article are accompanied by a wonderful set of photographs to really accent the key points.
Is the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II the perfect portrait lens? – this week’s list features another review from Lee Brown, this one focusing on the high-end portrait lens offered by Canon. Lee’s no-holds back review here does a terrific job of taking a candid look at the features and benefits of this lens, as well as some of the inherent drawbacks, to give you a really good idea of what this top-end equipment is capable of delivering.
5 Photography Apps for Windows Phone 8 – a list of great and useful apps for those with a Windows 8 smartphone. These apps are all for the photographer, including some tools for folks still using film as their primary media.
Downtown Grand Rapids in Color – a truly comprehensive collection of photographs captured by Scott Hovind features the architecture and details of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Scott features a large set on this page, making for a series that does a great job of exploring the vast and disparate elements that make up the character of this historic city.
Eye-Popping Photographs of Hong Kong High-Rise Apartment Buildings – a near-dizzying set of photographs is presented here, featuring the jaw-dropping apartment structures found in Hong Kong. The repetition of lines and patterns is quite disconcerting, almost creating at times a sense of vertigo in the viewer. A well conceived and executed project by Michael Wolf.
The History of Street Photography | Famous Street Photographers – a brief background on the interesting artform of candid street photography is explored and explained in this post. This is a great article that illuminates a little light onto the practice, sure to give an added sense of dimension to those who both enjoy the artform as well as practice it.
Photos Capture the Friendship Between a Little Girl and Her Cat – Andy Prokh produces a monochromatic study of the relationship between their family cat, who is quite the character and full of expression I must add, and his daughter. The series is gaining popularity online as the body of work goes through the discovery phase, making for a wonderful post to visit and enjoy in this week’s list.
21 Interesting Black and White Seascape Photos – as advertised, this great collection of images all feature dramatic seascapes captured in black-and-white. Many of the shots featured also use long exposure techniques to create silky smooth water effects and dramatic, motion-filled skies. All these elements benefit from the monochromatic treatment, producing a collection sure to keep the viewer engaged.
16 Scary Black Widow Spider Pictures – creepy doesn’t even begin to tell the tale here! As promised, this collection of photographs of this elusive and highly dangerous spider is sure to leave your blood running ice cold.
Top 100 Photos of the Year 2012 – a massive collection of awesome images compiled together in one set takes the viewer on an incredible journey of discovery. Landscapes, abstracts, epic scenes, there’s a little of something in here for everyone. This is a huge post, make sure you pack a lunch before diving in!
Beauty Of Nature: 100 Brilliant Examples Of Bird Photography – this is an epic set of bird photographs, featuring all forms of the creatures in their natural habitat going about their lives. Each image included in this list is incredible by itself, and when the entire set is taken in as a whole, this becomes an amazing place to visit in this week’s list.
The Bandit – this is an absolute must-see post in this week’s list, featuring the tales and adventures of one brave and quite entertaining racoon. Wayne Beauregard features a pair of shots here that bring all the character and fun of this fur-bearing friend to life for all to enjoy. These are both amazing photographs, with wonderful details and expression.
Photos of Skyhanger at Perilous Heights – make sure you’re firmly seated in your chair, and that you have something solid to hang onto, before you click this link. This set of photographs features a daredevil hanging perilously off the edge of radical drops. I am not sure who’s crazier; the guy doing the dangling, or the guy who leans over to take the photo.
The back of the store – dramatic, texture filled details are all deliciously explored in this black-and-white photograph by Melinda Green Harvey. A perfectly composed shot, wrapped perfectly in subtly humorous insights merge to produce a special blog post, one sure to be a highlight for all.
Climbing around the Kinsol Trestle again – the world-famous Kinsol Trestle just happens to be in our own backyard, and in this post local photographer Joseph de Lange pays a visit to this incredible bridge and comes away with a dramatic set of black-and-white images to showcase it’s wonder and beauty. This trestle is widely believed to be the largest of its kind in the world, and we have done a feature ourselves on it titled “A Bridge Of Hope” that documents the opening of the trestle after a massive restoration effort.
Notice – old buildings produce great photography opportunities, in many cases exhibiting great patina and weathering. Rob Nopola captures a terrific shot of a back loading area of a very old building, capturing and featuring great textures in the brickwork and the metal doors that sit under a really captivating warning sign.
Leberblümchen , Grüßt den Osterhasen – Tauras Caio shares a great image of a flower here that uses a vignette treatment to bring the viewer straight into the vibrant heart of the shot. Great colors and details in the petal are all brought to life with gentle processing.
Paris – an exciting and dramatic shot featuring the city of Paris lying below as the evening comes in is totally highlighted here by the dark, brooding skies hanging overhead. Magnus Larsson creates a terrific image here, one that does a great job defining the term drama.
Forgotten Melodies – this is such a great find, an old and falling apart piano is the only cohesive piece remaining in an old and dilapidated cottage in Sligo, Ireland. It’s poor condition strikes a captivating subject amongst the ruins in a trio of pictures shared here by Val Robus.
Ouseburn – Newcastle, March 2013 – a massive concrete culvert facility is explored in this series of shots. This set showcases several different perspectives, vantages and compositions of this incredible underground world producing a really captivating collection of images.
The Farm Truck – an old and worn truck sits long forgotten by what appears to be a barn. This authentic shot by Michael Gollotti is perfectly composed to naturally guide the viewer through the frame, taking in all the intricate and rustic details.
early bird – you just can’t beat the natural expressions found on animals, as is exemplified in this stunning photograph of a very expressive bird, tightly cropped to focus on the character of the animal. Wolf Ademeit’s portfolio on 500px is full of great shots in this genre, with this one being particularly entertaining.
Before Sunset – incredibly beautiful vineyards lie below in the green valleys as the sun begins to set behind the mountains that cut a fabulous silhouette in the background. Jay&Jacy Photography create a terrific landscape HDR image, full of great details and features of the surrounding vista.
The Pennybacker sentinel – a great landscape shot by Jim Nix that showcases a vibrant and epicly colorful sunset in Austin, Texas. Jim’s image also features a very interesting tree in the foreground to add an anchor in the picture, as well as including a bit of intrigue.
A Different Point of View – Barbara Youngleson shares a captivating image that takes the viewer to an overhead view of Peniscola, Spain. Layer upon layer of old architecture reveals itself as you wander your eye through the frame, with great natural leading lines that eventually lead you out to sea.
Banff – the incredible majestic beauty found in the raw Canadian Rockies are world-known for their splendor. Adelbert Ellingsgaard’s shot of the Bow River gently guides the viewer through the frame, up high into the craggy, looming mountains in the far distance.
Face – what a great, great shot! Darian Katranov grabs a shot of a cat here peering out from between cushions with a really hilarious look on it’s face. Some pictures just make you smile; this is definitely one of them.
↓ Grounded ↓ – Mike Criswell takes us to the National Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio where we get to see a great trio of images featuring the aircraft that call this facility home. So many great details and features are found in these shots as you fully explore them, making for real treasures in this week’s list.
Swiss Serenity – at first glance you will be convinced this is a painted postcard of the Swiss countryside, but a closer look will reveal it’s a picture-perfect capture of one of the most magical spots on earth. Len Saltiel delivers a captivating piece full of great details to be discovered in the wonderful rolling countryside.
Lillesden School For Girls – Model Shoot – an absolutely terrific portrait session by Mark Blundell finds himself and a pair of models deep inside an abandoned school facility. The environs for the shoot really add great context and texture to the images, and the entire set is really quite wonderful.
Dubai Marina – a great architectural relief produced in monochrome does a great job of showcasing the incredible grandeur that makes up this world-famous locale. pixeldreamer creates a compelling image that finds it’s final touch of elegance in a sunburst glinting off the side of one of the modern buildings.
Dining in Old Montreal – an iconic shot of the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal is captured and shared in this great post from Jim Nix. The true character of this old Canadian city comes to life with the glistening stones in the streets and the fascinating architecture that makes up the fabric of the city.
a hug is two hearts wrapped in arms – a pair of meerkats are captured in a terrific embrace in this shot by Sabine Reuss. Sabine’s perfectly shallow depth-of-focus brings the great character of the scene to life for all to enjoy.
Rorbu in Reine – a beautiful scene captured in Norway features very interesting homes that are built one end on land and the other on stilts over the water. Roberto Sysa Moiola’s shot features great colors and tones in both the homes and the surrounding mountains and skies, as well as some really terrific details in the vista.
Capri Transport – Len Saltiel finds a great old wooden boat on the shores of Italy to explore with his camera. Great details and textures in the boat are all brought out in this simple composition that speaks of a peaceful time spent rowing about on the open waters.
Be Still | Horseshoe Bend – an oft-photographed spot, the Horsehoe Bend in Arizona is truly a world-wonder showcasing the intricate beauty of the surrounding landscape. Brandon Ku’s photograph captures an amazing sunset, with vibrant colors draping the evening sky and adding real emotion to the vista that lies below.
Butterfly World – this great post features a trio of butterfly photographs, each one showcasing a different kind. Wayne Beauregard does a splendid job in capturing this series, exposing the fleeting beauty of these wonderful creatures as they go about life in their habitat.
Great Horned Owl ( Part 1 | Part 2 ) – as this beautiful Great Horned Owl launches from it’s spot, it takes a look to its left to take in the camera of Milan Zygmunt looking back at it. The connection between bird and photographer is instantly translated in these photographs to a connection between the bird and the viewer.
docks of the bay – a series of images is presented here by oneowner that features a dock sitting in a frozen body of water. The shots all showcase great natural leading lines in the docks, and the first one also has a great reflection to add an element of overall interest.
At The Edge Of The Abyss – very few shots presented in two dimensions have the ability to cause vertigo quite as well as this one here. Perched high above the city lying far below, a group of clouds adds a layer between the men standing on the precipice and the city below making for a shot sure to entrance all who visit.
Great Sand Dunes Sunset – a great set of dunes leads the viewer through the frame into the distance where a commanding, snow-covered set of mountains stands tall and proud. This gorgeous shot by Rick Louie showcase the natural beauty of The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Raw IR Colors – Dacel Andes captures a terrific image of a volcano in the Philippines, and by using IR techniques he accents waveforms of light typically not seen by the human eye. The majestic mountain in the backdrop finds interest in the moving stream in the foreground, all of which are brought out with the use of IR.
Route #1 – a brooding sky sits over a lonely stretch of highway in this shot by Juro Kovacik. The ribbon of highway composed in this shot does a great job of creating a natural leading line that culminates in an awesome vanishing point for added tension.
Toscana – incredible colors and layers expose a rolling vista that seems to have no end in this fabulous landscape photograph by Stefano Termanini. The shades found in the distance as the hills make their way to the horizon add a huge amount of depth to this captivating piece.
Tree Frog on Lily, Minnesota – Mark Paulson captures a shot of the most wonderful little tree frog enjoying the day perched on a colorful leaf. The perfect composition that Mark has used to capture this shot works perfectly with the scene to deliver something rather special.
A magical tree… – sometimes a subject warrants a complete photography study on it, as is the case with this wonderful tree explored here by Sherry Galey. Each photograph tells a story of the tree and when the collection of images is viewed in its entirety, the story begins to peel back some of the hidden layers lying below.
beware!! – a shot that defines artistic tension, this image by david stoddart finds us looking down a hall into a long-abandoned room in a building full of decay and texture. David’s perfect post-processing on this one is completely sympathetic to the subject being photographed, making for a very dark and dramatic piece.
Isolated – as clouds boil angrily over the landscape, a single and powerful bolt of lightning makes its way from high above to the ground in an incredible strike. Mike Olbinski does a wonderful job of capturing this event, and with his monochromatic processing, a vista is created that takes on a completely otherworldly feel.
Red Hot Corvette – Rachel Cohen uses a unique perspective and composition to share a picture of this incredible supercar. Rachel’s tilted horizon adds a massive element to the image, creating a picture that literally draws the viewer into the frame to take in the great lines and shapes.
Bridge City – a pair of bridges captured in the blue hour are wonderfully framed together in this photograph by Scott Prokop. Great natural leading lines are all found in this shot, as well as some really terrific reflections in the soft moving waters of the river that the bridges straddle together.
“Planted” Too Soon…? – a wonderful study of a bright, vibrant yellow spring flower that has found itself amidst a fresh snow fall. The colors of the flowers petal work wonderfully with the details captured by the shallow depth-of-focus in this series by Howard Jackman to create a post full of wonder and dichotomy.
The Boat In The Fog – a great little power boat sits anchored by the shore in a thick fog as the blue hour settles in around it in this fabulous image by Metro DC Photography. The sense of loneliness captured in this shot that isolates the boat from much of it’s backdrop is accented by the darker tones of the fading light that surrounds it.
Lonely Bear Cub – this is an absolutely heart-wrenching photograph of a tiny bear cub sitting in the forest looking into the distance. There is just something highly emotional about this piece, making it a very special image in this week’s list sure to touch the spirit of all who visit to see. Photographed and shared by Giedrius Stakauskas.
Stone Spiral | 5th Floor – two unique perspectives and visions are created and shared here from the similar sources. Bob Lussier features a shot of a spiral staircase, processed in black-and-white from the Stone Mill he is famous for shooting, and Steven Perlmutter shares a great color photo of a very intriguing staircase from the Everett Mill.
Fernwood West III – local photographer Ehpem takes us along as he strolls through a well-known neighborhood in the city of Victoria, capturing a great series of black-and-whites that depict current life. Each of the homes photographed are full of rich history, and some of them are boarded up waiting for their next chapter in life.
Carousel Horses in black and white – Scott Wood takes us on a deviation from the norm where he shares a great shot he’s taken of carousel horses and processed them as black-and-white. The added drama introduced by Scott’s careful processing really adds a wonderful layer of interest to the scene, resulting in a picture that is full of great artistic tension.
Bald Eagle – a Bald Eagle on final descent is masterfully captured in this shot from the studio of Phoo… Chan. The regal bird is in super-sharp focus, yet the background is completely blurred, making it stand right out of the scene and literally come to life from our monitors.
Night Runner – another great shot in a running series produced by Karim Nafatni (GostRidr®) finds us looking down upon the bustling city of Dubai at night as life busily goes on. Incredible details in the architecture and surroundings all come popping out in this scene, making for a picture that delivers more to the viewer as you spend time taking in the intricate details.
Bright and Lively – incredible orange hues greet the visitor in this shot by Rachel Cohen that features some very beautiful flowers. The details and tones captured in the image really produce a sense of soft wonder and beauty, making for a compelling picture to visit and view in this week’s list.
The Best Part Of The Day – an absolutely lovely seascape shot by Barry Turner finds us enjoying the last beams of light from the day’s sun. Barry’s great composition finds us looking over the top of several parked boats onto a bay scene with an incredible evening sky that is painting the entire landscape in incredible colors.
Drenched Camellia – rich colors and wonderful details all are captured in this terrific photograph of a vibrant flower by Erin Duke. Tiny droplets of water sitting on the petals add a great element to this shot, one that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Atmosphere – the perfect description for this image, one that exudes an incredible sense of atmosphere. Mitsuhiko Kamada’s photograph frames a running river with walls of rock on either side, all of which is brought together perfectly with an eerie mist that envelopes the landscape.
Heaven can wait – ultimately this is a terrific architectural study, but in reality it’s also a study of lines, shapes and colors. This shot of a stairway leading up by Joe @Avalanzia features fabulous natural lines as well as captivating tones brought out in the brickwork that comprises the structure.
Plum blossoms – what glorious details to be found in this shot of a plum tree in full spring blossom! Lotus Johnson is a local photographer who focuses on the intricate beauty of these flowers in this photograph, producing a shot full of colors and details to mesmerize everyone who visits.
Circular Drag – a fabulous black-and-white from CJ Schmit captures the raw drama of a scene containing some windmills in action and anchored by a great bare tree. The sense of motion from the windmills is extremely distinct, producing a great element of added interest in this shot.
Enten mit Frühlingsgefühle ! ? – a magical scene makes itself known through the mist in this shot by Tauras Caio. A pair of ducks making their way across the frame adds a great touch of tension to this shot which takes on a very painterly feel in the way it was produced and the tones and colors it exhibits.
Smokey Hollow Falls – Edith Levy’s incredible monochromatic piece here shares a view of these awesome falls as they forcefully pound the landing area with volumes of water. The frozen vista that surrounds the fast moving falls adds a little tension to the scene, making for a beautiful landscape sure to be enjoyed by all.
Don Mills Subway Station – Roland Shainidze creates another of his epic pieces in this shot that features the subway station in Toronto. This study in lines, shapes and colors is all based on the modern architecture used to design this subway, a real world-class facility.
Morning Panorama – a gorgeous early morning shot takes us to the iconic spot on Lake Bled where we see the church on the island coming to life as the day dawns. This breathtaking shot by Csilla Zelko features incredible natural colors and tones, as well as the majestic impression one gets when seeing the old church in it’s pristine setting.
Pioneer Square Pergola – a fabulous authentic and original iron pergola makes a key feature in Pioneer Square in Seattle, WA. Mark Summerfield does a great job of capturing this wonder with a bit of what surrounds it to give it context. There are many lovely details to be explored and discovered in this picture.
Tell Me Why – a poor girl sitting on the sidewalk in a reflective pose strikes a very dramatic subject for Anita Megyesi to photograph. This is an incredibly emotional piece, captured carefully and perfectly to share the key story conveyed. A true must-see shot in this week’s list.
Reflections in the Creek – Marks and Joey Culver deliver a terrific photograph here, featuring a stunning reflection of trees in a still body of water. Using film as the medium and advanced photo-processing in the darkroom, Marks and Joey are able to create truly one-of-a-kind images that are a true joy to view.
Going Up The Currituck – a gorgeous winding spiral staircase in a lighthouse poses the perfect subject for Jim Denham to capture and share. The wonderful details Jim’s image has brought out of the scene find further captivating qualities in the way the stairs seem to be endless, creating a really stunning vanishing point.
Pop a Wheelie – you can almost hear this wonderful little puppy giggling with laughter as it plays on the grass in the absolutely wonderful photograph from Steve Beal. Steve’s perfect timing and composition help capture a fleeting moment to bring to life here for everyone to enjoy.
Lakeview Diner, Toronto, 2013 – a great candid shot by Ren Bostelaar takes us inside a diner in Toronto where we get to see a couple interacting naturally. Ren’s use of black-and-white in this shot accents the rich contrasts in the scene, bringing all the inherent tension out for everyone to enjoy.
Indio Ranch – Derrick Birdsall creates and shares a sepia processed shot featuring one very old cemetery. The sun in the distance peeking just above the horizon of the hills in the distance creates long shadows that really add great elements of drama to the scene.
Hanging monastary – China – an almost unbelievable sight finds the viewer taking in a monastery in the mountains of China that seems to be stuck to the side of a sheer rock face. Stilts are used to prop it up, undoubtedly functional now for a long period of time. This is an amazing image, one that proves that sometimes you just have to see something to actually believe it.
The Only Subject You’ll Ever Need. Ever – Chase Jarvis poses a few questions to photographer Marcin Sobas who reveals a little of what drives him to produce his work, as well as sharing some of his jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape pieces. Marcin is a master of natural-light, and this interesting post showcases some of his images sure to be enjoyed by all.
The lithium triangle – this great piece of photography journalism takes us to a spot in the world that is a leader in lithium production. This article allows us to look a bit into the lives of those who live here and make these salt flats their prime source of income.
HDR Collaboration | RPS – we get to enjoy another installment of HDR post-processing collaborations in this post on Scott Frederick’s blog. A highly skilled team of photography masters get together in this semi-regular feature and take the same set of brackets and post-process them with their own style. The result is a collection of images that even though they are all of the same source material, each piece tells a unique and distinctive story in the personal voice of the artist who performed the work.
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.