It has truly been a great week online for those of us who love photography, and in this post we find a curated list of links that Toad Hollow Photography has compiled featuring tutorials, reviews, special features and great photography. This list is composed of a very wide variety of topics and subjects, and we hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
Manual Mode Mastered – Here’s What to Learn Next – this extremely well thought-out and composed article discusses next steps in your photography evolution. Mastering the settings on your camera, particularly in terms of exposure is just the first step on your journey, and this post will give you a great checklist on where to head next.
How to Blend Flash with Natural Lighting – this brief tutorial discusses blending natural ambient lighting with flash lighting from a high level perspective. The key concepts shared here will get you started as you begin to work with flash, and will help you achieve the goals you are working towards.
This is how one photographer uses gelled flashes and modest equipment to produce awesome portraits – a great portrait shot is totally decomposed and analyzed in this tutorial, showing you exactly where and how lighting was placed to achieve the stunning result. A diagram outlines placement and type of lighting, and the descriptive portion of the post goes over some of the key technical aspects.
A quick and simple two-light setup for strong portraits – in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee, you can learn how a simple two light configuration can create great portrait shots. This video tutorial is less than a minute and a half in length and contains enough information to feed the conceptual part of your imagination and get you started with making great portraits.
Lighting and Retouching Tutorials for Recreating the Styles of Some of the World's Best Photographers – learn from the best in this brief five and a half minute video tutorial as they take you through the process of the shoot all the way through to post-production. If you are hoping to learn how to create those amazing portraits we all see in the world of fashion and advertising, this is a terrific place to get started.
REVIEWS TO NOTE
Top 15 Best Action & Sports Cameras Reviewed and Tested – if you are considering buying a new camera for action and sports related photography, this is your one-stop article for figuring out which model is best for your specific needs. This article includes ratings, pros and cons, as well as links to each model and corresponding in-depth reviews.
Chicago Illinois ~ Part I ~ The Obligatory Bean | Part II ~ More Than a Green River | Part III ~ Architecture Heaven | Part IV ~ Stone vs. Glass – join A.D. Wheeler as he takes us on a comprehensive journey to explore pretty much everything that is Chicago. In this fabulous series we get to enjoy landscapes, architecture and features of the city through the interpretive lens of A.D. and see the city in a way that only he can capture and share.
Amazing Photos Capture Supersonic Shock Waves Made by a Fighter Jet – this is simply cool. This post features a pair of photographs that were captured using a highly specialized technique that allows the camera to “see” the shock waves from a supersonic jet after it crosses the speed of sound barrier.
Moulton Barn – Michael Criswell finds this very famous barn on a perfectly picturesque morning, and comes away with an awesome shot that he then processes as black and white. The terrific details in this old wooden barn pop to life in this composition, as the Teton Mountains stand ruggedly tall in the backdrop with a covering of snow on their peaks.
Journey of Fog III – clarity comes to life in this epic cityscape shot from Sebastian Tontsch that showcases the raw drama of the city of Dubai. As a gentle fog drifts over the city below, the sun rises and creates wonderful colors in the sky that add to the overall feel of the image.
A Duck at Oxbow Bend – a great shot from the studio of Bob Lussier captures a silhouette of a duck making its way across the water as gentle ripples follow it along. The simple composition used here with his telephoto lens creates a subtle sense of artistic tension in the frame as the bird gently floats along.
In a determined mood… – Austin Thomas captures a delightful shot of a wild Little Owl in mid stride as it runs across the ground. Austin shoots this from a very low perspective, bringing us eye level with this terrific little bird as it hurriedly makes its way from point to point on what appears to be a very serious mission indeed.
Nursing Brown Bears – ah, to be a bear… this wonderful shot comes to us from Ron Niebrugge who captures a great frame of a mother brown bear as she nurses her two cubs. This candid shot showcases the incredible beauty of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, living life under their own terms.
Silk Road – this evening based cityscape comes to us from Dany Eid who takes advantage of the natural fog formation that lingers over the city below. The lights far below create a diffused bath of golden light that seeps up through the fog below, adding to the ethereal feel created in this composition.
Looking up the staircase – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) visits the De La Warr Pavilion where he photographs the amazing staircase that the building exhibits. Great shapes and light are featured in this geometric exploration of art deco architecture.
Rijksmuseum at Night – iamsterdam – Mathew Browne Photography shares a terrific shot of this famous museum at night, highlighting the terrific architectural features of the facility in a super sharp image. The finishing touch is found in the gentle reflection formed from a still pool of water that sits in the foreground of the image.
A different look at the Sydney Opera House – a fresh composition is brought in this terrific photograph shared here by Jim Nix of the Sydney Opera House shot at the tail-end of the blue hour. As a fast moving boat floats past, it creates a light trail that adds a touch of the dynamic to the shot and completing it off perfectly.
Pygmy beauty – a snowy setting makes for the perfect environment to capture and share this great portrait shot of a Pygmy Owl perched on a limb. Max Rinaldi’s perfect composition brings the true personality of this bird out in a frame, bringing this owl to life on our screens.
Screaming Eagle – a fantastic portrait of one of our most magnificent birds pops to life on our monitors with this shot from Vancouver Island photographer, Randy Hall. Randy’s shot features a tight frame with the birds face filling the body of the shot, showcasing the incredible natural allure these incredible birds exhibit in the wild.
Tradition – Lake Bled delivers the perfect setting for photographer Uroš Demšar to capture this ethereal and mystical looking shot. The golden hour drapes the medieval monastery on the island in the middle of the lake in beautiful gentle light as a soft fog envelops the region for added mood.
mist'IR light – a spectrum that can only be seen when shooting in IR is explored in this terrific landscape Infrared shot shared by David Keochkerian. This moody shot is full of artistic tension as an alternate landscape is revealed that includes a terrific reflection in the still waters that sit in the foreground of the setting.
Fog in the Valley – Lyndonville, Vermont – Len Saltiel shares a wonderful autumn based photograph that features the rolling hills of Vermont covered in every color in the palette from the fall leaves. A tractor in the foreground adds a perfect touch to this shot, giving the viewer an anchor and an element that portrays the scale of the scene.
Rust and Religion – Jason Row, a contributing author here on Light Stalking, shares a great shot that features a collection of old and rusty boats and artifacts sitting in front of a beautiful white church that comprises the background of the shot. The juxtaposition found in this piece reveals a scene full of rich artistic tension, along with wonderful textures and details in the derelict vessels that sit unused and forgotten.
Shelf It – CJ Schmit delivers a very dramatic black-and-white shot that depicts a highly decrepit room with bookshelves and all sorts of debris from years of decay. CJ’s image is full of great textures, highlighted by the monochromatic approach to post-production.
Hong Kong – Jennifer Bin shares a terrific cityscape shot in this post, featuring the megacity of Hong Kong at night. The hues accented by Jennifer’s processing with this piece work perfectly with the key subject, highlighting the feel of a fast-paced city that also features terrific lines in the dramatic architecture.
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Dahlia, Minnesota – Mark Paulson’s shot of a butterfly perched on the edge of a flower is full of great detail and color. Both the flower and the butterfly are perfectly isolated from their backdrop by Mark’s use of shallow depth-of-focus.
Church of the Good Shepherd – this old stone church sits perched on the shores of a lake in New Zealand, and is an often photographed building due to its intrinsic interest for photographers and art lovers worldwide. Kirill Polishchuk’s features a beautiful star-filled sky as this heritage church sits peacefully below.
Houston Stewart Channel – the stillness of a west coast morning is exhibited in this terrific landscape shot from BC photographer Ehpem as he waits for a floatplane to pick him up for his day’s adventures. The beautiful landscape takes on a bit of a haunting feel as a thin veil of fog lingers over the tiny land outcrop that dominates the composition.
The Great Haboob of July 29th, 2016 – Haboobs are incredible naturally forming dust storms that tramp their way across vast swathes of land in the US. This series of shots is shared by Mike Olbinski, a famed storm chaser/photographer, and does a great job of visually illustrating the raw power and drama these storms create.
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.