Another week rolls by and Toad Hollow Photography is busy as always searching the internet for tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone. This week's list hosts some really wonderful pieces created by very talented photographers and artists. We really hope you enjoy viewing these pictures and reading these posts as much as the Toad did in bringing them to you.
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Dodging and Burning With a Purpose: Photoshop CS5 – Blake Rudis creates and shares a new 10 minute tutorial video that takes the viewer through the process of using the dodging and burning tool in Photoshop CS5.
HDR – The Capital Transit Snow Sweeper – Monochrome HTDS – Mark Neal shares a brief article on the drama inherent in monochromatic images. Using a true HDR shot as the source, Mark takes us through his steps in converting this shot and posts examples of the workflow in progress.
Learning Speedlights – The First Step in Expanding Your Photography with Lighting – Chase Jarvis introduces us to what looks like a wonderful online workshop to help those just starting out with speedlights. Mark Wallace hosts a 3 day symposium online that is free to register for that looks to be of huge benefit to those breaking into this genre of photography.
Return to the Penitentiary – a leader in the realm of incredible UrBex HDR photography, Mike (Theaterwiz) takes us deep inside the famous Eastern State Penitentiary for a close-up look at two presentations on display there. You will find some of the most incredible colors, details and textures in these mesmerizing images. Great drama is found in the details visible, but the real strength in these shots lies in what remains unanswered. An absolute must-see post in this week’s list.
Hayley Lewis Photography – Hayley is an amazing 15 year old photographer with much passion and hope for her life. She has a natural knack for photography, and her site contains some really great examples of her work broken down into categories.
Shepherd with 300 – the power of the ability to express scale and scope in a single image is shown in this great photograph by Marcin Sobas. A shepherd works his flock on a beautiful hillside, and we get an incredible image that is sure to captivate the imagination of all who visit.
Tower of Dust – Mike Olbinski captures a stunning image of a natural phenomenon. A massive dust cloud creates a scene of incredible drama, and Mike takes a picture that leaves the viewer absolutely astonished.
San Diego City Skyline – this is a truly breathtaking photograph by Aaron Barlow of the city of San Diego’s striking skyline. The black-and-white image accents the incredible architecture of the city and produces a strong sense of drama, which is all accented by some gentle reflections in the water.
Smith Tower Moon – another epic shot of the recent supermoon is captured and shared, this one by Jay Taylor. The dramatic city skyline of Seattle adds a touch of interest through drama, producing a scene that is a must-see image in this week’s list.
Avebury Henge – a sense of time and space is presented in this wonderful picture from Chris Maskell. This historic location is oft-photographed and Chris does a great job of sharing his vision and story with this image.
Washed Up – the power of long exposure photography is explored in this wonderful post by Mark Mullen. There is a strong contradiction between the silky, smooth water and the sharp natural elements that make the shoreline, combining to really create a piece that is sure to delight and amaze everyone who visits.
Rolled – shapes in geometry when created through natural elements can make for great photography. Jerry Denham grabs a shot of a rolling hillside peppered with bales of hay, creating a really wonderful image to visit and enjoy.
Macro Beauty – Lee Brown captures and shares a series of images of beautiful flowers in the spring. Lee also posts a few technical details, providing the viewer with a little insight into how these wonderful images were created.
Waiting for Sunset – a lonely bench waits on a hill for a visitor to come sit a spell, and Curt Fleenor uses this as a subject for his photography. The natural tension that Curt captures in this scene leaves the viewer mesmerized by the incredible pending sunset.
Le Globular – an incredibly sharp and shallow depth of focus brings this plant to life for everyone to enjoy in this wonderful photograph. Great details in the flower begin to emerge for the viewer as you spend time taking it all in.
Namaqualand Landscape – a magical South African landscape is photographed here by Barbara Youngleson. The beautiful colors in the flowers are juxtaposed against the rolling and mountainous landscape that creates the backdrop.
The Steel City – this is a completely tricky image to create given all the brackets and panels involved in putting it together. Dave DiCello creates an almost 360 degree view of the city of Pittsburgh from the 58th floor of a skyscraper.
The Homestead – nothing that a lick of paint and some gardening wouldn’t fix up. Bob Lussier takes us deep into the desert where he finds an abandoned travel trailer and an old bus… the perfect subjects for his wonderful work with HDR photography.
Leatherman Bridge – the old covered bridges in the States speak of an older time, preserving the character and heritage of the area. Rich McPeek captures three iconic shots of one of these bridges, and shares a really wonderful series here with everyone.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona – perhaps older than time itself, Anne McKinnell takes us to a place where the trees are 200 million years old, and today are petrified. These ancient trees today are mostly made up of quartz, requiring a diamond tipped saw to cut through them. This is an absolutely mesmerizing post, sure to leave the visitor with many questions left unanswered.
Binky Blue – Wayne Frost captures and shares a colorful image of a new generation Chevrolet Corvette. This is a great image contrasting the mechanized marvel of engineering against a beautiful natural outdoor setting.
Weekend Relaxer #19 – just back from what sounds to be a wonderful holiday Chris Nitz continues his tradition of sharing great images of labels and bottles. In this edition, we have a bottle of rum front-and-center, and Chris really does a great job of composing and creating another great image here.
The Secrets That They Keep – a stand of trees silently contemplates the universe in this dramatic image from CJ Schmit. The composition that CJ used to create this shot accents the height of the trees adding further drama.
A New Spring – this is a really cool image with subtle gifts. Chris Maskell creates an abstract piece with a selective spot of green color to bring the scene to life. This gentle expression of spring is a real joy to view, and is something that is sure to please everyone who pops by for a visit.
Theme: “Shadows” – shadows create incredible drama in photography, and form some of our personal favorite elements to explore. Howard takes us on a journey at a farm where he finds and captures some of the best shadows we’ve seen this week.
A Southwest Sunset – fabulous colors in the sky are punctuated by a dark and dramatic sky in this sunset photograph by Helene Kobelnyk. The dichotomy of these two elements merge wonderfully to create a very striking image.
Portland Transmission 2012 – summer is definitely on its way, and this is always a harbinger for great cars to start popping out of garages everywhere. Bob Byington captures and shares a colorful image of a well-done hotrod. Note the ability to open the pipes on this car: you would probably hear this badboy from quite the distance.
Abandoned Wedding Venue – a great set of gritty and textured images awaits the viewer in this post. An old mansion lies abandoned for several years now, and as Mother Nature begins her disassembly process we get to view a fabulous set of images that highlight some of the features of this facility.
Purple – selective color can add so much drama and interest to a scene, providing a strong sense of contrast and punch. annie69hun captures a wonderful photo and then pulls all the color out of the scene, except for the gorgeous purple flower, and in turn this delivers a delightful image to view.
Percival Landing sunset – exquisite silhouettes create striking outlines against the backdrop of a sunset. Scott Wood captures and shares a very compelling scene, one that is sure to engage to viewer.
The Lake, Central Park – Infrared – there is little doubt that anyone has seen the lake in Central Park expressed like this before. This is a truly compelling photograph from Mark Garbowski that takes us to this iconic park lake and shares a vision created using infrared techniques. This technique really highlights the details in the scenery and in turn creates compelling imagery.
Serenity – Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck capture and share a foggy scene captured in San Francisco. The pier creates a strong natural leading line in the shot with a touch of a vanishing point, and this is all accented by the dramatic fog.
Hunting Lodge A – Guest WC – Mark Blundell takes us deep into a washroom in an abandoned hunting lodge. Great, gritty textures are all brought to life in this shot, and the shadows on the wall add a strong sense of drama to the scene.
Hunting Lodge – Main Stairs – this image is perfectly composed, creating a dramatic and beautiful image to take in and enjoy. Mark Blundell takes us back to the abandoned hunting lodge where this time we get a view of the absolutely exquisite main staircase.
Hunting Lodge A – Kitchen – this post completes the trilogy of images captured at the abandoned hunting lodge by Mark Blundell. This nearly empty kitchen is full of wonderful textures that Mark captures so perfectly, and these textures are highlighted by some really wonderful shadows that make an appearance here.
Stavekirke Chapel – this chapel is a direct recreation of an 840 year old facility in Norway. We are taken on an exploration of some of the incredible architectural details in this facility by joining Dakota Visions Photography on their expedition.
Amsterdam impressions – a canal in Amsterdam is visually explored through the lens of Jim Nix in this colorful photograph. All the inherent wonder in this old, old city is brought to life in this shot for everyone to enjoy.
1928 Ford Sedan – Jimi Jones delivers a truly exquisite set of HDR images of this iconic American classic car. The paint job on this car is beyond description, and Jimi shares a set of images that brings all the depth and rich colors of the finish to life.
Operation Super Moon – a beautiful church is bathed in the gentle light of the super moon in this wonderful photograph from Tim Stanley. This is one of those shots that paints an almost mystical scene in the viewers mind, one that is well worth the time to visit and view.
Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua (Part 3) – a wonderful blend of old and new is explored in this series from Mark Summerfield. Great details in the stonework is offset by the restoration work that has been done here, and Mark does a great job in photographing this interesting facility.
Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua (Part 4) – a final post to the series above takes us right into the harbour to view and enjoy the nautical theme of the area. Mark Summerfield once again delivers a series of images that is guaranteed to absolutely amaze everyone who visits.
Notes From The Camera – Page #10 – our very own Tom Dinning (@tomdinning) here at Light Stalking delivers a striking post with this fence line. His accompanying words really help to paint the scene he captured, creating a post that leaves the viewer introspective.
Skógafoss – this is truly one of those scenes that is almost impossible to describe properly. Anna Guðmundsdóttir captures a stunning landscape scene that displays a gorgeous waterfall and reflecting pool, creating a compelling scene that is sure to captivate the mind of all who visit.
Stay Gold – gentle natural tones are exposed in this waterfall scene as captured and shared by Jerry Denham. The juxtaposition of the smooth and fast running water is contrasted by the crisp details and colors in the rock formations creating a wonderful image.
The Painted Ladies – the lovely homes of San Francisco form the subject of this image by Hansrico Photography. These iconic homes are known worldwide for their character and beauty and Rick does a fabulous job of bringing this scene to his blog and audience for all to enjoy.
Yosemite Panorama – this stunning 7 frame panorama is created and shared here by Jason Hines. Jason uses this technique to create an expansive image that captures a strong sense of the scale of the area.
Ross Bay Cemetery – this historic cemetery holds much value in the city of Victoria in terms of our heritage. Local photographer Ehpem captures and shares a scene from here that really delivers both a strong sense of drama as well as serenity in the black-and-white photograph shared.
An Evening in Piazza Plebiscito – Adam Allegro delivers a breathtaking architectural study of Piazza Plebiscito in Naples, Italy. Taken in the evening, the delicate light and rich character of the setting is wonderful explored by Adam, who creates two images that are sincerely without peer.
Time Bends. Space is Boundless. – tons of great elements are explored in this wonderful photograph from Andy Gimino. A beautiful natural waterfall creates a lovely little eddy at the base, and all this is brought together with the rich green tones of the surroundings.
The Haagsche Tramweg-Maatschappij 1329 Trolley – a wonderful old streetcar forms the perfect subject matter for Mark Neal. Mark delivers a scene here reminiscent of a period from 50 years ago; a very compelling shot, sure to please all who visit.
Morning At The Fitz – Jim Denham shares a great photograph of a historic theatre in St. Paul. Jim does a truly wonderful job of composing this shot, creating a picture that highlights all the best that the architecture exposes.
Outside – delicate processing techniques bring the vision to life as expressed by Mark Garbowski. This HDR shot of an abandoned and decaying room possesses an almost magical light streaming in from the right creating a strong sense of tension in this highly dramatic scene.
Into The Mist – an otherworldly scene is painted here with the lens of Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck. Great natural leading lines formed by the fence are accented by the wonderful mirror reflections cast from the still waters, all of which come together with the rolling fog to create a super image.
The International – one of the oldest hotels in the Western States is explored in this post from Bob Lussier. All the great details of this storied building are brought to life with the interior shot that Bob shares. We also get a bonus of several outside shots of the building, helping to paint an entire scene for the viewer to take in and enjoy.
Dance of Light – an absolutely breathtaking laser show of immense proportions is photographed by Elia Locardi. Incredible colors and amazing details are all carefully and masterfully captured in this shot, a must-see image in this week’s list.
Belvedere – this is an image of a truly incredible Italian landscape. The green rolling hills guide the viewer through the frame in this epic photograph created by Tonio Di Stefano.
before the sun goes down – wonderful colors and tones in the sky are all captured in this wonderful photograph by Adam Dobrovits. Piers extend out over the horizon, leading the visitor quite naturally through the image with incredible leading lines.
Blue hour over Bratislava – prepare to be utterly amazed with this incredible photograph by Jim Nix. Perched high over the city below, Jim and his friend capture a magical scene full of wonderful colors and details to take in and enjoy.
Tiger Moth – de Havilland DH 82 – a classic biplane awaits the viewer in this iconic shot by Jimi Jones. These old aircraft are truly romantic and compelling to see, and this image as shot by Jimi really brings all this wonder to the viewer.
Idyllic Hillsborough Vineyards – we are taking on a brief exploration of the Virginia wine area by Jay&Jacy Photography. The two HDR images of the landscape posted here are both absolutely gorgeous, well worth the time to visit and view.
Empire State of Mind – this is a true gem! Rick at Hansrico Photography delivers a gorgeous nighttime panorama shot taken high atop the Rockefeller Center, delivering a stunning scene of the city of NYC below.
A Splash of Red – great selective color images have the ability to convey a story in one quick view. Edith Levy uses her new ND filter to create a long exposure shot and in turn processes the result using selective color to really share a wonderful visual story with her visitors.
Manhattan Round Up – another series of shots of the NYC skyline is presented here. Dave DiCello creates a set of HDR images of this iconic city twinkling below. Dave’s unique style really brings all the shots to life, delivering a set of photographs that is a must-see in this week’s list.
Longing Long Exposure – Jim Denham displays his skill and mastery of photography in this pair of wonderful photographs. The first image explores the intrigue and romance inherent in trains, and the second photo shares a scene of a beautiful landscape on a lake’s shore.
Package Goods – a door rich in heritage and history is photographed here by Bob Lussier. The wonderful old school font used to paint the letters on the door deliver a strong sense of nostalgia, and Bob has done a top drawer job in capturing and processing this scene to share.
The Same, But Abstract – a dreamy ethereal piece awaits the viewer in this post by Eden R. Ellis. As spring finally lands, gorgeous, bright scenes like this one are absolutely captivating to view and enjoy.
HYP Club – lovely tones and details in the brickwork are captured and accented by the processing of Rich McPeek in this photograph. This fabulous architectural study of an iconic building in Pittsburgh is a true joy to take in.
Dandelion – a lone fluffy dandelion poses for the shutter of Aaron Barlow in this great shot. Aaron somehow magically separates the flower from the background, producing a piece that is both mesmerizing to look at and also leaves the viewer wondering how he managed to do this.
Power of nature – bright and vibrant tendrils of lightning grace the beautiful sky as Dmitry Zvolski stands ready with his camera to capture this stunning photograph. In a scene reminiscent of what a world would look like if the Gods were angered, this breathtaking piece is a must-see shot in this week’s roundup.
A Nighttime View of St. Thomas from Villa Kia Ora – a beautiful, beautiful tropical vista is shared in this breathtaking piece by Chris Nitz. These incredible islands are oasis’ in the maelstrom of modern-day living, and Chris captures and shares a shot here sure to bring peace to all who pop by to view.
sakin – a gentle reflection punctuates a winter scene in this wonderful image by omer72. Really gorgeous colors in the home on the shore are reflected back delicately in the water, combining to produce a very compelling piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Down On The Farm – a wonderful and peaceful scene of a barn sitting quietly in the countryside is posted and shared here by Jerry Denham. This beautiful reflection in the still pool of water in the foreground creates a strong element of interest.
Final Destination … – the aurora borealis cast an amazing green glow on this breathtaking scene, and Iurie Belegurschi creates a truly compelling scene by photographing it. A weathered boat sits on the shoreline, creating a huge element of intrigue for the shot.
Dancing in Phoenix – stepping outside our comfort zones usually results in expanding our horizons. Chris Frailey recently attended a presentation on lighting and came away with a truly fabulous series of images of dancers in action.
Harwood Rails – a classic composition awaits the viewer with this photograph created by Michael Trauffer. This shot delivers a sense of Americana which is absolutely accented by the vanishing point created by the never ending railroad track.
HDR – Trolley Graffiti – the natural results of rust oxidation can produce the best textures for photography, especially if created using HDR. This rusty train car as photographed by Mark Neal is truly a great example of this.
Bluebird Passing Food To Its Mate – these beautiful and colorful birds are the perfect subjects for Steve Creek. Through Steve’s photography we get to see a new family going about daily life, and because of this these photographs are a true joy to visit and view.
Peony Bloom – Mark Paulson captures an absolutely beautiful image of a peony in bloom. The rich and vibrant colors in this shot are wonderful beyond description, resulting in a must-see shot in this week’s list.
Squares – this is a great architectural and shape study as done by Edin Chavez. Edin employs his personal composition in setting up this shot and in turn creates a very compelling photograph that is very captivating to view.
In The Pink – a beautiful little ladybug goes about her business in the midst of a huge pink flower. Bev does a wonderful job in composing this shot, bringing the natural beauty of the scene to life for all to enjoy.
Red-bellied Woodpecker – and His Red Belly – we always marvel at the raw beauty of Mother Nature, and in this incredible photograph by Kerri Farley we get a great example of this. This colorful and character-rich bird is eloquently captured by Kerri.
Out of the Blue – rich details and gentle colors are explored in this great image of a busy insect. The shallow depth-of-focus that Bev used to create this image really makes the little creature stand right out in this shot; a picture well worth the time to visit and view.
Software To Replace Photographers [The Ones That Deserve It] – technology continues to evolve and as a photographer it’s imperative to keep up with the evolution. With that being said, it’s hard to imagine a world where the vision and artistic touch of a human being are not required to create certain forms of art, and Chase Jarvis discusses this in his post here.
Burnouts in Australia! – this looks like WAY too much fun!! This incredible set of photographs showcases a burnout event held in Australia. Blown V8’s go about their business of turning new tires into shredded carcasses and we get to see the results of this epic event.
Lister Block – Between the Darkness and the Light – this is something you just don’t see often. A decaying and forlorn UrBex location is carefully documented as it goes about a restoration and refurbishment process. This is an amazing post, guaranteed to be well worth the time to visit and view.
Chernobyl / Pripyat – Oct 2011 – one of the biggest known man made disasters in history is explored in this brief series of photographs. This eerie set of images shares a landscape that most will not see in person in their lifetimes due to the lingering radiation that exists even after all these years.
Rusted Beauty – rust can create the most amazing natural textures and in turn makes for great photography. This post highlights a series of various shots from people all over the world who have found examples of compelling scenes full of rusty goodness.
Reliving the Civil War through Digital Photography – dramatic civil war scenes are recreated and John Mead is there to photograph the events. John highlights some of his personal family history in this post, which really adds a wonderful depth and interest to the photographs he has so carefully captured and processed to share with everyone.
Alex Koloskov’s best liquid photography of 2011 – you won’t believe the crazy talent that Alex has in the realm of liquid photography. This short video piece shares his best images from 2011. He creates really wonderful shapes and features in his work, creating natural looking images that are full of splendor and wonder.
Hay algo más etéreo que un museo del aire? – our very own Astaroth (@astaroth) here at Light Stalking takes us to an aeronautical museum. He captures and shares a large series of images of propellor and jet planes, creating a post that makes the viewer feel like they’ve had a chance to visit the facility personally.
The Exploration of Letchworth Village – take a tour of an abandoned asylum in this post from Thomas Slatin. He shares a great set of shots as well as some links at the bottom of his article that take the visitor deeper into the facility through posts made by other UrBex adventurers.
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.