This list of links is composed of the very best tutorials, special features and great photography as curated by Toad Hollow Photography. Many different styles and topics are covered in these pieces, showcasing the best the world of photography has to share. We truly hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
How to Get Good Photographs in Overcast Conditions – a terrific short article written by Light Stalking’s very own Jason Row discusses the positives and advantages of shooting on an overcast day. His techniques and concepts cover a wide variety of ways to turn a grey, overcast day into a terrific day of shooting.
This Everything-You-Need-to-Know Tutorial Shows How to Make Spirograph Light Paintings – this video tutorial is just over 7 minutes in length, yet it contains a lifetime of learning and information in it for those trying to create this type of imagery. Every step involved in the technique is covered in this tutorial, along with wonderful sample images, making this a one-stop-shop for those wanting to do some really neat photographic light painting.
Get Started With Studio Lighting for Less than $100 – this terrific article takes you through the acquisition and application of inexpensive artificial lighting gear that can make a world of difference in the quality of your portraits. It is frequently said that the gear does not make a photograph, the photographer does; this great post can help you get there easily even while considering your budget.
What Lens Filter Do You Need for Landscape Photography? – a five minute video tutorial takes us through the different types of lens filters available and how they can affect the results of landscape photography. Sample photographs are included at each step of the video, showing you the way the application of these various filters can change your final image.
Exploring Soft Focus (or Blur) for Portraiture – Joe Farace takes a fairly close look at the application of soft focus in the realm of portraiture. Joe discusses several different approaches to achieving this effect, ranging from a lens through several different ways of achieving this in post-production.
Haida Gwaii Seascapes – thousands upon thousands of years of history are held under the shores of the ocean in this very remote part of Western Canada, just north of Vancouver Island. This special feature comes to us from an island archaeologist and gifted photographer, showing scenes captured during a recent visit all shot on film. The natural grain of the film coupled with the epically beautiful abstracts found in this profound part of the world are explored visually here, accompanied by some great details of the area itself to add great depth to the shots.
Life begins at night! – the New York City skyline pops to life in this epic shot by Emil taken during the night. The wonderful colors of the lively city interact with the incredible star filled skies overhead, creating an absolutely delightful image that juxtaposes the effects of man on our environment against the backdrop of the universe.
The House of the Setting Sun – Astaroth shares a great pair of HDR shots that feature the remains of what once was a farm house long ago. The brick foundation and crumbling walls are all that is left of this house that once was loved by those who lived here, creating a life in what now is long forgotten.
The two best prayers… – a terrific shot by Sherry Galey shares a foggy view of a wood built church surrounded by the moodiness of a mist-enshrouded environment. I was particularly drawn to this shot with the vibrant red door and cross that hang above it, and how it creates a perfect anchor into the frame itself.
Erasmusbrug – Iris van Wolferen captures a vibrant cityscape that predominantly features the dramatic span of an incredible bridge in the heart of Europe. Beautiful colors in artificial lights that are used to illuminate the bridge create a dramatic outline against the dynamic city in the background, delivering a piece that shares more as you spend time taking in the finer details.
Calm (before the storm) – a very moody and ethereal shot comes to us from Dave Wares who saw and captured this terrific long exposure piece featuring a series of pilings in a body of water. Wonderful colors in the sky work in perfect harmony with the silky texture of the waters from the long exposure to deliver a shot full of great mood.
philippine mars . . . – the MARS series of massive planes are well known on the west coast of Canada as they are used to fight our annual forest fires. This shot showcases the Philippine MARS dressed in black paint and ready for it’s next mission, as shot and shared here by ƊƦคƓ๏ƝŦlץƊгєคɱʂ88.
Dolomites Queen – the majestic mountains in this part of Italy stand tall overlooking a tiny chapel as a dynamic and colorful sky blooms far overhead. Mattia Dattaro’s photograph features a natural leading line in the stone path that leads to the small building, and fast-moving clouds overhead for a perfect dash of drama.
Eastern Shore Railroad – for those who love railroads and history, this post is most definitely for you. Mark Summerfield captures a great pair of shots, one featuring a locomotive, and the other shot finds us looking at a pattern created by criss-crossing rails.
Island Princess – a gorgeous contemporary cruiseship graces our screens in this shot by Barry Turner as it arrives in port in Venice. The ship is absolutely incredible in both stature and shape as the lights onboard cast a magical feel to a scene that beckons the viewer onboard for a journey of adventure and fun.
Rest Stop – Jay Taylor serendipitously finds himself a witness to an usual series of events that found the incredible Snowy Owl in an area that it doesn’t usually visit. In turn, Jay comes away with some epic photos of these beautiful birds, and this one in this post features a full portrait of one sitting in natural light, exposing wonderful details and a glimpse into it’s personality.
Into the future II – a study of geometrical shapes and lines finds a wonderful dash of artistic tension with the silhouette of a person in the far distance in this incredible photograph by Roland Shainidze. Roland processes his shot in black-and-white, accenting the inherent drama and using the sharp contrast as a way to lead the viewer into the frame.
A Quaker gun – Perry Bailey captures a great HDR shot of what is referred to as a Quaker Gun, a gun made out of wood and blackened with soot to appear to the enemy as further fortification at a fort. Years of weathering find great textures in the wooden replicas and Perry’s shot has a great balance in dynamic range that looks natural, yet reveals more.
windowscape – if this isn’t a composite, then it has to be one of the most magical and amazing places on earth. Todd Wall’s composition features an outward looking view from inside a very weathered room, leading the viewer through the remnants of a man made building now long forgotten out into an ethereal world where silky waters and haunting light converge.
Dawn Light – the early light of morning gently greets the day, helping to create a rippled reflection in the waters in the foreground of this landscape piece by Len Saltiel. Wonderful clouds lingering in the skies overhead add a perfect element to the wonderful nature that lives below.
Jølster lake Reflections – soft reflections in a lake are cast from the grey overcast day that lingers, showing off the incredible majestic beauty of rugged mountains of the area. Tore H.’s composition takes distinct advantage of the angles of the ranges as they converge in the distance with the reflection in the waters creating a mirror of the halves and forming incredible natural leading lines.
Elegance – understated elegance greets us in the great architectural feature from Michael Criswell. These shots feature the inside of a beautiful resort, full of great architecture and details, and exploring the grand spaces and a terrific vanishing point found therein.
The Bridge – Kilian Schönberger shares a beautiful composition that features the arch of an old stone bridge span used to frame the scene behind it. Gorgeous natural light bathes the scene in wonderful rays, adding to the mystical feel the overall picture exposes to the viewer.
Fall Colors at Reelfoot Lake – Jim Denham visits one of his favorite local spots on the shore of a lake, coming away with a stunning piece he then shares here with everyone. The trees and the shapes they create are truly amazing, all accented by the beautiful colors of autumn as it emerges in this gorgeous location.
The eye – a monochromatic study in architecture is shared in this very dramatic piece from Carlos M. Almagro. The rich contrasts of the black-and-white aspect of the picture creates a perfect tonal balance as the eye naturally makes it way upward on a voyage of discovery.
cathedral of light – incredible natural light streams in through the windows that seem to reach for the limitless ceiling in this interior shot captured by Frank King. This atrium is part of Brookfield Place in downtown Toronto, and it is full of wonderful leading lines and shapes to please the eye of the architectural photography enthusiast.
RestLess SouL II – the rusty hull of a shipwreck lies prone on the shores of the ocean in Greece, sitting under a blanket of beautiful stars from the universe above. Stratos Gazas balances this shot perfectly by composing the shipwreck against the stars above, creating a picture full of rich artistic tension and leaving the visitor with many unanswered questions.
Phantom Organist – a creepy old pipe organ sits perched on an overhang in a long abandoned church in Pittsburgh in this awesome photograph from Brad Truxell. Years of neglect and weathering have created the most amazing patina on this forlorn instrument, all now brought to life, even if just temporarily, in Brad’s terrific image.
Moraine lake – natural beauty that can only be found in the Canadian Rockies springs to life in this shot that showcases one of the area's most beautiful lakes surrounded by a rugged snow covered landscape. Trevor Cole’s shot takes advantage of the gorgeousness found in a fresh snowfall against the deep blues of the lakes that dot the Rocky Mountains.
Ely Cathedral under the Octagonal tower – David Stoddart Photography takes advantage of the natural distortion that comes with a fisheye lens, creating an architectural study that is really something else. By taking in such an enormous field of view, we get to see wonderful geometries and details in the interior of this incredible old cathedral, delivering more to the viewer as you spend time taking in those fine details.
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.