Another terrific week passes us by in the field of photography, and here we find Toad Hollow Photography searching in all corners of the internet for links to tutorials, special features and great photography to share. This week's list is sure to hold photographs and articles of interest for enthusiasts who love all forms of photography, all hand-curated and selected to include in this regular compendium. We truly hope you enjoy checking out these sites and images as much as the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
Take Better Photos, Now. Part One – Optics | Part Two – Technique – this two part feature is hosted right here on Light Stalking and talks about how to take your photography to the next level. It’s been often said that it is better to spend your budget on lenses than your camera body and the first part discusses the benefits of this approach. The second part of the feature talks about technique and how to technically control composition and the final result.
The Dutch Angle: Tilting the Camera for Dramatic Effect – we are taught to make sure our horizons and lines are straight in our compositions, yet a tilted angle can have a great effect on the final result. This tutorial has a short video presentation and a series of sample images that show us how this approach to composition can affect the image.
Using white balance for setting the mood in a photo – managing white balance is often a crucial step in creating great photographs, yet as discussed in this article a change in perception can make a world of difference. This article talks about the application of warm versus cold white balancing and the overall effect it has on the feel of a picture.
Macro With a Ring Light – Joe Farace discusses the application of a ring light to macro photography, and how it can help manage shadow in a picture. The included sample shot of a butterfly gives the reader a great idea of the effects this practice can have when applied.
Top 5 Portable Flash Lighting Kits for Photography on Location – this terrific review covers 5 different studio lighting setups that are portable, and how they can help you create light on set. Each type has its own pros and cons, and this well-constructed article will give you a great idea of where to start in terms of your budget and your specific needs.
Photographer explains how to create and shoot wet plate photography – wet plate photography is a fascinating practice that dates back well over 100 years and was one of the first methods used in the practice. This special feature is a video presentation that discusses how this process works and also shows off some finished pieces to give you a great idea of the results it produces.
‘The Story Behind My Photo' Is a Compelling Series of Photographer Short Stories – this post features a series of very short videos that find us enjoying a brief interview with a group of featured photographers discussing the behind-the-scenes facets of their images. These sorts of presentations can add a lot of depth to an image by providing the context behind the photographer who captured the piece.
Duncan – Joseph de Lange is a photographer based near my hometown of Duncan, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. In this terrific presentation, Joseph takes us on a walkabout of our small city, focusing on some of the key buildings that give this community the character it has, and he also discusses some of the history and significance behind the buildings.
Amsterdam at Night – Thomas Kuipers shares a delightful shot of the world-famous homes that sit aside the canals of Amsterdam, with this shot featuring the terrific architecture at night. Thomas’ highly detailed shot really shows off the inherent interest and character of these old homes in a way that makes you want to jump on a plane to head there in person.
The empty dance – Tom Dinning shows us once again why he is the master of artistic tension with his photography, sharing a great and moody shot of a fog-ensconced landscape with a sole tree standing guard on the slope of the hill. Tom’s use of black-and-white adds a great deal to the inherent drama of the scene, creating something that is sure to leave the viewer with personal thoughts and feelings.
Dark Coliseum – dark and moody only begins to describe the feel you get when viewing this incredible shot from Luca Libralato. Taken in the early morning as blue hour began to appear, this shot features deep contrasts that find harmony with the ambient lighting of the ancient coliseum, creating an eerie feeling image full of terrific artistic tension.
What Are You Looking At? – Central Park, Manhattan, New York – Len Saltiel self-proclaims that he has no deep interest in bird photography, yet in this post he shares a wonderful shot of a pair of ducks lounging about in Central Park in New York. The shot itself is quite delightful, and Len’s thoughts that accompany it add a great layer to the picture.
Kit Fox – nature photography enthusiasts will really enjoy this shot from Jason Sims that features a young Kit Fox in the fading golden hour. This backlit portrait of the fox really brings out the spirit and personality it exhibits as it stares directly into the camera.
Gordon Cove III – west coast photographer ehpem shares a great shot that exemplifies the mood and feel of the coast of Canada. This shot was captured in the shelter of a cove and features a striking mirror reflection that accents the rugged coastline and the inherent beauty found in the region.
Tower 185 and Pollux – a highly stylized and artistic image is shared here by Wolfgang Mothes featuring a black-and-white study of an amazing architectural feature. Wolfgang uses an upward looking composition that adds a sense of movement in the way the clouds look like they are moving quickly against a series of lines and shapes generated by the dramatic architecture.
Brothers – a pair of wee birds are delightfully photographed by Stefano Ronchi who seems to have a terrific sense of timing. The use of a very shallow depth of focus isolates the birds from their backdrop, accenting their unique personalities in a way that only photography can express.
Above and Below Pin Oak – Jem Denham's moody landscape shot is created and presented here in monochrome, adding to the wonderful drama found in this location. The foreground of this great shot finds us enjoying the textures of the rocks that sit just under water, leading the viewer out into the frame where a gentle reflection frames silhouetted trees perfectly.
Obsessive Compulsive – this shot comes to us from the studio of Jennifer Bin, combining abstract elements featuring great lines and shapes, accented just perfectly by a lone man standing on the edge of the staircase looking downward. The inclusion of the man adds a perfect dash of artistic tension to this shot that takes full advantage of the natural leading lines from the architectural study.
Golden hour at Cathedral Rock – Jim Nix shares a pair of terrific shots captured during the golden hour that feature an incredibly dramatic rock formation that frames a terrific old wooden building at its base. The hues and colors emanating from the rocks and the building create a warm feel to the picture that adds a great touch.
Red hole – a set of escalators in Stockholm, Sweden are framed by vibrantly colored natural rocks formation, undoubtedly cut away methodically during construction to allow for underground access to the transport system. The resultant image by Christian März features striking leading lines and an incredible palette that draws the viewer right into the frame.
One of the great views – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) captures a stunning landscape shot that features the rugged mountains of the Swiss Alps in the summer time. A small lake sits in the foreground of the shot, creating a great reflection that gently mirrors the dramatic mountains in a small frame within the picture, adding a great element.
Oporto by Night – Paulo Costa captures a terrific shot taken in Portugal at night time, overlooking a waterway with a hillside across the stream dotted with homes and buildings. A bridge that crosses the river creates a perfect leading line that guides the viewer from one side of the image to the other very naturally.
Afterglow – brooding clouds linger high overhead as the last streams of light from the fading day cast their magic colors over the dramatic landscape below in this breathtaking shot from Bob Lussier. The incredible hues in the evening sky brush a segment of the scene that is dominated by the hues of the blue hour, creating a spot in the frame that naturally draws the eye in.
Tempest – in many ways this shot looks as if it was captured on another planet entirely. Elia Locardi captures a terrific cityscape shot of Dubai from a very high perspective as a cloak of fog envelops the vibrant and active city below, creating pools of diffused light and color that accent the striking architectural features that seem to reach for infinity.
The Herd – a group of Bison pop into the frame in this terrific shot from Michael Criswell captured in the Grand Tetons. The rolling hills in the distance create a perfect backdrop and frame for these amazing creatures, and Michael’s shot perfectly captures them in their natural habitat enjoying their lives on the plains.
Strasbourg – Alsace, France – this highly detailed shot features old character architecture found in the heart of France at night. Captured by Andreas Grund, we see the ever-reaching spire of a cathedral casting great muted reflections in the ribbon of water that cuts through the middle of the frame.
Boston Waterfront – Steven Perlmutter takes a high vantage point for this cityscape shot taken during the golden hour just before sunset. The warm ambient light gently paints itself across the facades of the buildings below, creating the perfect mood to accent the dramatic architecture that comprises the soul of the city itself.
Cottage in a valley – the wonderfully beautiful rolling hills of the UK play host to a lone white cottage in the distance in this delightful shot from Barry Turner. Rich green colors play with the deep blues in the sky to create a strong feeling of joy and wonder in this shot that also features a terrific ribbon of roadway that creates a strong leading line into the frame.
Waiting for You – this darkly themed and staged shot comes to us from CJ Schmit who captures a model in a creepy outfit and makeup sitting in a eerie pose on a park bench at night. The incredible aspects of this shot all come together to create and share something dark, yet delightful, both at the same time.
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.