With another wonderful and exciting week behind us in the world of photography, Toad Hollow Photography has been looking in all places online for links to the best tutorials, special features, great photography and interesting blogs to share here with everyone. This weeks list features a varied group of images and artists, showcasing some of the best work going on in the field of photography today. We really hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did himself in bringing you this list.
Thinking About Using A Wide Angle Lens? Here’s 5 Reasons You Should! – this great article is written by Dzvonko Petrovski and published here on Light Stalking, discussing the advantages and practical applications of wide-angle lenses. Dzvonko includes a great selection of images as he goes through his key points, effectively illustrating the concepts covered and adding a great dimension to the post.
Ryan Brenizer Talks Lighting Tips For Wedding Photographers – world-class wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer shares 5 incredibly valuable tips for shooting a wedding and getting that perfect lighting that makes the photos stand the test of time. These tips may not be highly complex, but they do produce consistent results that really produce wonderful results that everyone will enjoy for years to come.
Essential Travel Photography Tips for Your Next Trip – this video presentation is less than 3 minutes in length, yet it is full of awesome tips and tricks for your travel photography. Fresh ideas and concepts are shared in this video, revealing how with just a little foresight and a minimum of equipment, you can capture evocative images that will endure.
The 5 Most Effective Hot Shoe Flash Light Modifiers – this is a great list of light modifiers that travels and sets up easily while providing terrific end results. Particularly useful for shooting portraits and people, these options will expand your horizons in terms of how you can apply speedlights to a particular setting.
7 Ways to Take Better Shots With Your Smartphone – Jason Row writes a great article describing the various aspects and challenges of shooting with the camera almost all of us have handy right now; our smartphones. These well considered tips and tricks will certainly help you turn the camera you have on your phone from a novelty to a real-world tool that can capture and take great photographs.
Don’t You Worry About Your Car, Sir! We’ll Just Have Harley Here Take a Look! Meanwhile, You Can Use “The Loaner!” – Joe McNally approaches his zest to teach with a lot of tongue-in-cheek in this tutorial. Joe shares his detailed lighting setup for this terrific shot, and peppers the entire lesson with a healthy dose of levity to add humor to the serious.
How To: Create Dynamic Water Splash Images – Mark Richardson hosts a great video tutorial that is about 7 minutes in length, taking you through the setup, the shoot and the post-production of splash themed images. Mark’s quick and simple approach to producing this piece translate perfectly into the video production, revealing some key secrets behind this genre of photography.
How to Create a Custom Color Profile for Your Camera – this technical, yet still brief, article takes you through the step-by-step process of creating a custom color profile for your camera. By utilizing this technique, you can be assured of correct color toning for all the images you create based on these profiles.
Using Suction Pads To Secure Lightstands – for many photographers, lugging around sandbags to anchor lighting stands to the ground is a heavy and somewhat annoying pastime. In this post, a trick is shared that shows you how to use heavy duty suction pads to secure your stands in the field.
Bella Kotak Creates Beautiful Fairytale Scenes Full of Color and Emotion – for those of us who enjoy photography as an artform, this special feature is sure to be the source of delight and amazement. Bella Kotak is interviewed and features a sampling of her ethereal and magical images, all composited using carefully crafted techniques over the course of her career.
Carving in Old Massett – the entire area of Haida Gwaii is important to all cultures here on the west coast of Canada as it holds the key to thousands of years of history as well as maintaining important links to that history through the actions of people today. In this special feature local photographer Ehpem brings us along as he visits Haida Gwaii, and we get to join in as a local carver is in process of creating a wonderful new piece. This article has great links to other articles related to this topic that Ehpem has written, adding a fabulous dimension to the post as a whole.
Off to South Africa! | Back in Africa! | Day Two at nThambo – a Real Cracker! – join John Mead as he casts off on a wild adventure in the heart of Africa. John’s blog posts cover various aspects of traveling and life in the bush, all of which is accompanied by his wonderful photographs. These posts are both a delightful way to learn about the wildlife in this part of the world, as well as a means to enjoy really terrific photography that showcases the diverse and ultimately fascinating creatures who live here.
Backfire – as a large jetliner makes its way down the runway photographer Azul Obscura is ready to capture this great shot we see here. The terrific details found in the plane itself works with the shallow depth-of-focus that Azul used to isolate the plane, complete with active flames in the jet engine, from its bustling backdrop.
Bubbles II – in another example of how strange nature can truly be, we find storm chaser Mike Olbinski under the cover of one such storm that features very dramatic cloud formations and lightning strikes in the leftmost part of the frame. The really astonishing part of this shot is most certainly the way the cloud formations creates a bubble effect, in essence creating a scene that almost looks like it originates from another planet entirely.
Qualicum Beach Sunset – the entire Qualicum Beach area on Vancouver Island is a cornucopia for those looking to interact with nature and the Pacific Ocean. In this great photograph, Randy Hall finds a stunning and vibrant sunset. By capturing it perfectly we find a result that shares a peek into the character of the island and all it has to offer.
Doll Houses – the fading light of day creates the perfect blue-hour conditions for Thrasivoulos Panou to use a long exposure technique to photograph a row of houses in Amsterdam from across a canal. These narrow houses are full of wonderful architectural details that create the strong sense of personality the city has been famous for all these years.
Weber House, Palouse, Black and White Film – Mark Garbowski, while out on a photographic junket with a group of photo friends, finds and photographs a stunning subject left to the effects of nature and time. The old farmhouse, now long abandoned, is full of terrific textures, and Mark’s application of a film camera loaded with black-and-white film really brings the character of the scene to life for all to enjoy.
Cryogenic Dubai – an eery sense of otherworldly mystique comes alive in this frame captured by Daniel Cheong as he overlooks the incredible city of Dubai as the sun begins to rise. The great dash of color in the far sky from the sunrise adds a perfect element to the fog ensconced in a moody, thick fog.
Shades of Green – Colfax, Washington – Len Saltiel captures and creates a wonderful abstract image in this piece that utilizes the natural undulations of the landscape found in this part of Washington State. As Len notes in his post, the long shadows add dimension and depth to the piece, as well as accenting and creating different tones of green that add to the overall composition.
…bled XXXI… – one of my personally favorite photography subjects is found at Lake Bled in Slovenia, featuring an ancient monastery sitting on the island in the middle of the lake. roberto pavic returns to this spot to capture this stunning piece that also features the snow-capped mountains behind the primary scene for an added touch of interest to an already mesmerizing scene.
A bit of this and that from San Francisco – as Jim Nix wanders about the world-famous city of San Francisco in the early morning, he finds incredible compositions ranging from wide perspectives with tons of detail down to little vignettes with a shallow depth-of-focus to accent and highlight the key subject. This post features a large set of images to view and enjoy, and gives the viewer a great look into the heart of the city.
Tiny Church – Þorsteinn H Ingibergsson captures a great shot of what has to be one of the smallest churches I have ever seen, smack dab in the middle of a dramatic Icelandic landscape. The red color of the church draws the viewer right into the frame, while the rugged mountains and seemingly deserted surroundings add a perfect touch of artistic tension.
Farmland South of Calgary, Alberta, Canada – the incredible and green rolling hills of Alberta come alive in this great shot by Frank King. Frank uses the natural leading line of a white picket fence to serve as a guide for the viewer, gently drawing you into the picture where a rural outlook awaits.
Road to Palouse – Michael Criswell takes distinct advantage of the various compositional features in this frame to create and share a terrific photograph. He uses the roadway as a ribbon of a winding line to lead the viewer into the frame and through it, with terrific details of the bucolic nature of the area to explore once you arrive.
Red fire fish (Pterois volitans) – you just can’t beat the vibrant colors found in nature as evidenced by this photograph of a fire fish from the studio of Rainer Leiss. Wonderful details in the fish come alive in this piece that takes advantage of a very black background to isolate the subject.
One is Not Like the Other – this post features a set of photographs that represent the abstract as found in nature. Rachel Cohen composes her photographs by focusing on various plants, and through the power of composition and a shallow depth-of-focus a story emerges.
Terre Rouge – this incredible HDR photograph from Iris van Wolferen features an inside look at what appears to be a long-abandoned facility of some sort. The industrial aspect of the image creates a strong sense of visiting another planet, and it is all accented perfectly by the reflective waters that leave the viewer with so many unanswered questions.
The USS New Jersey – an iconic American battleship comes into focus in this great shot by Scott Wood. Today the ship serves as a museum ship, providing perfect photography subject matter for photographers like Scott to capture and share with a wider audience. This picture was taken at night and features a dramatic ship with it’s various lights engaged to add a terrific element of interest.
Symphony of Lines – vibrant colors, lines, geometry and shadowplay all converge in this stunning piece by Roland Shainidze that focuses on the staircase of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. The image takes on a strong abstract feel to it as the natural leading lines guide the viewer through various aspects of the frame on a delightful voyage of discovery.
Behold Skógafoss – as Brian Matiash explores the wonders of Iceland with camera in hand, he releases a new photograph of the landscape that is sure to amaze everyone who visits to view it. The rugged surroundings work in harmony with the silky smooth waters of a raging waterfall to share a frozen moment of time.
The Wave – roiling waves are captured in this abstract rendition of a closely composed shot featuring the magic of water. Adrian Borda creates a very special piece with this image, showing how a tight view of a broader composition can take on a whole new and personal feel for the engaged viewer.
Enjoying the Weedy Buffet – this terrific post from Laurie MacBride features a pair of photographs of a goldfinch hard at work in procuring lunch in her garden one afternoon. The beautiful details of the tiny bird hard at work finds harmony in the beautiful surroundings of her garden in these shots.
Sunday Afternoon on Lake Rosseau – Edith Levy’s summertime composition features a lone passenger on a boat in the middle of the lake enjoying the day all the while engrossed in a good book. Edith uses various post-processing techniques in finishing this image, with the end result being a painterly piece that showcases the peace and beauty found in the setting.
Union Bay Coal Hills – this terrific feature from Vancouver Island photographer Dave Ingram explores the remnants and waste left behind from decades of coal processing here on the island. This particular spot is considered a toxic site, yet with that being the case Dave still finds incredible compositions presented everywhere that showcase the raw beauty of the island amidst the after-effects of mans usage of the area.
King Eider Photo – Ron Niebrugge captures a detailed and colorful portrait of a King Eider bird afloat in the water, seemingly at peace with itself and it’s surroundings. The great details of the bird’s face and plumage work in perfect harmony with the incredible color bands found on it to share a wonderful nature photograph.
Mom? – this is a terrific example of how a photograph captured candidly can truly express wonderful humor that can transcend language boundaries. This great photo from Ron Niebrugge shares a vignette of a pair of bear cubs playing around a wood bear statue, and the absolute cuteness of the whole thing finds deeper levity in the title that Ron selected.
Castle at night – a medieval castle finds itself sitting in a field as night approaches with some ambient lighting to accent the textures in the walls and the scale of the remains as a whole. Fabrice Kurz in turn captures a stunning representation of this subject, full of added elements like a brooding sky and a crescent moon to add a touch of drama.
Drive By Maasai Boy – Anne McKinnell captures a stunning candid portrait of a boy in Africa going about his day’s activities. The clarity of the image, the expression of the boy and the overall composition work in perfect harmony here to deliver something truly special.
Pehoe Reflection – still waters lie in the foreground of this shot that leads the viewer into the picture where gentle reflections of rugged snow-capped peaks reach for the heavens. Erez Marom captures and shares a truly breathtaking landscape shot from Patagonia, revealing a glimpse into what makes this place a must-see destination for travelers and photographers alike.
Snoqualmie Falls – a breathtaking 9 shot panorama comes to life on our screens in this terrific photo by Michael Criswell. These falls are a well-known spot in Washington State that attracts visitors and locals alike to take in the incredible setting. Michael includes some background information on the site to add a great layer of interest to the shot.
Good Night Shanghai XXIV – a moody and ethereal photo greets the viewer in this post from Herison Black that features this world-famous city under a cloak of night. A fog rolling in the far distance shrouds aspects of the picture in mystery, adding to the dramatic feel.
Weber House at the Golden Hour – Scott Wood captures a terrific shot of the famous Weber House in the Palouse area as the golden hour casts wonderful tones upon the scene. This old house is slowly falling prey to the fickle hand of decay, and casts a very dramatic pose against the natural rolling hills of the area.
From a bygone era – the art of framing and natural leading lines finds wonderful expression in this photograph from Rana Jabeen. Old stone ruins in India create the prime subject in this shot, showcasing the terrific details and textures found in ancient stonework contrasted against the natural surroundings this long forgotten structure calls home to.
Finding Inspiration in the Abandoned – Brian Matiash discusses finding inspiration through various means, including stepping right outside the current boundaries you find yourself working within. Through this process he finds an Urbex shot of a piano he took a little while ago and shares a great shot of this forgotten instrument as the effects of time and decay continue to work against the materials brought together by man.
Burning II – in what has to be one of the best Viking inspired images seen in this week’s list, we find a red cabin sitting in a field across a small body of still water. Ole Henrik Skjelstad exercises his strong creativity in staging the scene by finding a batch of wildflowers and transplanting them with gusto to add a wonderful foreground element. The finishing touch has to be how the cabin in surrounded in a glorious glow of color as the sun descends for the day.
Male Cardinal, Minnesota – the lovely rich, red colors of the Cardinal come to life on our screens in this terrific shot from Mark Paulson. The extremely shallow depth-of-focus isolates the tiny bird from its backdrop, and the glint in the bird’s eye finishes the picture off just perfectly.
Shipwreck-Inverness – the remains of an old wooden fishing boat lies in a marsh, now long forgotten with only the stories that are held within the remains of it’s hull to share with anyone interested. Mark Coté comes away from the scene with a terrific photograph, full of rich artistic tension hidden in all the unanswered questions.
Floating Boardwalk – repeating patterns and natural leading lines are explored in this great nautical themed shot from Len Saltiel. As Len visits with a friend in Idaho, they visit a resort that sports a terrific row of powerboats, all sitting under vivid blue canopies, and through the art of composition Len captures and delivers a picture that naturally leads the viewer through the frame.
The dark path – Hanson Mao takes us into a forest where we get to share in an amazing scene composed with what appears to be an old wooden pathway that leads into the heart of the forest. Terrific details and textures in the naturally finished wood finds delightful harmony with the lush green surroundings, capturing a terrific dichotomy of that which is manmade against the backdrop of nature.
Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery – Edith Levy comes across a terrific scene featuring rows of grapevines with a wonderful Victorian home in the far distance. The cloud cover adds a dash of drama to the scene, finishing off the delightful image by enhancing the old home in the distance that the viewer encounters by following the natural leading lines.
ready for orders sir! – in yet another terrific example of how a title for an image can add a fabulous dimension to it, Mark Bridger delivers a great shot of a Little Owl peering back intently at camera. The terrific details in the portrait work with the shallow depth-of-focus to reveal the wonderful spirit and personality this tiny little creature literally exudes.
Beach Life – you simply can’t beat the thriving life found on the beaches in the heart of summer. Jimi Jones visits Virginia Beach on the east coast of the US, coming away with a great set of shots featuring various elements of the area. Some of the shots feature the quiet before the days proverbial storm when the beaches are empty, and some of the shots feature the communities of people who descend on the beach every day during the season.
Towards the night! – Andreas Agazzi captures and creates a very dramatic image featuring the cityscape of Dubai as the light of the day fades into history. Andreas processes this shot as a black-and-white piece to really highlight the deep contrasts and the artistic tension that it produces.
Eastern Point Light – lighthouses seem to make for some of the best subjects one could hope for in terms of photography, and in this shot Bob Lussier takes full advantage of this concept by shooting one as the blue hour arrives to signal the end of day. The lovely blue hues of the sky drape the entire scene in a peaceful palette as the silhouette of the lighthouse itself adds a dash of artistic tension.
Sunset at Eastern Point Light – Steven Perlmutter shares his rendition of the late day’s scene at the same lighthouse that Bob Lussier featured in the link above. Steven’s take on the scene is quite different, showcasing the lighthouse in the late part of the golden hour, and finding a reflection in a small, still pool of water in the rocks in the foreground for an added element of interest.
Noisy – this Urbex shot was captured and shared here by Iris van Wolferen, featuring an inside look at what appears to be a building left long forgotten. The effects of decay and time have found a terrific way to work together to create an image full of rich texture, in turn leaving so many unanswered questions for the viewer to linger over.
Peonies at Nichols Arboretum – beautiful and colorful flowers grace our screens in this wonderful post from Rachel Cohen. Rachel captures a lovely set of photographs in this collection, featuring a wide variety of vibrant colors and compositions to really please the nature and flower lover.
How Much Does a Scratch Affect the Quality of a Lens? – with used lenses being so widely available on the open market, you have to question what it is you are considering buying. For many of us, the notion of buying a used lens that is heavily scratched leaves us believing that the glass is of no real value. This blog post argues this point and in it Jay Leavitt shares sample photos with detailed anecdotal information to show that the resulting images from a heavily damaged lens are still highly acceptable.
Unbelievable “nail houses” around the world – in what has to be a great example of truth being far stranger than fiction, and a picture telling 1,000 words, this article features a set of photos that reveal homes and buildings that refuse to budge while the constant march of progress goes on around them. This phenomenon seems to be primarily rooted in China, but the article also reveals similar buildings in the US.
Burt’s Bees Founder Burt Shavitz Dies at 80, Was an Avid Photographer – many of us have heard about the recent passing of Burt’s Bees founder, Burt Shavitz. What most of us didn’t know was he started his young life in a career as a professional photographer, and he was widely published in some big-name publications. Read the story here and see an 8 minute video interview with him conducted on the subject in December 2014.
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.