With another terrific week behind us in the wide world of photography, Toad Hollow Photography has been searching all known corners of the internet for links to the best tutorials, special features and great photography to share here with everyone. This weeks list is home to a wide variety of topics and genres in the field, and we really hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
Joe McNally Explains How to Light with TTL, Lighting Ratios, and High Speed – Joe McNally hosts a trio of great video tutorials that removes some of the mystery of TTL off-camera lighting techniques. Joe explains all aspects of this type of photography, and as he explains you get to see the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on, helping to illustrate and highlight the key issues he is discussing and sharing.
7 Suggestions that Will Improve Your Low Light Photography – Jason D. Little shares some great, yet simple, tips and tricks on how to create high quality low light images. Jason discusses all the key factors in this genre, and covers some of the pitfalls experienced when using these techniques, giving you much-needed depth in your bag of tricks that will help you to capture the shot that you see in your mind's-eye.
See How Lighting Position Affects The Mood and Perception of a Scene – a clip from an upcoming music video accompanies some insights in this post that shows you how important lighting position is for portraiture. The same facial expression when lit from different angles produces wildly different feels to the resulting images, showing the viewer how to effectively take control of the setting to create the intended results.
Dramatic Beauty Tutorial Part 4: What Is Negative Dodge and Burn – Lance Nicoll delivers an in-depth video tutorial just over 11 minutes in length that covers some advanced dodge and burn techniques that are used in processing portraits. Lance shows us all his key steps as he goes about the post-production of his work, showing you some great processes that can help you take your portraits to the next level.
Want To Amp Up Your Lighting Game? Learn How To Feather Your Soft Boxes, It’s Simple – as advertised, this simple concept can produce some really great results. This brief video tutorial covers the basics on feathering techniques for light boxes and provides sample shots as we learn to illustrate the overall concept.
A Simple Visual Guide to Photographic Lens Filters – a series of infographics are presented here to discuss and show the different end effects different filter types can have on photography. You can really grasp the applications and effects these filters have here quickly by reviewing the infographics that include sample results from the application of differing filter types.
TED Talk: Jimmy Nelson on Shooting Portraits of the World’s Vanishing People – (WARNING: some nudity in the imagery) photographer Jimmy Nelson takes us on a profound journey of discovery guaranteed to move you as he presents his work to an admiring audience. Jimmy shares some of his best portraits of people from points all over the world, as well as some anecdotal stories that add so much to the pictures, leaving us all with a better understanding of the world we live in and those who comprise it.
Back in the Khutz – David duChemin shares his personal experience while observing and photographing our vibrant bear community out here on the west coast of Canada in this wonderful post. As always, David’s post is accompanied by some truly terrific images, giving you a sense of the spirit and personality these incredible creatures have out in the wilds.
Photographer Captures the Ruins of the Soviet Space Shuttle Program – I find endless fascination in facilities that were once burgeoning sources of busy activity with a common goal in mind that now lie in a complete state of abandonment and disrepair. Russian Urbex photographer Ralph Mirebs takes us inside one such facility that once was designing and building the Russian equivalent of the Space Shuttle, revealing how two decades of neglect have resulted in significant decay and weathering, and how this all translates into a series of unanswered questions.
Farewell – it’s difficult to find a better visual representation of the power and fury of nature than what Mike Olbinski captured here on his latest storm chasing adventure. The combination of an incredible lightning strike with the brooding storm clouds creates the perfect sense of raw drama that can only be found in the heart of a powerful storm system.
Grain No More – Pullman, Washington – in what truly appears to be a ramshackle building that was hastily designed and put together we find wonderful character. Len Saltiel uses a wide angle lens to capture this shot, taking in all the finer details and textures that comprise a place like this, even in the later part of it’s life.
Photo by Alex Beattie
Rolling Up, Rolling Down – Michael Schuh delivers a truly terrific black-and-white shot taken overhead as escalators transport visitors up and down. The deep contrasts found in this monochromatic piece add a great layer of drama to the scene that also exhibits great symmetry through composition.
Assiniboine Sunset – in what has to be one of the most remote locations to get to in the world to shoot, we enjoy this breathtaking photograph by Alex Gubski that documents the raw and rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Gorgeous natural light at the end of the day creates a warm glow across the incredible landscapes, drawing the viewer right into the frame on a journey of natural discovery.
Out My Back Door – From Like To Love – Jim Denham shares a very moody picture in this post captured on a foggy morning as the veil of fog plays over a series of hay rolls in a field. Jim uses a monochromatic technique in processing this piece to highlight the rich drama, and shares his personal insights into how the picture came to be.
Saint Bartholomew the Great – Art Hakker Photography delivers a mesmerizing piece with this photograph that features the inside of London’s oldest surviving church, originally built in 1123. It’s hard to believe that almost 1,000 years have passed since this church was created, and the composition that Art utilized to capture this shot does a spectacular job of conveying that old history to the viewer.
Highlights from a week in Paris – Jim Nix brings us along on an epic explore as he takes in all the wonderful sights of Paris, France. Jim brings old and incredible architecture to life in this set, along with some terrific candid shots that do a great job of showcasing life in one of the most famous cities in the world.
A Sky Full of Stars – one of the places on my must-visit list is most certainly The Church Of The Good Shepherd in New Zealand. In this capture, Patrick Marson Ong visits the site on a clear night, photographing the wonderful church under a blanket of beautiful stars and colors.
42nd Annual Street Rod Nationals – the avid car enthusiast will love this post from Jimi Jones that features a pair of shots of a classic custom Cadillac and an abstract piece created from a shot of a chrome grill. Jimi discusses the show and his experience there, adding a great element of interest to the post and drawing the visitor into the show through imagery.
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) – wonderful character and personality of the Barn Owl is brought to life in this great photo by Adam Taylor. As the owl sits perched on a stump, it looks back at the camera directly, and that coupled with the great details and the shallow depth-of-field creates a stunning portrait of one of nature’s most amazing creatures.
Boating – there is something absolutely serendipitous about spending time at a lake as the world goes by. In this post, Andy Hooker (LensScaper) shares a trio of shots he took while visiting Bowness on Windermere that feature great symmetry in how the vessels are docked, as well as sharing a true sense of the peace that is found while sitting waterside.
Snowy Departure – the inherent beauty of the pure white Snowy Owl is captured forever in a frame in this shot by Jose Albero. As this glorious bird begins its takeoff sequence, Jose composes a great shot here taking advantage of how the owl is staring back at the lens as it begins to take to the skies presumably looking for its next meal.
Starry Skies – Michael Criswell nails it out of the proverbial ballpark with this pair of night shots that feature a well-known abandoned farmhouse under a blanket of brilliant stars. The wonderful character of the old abandoned facility is perfectly captured and expressed in this piece that literally defines the expression “artistic tension”.
Weber House and the Milky Way – Steven Perlmutter shares his shot of the same abandoned farmhouse as the one captured by Michael Criswell in the link above. Steven’s composition and interpretation of the scene is terrific, and it shows how the same subject captured by different photographers can take on a wholly unique aspect.
Lights – this is a really cool shot, featuring a large jet plane on the tarmac just before takeoff or right after a landing. The shallow depth of focus that Takahiro Bessho used in capturing this piece works very well with the composition, highlighting all the raw artistic tension found in the scene against a soft backdrop of colors and life from the city in the distance.
The Brood – this delightful photograph features a family of ducks taking a break on a fallen branch. Rob Hanson couples his wonderful photo with some personal insights, adding something special to an image that is sure to capture everyone’s heart.
Light leads the way… – the inherent romance and intrigue that can only be found in a lighthouse is explored in this shot from photographer K S. Crisp details of the architecture and surroundings work in perfect harmony here with the rugged natural elements to create a lasting shot sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
Whitman County Growers – layer upon layer of undulating landscape captures the light, casting shadows and creating a strong sense of depth and dimension to this great photo by Scott Wood. A grain elevator breaks up the composition, introducing a dash of human interaction with the natural surroundings found in this simply epic landscape.
Babcock Falls I – an old wood construction mill sits in the forests of West Virginia as autumn rages all around it in this great photo by Bradley Paskievitch. The wonderful details in the weathered building work perfectly against the colorful surroundings created by the changing leaves in the late season.
Palouse Hills from Steptoe Butte – the Pacific Northwest in the US is home to some of the most incredible landscapes out there, as evidenced by this photograph from Mark Garbowski. The rolling vista takes on an endless feel to it as shadows play with the light here to create a strong sense of depth and scale.
Take Me There – CJ Schmit shares a great shot of a streetcar in New Orleans at night as it beckons locals and visitors alike to step aboard and share in its next adventure. Terrific details in the streetcar and the surrounding architecture makes this shot pop, and it also does a great job of compelling the viewer to grab the phone and call a local travel agent to visit this must-see destination in person.
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.