It's been a very eventful week in the world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been busy searching the internet for the best tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone. This week's list is full of great content and images, and we sincerely hope that everyone enjoys viewing and reading these posts as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
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Hands-on Photo Tip #001 – How to combine layer masks in Photoshop – Klaus Herrmann creates a great tutorial on using masks in post-production. These tutorials are typically rich in details and great hand-on information to help the viewer tackle a specific task.
Photomatix HDR Workflow – Chris Maskell creates a great document that outlines his personal workflow as well as some technical settings he uses to create his imagery. Chris’ work is really quite wonderful, so this post shares some great tips and tricks that can be used by anyone working in the realm of HDR photography.
How To Straighten Images In Photoshop CS 6 – Blake Rudis takes us on a comprehensive video journey where he shows us how to use the latest straightening tools in Photoshop CS 6.
Urbex Palace – How Not to Create a 360 Panorama – this is not a tutorial per se, but a new 360* panorama piece that Mark Blundell has put together. The reason for including it in the tutorial section here is because Mark discusses in pretty good detail some of the mistakes he encountered while trying to create this breathtaking piece, and this seemed like a great post to take as a learning experience for those involved in this sort of image creation.
High Five (HDR) – Klaus Herrmann gives so much back to the photography community, and this wonderful post really showcases this generosity. Klaus captures, processes and shares this photograph of a world heritage site that on its own is sure to take your breath away, but when included in the bigger context of the technical information he shares about how he processes his work this post takes on a much larger meaning. He has promised to release a video soon on how this shot was created, so you may wish to revisit this post in the near future for those details.
Low Light Portrait Photography Tips – sometimes the simplest things can generate the best results. This brief and straightforward post highlights some great tips and tricks on low light photography.
Quick Photo Tip: “When You Get Lucky, Be Ready” – perhaps simplistic in nature, these words provide the perfect backstory for great photography. Joe Baraban shares some insights and tips about preparing for that next “wow shot” as well as shows some of his best work that exemplifies this concept. Absolutely well worth the time to visit and read, this post is rather inspiring.
Nisqually Glacier – Scott Wood creates another of his totally unique and utterly captivating IR based pieces in this post. The otherworldly feel that you take in from this image really creates a strong juxtaposition in the viewers mind that helps to create a renewed sense of interest and love for the world we all live in.
Ione: Unfinished Business – Bob Lussier does a fabulous job of creating this image which exemplifies the pure nature and essence of what drives us personally in our love of photography. This ability to tell an incredible story with one frame is something that we find to be dramatic and emotional in nature. Bob finds and shoots a scene that has remained untouched for 50 years, leaving the viewer with a strong sense of connection and longing for more.
The Abyss – lines, geometry, colors and questions all emerge here as the viewer takes some time to truly absorb the enormity of this image from Michael Criswell. Prepare to be utterly amazed, my friends, this is one of those truly astounding images you get to see every once in awhile.
Happy 75th Birthday – many places that represent certain areas or lifestyles are frequently shot, but this picture of a sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco stands on its own. An almost magical scene is painted by Joe Azure for the viewer in this epic photograph of this oft-photographed place, creating a picture that is stunning beyond description.
The duck ride again – from out of the mist floating on a quiet pond comes this incredible duck. The still waters reflect back an almost mirror like image of the duck, creating a picture that is so compelling it’s a real must-see shot in this week’s list.
In Pursuit of Rare Meat – Mark Blundell delivers yet another stunning shot in this great piece. His composition and use of framing really brings a lot of drama and tension to this picture, creating a work of art by photographing a great work of art.
Dilapidated – this wonderful old character-filled barn serves as a bit of a metaphor for modern day living in this great shot by Jimi Jones. The weathering and deterioration that has begun to take hold here is marvellously documented and shared in this post.
Death’s Sweet Embrace – Curt Fleenor creates a truly dramatic picture of a tombs entrance that is being overgrown. Perhaps a little dark in nature, this picture also serves to remind us to live each day in its fullest and to enjoy our experiences as much as we can.
Thirsty No More – gorgeous colors and tones are all expressed in the lovely image from Barbara Youngleson. A gentle flower is captured as it sits with delicate dewdrops on its petals.
Lakeside Yard – this is a fabulous night-time shot of a house by a lake. As the house sits and lights up its surroundings, the scene takes on a gentle and romantic feel. This is a great photograph that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone who visits.
Hospital C – Dreaming Of Escape – Mark Blundell’s UrBex work is without peer and in this great photograph we get to see why. A lone, bereft wheelchair poses in an abandoned hospital hall, complete with broken doors that are allowing the outside to make an appearance inside.
Back Alley, Toronto – Ren Bostelaar takes us along as he explores the back alleys of Toronto at night. Ren captures a great shot of an alleyway complete with subtle elements including a lone person sitting looking away from the camera, which in turn adds so much great tension to the scene.
Over Wet Rocks – this is a dramatic scene full of incredible contrast straight from the studio of Aaron Barlow. Aaron creates a subtle slightly minimalistic and abstract piece here with his photographic study of a fast moving river.
Photo of the Day: Театр в октябре (De) by Abandoned.be on… – an abandoned theatre makes for great photography subjects, and this fabulous shot really does this genre justice. Subtle signs of decay are presented to the viewer who spends time taking in all the details in this picture.
Weekend Relaxer #23 – Chris Nitz creates another of his iconic posts that features both a great photograph as well as a beer review. Chris has very refined tastes in both, and shows off his skills in this series and in turn creates a post that is sure to delight everyone who visits.
PA Morning – Michael Criswell captures and shares an absolutely wonderful photograph in this post. An iconic scene is presented to Mike at Gettysburg National Military Park, and he does a great job in working this to create an absolutely breathtaking image to view and enjoy.
Paradise – paradise, indeed. The rich greens in the rolling hills are accented here by the wonderful little character homes and buildings that dot the landscape. Sanjay Pradhan captures and shares an absolutely delightful landscape scene in this post.
June 7, 2012 – Heather Neil creates a very dramatic picture of an outbuilding in a rural setting that allows the viewer to take in all the inherent textures and details the scene presents. This is a fabulous composition, accenting all the character in the architecture.
L C Smith & Corona – antique typewriters almost take on a persona of their own, sharing a glimpse of the people who used them to type out letters to loved ones or articles to submit to publications. Len Saltiel creates a fabulous shot of this old typewriter and delivers all the interest and character presented to him in the scene.
Peacock Syndrome – Corvettes make for striking photography subjects. Wayne Frost takes a photo of a modified and personalized Corvette that is both striking and full of rich details to enjoy.
Out of the Dark – an early sunset on a lake is masterfully captured and shared in this post from CJ Schmit. The beams of sunlight that make an appearance through a spot in the cloud cover brings all the drama out of the scene, creating a picture that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
A Colorado gust front – if you love vanishing points half as much as we do, you will definitely want to see this image from Mike Olbinski. Mike does a smash-up job chasing storms, and this particular image of a storm front is full of fabulous details that are punctuated by the wonderful vanishing point he created with his composition.
Grazing – this is a nice, gentle frame that shows a beautiful horse grazing in a field as the sun rises. Jerry Denham captures and shares a peaceful scene here that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit to view.
'69 Chevelle – a classic muscle car sits still for a moment, just long enough for Bob Byington to capture and create this wonderful image. These classic old cars have gorgeous lines, and Bob does a top drawer job in composing this scene to really bring these features to life.
Avebury Stone Circle – Chris Maskell creates a brief slideshow showcasing some of his best images from this historic and storied location. Chris does a great job with this series in sharing all the energy and history evident here through the art of photography.
Rainier In The Distance – Mt. Rainier is a famous natural spectacle in the Pacific Northwest area of the US, and Scott Wood does a wonderful job in capturing a picture of it for everyone to view and enjoy here. This majestic mountain casts a foreboding outline in the setting sun’s sky, all masterfully captured and shared here by Scott.
Dungeness Wreck – B/W… – this black-and-white piece by Tony Matthews shares a view of an old and abandoned ship. Tony’s wonderful composition adds so much drama to the already dramatic setting, creating a picture that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit and view.
Got An Eye On You – a dragonfly sits still for a mere moment, just long enough for Michael Trauffer to grab this fabulous image. Michael does a great job in capturing all the inherent interest and details in this colorful insect, in turn delivering a piece that is really quite wonderful.
No More Brochures – a wonderful study in weathering is shared in this post from Jim Denham. The natural effect of peeling paint finds itself surrounding an old brochure delivery box that in turn creates some wonderful natural tension to the scene.
Dining in Grand Place – great architecture and great details converge to create a scene that is very reminiscent of a time now long past. Jim Nix takes us deep into Europe, where he showcases an almost iconic old-world scene that is guaranteed to delight and amaze everyone who pops by for a visit.
City Life – an architectural study of a city centre shares all the great details of a bustling city and its character-rich architecture in this post from Anita Megyesi. Anita does a wonderful job composing this scene, and in turn she delivers a picture full of great tones and details.
eagle's eye view . . . – a very compelling and interesting composition of images and textures combine in this image to create a strong picture. dragonflydreams88 creates a very unique image here, one that shares an entire story in a viewing.
Seeing Double (Red eyed tree frog) – try as I might, I can never get a frog to sit still like this for long enough to photograph it. John Starkey overcomes this problem with this fabulous photograph, and captures a shot of this very unique frog that is full of detail and wonder.
Steve Vai – a famous and iconic guitar player doing what he does best is captured here in this awesome image from Cristiano Venturelli. Cristiano manages to freeze Steve in action in a pose that is truly worthy of being on the front of an album.
Red Star – Greenpoint – this is a great shot from the studio of Mark Garbowski that really delivers great details to the viewer who spends some time taking it all in. A wonderful neon sign produces the obvious element of interest here, but so much more is going on. This is a great image, well worth the time to visit.
Morning Serenity – Len Saltiel brings us all along on an adventure to one of the greatest natural parks in Canada. This is a place I know well having visited many times growing up. Len does a wonderful job in capturing the pure essence of Lake Louise in this shot, creating a beautiful and breathtaking piece that will be enjoyed by all.
Some Time In Pensacola – museums can make for great photography, but can also introduce compositional challenges inasmuch that the pure volume of items and artifacts stored introduce issues not found out in the field. Blake Rudis does a wonderful job with this shot taken in the Navy Aviation Museum featuring the Blue Angels.
Toroweap & Oliver – don’t say you haven’t been warned! Even the hardest of marauding Vikings will emit a heartfelt “awww” at this wonderful photograph from Jason Hines. Cuteness factor: 100! In an very unique twist here, Jason also posts one of his most breathtaking landscape shots in this wonderful post, creating an entry that everyone who visits will truly love.
Cruisin’ in Blue – one of my favorite all time cars is the ‘57 Chevy. Tim Stanley manages to find one of the most incredible versions of this car I have ever seen, in bright, vivid blue, and creates a real stunner of an image.
Erice, Sicily – a wrinkle in time, a transport back hundreds of years… key ingredients to be discovered in this wonderful series of images posted by Adam Allegro. This magical place remains a photography mecca, and Adam does an incredible job in capturing some epic shots to share.
All Faith Episcopal Church, St. Mary's County, Maryland – this is a wonderful composition that features this historical piece of architecture. Mark Summerfield does a wonderful job in this shot of capturing all the great details in the church, as well as the great light that drapes the scene adding a touch of drama.
Multi Metered – Just Beyond Reality – Mark Neal captures and shares a great and gritty piece here. He also shares a few of the details that went into post-processing this shot, giving the viewer a peek into his process and workflow.
Purple Silo – an almost iconic scene of a rural farm as the sun sets is presented here by Steven Perlmutter. Fabulous tones and details are all captured in this picture creating a piece that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone who visits.
Bird dreaming – I love images that make you think, make you work for the message contained within. Our very own Tom Dinning (@tomdinning) here at Light Stalking delivers another one of his shots that really exemplifies this concept fully.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game – a pair of absolutely unique images are presented here by Edith Levy. Edith post-processes both shots in a manner that is truly sympathetic to the subjects she shot, producing a pair of pictures that are different from each other but offer a thread of similarity throughout.
Mountain Lake Reflection, Idaho – Mark Paulson takes us to Idaho where he shares an image he created of a gorgeous landscape complete with still waters that produce a stunning reflection. This gorgeous landscape does a great job in creating inherent interest that well photographed reflections deliver.
Modified Yellow Pick-up – a classic pickup truck forms the foundation for a great hot rod in this awesome image from the studio of Wayne Frost. This gorgeous, detailed truck creates such a stunning pose in this image it almost makes you want to build a garage just to print and hang this in.
Allan's Hi-Boy – I love the work of Bob Byington in the realm of automotive photography. This wonderful photo of a classic, perfectly done hot rod makes for the perfect subject to use as a poster for the owner. Very unique work here that really showcases the essence of what it means to be an old school car enthusiast.
The Bridge – Alexander Bootsman creates and shares an almost magical, ethereal picture in this post. The bright red flowers create the mystical details that add so much interest to the scene of a woman on a bridge.
Car Show Berlin Turnpike April 28th | Heaven'ly Donuts: April 29th – Jason Knight creates a pair of wonderful posts sure to satisfy the car lover. Jason takes us along as he explores a great car show that is chock full of exotic and beautiful muscle and sports cars.
Old Drilling Truck – old weathered vehicles produce striking subjects for photography, and Lotus Johnson does a wonderful job here visually exploring this particular unit. It seems to come complete with a bucket on the exhaust pipe, adding a touch of je ne sais quoi to the equation.
In Step – it’s always great when photographers step outside their comfort zone to explore a new type of imagery. This dramatic black-and-white image from LensScaper (Andy Hooker) really does a great job in showcasing this concept, and as a result he has created a fabulous image here full of interest and tension.
The Front of the House in Ione – you have got to see these images of this old abandoned house as taken and shared here by Bob Lussier. These incredible photographs showcase a long forgotten place, almost creating scenes reminiscent of a lost world.
At Oblivion's Gates – although this is technically a composite of several photographs and images, the creation of Giuseppe Parisi delivers such a striking picture it absolutely deserves to be included in this week’s list. An entire story is created and shared within this single frame, creating a piece that is sure to be captivating to all who visit.
Mystic Angel in Retrospect – a wonderful cityscape photo from the studio of Gareth Glynn Ash. The delicate and beautiful light that drapes the city in brightness creates a strong sense of connection for the viewer, resulting in a truly riveting piece to view and enjoy.
Charging Horse – a horse at full gallop runs headlong towards Fanous Foto, who captures this image that leaves the viewer with both a strong feeling to get out of the way of this runaway train as well as a sense of incredible wonder of the details captured. The spirit and essence of this beautiful horse is wonderfully captured here.
Circus Life – old antique toys form the perfect composition for Rob Hanson to use in this picture. Many of us grew up in times where these toys were predominant in many homes, and this wonderful shot really takes the viewer back to this now long past time.
The Trees at Sunset – this gorgeous and captivating composite image is created and delivered here by Jenny Woodward. Wonderful tones and mesmerizing elements converge in this great picture to create something absolutely unique and special.
34 Classic – this detailed and colorful photo of a classic hot rod finds itself sitting against a fabulous backdrop. Great colors, tones and details are all exposed in this piece, creating an picture that is sure to please everyone who loves this genre of imagery.
See The Light – a wonderful sky with rich colors adds a touch of drama to this architectural study from the studio of Jerry Denham. Jerry brings the crescent moon into the composition in this great shot, adding a real element of interest to the scene.
Tension on the Plains – Rick at Hansrico Photography does a masterful job in capturing a fleeting moment that occurred during a massive storm. The tendrils in the sky from the lightening bolt add drama to the scene which is further punctuated by the black-and-white processing Rick has used to create this picture.
Addo Family Portrait – this is a completely wonderful piece that shares a family picture of an elephant clan busy with their day. Barbara Youngleson does a wonderful job in capturing the pure character of these mighty animals in the wild.
Emerald In The Forest – Andy Gimino captures and shares a truly breathtaking image in this post. Andy is the master of focus-stacking, and this creation really shows off his skills in this genre of photography. A must-see image in this week’s list.
Piney Point Lighthouse – lighthouses make for fantastic photography, they are historical in nature and rather romantic. Mark Summerfield captures a pair of great images of this heritage museum facility and does a great job in post-processing to bring all the wonder of this site to life.
It's Just Magic – the title of this picture really tells the story here. CJ Schmit captures and shares a fabulous nighttime shot of Summerfest Grounds and Hoan Bridge, creating a piece that is so full of crisp detail it captures the viewer imagination.
Denver Skyline – a bright and vivid city skyline is presented in this wonderful photograph from Rick at Hansrico Photography. The colors, tones and details in this picture really bring this beautiful city to life for all to enjoy.
Spider Woman’s Home – what a gorgeous neverending vista created here by Len Saltiel. This meaningful place in native history creates an absolutely perfect scene for Len to shoot and process to share here with everyone, creating a shot that is a real must-see in this week’s list.
Pier Post – Jimi Jones shares a totally wonderful photo of a house sitting on waterfront. The character in the home literally jumps out of the monitor at the viewer, creating a truly compelling piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Annisquam Light – we find ourselves captivated by another photograph of a lighthouse in this week’s list here with this picture from Steven Perlmutter. Steven’s use of black-and-white in processing really brings all the inherent drama to life in the scene, in turn creating a very dramatic and compelling piece to view and enjoy.
In The Valley Of Shadows – a profound and poignant piece awaits the viewer in this post from the studio of Aaron Barlow. A personal loss is expressed here with the most wonderful sentiments that are in turn illustrated by a great photo full of dark contrasts. This is an absolute must-see post in this week’s list.
Grand Teton Reflection – this is an epic landscape photo by Pete Piriya that really satisfies the craving that many of us have for great colors and sharp reflections. This majestic mountain range is the perfect landscape scene for Pete to capture, and the overall stunning beauty of the landscape is reflected back in a still pool of water, adding so much interest here.
Holy Batman! …the Warrior Spirit – what wonderful tones, details and textures are captured here in this photograph by Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck. This picture reflects a study of Gothic art and architecture, and really delivers a stunning piece to visit and view.
Chocolate Hole Lightning – the power and fury of Mother Nature is explored in this very dramatic black-and-white image from Chris Nitz. A lightning bolt in the distance creates a dramatic element that Chris does a wonderful job of capturing to share here with everyone.
Interview with David Lenhert – this interview with professional commercial photographer David Lenhert gives us a much desired look into the work of this master. The points taken away from reading this interview are many, giving the reader a strong sense of what it takes to do this work for a living as well as providing inspiration to all to pursue your dreams.
The Priceless Gifts of Photography – Doug Pruden brings us along on a personal journey aimed at helping us appreciate the moment we live in. Doug’s heartfelt message hits home and is really a message of love and inspiration that can really bring so much joy to all our lives.
A House Precariously Perched 100 Feet in the Air – as the title suggests, this post delivers something rather un-ordinary. No further introduction is necessary, this is simply something you’ve got to see for yourself.
indie for Apple iPhone 4/4S – as cell phones become more prolific in terms of the art of photography, new tools and designs to support this type of work are emerging. This appears to be a very interesting approach to some of the inherent issues that people encounter while trying to use the iPhone in photography, and may be of interest to you.
Mt.Prevost adventure aka From Victoria to Nanaimo and the awesome en loong route – wandering photographer Jordan Oram takes us high atop a mountain that is very famous in the area we live in. Jordan creates a series of great images taken from high atop this mountain, and in a couple of the pictures our house is actually sitting nestled in the green forests below. Can you pick out our house?…
Inspiring New York City Time Lapse: The Manhattan Project – this is a fabulous time lapse video of a busy Manhattan metropolis. Cameron Michael does a wonderful job in creating this video, producing a work that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
Car Graveyard – a great brief post that features a set of photographs of old, abandoned, derelict cars. Great gritty details and textures are explored as these cars make their transition back to becoming one with nature, all place they all started from.
Smile for the Cell Phone! – New Photography Trends – a look into the world of photography trends is presented in this post. As technology produces paradigm shifts in humanity in many facets of life, photography is not without its own revolution.
Decorative Manhole Covers From Japan – vivid and interesting manhole covers provide the photography subjects in this post. A comprehensive and vibrant set of pictures brings the viewer the wonders of Japan here, well worth the time to pop by for a visit.
The Tiny World of the Eurasian Harvest Mouse – these cute little fur-friends are masterfully captured and shared in this great series of images. There are plenty of shots in this set that are sure to exude a gasp of delight from the viewer, making this one of our must-see shots in this week’s list.
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.