The world of photography is a dynamic and busy place, and Toad Hollow Photography is constantly searching the internet for the best links to tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share. This week's list features some of the best photographs and content that can be found, underscoring the depth of the community that exists. The Toad hopes that you enjoy checking out these wonderful pieces as much as he did in bringing them to you.
A deep love for the landmarks that make up the true character of Vancouver Island drives the Toad to feature overlooked places of great meaning. The recent blog post “A City Landmark Lies Forlorn” features one of Victoria's iconic diners from the 1930's that now lies abandoned for over 10 years. The heartbreaking decline of the building is a metaphor for the disconnect between modern progress versus heritage links of significance to a local community.
Softbox vs Umbrella photography: What is the difference? – if you’ve ever wondered about the subtle differences between the different approaches of artificial lighting using umbrellas and softboxes, this is most definitely the article for you. Doug Pruden has written a great overview piece that includes photographs of the varying setups, allowing you to grasp the concepts in a short period of time. Perfect for the busy photog!
32 Bit HDR Workflow – there has been much discussion in the community of late in regards to the new way of processing HDR images using Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw. The results warrant consideration as the process seems to make very natural looking HDR images. Blake Rudis puts together this 15 minute tutorial to walk us through his processing practice.
Quick Photo Tips: Vertical and Horizontal – many of us tend to resort to habits when it comes time to press the shutter. This insightful article by Joe Baraban gives a fresh outlook on changing up your composition between vertical and horizontal. Joe punctuates his points in this well-written piece with some sound reasoning that is surely going to change the way many of us work in the field.
My talk at Ignite Phoenix 13 – if ever you’ve had a need to see something heartening and exciting, something that would make you believe that it can happen if only you have faith, check out this video. Mike Olbinski is well known for his affinity and talents in the field of storm based photography. Recently he was invited to speak in front of a huge crowd for a special “Ignite Phoenix” event, and this video is of that speech. This is a truly inspiring presentation.
I Was Arrested, Once…. – grab a coffee, a beer, or whatever is your beverage of choice as we head out to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia with A.D. Wheeler on a journey that will show that great photography can be much more than just a nice picture. This incredible penitentiary is the subject for an in-depth post that shares the history as well as some personal insight as A.D. goes about the explore.
This Is The Place Heritage Park – we get to enjoy another feature presentation in this week’s list, this time from Howard Jackman. The presentation that Howard puts together with both his truly incredible HDR photography, as well as the background information on the area being explored, makes for a compelling post that is sure to engage the visitor for quite some time. Howard includes a series of links that lead the visitor further into the story, adding even more atmosphere.
Starry Starry Night – you have simply got to see this picture! Renée M. Besta heads out under the cover of night with a friend to grab a picture of this iconic chapel on a hill. This extremely high-resolution image delivers some stunning details in the chapel’s architecture, as well as a batch of wonderful stars in the night sky. What an absolutely beautiful image.
Alpensee **Germany** – Oliver Botor creates one of the most stunning landscape images we have encountered during this week’s online adventures. This panoramic scene of a mountain range in the backdrop is accented just perfectly by the beautiful landscape and the intense reflection found in the foreground. This is a sharp and crisp photograph, sure to take the breath away of everyone who visits.
Alps Overlook – this is a multi-layered image, featuring the breathtaking landscapes that can only be found in the Swiss Alps. Len Saltiel creates a world-class image that features many different elements, making for a picture that is guaranteed to engage the viewer for quite some time as you go about taking in the frame in it’s totality. To say this is an amazing image doesn’t begin to describe it.
Reflections fall photography – Dru Stefan Stone delivers a series of images here that embodies the concept of fall reflections. Dru visits a local lake and comes away with a series of shots that showcases typical and iconic fall scenes on lakes, as well as some abstract pieces. This is definitely one of those posts that is sure to keep the visitor engaged as you go through each piece individually.
Brighton Beach – a lone boat sits perched atop it’s dry dock looking out to sea in this wonderful photograph from the studio of Linda Churchill. The clouds in the sky work with the rich textures and details in the wooden boat, creating a very compelling image to view and enjoy.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes – just in time for Halloween, this dark and moody picture from the studio of Jerry Denham gives us all a scene sure to make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up. A foggy woods presents itself as the perfect scene for Jerry to shoot, who processes the picture in a way that immediately evokes the creeps in all who view.
Black Beauty – the most amazing 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille is featured in this post from Michael Lewis Glover. The immaculate finish on this stunning classic makes the lines come to life, casting a picture of the car that does a great job of expressing it’s full character.
Let’s Go To Heaven In These Cars: Los Coches de Cuba – some of the finest classic cars of the modern era have found their way to Cuba where devoted owners and fans go through extraordinary measures to keep these cars on the road. Teresita Abad Doebley delivers a great collection of images of these cars in their natural habitats.
'31 Ford Model A – Perry Bailey delivers another iconic photograph of a classic car, this one of an early generation Ford Model A. Perry’s HDR images of old cars like this are truly second-to-none, and this particular shot is carefully processed to pull all the nostalgic feel of the scene out for everyone to enjoy.
1936 Dodge Truck – classic hot rods embody the personality of those who built it, and this great shot from the studio of Richard Small showcases one such personal expression. This totally one-of-a-kind truck is shared here with Richard’s composition that does a great job of exploring all the character of the truck itself.
Chevrolet Interior – there’s enough grunge, decay and wear in this shot to keep the viewer occupied for quite some time. This old long-abandoned car forms the perfect subject for Mike Lilly to photograph. I have to admit I share his concern about the snakes and am quite content in enjoying his great shot from the safety of my desk.
The Arches pool – this is one of those epic shots that leaves the viewer with more questions unanswered than answered. A lone boat sits tied up in a still pool of water, in what appears to be a very old piece of architecture that is host to a floor of water. Mark Kats does a great job in composing and capturing the fabulous colors and details in this picture.
Hold on – timing is everything, as shown in this powerful photograph of a large wave crashing over a lighthouse. Tiago Pinheiro does a great job in this picture of exposing the raw power and fury of nature as the wave crashes, creating a huge wall of water that delivers a sensation of power and awe to the viewer.
Harpersfield Covered Bridge – this is a great shot of an iconic covered bridge in Ohio by Brian Moran. Brian’s unique perspective adds a sense of scale to the picture that would otherwise be lost, as we get a glimpse at one of the longest covered bridges in the US.
Two Weeks in Irresistable Ireland – Part 5, Great Blasket Island – Lee Brown continues his photographic journey of Ireland, this time taking us to a now uninhabited island off the coast. Lee’s incredible photographs depicting the beauty of the rolling landscapes, peppered with the uninhabited homes, create a compelling series that exudes tension through the mysteries left behind by those who headed for the mainland.
Cat Ears, Eyes – my friend, local photographer Ehpem, delivers a stirring pair of images in this post that features his cat. These monochromatic captures really deliver all the character of this incredible kitty by delivering one that features it sitting and pondering, and the other a closeup of it’s facial expression.
Friday Evening on the Bay – Joseph de Lange shares a set of images taken just around the corner from our own home, in Cowichan Bay. As the evening sets in, Joseph grabs scenes of the marina in the blue light, deepening the blue tones by using a polarizing filter. These are dramatic yet evocative images, sure to be enjoyed by all!
Moraine Lake – the grandeur and majesty that can only be found in the Canadian Rockies is perfectly captured and shared in this piece from James McGregor. James does a spectacular job in composing a shot of this gorgeous lake that includes the epic rockies in the background with the lush Canadian forest in the foreground, giving a sense of scale to this glorious location.
A Reflective Pond – Anita Megyesi takes a shot from a very low perspective that exhibits some really interesting elements. The still pond features a great reflection of the surrounding architecture, and the lovely flowers in the middle of the pond add a splash of color and interest.
Carter Shields Cabin – a lovely rustic cabin poses perfectly for Jerry Denham who finds it nestled amongst the autumn trees. Jerry’s photograph features both the interest and tension of the cabin itself, punctuated nicely by the rich and vibrant colors of the autumn foliage that lies all around it.
Texas Capitol Fountain and Peace – a wonderful architectural study of the Texas Capitol building by Jim Denham. Jim does a great job of composing this picture, which exposes great tones and details for the viewer. The shadows add a touch of interest to the scene as the sun streams in from the left part of the frame; a compelling picture, indeed!
Dodging Pumpkins – the only thing better than a forlorn and rusty old truck would be one encased in glorious pumpkins! Jim Nix finds one such old truck, and does a great job of capturing it to share here with everyone. This shot is full of great textures, sure to engage the viewer as you work your way around the frame.
Leigh Lake Reflections – even though the title states the prime element of incredible reflections in this shot, there is much more going on. Chip Phillips delivers a terrific autumn photograph in this picture that showcases the wonder and beauty of the mountains, the autumn leaves and the natural intrigue that can be found in a body of still water.
Ciudad De Las Artes – perfectly mirrored reflections can cast a powerful scene for photographers, and ELE PUCH creates one such image in this strong picture. Although it is primarily an architectural study of a modern building, the nature of the crisp reflection adds a whole new dimension of interest to the picture, making for a must-see shot in this week’s list.
The Wheels on the Bus.. – a crusty old city bus poses perfectly for Mike Criswell, who delivers a compelling shot featuring weathering and decay. The rich details that can only be found in such a subject are perfectly exposed in this shot, creating a picture that is the pure definition of character.
rapid transit . . . – if this is the way you commute every morning, then life isn’t so bad. dragonflydreams88 captures a picture of a series of harbor boats tied up to pier, and her composition with this piece really brings the scene to life.
Camouflaged – a very dramatic black-and-white photo from the studio of CJ Schmit brings us to a spot in the world where a few buildings appear to be left abandoned. The clouds in the sky add a touch of further drama and interest to this scene.
Singleton church – Barry Turner presents a wonderful photograph, featuring a centuries old church. Barry’s unique composition and processing merge in this shot, creating a compelling picture that does a great job in featuring the intricate architecture and stonework that has gone into its construction.
Reflections of Autumn – reflections are powerful tools in the photographer's arsenal, and Þorsteinn H Ingibergsson captures a scene that expresses this rather wonderfully. This landscape picture taken in Iceland features incredible rolling landscapes and a beautiful lake.
Japanese Maple – rich and vibrant colors bring this autumn scene to life for everyone to enjoy. Nader B. grabs a lovely shot in Oregon that features not only the incredible colors, but also the natural lines that are created by a beautiful tree. This is a very serene view, one that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Running out of Time – the bane of the photographer is always centered around us chasing light around. Light is a very dynamic entity, especially in the early morning and late evening. Adam Allegro faces this challenge and comes away with a wonderful landscape scene shot in Costa Rica that shows the beauty of the landscape, accented here by the incredible colors in the sky.
Weekend Relaxer #43 – this long running series from Chris Nitz always delivers a great photograph wrapped up in a really interesting blog post. Chris shares a really fascinating picture of the beer he reviews here, that finds a touch of accent by the great light streaming in from the right of the frame.
Looking Glass Falls – a truly amazing waterfall is captured to be shared here by Curt Fleenor. The natural beauty of the surroundings and the falls themselves find interest with the great details captured in the surroundings. The combination of the fast moving and the slow moving parts of the river coming from the falls adds further elements of interest here.
Saying Good-Bye To A Friend – Edith Levy has recently lost a very close friend, and this post from her is a lovely good-bye for her. This highly emotional blog features an accompanying autumn forest photograph that embodies the sense of beauty of nature, and serves as a profound image to share under the circumstances.
Table for Four – a poignant piece from Jimi Jones delivers a misty scene that features a table and four chairs in the middle of an open area. The warm tones in the colors in the scene deliver a further interesting aspect to this alluring photograph.
Sun Comes Shining Through – Mark Neal captures a fabulous photo of a boat on the water with a break in the clouds streaming glorious sunlight through. By creating both a color and a black-and-white version, we get a chance to see both incarnations. Both of these images can easily stand on their own strengths and merits.
Pathway – a lovely walking path finds itself draped in the branches of a delicate tree. Heather Neil captures a picture of this scene and by processing it as a black-and-white image, she pulls out all the inherent emotion that was found. The piece of resistance is truly the wonderful vanishing point that the viewer gets to follow through the picture.
Sugar Skull, Toronto, 2012 – a fabulous portrait of a person made up in makeup from the streets of Toronto is shared here by Ren Bostelaar. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, or if perhaps another personal expression lies under the facade, but these sorts of images are right in line with the time of year; Halloween.
The Oregon coast – the rolling hills of the Oregon coast sit pristinely, just waiting for the talents of Jim Nix to come across them. This wonderful coastal scene, as captured here by Jim, gives us all a great expression of color and beauty. The rich greens in the hills and the vibrant blues in the ocean work together in this picture, creating a really mesmerizing piece.
Strasbourg View – an almost iconic European scene is perfectly captured and shared here by Len Saltiel. Len does a spectacular job of allowing us to join him as he studies the old and historic architecture of this beautiful place, with a great accent of a canal leading the viewer’s eye naturally through the frame.
Rear Exit – that old expression “watch your step” has never taken on a deeper meaning than it does in terms of this photograph. Mike Lilly finds a spot around back of an auto repair shop that has several awesome features at play; a rickety looking rusted staircase, some weathered features in the building and what appears to be a dead, or semi-dead, car at the back.
High Falls Pigeon River, Minnesota/Canada border – this is an absolutely engaging photograph of a gorgeous waterfall, as presented here by Mark Paulson. The main body of the falls splits into several parts as it makes it’s way down the rock face, adding layers of interest to this beautiful scene.
Wicked – a stark silhouette of a sharply limbed tree stands out against the colorful sky of the rising sun. Metro DC Photography delivers a highly dramatic photograph here, one that invokes feelings of both Halloween and the fear that we all had with the approaching hurricane on the East Coast of the United States.
Fly On The Wall – great natural light streams through the windows of this courthouse, captured and shared here by Mike Victorino. Great tones and shadows are all brought together in this composition, making for a picture that is as engaging as it is fascinating.
Spooky? – why, yes, I do think so! This black-and-white piece posted here by Derrick Birdsall captures the essence of the Halloween season. A tree is silhouetted here against a brooding sky with a moon that is trying to peek it’s way onto frame, creating a purely frightful scene that fits with the times.
Autumn Fog – the drama of fog and the joy of bright, vibrant autumn colors converge in this awesome photograph from the studio of Rob Nopola. This picture is broken into three distinct layers of interest; a layer for each of water, fog and vibrant autumn leaves. This is a gorgeous image that truly expresses the beauty of fall.
Coastal Sunrise – a long exposure technique is employed here by Steven Perlmutter who creates a lovely coastal scene complete with silky waters and exquisite details. The incredible colors in the sky work together with the other key elements, presenting a piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Little French Church – a lovely little bit of architectural wonder is presented in this post by Tim Stanley. A quaint church in the countryside is captured in this scene, and the natural weathering in the stonework brings textures to bear. The inclusion of the graveyard in the front of the facility brings a touch of drama and character.
Portrait: Ramón Saura … – Tomàs Rotger does wonderful portrait studies in black-and-white, tending to capture the essence and character of the subject time and time again. This is a fabulous example of this, sharing a picture of Ramón here that really shows us how it’s done.
The Grey Man Ponders Public Art – let’s join the Grey Man on another adventure today, shall we? Mark Garbowski has been working on a regular feature of this theme that showcases pictures of Mark dressed in a hat and overcoat making his way through the city. We never see his face, nor do we know what’s on his mind, but the pictures that Mark has been creating leave us all with a strong sense of wonder. Excellent work, for sure.
Iceland – Glow – an almost magical glow drapes across this undulating valley scene, which is carefully photographed by Kilian Schönberger. The rich colors in the Icelandic soil complement wonderfully the green in the hills that seem to taper off into forever as a layer of mist envelopes the far distance.
Sermon on The Mount – razor-sharp depth of focus and incredible natural light conspire to cast a scene of a group of Puffins socializing. Geoffrey Baker captures a scene that exhibits subtle shadows to give the image a sense of depth, and the dramatic character of the birds comes to life as a result.
Hurricane Sandy in New York – as many of us have our hearts and prayers centered on those who have suffered under the heavy hand of Hurricane Sandy, Dan Carr takes advantage of an empty city to produce a striking image. The vibrant colors and details of NYC’s lights pose a striking juxtaposition against the empty streets, casting a scene that exemplifies tension and mystery.
A place to reflect – a lovely bench is parked by a stream or river under the cover of a forest in this shot by Barry Turner. The gentle shadows cast upon the ground by the large trees add an element of interest to this beautiful natural landscape.
Edinburgh en couleurs 4 (Ecosse #20) – Mathias Lucas shares his final installment in his running photoblog series on Scotland. Mathias shares some detailed shots as well as a series of city scenes that really bring this fascinating place to life for everyone to enjoy.
Fall Color 2012 – the fall colors of West Fork Trail are explored here by Chris Frailey who captures a small series of images of the beautiful autumn colors exploding in their natural habitats. Chris does a top drawer job in composing these shots that feature just perfect natural lighting and gorgeous natural details.
A last hurrah… – a lovely, textured kiss of autumn is shared in this wonderful post by Sherry Galey. Sherry uses her image as a means to express herself in regards to Hurricane Sandy and it’s effects, delivering a poignant and profound piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Burnside’s Bridge in Autumn – this is a colorful picture of an iconic bridge in American history is shared here by the folks at Jay&Jacy Photography. The wonderful architectural view of the structure is completed with the historic details that create the interest in this old bridge. Fabulous textures and details are all to be found here.
At work… – luscious, rolling green hills are exhibited in this incredible top-down landscape shot from Krzysztof Browko. Gentle shadows give a sense of depth and texture to the picture, which delivers an incredible bonus with a tiny tractor working in the field to create a sense of scale. This is definitely one of those pictures that gives more to the viewer as you spend time absorbing the details.
Shimmering Light – a magical, mystical place, found in the heart of Zion National Park features indescribable natural light that makes for colors that just can’t be from planet earth. This otherworldly exhibit captured by S. Reddy is sure take your breath away.
who's there? – this is a great photograph, seriously! This is most definitely one of those shots that gives the viewer a special present once you discover it’s subtle secret. A very inquisitive and delightful face peers back in this absolutely top drawer photograph by Mark Bridger.
Piano – if you find delight in textures and details, you will be enchanted by this photograph and it’s perfect framing. Scott Frederick sneaks a peek at an old, weathered, forlorn and falling apart piano by looking through and old, weathered, forlorn and falling apart door. A great example of Urbex photography.
Duality – an incredible study of liquid abstract is presented in this picture from the studio of Andy Gimino. This is the kind of image that must take a long time to set and post-process, and the results are truly awesome for it. This is a mesmerizing piece that engages you further as you spend time taking in the subtle shapes and designs that naturally appear.
Upper Tumwater Falls in black and white – these incredibly climactic and powerful waterfalls are brought to showcase in this fabulous shot by Scott Wood. Scott then processes the image as a black-and-white, bringing all the drama inherent in the landscape to life for us all to enjoy. The sharp contrasts in the frame deliver depth and detail that add a lot of interest to the scene.
Turning Over a New Leaf – Kerri Farley captures a photograph that features a scene of autumn that delivers a feeling of great peace. Beautiful colors in the autumn leaves fill the top part of the frame overlooking a lovely park bench that blends all the elements together into a cohesive piece.
In Living Color – a bright, vibrant flower is captured delicately here by Rachel Cohen. The perfect depth of focus that Rachel used to capture this totally isolates the flower from the rich, green backdrop, making for a beautiful image that is sure to bring a smile to all who visit.
Boobook Owl in Flight – someone appears to have a very serious matter at mind as it flies straight towards Bev’s camera. Bev captures a picture here the really shares the true spirit and character of this very graceful animal in flight. A perfect depth of focus adds the final crowning touch to this picture.
Cyclamen – a lively and vibrant purple flower distinctively livens the frame in this gorgeous shot by Kat White. The gorgeous colors combine with the captivating natural shape of the flower, all brought together with a perfect, soft backdrop.
33 Perfectly Timed Photos – some of the best pieces of humor come delivered without a single word, we sometimes find. This post is a really awesome example of this, sharing a series of photos taken at just the perfect time that share a view of alternate reality that exposes natural comedy.
Artist profile: Diane Schuller – Sherry Galey delivers an in-depth and evocative interview with a photographer who happens to live on Vancouver Island where we live. This profound article shares the insight into Diane as well as a few of her pieces. Sherry has done a great job with this interview, including some links to Diane’s work that are sure to please.
The Car Hoarders – it’s amazing sometimes what you can find in the most unusual places. We get to join in as photographer Urbex-SW takes us along to explore a place full of neglected and weathered cars. Great photographs punctuate the backstory to this place, making for a post that is highly poignant.
Humanity in the Raw: Captivating Photographs – art can imitate life, and life can imitate art. When you combine both elements together you can end up with incredibly powerful imagery that shares visions of the human condition found all over the world. This collection of photographs is exactly that; an emotional collection of images that are sure to move you.
Candid Moments and Lessons On Love and Friendship – I love the power of photography and it’s terrific ability to capture emotion. Sandra Hale finds herself amidst a meeting of two old, dear friends, and in being there she comes away with a truly wonderful photograph that shares their love. Sandra wraps the entire present up in a lovely bow with a terrific piece of prose that shares her personal experience in being there.
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.