As another exciting week passes us by we find Toad Hollow Photography searching all corners of the internet for links to helpful tutorials, special features and great photography to share here with everyone. This week's list encompasses a wide variety of subjects and photographs from some of the finest talents working in the field today. We really hope you enjoy checking these links out as much as the Toad did himself in curating this list for you.
5 Quick Tips for Getting Sharp Eyes in Portrait Photography – when it comes to great portraits, the shot is all about the eyes. This fabulous and brief tutorial here on Light Stalking by Katherine Katsenis covers 5 great tips and tricks to help you ensure that you are always ready and armed with the necessary knowledge to get great portraits with sharp eyes.
‘See Better Shoot Better’: Seeing the World Differently as a Photographer – this is a 20 minute video presentation full of great images and inspiration for those seeking to improve their skills. Photography is as much about art as it is science, especially these days in the modern digital world, and insights from successful practitioners like Michael Goulding can really make a big difference.
A Geeky Crash Course On The Science of Camera Sensors – you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got a big cup of coffee with you before watching this 13 minute video presentation. This feature covers in great detail the science and physics behind the modern digital image sensor, revealing a little of the quantum magic that makes our modern digital cameras work.
Photo Retouching in Adobe Photoshop with Content Aware in 60 Seconds – this 60 second video tutorial covers a very powerful editing feature in Photoshop, the Content Aware tool. In less than a minute you will learn how to use this procedure, helping you to move or remove unwanted elements in an image quickly and easily.
How to Create That Urban High Contrast Desaturated Look in Lightroom – a 12 minute video tutorial is published on this post that shows you in great depth how to achieve that heavily contrasted look that is quite popular these days. The video takes you step by step through the process, and shows sample images that were created with this style to give you inspiration to try your own.
World Press Photo Awards Top Images of 2015 – tens of thousands of images were submitted by a huge source of thousands of photographers, resulting in this selection of award winning photographs by the World Press. Some of the shots capture a moment of the human condition, in some cases they are sad in nature, while others capture scenes encountered in nature. Each of the selected winners exhibits a strong sense of artistic tension, leaving the viewer wondering about the underlying story while telling a complete tale in a frame.
Photos Reveal How Steinway Makes Its Beautifully Crafted Grand Pianos – this set of photographs showcases a rather unusual set of subjects; that is, the pieces that are created to come together in forming a beautiful grand piano. All the shots shared in this piece are terrific, but the ones that really stand out exhibit great lines and repeating patterns, forming a mosaic of the story that sits behind the making of these world-famous instruments.
Haunting photos of abandoned buildings tell disappearing story of the Townships – photographer Joel Barter shares a selection of shots in this news feature that discusses the changing landscape of this particular region in Quebec as the effects of time take over the remains of these long abandoned structures. Each of the shots is full of texture and detail, as would be expected when shooting this type of subject matter, but it also exposes a series of questions that linger behind the history.
Cool Caddy – 1957 Cadillac DeVille – you simply can’t beat the incredible textures and details that can be found in old, antique cars, especially ones that are not in pristine condition. This terrific example of this comes to us from Michael Criswell who shares three shots of a classic Cadillac that is so cool, it’s hot.
Old Dutch – join Michiel Buijse as he explores the very old cobblestone streets of a quaint Dutch community. The golden light from the houses and buildings creates a warm illumination across the scene that features a great vanishing point that culminates at an old church spire.
Bright Eyes – this terrific portrait of a beautiful snowy owl comes to us from BC photographer Randy Hall. The owl is staring intently almost directly into the camera, producing an amazing image with incredible detail that does a great job of showing off it’s amazing spirit.
Dolomites – a delicious fog rolls across this landscape shot from TOMÁŠ MORKES that features a warm zone in the frame in a forested section of the landscape, coupled with snow-covered mountains in the backdrop. The finishing touch for this composition comes with the inclusion of a wonderful tudor style building that peers out from behind the treeline.
Scotland from one extreme to the other – David Stoddart Photography delivers a wonderful shot in this piece, focusing on the beautiful natural landscapes found in Scotland. A tiny stream meanders it’s way through the frame, creating a perfect natural leading line here, culminating in a gorgeous and colorful sunburst peeking through the clouds in the distance.
Moravian trees 3 – a row of trees stands amidst a landscape filled with gentle rolling hills in this terrific black-and-white shot from marek biegalski. The contrasts explored in this shot by processing it as a black-and-white expose wonderful shadows that add to the sense of artistic tension within the frame.
Divine Inspiration – you just can’t beat the wonderful feeling that pictures have that capture beautiful beams of light emanating down from the very heavens above. This wonderful shot from Edith Levy features just this, leaving the viewer with a strong sense that there is indeed a higher being looking out for us all.
Selandjafoss waterfall – an incredible landscape shot is posted and shared here by Yiannis Pavlis, showcasing the natural beauty of Iceland. In this particular picture, a massive waterfall is featured, and a close look at the left portion of the image reveals people which give a strong sense of the incredible scale captured here.
Golden Sunrise – beautiful golden light from the early morning graces an amazing lighthouse perched on the rocks on the shores of Maine in this shot from Len Saltiel. Len’s composition includes fabulous natural leading lines in the striations found on the rocks in the foreground, leading the viewer into the distance where the romantic lighthouse has stood guard since 1791.
Night Watcher – Patrick Zephyr Photography shares a haunting shot here, featuring a character standing in the heart of the woods in the night with an eddy of water in the foreground to add a sense of movement. The darkness in the shot hides the story behind the frame, leaving the interpretation entirely up to the viewer.
Lake Union Houses – Scott Wood’s shot features the last golden rays of the day as the sun begins to set reflecting off the facades of the homes at Lake Union. This great composition from Scott creates strong repeating patterns in the homes and a cheerful feel in the tones, creating an image that is terrific on several different levels.
Fireworks on snow – fireworks can be a tricky subject to capture as so many different factors come into play in making a great image. Sasha Samardzija does a great job with this shot taken from an elevated perspective some distance away, showing the viewer the amazing display of light as it dances across a wonderful setting of a tiny community and snow-capped mountains in the backdrop.
Doorways on Greenwich Street – doors have always been a very interesting photography subject to me, as they are usually full of architectural character that speaks to the building they inhabit. This shot comes to us from Mark Garbowski that features a great set of interesting doors, processed in black-and-white to accent the scene and create a compelling feel.
Learning – in what seems to be a magical scene, we find a young scholar in an old missionary studying as beautiful natural light streams in from openings and bathes the scene in a pure sense of wonder. This picture freezes a single moment in time, yet it also speaks to the larger practice of worship and love found within the walls of this wonderful space.
Bosham Quay at sunset – coming at us from an area in the UK that has centuries of deep and rich history, this landscape shot from Barry Turner features an outward view of a bay with a great quay as an anchor into the shot. The quay also creates a perfect leading line, guiding the viewer right into the picture where a gorgeous sunset splashes color over a wonderful setting.
Of Olden Days – still life photography is definitely in a genre all it’s own, and in many cases we see wonderful shots that share a glimpse into another time. Mostapha Merab Samii creates a wonderful example of this with this photograph that features a variety of old artifacts perfectly lit sitting atop an old wood shelf.
A perfect winter’s day – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) takes us to the pinnacle of a hill in the heart of winter in this great landscape shot. Trees create a perfect anchor in the foreground as a mist-enshrouded scene plays hide and seek in the thick fog beyond it.
Exploring The World – a mother bear and her cub stand perched atop a rocky outcrop in this wonderful photograph from Rob Janné. This candid piece shares a little of the wonderful and solitary nature of bears, revealing a peek into their spirit and personality within the context of a frame.
Pemaquid Light, Maine – Mark Paulson’s shot of world-renowned Pemaquid Lighthouse uses lines in the ancient rock formations to lead the viewer into the picture where the lighthouse itself peers out above the ridge. Terrific colors in the portion of the house visible add a great dash of interest to the shot, as does the blue sky above.
Center 2 – I am not sure if this plane is coming in for a landing or if it’s preparing to take off, but it really creates a striking subject. Takahiro Bessho grabs this perfectly composed shot utilizing the cityscape in the backdrop as a terrific element, at the same time the jetliner is captured using a fairly shallow depth-of-focus to isolate it.
Take Me There – Jay Taylor captures a frame of the elusive male Northern Harrier, also known as the “Grey Ghost” as it flies across his peripheral, capturing a fabulous profile shot of this amazing bird. Terrific details in the feathers and it’s face and body converge to deliver a shot sure to be enjoyed by all wildlife photography enthusiasts.
Eurasian Pygmy Owl – this delightful portrait features a tiny owl sitting perched on a limb. Milan Zygmunt’s wonderful piece uses a very shallow depth-of-focus, highlighting the terrific personality of this amazing bird and creating a green backdrop from the surroundings that accents the core details in the owl’s features.
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.