It has been another exciting week in the world of photography and in this post we find Toad Hollow Photography has been searching all points online looking for links to tutorials, special features and great photography to share with everyone. This week's list features an assortment of subjects and articles, all sure to please photography enthusiasts who love the artform. We truly hope you enjoy perusing these links as much as the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
These 4 Easy DIY Photography Hacks Actually Work – I am sure we’ve all had need at some point for specialized gear that typically doesn’t come cheap with our work in the field of photography. This great article features 4 easy to create and use hacks that actually work, helping you to manage the growing need for more expensive specialized gear.
How to Achieve Fast Autofocus In Low Light Situations – this article discusses an easy trick to use with your speedlight to really make a difference with your autofocus system, particularly in low light situations. Several key factors come into play when using this technique, and this post covers them all.
How to Photograph Modes of Transportation – photographer Anne McKinnell writes a very detailed article with this post, covering the entire gambit of shooting modes of transportation. Anne shares tips and tricks, along with compositional and lighting ideas, that are sure to help you capture great shots that will stand the test of time.
How to Enhance Skin Texture With Sharpening and Luminosity Masks – very complex and detailed steps are covered in this tutorial that takes you through the process of post-production of portraits, with an eye towards great skin texture. Sample images accompany this 8 minute video presentation, reducing a lot of the mystery of the technique itself.
Q&A: What Are Lighting Ratios – Joe Farace distills this complex technique into an easily digested formula for his readers in this article that covers a widely discussed method of using ratios in lighting. This article will definitely shed some light on the topic for those who are trying to grasp the concept and apply it to their own work.
Eric Kim Offers Excellent Composition Lesson for Street Photography – this video tutorial is roughly 50 minutes in length, covering a very wide variety of concepts used in composition for street photography. Lines, shapes, geometry are all discussed, alongside some of the more standard compositional techniques, making this one of the most comprehensive guides on the subject I have seen in quite a while.
Look at This! Pictures of the Great Depression by Berenice Abbott and Dorothea Lange – a sad time in the socio-economic period of the great depression reveals vignettes captured during the time that illustrate the challenges and issues encountered by those who tried to live through the times. The pair of shots included in this article are discussed in length here, revealing much more than what meets the eye at first glance.
Fog Turns Shanghai Into a Dreamscape In This Photo Series – this beautiful set of photographs features the tips of skyscrapers peeking through a thick fog in the city of Shanghai. The ethereal nature of these images highlights a harmony between natural forces and contemporary architecture.
Sunrise over Bled – Lake Bled once again comes into view in this incredible shot from İlhan Eroglu. As a gorgeous sunrise makes its way over top of the snow-capped mountains in the distance, the medieval monastery that has stood ground on the tiny island in the middle of this famous lake comes to life.
Sunset at Motukiekie Beach – many of us who are always looking for that next great photograph to capture are willing to do pretty much anything to get it, as is the case here with Jimmy McIntyre who risks life and limb to capture a stunning shot just before day gives way to night. This incredible shot took days to setup, featuring a beautiful sunset, fingerlets of water rushing in and out from the ocean, and a beautiful red starfish near the front of the composition to act as an anchor.
Twilight – Stefan Thaler shares an ultra-wide shot with this piece that showcases the natural beauty of the great outdoors. The blue hour creates a wonderful color tone that softly covers the snow covered landscape, with a bowed water body creating a natural leading line that highlights the overall composition.
WV State Penitentiary Moundsville West Virginia – Michael Criswell shares a pair of terrific shots of this very creepy penitentiary that is purportedly extremely haunted. Michael’s shots include an outside picture that highlights the dramatic architecture, and an interior shot showcasing “Old Sparky”, the electric chair that created the demise for many a troubled soul.
осень в Карелии – rich colors spring out of our monitors on this shot taken in the northern area of Russia, focusing on what looks to be a centuries old Stave Church built with wood. The incredible architectural details find harmony with the mirrored reflection of the scene in the still waters in the foreground in this stunning image from Ed Gordeev.
Cult of 13 – this incredible black-and-white photograph comes to us from photographer CJ Schmit who visits the inside of a long forgotten church that is in the active state of decay. By capturing and processing the shot as a black-and-white, CJ really accents the inherent drama and artistic tension found within the walls of this once hallowed place.
Ray of light – this black-and-white shot comes to us from Junichi Hakoyama, who takes advantage of the stark contrasts and deep shadows in this composition to capture and share a distinct feel of artistic tension. As a single person makes their way through the picture, they cast a long shadow on the floor in front of them, creating a terrific element.
Antarctic Moon – the rugged and jagged rocks found in the Antarctic are covered in a thick snow in this great landscape image from Ron Niebrugge. Ron takes advantage of the moon as it crests above the line of mountains, adding a great touch to this stark yet beautiful landscape.
Beautiful Moraine Lake – epic natural beauty that is found in the Canadian Rockies is perfectly captured and expressed in this gorgeous shot from Shannon Rogers. The rich blue waters of Moraine Lake create a terrific anchor in this shot that finds further wonder in the snow-covered landscape and mountains that seem to reach for the skies on an endless quest.
Transformed by the Rain – Laurie MacBride shares a delightful image captured with a very shallow depth-of-focus to accent the tiny water droplets that adorn the edge of the leaves of a Lady’s Mantle plant in her garden. As she notes in her article, the drops take on the look of a strand of pearls as they encircle the composition.
Carrasqueira Pier – Dennis Liang uses an extended shutter time to turn the waters in this scene into a velvet texture, working in perfect union with the other key elements in the shot. An old wooden pier takes us through the image, leaving into a delightful vanishing point that leaves the viewer yearning for more.
Spring Vibes – Brad Truxell frames the city of Pittsburgh with a walkway and a pair of bridges that form perfect leading lines in this excellent HDR photograph. The waters are smoothed out by the long exposure used to capture this shot, and in the distance we enjoy the great details of the city’s architecture.
A silent sunrise in Lofoten – this shot reveals more to the viewer as you spend time taking in the finer details, showcasing a beautiful landscape scene captured in the early morning by Yiannis Pavlis. A collection of homes and buildings, predominantly red in color, dot the shores, adding small dashes of color to a snow-covered scene.
Spring Fields – this great composition comes to us from photographer Frank King who finds a terrific entrance to a ranch in the middle of the stark Alberta landscape. As Frank notes in his post, the wispy delicate white clouds in the sky help make the overall composition what it is, a bucolic glimpse at life on the prairies.
The other size of the Shipwreck – as a sunset slowly drifts across the setting, a rusty hull of the remains of a boat lies lodged on the shores. This incredible composition by panagiotis laoudikos leaves us wondering about the story behind this once active ship, and creates a series of questions for the viewer about how much longer this shell has before it finally returns to the elements that created it.
Staying With The Game Plan – I love this shot from Jim Denham who uses a long exposure to capture this dynamic shot. Jim takes advantage of the movement of the light cloud formations overhead to create a strong sense of movement against the static subject of a terrific lighthouse that stands sentry.
Watching the Canal – Herman van den Berge blends two frames into one with this piece, combining perfect exposures of the homes that sit on the canals against the star filled skies overhead. Herman takes great care to highlight and accent the wonderful details found in the old architecture that lines the ribbon of water as it cuts through the community.
Towards Birling Gap – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) creates a composition that follows a shoreline to create a natural leading line, then processing the shot in a softened manner to bring out the wonderful natural lighting that exists. Andy’s accompanying thoughts add great context to the shot, finishing it off wonderfully.
SuNriSe fiShiN – a lone man stands at the end of a wooden pier with fishing rod in hand as the sun begins to make its appearance above the horizon. The silky waters are a product of the long exposure technique that Stratos Gazas used to capture this piece, adding a great feature to this scene.
Red Tulips – Scott Wood’s shot features a bunch of bright and vibrant red tulips, accenting the incredible natural details with a close-up look of the flowers. The terrific shallow depth-of-focus that Scott used to shoot this image creates a perfect red bokeh backdrop to isolate the flowers and help make them pop on our screens.
Annie Leibovitz Photos Show Relaxed Queen and Little Royals – it’s really hard to argue the incredible abilities Annie Leibovitz has when it comes to photography, and there is no more a demanding subject for perfection than the royal family. In this article posted by NBC News we see 3 new portraits of the Queen as captured by Annie, and they are excellent pictures.
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.