This weeks list features a set of links to tutorials, special features and great photography, as curated by Toad Hollow Photography. The Toad hopped to all corners of the internet this week, searching for the best content to share with everyone here. This list is composed of some of the best articles and photographs being created by contemporary artists working in the field today, and we hope you enjoy checking these links out as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
How to Make Your Existing Photos Shine in Post Production in The Next 20 Minutes (Lightroom Special) – post-production is a very important process for photographers intent on creating the best and most compelling images possible. This list features resources that can help everyone take their imagery to the proverbial next level in post-production, revealing insights and tips from experts in the field.
How to Photograph the Milky Way – this is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive guide I’ve read on photographing star formations. This article goes into great depth on each aspect of capturing a stunning shot, from gear to technique, and also includes some wonderful sample photos to illustrate how effective these concepts are.
How to Use Colour Balance for Advanced Black and White Conversion in Adobe Lightroom – the concept of colour balance in processing black-and-white images is something I’ve honestly never considered before. This article discusses why this is an important step in the post-production process and shares some insights into how to do it properly.
How To Create A Land Cross Section Photo In The Studio – staging a scene properly is an artform unto itself in many cases, as shown in this great article that discusses photographing a product in a very unique way. Simon Ellingworth shows us exactly how he created the setting for this particular shot, sure to give everyone some great ideas on how to do their own.
How to Interpret Light and Why It Is Paramount to a Photographer's Success – many will argue that proper lighting is the single most important aspect to a great photograph, although there are many very important elements to factor in the making of a stunning image. This great tutorial discusses some of the finer points of seeing and controlling light to ensure the best quality picture possible.
11 TED Talks on Photography Worth Watching – if you’ve never had a chance to watch an installment of TED Talks before, prepare to be amazed and inspired. This forum creates a voice for experts in certain fields to share insights into a topic they are interested in, and this list of 11 of these presentations focuses on those with a specialty in photography.
I Waited for 117 Hours in -50°C Temperatures to Snap These Polar Bear Photos – photographing wildlife can often be an exercise in patience, and in some cases this finds the photographer in extreme conditions waiting for the right moment. This set of epic shots features polar bears just after they have come out of their den, with cubs who appear to be mostly interested in the art of having a great time with mom.
Exhibit on Early Soviet Photography Examines Creative Change – early photography never ceases to amaze me, often giving us glimpses and insights into the world as it was long before we arrived ourselves. This feature shares a sample of great shots captured in the Soviet Union the better part of a hundred years ago now, and tells us where the exhibit is currently displayed.
The Mercury Waters Of Alert Bay – this special feature is one we created here at Toad Hollow, featuring the remote community of Alert Bay and its terrific story. This trip was part of a trip-of-a-lifetime for us, revealing the history and wonder of the northern tip of Vancouver Island and sharing some of the story of the local history that goes back centuries.
Bled Island in the fog – the only thing better than an awesome shot of an ancient medieval monastery is a shot of one peering out from under the cover of a thick fog. Egon Cokan captures a great example of this with this image, creating a strong sense of the unknown within the confines of a frame.
Don’t Shop Here – an abandoned distillery makes for a perfect location for photographer Michael Criswell to capture a terrific urbex themed shot. In this composition we see the interior of the forgotten building with a lone shopping cart as a prop for artistic tension.
Shopping Cart – Brad Truxell shares his photographic interpretation of the same scene featured above with his composition of the shopping cart sitting in an abandoned warehouse. Brad’s perspective reveals a slightly darker look at the scene, creating an image with it’s own feeling full of raw drama.
Little Owl – Peter Krejzl’s shot features a Little Owl perched on the limb of a tree holding onto an evening snack. This wonderful portrait of a tiny feathered creature really delivers the cute factor, while also sharing a glimpse into it’s wonderful character and personality.
Postcards from Istanbul – world-traveler and accomplished photographer David duChemin takes us to a faraway exotic locale known as Istanbul. David couples his extraordinary photos with a great brief essay to add depth and context to the the sights of places that many of us will not have a chance to visit in person.
Blue reflections – delightful crisp details come to life in this great landscape piece from Reto Savoca. The natural blue hour creates wonderful light in this piece, highlighting the natural features and framing a simply wonderful reflection that mirrors the mountain peaks across the body of water captured in the foreground.
Constantine Bay Cornwall – Barry Turner uses a long exposure technique to create this terrific black-and-white landscape shot that exudes terrific drama and intrigue. As we look out over the waters, the silky effect of the exposure time creates a sense of mystery that is truly palpable to the viewer.
Flåm reflections – a terrific reflection is captured in this photograph that exhibits an incredible landscape for all to view and enjoy. Richard Beresford Harris’ shot also features a small motorboat in the foreground, acting as an anchor and creating context and scale in the image.
The DLWP Staircase – geometry, lines and shapes can be powerful photography elements as evidenced in this pair of shots from Andy Hooker (LensScaper). In this post, a wonderful contemporary ornate staircase is the subject, forming great geometries that lead the viewer through the frame in the form of leading lines.
Anya – a highly stylized and artistic vision comes to life in this monochromatic portrait piece from Alexander Yakovlev. This shot is carefully lit and features a woman in a cloud of billowing dust, creating the feel of a statue coming to life.
Island Hopping – Sherry Galey writes a terrific post featuring her adventures on the waters, using several slideshow presentations to showcase her photography. This entire post will leave you yearning for a hammock on the side of the shores in the warm sunshine in the deep tropics.
Blue Magic – a truly delightful European village sits on the shores of a body of water with snow-capped mountains in the distance driving home a distinct feeling of incredible coldness in this mesmerizing piece by İlhan Eroglu. Captured during the blue hour, the stark white of the snow adds a dash of mystery to a shot full of architectural details.
now i'm dead to no dismay – Urban Vagabond delivers a rather dark piece with this photograph taken presumably inside a crypt. The ornate brickwork and stone pillar are architecturally fascinating, juxtaposing against the stillness of those who inhabit the space itself.
Poplars's symmetry – a row of presumably poplar trees without leaves stands guardian alongside a still body of water in this great shot from Roberto Melotti. The beautiful colors in the sky from the sunset or sunrise, depending on time of day, finds harmony with the terrific reflection to create a natural leading line in this wonderful photograph.
Vivid Colors – Rachel Cohen shares a very bright and colorful shot in this post, showcasing the wonderful beauty found in flowers. Rachel uses a shallow depth of focus in this trio of shots, making the primary subjects stand out from the natural backdrop and adding a wonderful element and feel to the pictures.
Frost & Fire – a strong color flare in the sky from the low hanging sun adds a perfect element to the dramatic architectural features and details in Norway’s largest Stave Church in this shot from Hilde S. Jonsmyr. The contrast of the church itself against the incredibly cold white of the surroundings helps to create a mystical feeling piece with this image.
Twilight Capitol – this terrific shot from Scott Wood features an architectural study of the Capitol building in Washington State. Scott captures this piece in the blue hour, allowing the lights from the building to shine with starbursts, accented by the beautifully blooming cherry trees that line the walkway leading to the building.
Two Bridges… – as promised in the title of this photograph, we find two bridges in the left quadrant of the frame creating a perfect leading line out into the neverending distance in this terrific image from Ricardo Bahuto Felix. The incredible details in the architectural features work together perfectly with the wonderful colors in the sky to create a piece full of artistic tension.
Cleveland Chandelier – Jimi Jones finds and photographs what is known as the largest outdoor chandelier in the world in Cleveland, Ohio. Jimi captures three distinctly different compositions of this incredible showcase, revealing contextual shots alongside close-up details to fully explore this wonderful light.
The Red Church – red is such an eye-catching color in images, creating an anchor that draws the viewer right into the frame, as shown here by Daniel Cheong. A cement pier creates a great leading line, culminating in a vanishing point where this highly fascinating church awaits the viewer, ready to share its story visually.
Two Rivers Mansion – Nashville, Tennessee – Michael Lewis Glover shares a terrifically detailed shot of a heritage mansion built in the mid 1800’s and still in pristine condition today. Michael’s head-on composition reveals the terrific details employed in the design of these stately manors, making for a shot that appreciates the effect time has on perspective.
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.