With another week behind us it's time once again for a list of links to tutorials, reviews, great photography and interesting blogs from Toad Hollow Photography. This week's list contains links to some really terrific photographs captured and created by some truly gifted artists. We hope you enjoy checking out these pieces as much as the Toad did in compiling this list to share here with you.
Harvesting Light: Understanding Contrast and Exposure Control – Simon Plant delivers a 21 minute video tutorial discussing contrast and exposure in photography. Simon brings us into his digital darkroom in the presentation, as well, to show us how he works and examples of the output using his techniques.
Are Prime Lenses a Good Choice For You? – this is a great primer that discusses the pros and cons of prime lenses in various applications. For those considering getting a prime lens, this brief article will reveal some of the basic concepts behind the selection process, helping to narrow the field for the reader.
Using Shot Lists Will Make You a Better Photographer – I frequently scout a location and then plan my shots in my head for the actual day of the shoot. This tutorial takes this one step further by showing why and how to create a fully realized shot list before you head into the field to ensure you capture those must-have shots for the client.
Freezing Action With an Einstein Monolight – the world of artificial lighting for photography is vast and complex. It seems the Einstein Monolight is gaining traction in the field with it’s ability to freeze motion with high-speed lighting. This review gives us an in-depth look at this unit, and includes some terrific sample photographs to really illustrate the points being showcased.
Case Logic Luminosity Camera Bag Review – this review discusses a rather inexpensive camera bag in the market right now, talking about it’s strengths and weaknesses alike. Kerry Garrison includes a 7 minute video presentation to add to the review.
Here’s the Church; It is in Stiepel – a very old church in Germany comes alive in this great photograph by Rob Hanson. The details and textures found in this incredibly old facility are really brought out in Rob’s shot, creating a picture full of natural drama. This is definitely a picture that gives more as you spend time with it, the mind races as you ponder all the history that has passed by these walls.
The Formation of the Absence of Dreams, Pts. 1 & 2 – Gareth Glynn Ash creates and shares 2 distinctively different representations of the same picture. A gorgeous red flower forms the basis for both renditions, the first being a highly detailed and lovely piece and the second being more of an artistic representation utilizing textures and advanced processing techniques to deliver great art.
Springhetti Road in Snohomish – this is a quintessential pacific coast shot featuring some really terrific elements, as shot and shared here by Spencer McDonald. A wooden fence creates a perfect natural leading line, complete with pumpkins atop the posts, that takes the viewer right into the heart of the frame. The wonderful vanishing point from the fence-line adds the finishing touch to a really stand-out shot here.
Chalk Track Walkers – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) shares a pair of terrific shots in this post. The first picture defines the term artistic tension as we follow a pair walking over the crest of a hilltop, processed in black-and-white to accent the depth and drama of the scene. The second landscape picture is a color rendition of a rolling landscape complete with paths that criss-cross the scene creating really compelling lines to follow.
Routes – for the fan of lines, a shot that really exemplifies the power of composition and natural leading lines. Andras Rutnai’s picture features a waterscape with little cabins perched atop pilings, with piers that lead you right into the colorful center of the picture. This is a breathtaking piece, captured in 5 seconds that creates a stunning silky effect in the waters that surround the cabins.
A Painted Sky – Andy Gimino makes his way out on a particularly rainy day to capture a shot overlooking Lake Champlain. The dramatic storm responsible for the rain creates terrific elements in the sky that add great dimension to this powerful image.
The night garage – long shadows dance off the walls of a long abandoned parking garage in this dramatic black-and-white photograph by Melinda Green Harvey. The cement posts create great shapes and elements to follow around in the image, but the real star of this shot is most definitely in the raw drama found in the deep shadows.
James Rock – this is a stunning shot, one that features a natural rock formation so unique you simply have to see it. Sendeed captures this shot of a rock in Thailand that appears to be wider at the top than at the bottom, creating a striking subject that really does prove the adage you have to see it to believe it.
Sleek Lines – Barry Turner captures a terrific shot of a boat as it comes to tie up to it’s pier at the end of day. The incredible colors in the sky as the day fades does a great job of accenting the lines and composition Barry used to capture this piece.
Je t’aime Paris – Magnumlady shares a trio of distinctly Parisian pictures she captured on a recent trip to this famous and storied place. Each of the shots posted, of which two are of the Eiffel Tower, are iconic to the city, capturing vignettes of what makes this one of the most visited places on earth.
Тhe old church … – I just love the way the rickety old wooden pathway leads the viewer right into the frame where a lovely old wood construction church sits in a field of green. The incredible textures and details in the old building add great dimension to this shot, captured and shared here by Valtteri Mulkahainen.
Whirlpool, Michigan – a tight shot featuring a lovely waterfall takes on a truly abstract feel to it in this photograph from the studio of Mark Paulson. Lovely warm tones come to life in the eddying waters, compelling the viewer to spend some time taking in the details and sharing a sense of peace.
Promenade Parisienne – Mathias Lucas takes us along on an extensive photo-explore where he shares a large series of black-and-white photos. Different scenes that truly express the character and wonder of the city are captured, each telling its own story in a glance.
Sunset Dock – a lovely sunset scene is captured by Averil McPhedran Hall in this shot that features a great leading line in a pier and wonderful colors in the sky as the day settles into night. Beautiful silhouettes from the land in the distance twinkles with lights from the buildings and homes, adding a terrific element to this photograph.
Glass – I just love this architectural study by Rich McPeek that also takes on a few other photographic elements helping elevate this picture into the “captivating” category. Rich’s study is delivered in black-and-white, accenting the natural drama of the scene, but also features some really terrific natural leading lines to draw the viewer around and through the frame.
Taking time… – a lovely trio of shots featuring flowers and fauna graces the screen in this post featured by Sherry Galey. Gorgeous colors and details only found in nature are captured in these pieces, making for a post sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Walls of Gold – Fall Colors in Colorado – as fall descends upon those of us above the equator, the colors of the leaves begin to change and us photographers start to crave the rich colors and feel that only autumn can bring. This colorful and wonderful photograph by Rick Louie is a terrific example of this featuring a wall of trees with a lovely ribbon of road cutting through them to create a perfect natural leading line.
Portland Maine Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth During Sunrise – an iconic shot of a beautiful and romantic lighthouse sitting underneath the epic colors of the rising sun. The gorgeous colors from the morning sky play with the scene, reflecting off the side of the lighthouse itself, creating an absolutely breathtaking piece to take in and enjoy.
After Sunset in Galveston Bay – as the waters of the bay lap against the shore and the setting sun from the day bathes the scene in wonderful tones, Jim Denham finds himself at the perfect spot and the perfect time for this photograph. Terrific natural rock formations work in the foreground to anchor the shot and provide a great leading line and the ships in the distance add great elements of interest to draw the viewer right into the frame.
The Blacksmith’s Ladder – this study of light finds us enjoying a composition seen and captured by Bob Lussier. Bob’s work in the old buildings of Lawrence is well known for the profound pieces he creates from visiting these spots, and this shot of an old wooden ladder leaning against a wall full of bolt spikes is a great example of this.
19th Century Home Depot – I am not sure if this is the exact same ladder featured in the post above by Bob Lussier, but even if it is it’s an entirely different image in so many ways. Steven Perlmutter’s shot is delivered in color with a composition that features and focuses on the rich brickwork and wooden bins that create all the textures evident.
Autumn’s Arrival – the rolling hills of South Carolina literally explode from the screen in glorious color in this gorgeous shot captured and featured here by Erin Duke. There are so many hues in this shot, playing off the hills and layers as the eye follows the landscape into the far distance. A truly lovely photograph.
Fish Monger – Jay Taylor does it once again, delivering a stunning shot of a Blue Heron in the wild as it scopes out its next meal. Incredible details in the bird in a candid pose works in perfect harmony with the shallow depth-of-focus and the surroundings to deliver a stunning piece.
PROOF: An Inspirational Photo Blog from National Geographic – the terrific folks at National Geographic have just launched a new photoblog that features great stories and pictures captured by their epically talented team of people. We get to see all sort of interesting details as they pertain to the craft of photography, with a specific look at how it all comes together for their publication. Definitely well worth the time to check out.
Blast From The Past: Classic Commercial for the Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera – talk about heading back in time… no one really knew the massive impact that the Polaroid SX-70 camera would have on the world of photography in 1972, yet all these years later the camera is as well known as the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty. This article celebrates the cameras introduction by including a 3 minute commercial for the camera shot in the 70’s.
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.