With a wonderful week having just passed by in the world of photography, we find Toad Hollow Photography working hard to find the best set of links to tutorials, special features and great photography to share here with everyone. This week's list represents a fabulous collection of links from some of the most talented writers and artists working in the field today. We truly hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
How Photoshop’s Sharpening Tools Work and How to Best Use Them – this is a well detailed video tutorial, just over 11 minutes in length, that covers image sharpening techniques in Photoshop. The sample image included in this presentation is terrific at showing in close-up detail the effects the various techniques have during post-processing.
How to Perfectly Capture Steam in Food Photography – a terrific tutorial article that takes you step-by-step through the setup of a shot that features a lovely wisp of steam lingering over a hot cup of coffee. Behind-the-scenes photos of the setup as it is being created add terrific depth to this article, making it very easy to apply this technique to your own work.
What Every Photographer That is New to Flash Should Know – buying a new flash unit is only the first step on a voyage of wonder as a whole new world of light control suddenly becomes available to you. This is also a highly complex area of photography, and in this article the author covers the basics to give you a good foundational understanding of how to apply a speedlight to your photography.
5 Tools to Create and Share Studio Lighting Diagrams – while it’s one thing to get to a location, setup for the session, and come away with the shots on your memory card, it’s a whole other thing to share your lighting setup with anyone interested, or to save it for future reference. This great article goes over 5 different options for creating lighting diagrams that you can then file for later or share online with others who might wonder how you setup a particular image.
10 Car Show Photography Tips – up here in North America car show season is just around the corner. Joe Farace shares 10 really useful tips on how to photograph cars at these busy shows that can really help you take your car show shots to the next level.
A March supercell in Arizona – Mike Olbinski creates and shares a new time lapse video presentation showcasing the wonderful power of nature in it’s purest form. As a storm system passes, Mike captures these time lapse frames and composes them together in a video format revealing scenes that would be impossible to see otherwise.
Spending some quality time in a prison – Jim Nix brings us along as he explores the world-famous Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Today it’s a museum, but once it was considered home to many nefarious types, including Al Capone reportedly. Jim’s wonderful collection of photographs from the location showcase the natural decay process and all the resultant textures and details that come with that.
St John the Evangelist Church Bury – a delightful character church in the UK is the prime focus in this wonderful photograph from Barry Turner. Barry’s composition in this piece draws you into the frame as natural leading lines guide you towards the back of the picture where this terrific church is gently kissed by natural light.
The Catwalk – the fan of the gritty and the weathered will love this post from Michael Criswell, taking us inside the world famous Historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. It’s been many decades since last this place was home to it’s notorious inhabitants, yet all the drama and artistic tension remains as time and decay have firmly taken hold.
Oh Hi – this shot features a little pygmy owl staring intently back at the lens of Henrik Nilsson. The wonderful personality of this cute little bird truly comes to life in this mesmerizing piece, delivering a photo you won’t want to miss in this week’s list.
Taxi – Edith Levy shares a new shot from her adventure’s in Cuba, this time sharing a vignette of a Taxi sign sitting on the dash of one of the super-cool cabs that are so common in the country. In this shot Edith uses a selective color processing technique to draw the eye straight onto the dash with the Taxi sign.
…bled XXIV… – the amazing scenes at Lake Bled are truly second-to-none, producing breathtaking landscapes peppered with ancient architecture to really deliver a strong allure. This latest shot from roblfc1892 roberto pavic does a wonderful job of capturing the pure essence of this magical place, under the watchful eye of a full moon sitting in the skies high above.
The Lions of March – this is a real west-coast experience shared by a real west-coast photographer, Laurie MacBride. As spring arrives here on the coast of Canada, so do the new herrings, creating scenes of aquatic life that are just amazing to see. Join Laurie in her post as she shares a series of photos of California Sea Lions as they feast on these young fish.
Take me to the storm… – an exceptionally dramatic sky looms overhead in this shot that finds the viewer following the natural leading lines of a wood dock out towards a wonderful vanishing point. Peter Foldiak’s photo features a fabulous color palette that does a perfect job of accenting the key elements within the frame itself.
entrance island lighthouse . . . – the wonderful character of Vancouver Island comes to life in this great photograph from ƊƦคƓ๏ƝŦlץƊгєคɱʂ88 that shares a view of a local lighthouse. Abundant sea life surrounds the tiny island, and huge sea lions can be seen lounging on the shores in this terrific image.
The mirror of Heaven – a little town in Norway is dwarfed by the magnificent snow-capped mountains that surround it in this fabulous photograph by İlhan Eroglu. The blue hour highlights the landscape which also features a swath of Aurora Borealis overhead, reflected back in the waters below for an added dash of wonder.
Nesting Cormorants on Mitlenatch Island – Anne McKinnell takes us up close to this sanctuary island, one of many in the surrounding area, where she captures and shares a pair of shots of Cormorant birds nesting on a bluff. Seeing such a gathering of these birds collected together in one geographical location is absolutely amazing, something you just don’t typically see that often.
Chapter 23 – this breathtaking panorama image almost defies description in the abundant beauty of nature explored and discovered in this frame from Jeff Lewis. The snow-covered landscape of Norway finds us joining Jeff from an elevated perspective where the twinkling lights of the communities below find harmony with the gorgeous blue hued surroundings as the last vestiges of light leave the day behind.
Tranquility on Two Jack Lake – Banff National Park, Alberta – the epic natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies is explored in this wonderful black-and-white photograph from Len Saltiel. As the early morning sun makes it’s appearance, illuminating the peaks of the majestic Rockies in the far background, Two Jack Lake in the front sits mirror-still, casting a lovely reflection of the scene.
Moraine Lake – incredible beauty that can only be found and explored in the Canadian Rockies is wonderfully explored in this photograph by Sven Müller. Gorgeous colors in the clouds from the sunset play against the rugged landscapes of the majestic mountains in a shot sure to take your breath away in this feature photo.
Listening to Reelfoot – a gorgeous sunrise makes its presence known in a myriad of colors painting the sky and creating silhouettes in the landscape below in this great shot by Jim Denham. The trees and vegetation that stands at the side of the shore casts great outlines of shapes and natural structure into the frame, creating wonderful artistic tension.
Embarcadero Stairs – a stunning architectural study reveals shapes, lines and geometries that take on an almost abstract feel to them in this photograph by Kevin Huang. The featured staircase creates wonderful leading lines that guide the viewer through the picture as you discover bursts of vibrant green from the foliage that adds a touch of the natural to a dramatic scene.
Red Barns Photography – I share Jimi Jones deep love of barns in natural bucolic settings, particularly red barns. They speak of a time past and help us reflect on the history that brought us all here, and they speak of the character of countryside that they call home to. These two beautifully captured barns are a terrific example of this.
☆THE DARk SiDE☆ – an image you would expect to find in the heart of a Batman movie comes to our screens, straight from the studio of Anthony Fields. In this terrific composition, the Manhattan Bridge creates a leading line that takes us into what I believe to be Manhattan proper, with a focus on dramatic architectural elements that make this city what it truly is.
Gaetan Demers – a wonderfully framed piece that finds us peeking down a hallway into an office where a master clock repairman is on the phone with a client. Bob Lussier processes this piece as a black-and-white, highlighting the shadows and contrasts found in the picture and delivering a photograph that is really compelling to view and enjoy.
the last ice – an incredible frozen landscape is shared in this photo from Jørn Allan Pedersen that features a frost-covered landscape and a frozen body of water. Shapes are formed in the ice in the water at the foreground of this shot, adding a terrific element of natural artistic tension to a scene that is truly magnificent.
Garden Bench Floral – with spring quickly approaching, photographs of beautiful new flowers are starting to appear on our photography feeds. In this post, Rachel Cohen captured a lovely set of varying flowers from last year’s spring, framed by a wonderful old wood bench.
New Life For Old Glass – Scott Wood attaches an old lens to his new mirrorless camera and finds himself downtown in Olympia at night. The wonderful blue hues from the fading light of day work in perfect harmony with the twinkling lights of the city, all reflected back in the waters that surround the area.
Triborough Bridge, Grey Morning, Skyline Panorama – Mark Garbowski uses the famous Triborough Bridge as both a frame and a perfect leading line in this morning shot captured in winter. In the distance, the fantastical city of NY appears through the bridge’s framing, creating a natural destination for the eye as you explore this terrific image.
Proud – this wonderful image is captured and shared by local photography Randy Hall here on Vancouver Island. Randy finds a Wood Duck floating about, and his tight composition does a great job of highlighting the spirit and personality of the bird, and finds further interest in the way the gentle waters that surround it reflects the light.
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.