It's been an action-packed week in the world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been busy compiling a list of the best links to tutorial, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone here. The Toad loves to follow the work of incredible artists and photographers, and loves to share the best of what he finds during his weekly adventures. We really hope you enjoy viewing the art and prose in this list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Check out the Toad's new photoblog series “Two Toads in Wonderland” featuring the works of famous Canadian artist George Sawchuk who just recently passed away. This incredible outdoor art exhibit is hidden deep in the Canadian forest, making it one of the areas best kept secrets. Please feel free visit the first post in this new series “George Sawchuk’s Wacky Woods – In Memory“.
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6993595715/]Remnants[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/]rseidel3[/url], on Flickr
Shadows Are Our Best Friend – this is a great post from Joe Baraban that discusses the importance of light, and specifically shadows, in photography. I, personally, love shadows and look for ways to use them in our work where possible, and this article is a great backgrounder on this topic.
Photomatix / Photoshop Urban Exploration HDR Tutorial – a fairly in-depth article on post-processing UrBex shots in HDR. This detailed guide takes the reader step-by-step through the process, giving a wide overview on how to achieve this style of imagery.
Editing with Perfect Portrait – Part 5 in a Series – an in-depth article from Doug Pruden reviews the OnOne Perfect Portrait software product. Doug shares some great details on this platform, as well as shares links to previous reviews he’s done on other products. If you’re a portrait photographer, this is a must-see series.
Billions of Stars over Capri – not a tutorial, per se, but this great post by Adam Allegro shares a night shot of beautiful stars and discusses some of the finer technical points on how to achieve a shot like this. The educational aspect of this image deemed it mighty worthy of being in this section in this week's list.
How to Choose the Right Shutter Speed for Your Photograph – this entry level article goes into detail discussing how to select the correct shutter speed for the action shot you are trying to capture. Focal lengths, distance between the camera and the subject and the direction of travel are all discussed to shed some light on this particular genre of imagery.
Fullers Panorama – I have to warn you, following this link will cause time to disappear inexplicably. And you’ll be left utterly amazed. Mark Blundell shares a new 360* panorama presentation of a long abandoned factory.
Blue Skies and Butterflies – a breathtaking and vivid photograph at Disney EPCOT by Michael Glover. This great shot incorporates a top drawer reflection, colorful flowers and a blue, blue sky.
The Beautiful Desolation of Wadi Rum – what an epic HDR landscape photograph, straight from the studio of Barbara Youngleson. A massive natural sandstone and granite rock formation presents the most incredible subject for Barbara to photograph and share.
No Entry – lovely natural light drapes itself across a highly textured scene of dereliction. Stefano Pedroni captures and shares a wonderful scene sure to mesmerize all who pop by to see.
Hall of Wisdom – a wonderful photograph from Suzzallo Library at University of Washington delivers an image that both studies the wonder of the architecture of the building, but also gives the viewer a strong sense of it’s scale. Jay Taylor delivers a captivating scene to enjoy.
The Boxer – a dramatic scene of a boxer practicing in the ring delivers an incredible piece full of great tension. Tim Tadder captures and shares a really unique piece, on that is sure to delight all who visit.
Shipwrecked – a forlorn and sunken boat forms the perfect subject for Len Saltiel to capture and share. Len’s great composition and processing really bring this scene to life for all to enjoy.
Breakfast, Which Way – this wonderful composition from Rob Nopola delivers a really unique city street scene to take in and enjoy. Great colors and tones await the viewer here, all of which are punctuated by the natural intrigue in the image.
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6996461341/]Ciel menaçant (une autre variante) Porz Poulhan – Finistère – Brittany – France[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/]blue eyes photographies[/url], on Flickr
True Blue Tattoos – this incredible night shot from Tim Stanley delivers some epic colors and tones, as produced by the great neon signs and lights that make up the street. There is a ton of great and colorful details to be found in this image.
Red: Part 2 – Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck share a beautiful image of a model taken in difficult circumstances in terms of the lighting. They not only share a great image here, they also present a few technical tips on how to overcome this issue and capture a great shot!
Gimmie Some Water – this wonderful old and restored water pump is exquisitely shot and shared by Curt Fleenor. He uses a perfect depth of focus with this image to really make the pump stand out. The backdrop adds so much character and interest, in turn completing the shot.
Distant Exit – talk about scale here! This great shot from the studio of Steven Perlmutter delivers a picture of the inside of the Stone Mill in MA. Great textures are all captured here, and the natural light streaming it’s way through the windows adds a lot of interest.
Out with the old – Dave DiCello delivers a pair of shots of the two hockey arenas in Pittsburgh as seen from the top of the Steel Building. Incredible details begin to emerge for the viewer as they spend time taking the details in, creating a really compelling set of shots to enjoy.
Thunderstruck – the power and fury of Mother Nature is wonderfully captured in this vibrant shot from Chris Frailey. Great colors can be found in the lightning bolt, and natural lines it produces are both dramatic and mesmerizing.
Crust – an incredible and expansive landscape shot awaits the viewer here in this picture by Aaron Barlow. The incredible natural textures Aaron has captured here are truly rich to take in, and the scale of the landscape scene presents a strong and dramatic piece to enjoy.
The Hoist – I love the shallow depth of focus that John Sotiriou used to create this shot. The boat hoist is wonderfully isolated from the rest of the scene, which adds a lot of character and interest to this texture rich picture.
We’d All Love To See The Plan – a wonderful NY building forms the subject matter for Mark Garbowski to capture. Great details in the beautiful design work all come to life for everyone to take in and enjoy, producing a strong piece in this weeks list.
The Fisherman – a striking silhouette of a fisherman in his boat produces a ton of great tension to view and enjoy in this epic picture by Melchiorre Pizzitola. The lovely composition is accented by great natural colors and tones here.
The “way back machine” has it’s fingers crossed – a breathtaking lightning shot is punctuated by a dramatic sky with great clouds taking this photograph to the next level. Scott Wood captures a great shot in the height of monsoon season last year and expresses his hopes to get out this year to experience more. We wish him luck!
251 Water Street – I love old doors, particularly if they are heavily weathered and character filled. This really wonderful shot from Mark Garbowski delivers such a door, one that is sure to please all who visit to view.
Ah, Friday – a colorful and vibrant sunrise meets the viewer and they visit Jerry Denham’s post here. A wonderful reflection adds a dash of intrigue to the scene, helping to produce a shot that is a must see on this weeks list.
Black Beauty – a classic beauty, perhaps a little dusty and worse for wear around the edges, but no less gorgeous. This classic American car poses for the lens of Chris Maskell who takes a wonderful shot of this historical gem to share with everyone.
Window Seat, Toronto – Ren Bostelaar delivers a dramatic shot full of tension showing a silhouette in the window seat. The window looks out, creating further drama and tension in this scene, helping to create something unique that is well worth the time to visit and view.
Rattlesnake Season Begins… | Rattlesnake Season Begins: Update! – the Blonde Coyote has the most extraordinary find in her house, a live and highly grumpy rattlesnake. She carefully tends to the visitor and grabs a series of shots to share that are astonishing to say the least. WARNING: the 2nd set contains a graphic image of the snake enjoying breakfast.
Portrait: Isaac and Joan … – great portrait shots can really be captivating, and this shot by Tomàs Rotger really exemplifies this wonderfully. This black-and-white picture contains all the best elements of a great portrait, producing a piece that is guaranteed to delight and amaze everyone who visits.
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/vinothchandar/6853341070/]The Village Boy![/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/vinothchandar/]VinothChandar[/url], on Flickr
Sunday, Peaceful Sunday – another installment in Heather Neil’s running weekly series showcases a field of beautiful flowers. The terrific composition Heather used to capture this shot serves to deliver a truly unique piece to enjoy.
Belle Isle Detroit – a wonderful series of images sharing views of Belle Isle in Detroit. Rod Arroyo delivers a set showcasing great landscapes of this huge 600 acre park.
Dusk at Ogden Point – a photograph captured in the harbor of my own home-city, Victoria, BC. A large ship sits in the blue hour, casting a great silhouette to photograph.
Sorrento Seascape – a beautiful sunrise arrives as the powerful sea smashes the shore, creating a dramatic landscape for Adam Allegro. This photograph has great tones and details, well worth the time to visit and view.
Peace in the Midst of Chaos – eerie, dark, moody and utterly fantastic. Edith Levy captures a striking image of the churchyard cemetery of St. Paul’s Chapel in lower Manhattan.
Heaven’s Gate – perspective is such an important element in great photography, and in this case Bob Lussier most definitely manipulates it. Bob share a stunning shot of the doors to the Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Moraine Lake – one of the most incredibly beautiful landscape shots of a lake is presented in this fantastic photograph. Sergey Zalivin finds a scene painted with the most incredible blue waters that are so still they reflect the scenery back like the most expensive mirror.
Music in the City – color, detail, texture all perfectly composed. CJ Schmit photographs a crisp image of Chicago at nighttime, producing a unique and breathtaking piece for all to enjoy.
Hit The Lights! – a long forgotten power box for stage lights presents a most incredible subject for Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck to shoot and share. A highly dramatic piece, this is a must-see image in this weeks list.
The song of the stars – a beautiful tree stands sentry, posing a dramatic silhouette against the night sky full of stars. This breathtaking picture by Nicolas Rainard is epic, well worth the time to pop by and see.
“Nuffing” – a truly delightful post from Rob Hanson delivers a combination of great prose and a truly wonderful photograph. This little bird is busy setting up house, and Rob grabs a great shot full of character.
HYPNOSIS OF THE NIGHT – colors and reflections greet the viewer in this breathtaking piece by Kenneth Barker. The beautiful night sky coupled with the wonderful vivid colors in the structure photographed combine to create an utterly mesmerizing image.
Night LA – an incredible night cityscape of LA is presented in this stunning photograph by Anna Trandeva. The lights of the city, the beautiful night sky and the details in the architecture merge to create a very unique piece to enjoy.
Purple Mountain Majesty – this photograph of Mount Robson creates a powerful and commanding picture to take in and enjoy. Len Saltiel captures a shot of this iconic Canadian mountain.
Adirondack Sunset – I love the natural tension that this wonderful composition creates. Local photographer Ehpem shares a seascape photo of a wonderful chair sitting and waiting for it’s next guest to come and rest a moment.
Rock Face – Andy Gimino captures a long exposure shot overlooking the ocean. Incredible smooth clouds are accented by the slightly minimalistic and abstract natural rock formations.
The Back Steps – Bob Lussier is well known in photography circles for his work shooting old staircases. This has resulted in his being named “The Stair Whisperer” and in this dramatic and moody image we get a sense as to why. This is a stunning image, well worth the time to visit.
Shadows – this is a wonderful image by Stephen Candler Photography that takes advantage of a great composition and some epic shadows. The textures in the walls here add a distinct element of interest to this engaging image.
Stony, Stony Monday – a set of great landscape photos is presented here by A.D.Wheeler. Each of the captivating images is of fast-moving water in its natural setting, and by using long exposure techniques the artist is able to create silky smooth pictures of the scenery to enjoy.
Boys will be boys – Alan Shapiro shares a wonderful portrait shot processed in black-and-white, producing a very dramatic feel to the image. Great details in the face and a sly expression merge to create a really compelling piece to take in and enjoy.
Chasing Waterfalls – Emma Barr shares a great HDR image of a waterfall. Fabulous colors and details enchant the viewer, creating a mesmerizing piece to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Present Blessings – a beautiful butterfly sits perched on a flower in this great shot by Kerri Farley. As spring begins to descend upon us, the little creatures begin to emerge and make for a great photography subject.
Glowing – a vibrant tulip basks in the gorgeous light, producing a striking glowing effect. Kat White captures and shares this wonderful spring photo, just in time to chase the winter doldrums away.
Owl – Head on Flight – Bev really does find and capture some of the best raw owl photos I have ever seen, and this one does not disappoint. An incredible owl flies directly towards her as she captures and shares this really compelling shot.
Incoming Storm – the power and fury of Mother Nature is contrasted by a most beautiful and colorful sunburst. Glenn Tunaley delivers a gorgeous scene, well worth the time to visit.
Merlin the Wizard – a falcon sits perched high atop a wood tree and sports a rather serious expression. This crisp and detailed image gives us all a little insight into the grace of this incredible bird.
Virginia Farmhouse – a lovely HDR image of a farmhouse in a field awaits the viewer in this post. Michael Trauffer does a wonderful job of capturing all the best elements of the scene in this picture, complete with a really great sunburst to add a sense of joy.
Monorail, Newark – a bright and vibrant scene of a monorail is presented here by Ren Bostelaar. Great details and the wonderful lights of the city and the monorail facility itself merge to create a really compelling piece to enjoy.
Centrale Thermique – Take It Away – an abandoned power-station in Europe provides the absolute perfect subject matter for Mark Blundell. Great details and textures await the viewer with this incredible shot that is guaranteed to deliver more as you spend time taking it in.
Island Protection – an iconic lighthouse stands guard on the East Coast, and Len Saltiel captures a great image of it. The rugged coastline and the beauty inherent in the lighthouse are perfectly captured and shared in this great photograph.
Ruffed Grouse – Rob Nopola goes grouse hunting with his camera and bags a great example of one. This fabulous shot of the beautiful bird is full of great tones and details to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Cross Tracks – a fabulous shot from the studio of Jim Denham is both a study in textures as well as great leading lines. Jim employs a slightly unique composition to this shot, adding a lot of interest to the picture.
First Glimpse of the Rio Grande – a beautiful landscape framed by a gorgeous sunset awaits the viewer with this fabulous photograph by Anne McKinnell. This is a totally wonderful image, well worth the time to visit and view.
Tune In – Tune Out – a wonderful old historic piece of electronics produces a great photography subject for Aaron Barlow to capture and share. Aaron uses great care in post-processing this shot, giving it a nostalgic feel and further adding to the overall wonder of the image.
Capital Street Lanterns – a set of great antique looking streetlights forms the basis for this shot by Tim Stanley. These character-filled lanterns produce a striking subject that Tim has photographed to share.
Life Among the Ghosts – local photographer Laurie MacBride photographs a great series of images of a tiny town on the coast of Canada. These images and the wonderful backstory that Laurie shares regarding the town combine to create a truly must-see post in this week’s list.
The end of days – a colorful and abstract piece from the studio of David Nightingale delivers an almost surreal piece to view and enjoy. David takes this iconic sunset image in the deserts of Dubai, creating an absolutely compelling piece to take in and view.
Cox Farm Covered Bridge – Mark Summerfield grabs a shot of a wonderful old covered bridge. The classic pieces of American architecture can produce the most striking imagery, full of character and details.
Twilight Castle – a Scottish castle sits on the shoreline as the sun sets, creating a dramatic shape against the landscape. This incredible shot is absolutely breathtaking, guaranteed to delight and amaze all who visit.
Sauced: No Way to Win – if you’re looking for an escape and something special to put a smile on your face, look no further than the blog of Chris Nitz. This wonderfully creative staged shot and the writing that Chris has delivered with it combine to create a shot so unique, words are difficult to find to describe it.
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/joiseyshowaa/6999933345/]Decaying forest rising out of the mists[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/joiseyshowaa/]joiseyshowaa[/url], on Flickr
Snowy Stealth Shot – a Snowy Owl peers back at dragonflydreams88 as she captures this incredible photograph. This beautiful creature has the most wonderful expression, producing a striking and dramatic piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Parisian Watch – a most incredible reflection of the Eiffel Tower creates a ton of interest in this dramatic and captivating piece by AG Photographe. This breathtaking shot of the tower is full of rich character and detail.
When Spring Comes – a gorgeous flower is shot close-up by Eden R. Ellis. This fabulous image is carefully composed to bring all the beauty of this flower to life for everyone to enjoy, creating a marvelous image to enjoy in this week’s list.
Hill country bluebonnets – a stunning and detailed Texas landscape is photographed by Jim Nix in this wonderful image. The beauty of the sprouting spring flowers is tempered by the incredible details in the farm buildings.
East River Glow – a warm and comfortable image is shared by the folks at Hansrico Photography of the NYC skyline at night. The ND filter helps to produce extremely warm tones in this shot, furthering the sense of beauty and wonder.
Troubled Bridge III – this massive feat of engineering complexity is masterfully captured and shared by local photographer Ehpem. This bridge has been the source of much discussion locally here, and the replacement project is one to be watched and followed. This is a great series, with a great backstory, well worth the time to visit.
Dune Fence At Sunset – a naturally great leading line from a wooden fence merges with an incredible sunburst in this shot by Curt Fleenor. This is a beautiful scene, wonderfully captured and processed.
Early Light – the mountains of Banff National Park in Canada provide the drama and the incredible reflection in the still lake provides the mystery in this epic shot by Len Saltiel. Fabulous tones and colors are presented in this wonderful shot, sure to delight and amaze everyone.
What is a Prime Lens? And, Why You Should Use It! – Vrajesh Bhavsar shares a brief and concise article on the different types of lens’s. Definitely worth the time to read if this is something you might be interested in.
17 Year Old Surreal Photographer: Maria Sardari – a surreal and ethereal world is created by the masterful photography of 17 year old Maria Sardari in this epic series. Each image can stand alone as a complete work, but when the collection is taken in as a group the series takes on a compelling feel.
A Moving Day in the Bay – an absolutely delightful series of images by Joseph de Lange shares an event where a houseboat is taken from the bay and begins it’s journey on the open ocean to it’s new resting place. The series as presented by Joseph shares a chronicled look at how this process works and in return shares a really wonderful photo set.
The 25 Most Remote Places in the World – a series of images showcasing some pretty remote places in the world, including one little town with a population of 5. I suddenly feel very lucky that our McDonald’s is just down the road.
How old is HDR Photography? – a backgrounder on the origin of HDR imagery is posted in this blog by LensScaper (Andy Hooker). This highly controversial technique is gaining wide-spread acceptance in some circles, and this post discusses the history.
Beautiful Ad Campaign Features Instrument Interiors – never in my life have I seen anything like this before! This fabulous series of images uses a completely different and unique approach to image creation, producing a really mesmerizing set.
Machinery HDR Effects 2 Review – Blake Rudis delivers a great review of this new HDR product. This product seems like a good alternative for HDR tone-mapping, particularly if the artist focuses on a grungy style of image creation.
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/winnu/6998115071/]IMG_9140-1[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/winnu/]winnu[/url], on Flickr
Letters From Grandpa-Fin – a heartfelt conclusion to Heather Neil’s series sharing some letters and photographs from her grandfather. This incredible set of posts will leave you wanting more, and will compel you to spend time with your family in the here-and-now. We thank Heather for sharing this personal journey with her, it has been a fabulous experience.
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.