It's been a marvelous week in the world of photography with tons of great new pictures and posts shared by truly talented photographers. Toad Hollow Photography has been searching high and low looking for the best of the best to share here with everyone. We truly hope you enjoy seeing these great photographs and reading the articles listed here as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
The Toad has been very busy lately on assignment working for the great people at TLC The Land Conservancy of BC. TLC is a passionate group of people dedicated to conserving and maintaining our heritage for future generations to enjoy. The Toad's latest posts “A Day In The Life Of Craigflower Manor” and “Echoes Of The School Bell” showcase the historic buildings Craigflower Manor, a lovely Georgian style Scottish manor, and Craigflower Schoolhouse, the oldest schoolhouse of it's kind in Western Canada.
Post Processing Video Tutorial: Sharpening – Jason Hines delivers another of his critically acclaimed video tutorials, this time foraying into the post-processing technique of sharpening an image. Jason’s tutorials are always well produced, creating informative pieces that are really enjoyable to view.
Bounce Flash Techniques Any Photographer Can Do – this is a great primer on using bounce flash techniques for portrait photography. All the tips and tricks discussed in this article are well described, allowing the reader to fully appreciate the message being shared.
Using The Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop CS6 – Rich Harrington produces a short two minute video tutorial that shows the viewer a method for using the magic wand tool in Photoshop.
How To Get Your Subject To Act Naturally – this is a great article, full of excellent tips and tricks related to the art of portrait photography. Each point outlined on it’s own is highly useful information, but when taken as a whole with all the points shared in this article, we get a comprehensive article on the subject.
Three Years in Italy – Part 1 | Part 2 – Adam Allegro shared his favorite photos that are a result of spending three years in one of the most amazing and beautiful places in the world. This breathtaking set of images is a rich and wondrous segment of images representing the inherent beauty found in this old, old country. This is a large collection of images, each of which can easily stand on its own.
A micro-dust-burst-haboob something or other – Mike Olbinski grabs a shot of a dynamic and evolving storm situation as he is out and about chasing storms. Mike discusses at a high level his approach to post-processing this shot, adding a whole level of interest to the picture which in-and-of itself is truly amazing.
Vista House in IR – Scott Wood creates another of his stellar IR photographs, this time processing the results into black-and-white. There are so many aspects of this image that stand out, including all the details that can be found as the viewer spends time with the picture. This picture is guaranteed to be the source of delight for all who visit.
Treasure – this is an almost storybook picture, sharing a view of a child in a very decayed attic in front of an open box of toys. The light streaming in from the window in the roof brings a wonderful element to play here, and the natural tension in the scene merges with the other components to create a picture that is sure to captivate your mind.
Red-tail Hawk – this is an absolutely fabulous execution of image processing and creation, as shared by Jay Taylor. Jay uses a new post-processing technique on a shot he captured of a beautiful hawk, delivering a great image that takes on a painterly effect in monochrome.
Big Ben Big Bus – a true architectural wonder of the world, the Big Ben clock tower in London is often photographed. WilsonAxpe / Scott Wilson takes a very unique image of this icon that showcases the architecture with an added element of color with light trails from a passing bus.
Night Serenity – a lovely scene is captured in what appears to be Europe. Anita Megyesi photographs a canal with some incredible architecture accenting the delicate reflections from the very still waters, all brought together with some great warm tones from the lights of the quaint setting.
Elk Island National Park – a gorgeous national park in Canada creates a stunning landscape scene for Carlos D. Ramirez to photograph. As the sun sets, the reflections from the surrounding trees grace the still waters casting a stunning image.
Farmall – if you love rust, textures and details half as much as we do you will love this shot from the studio of Mike Criswell. Mike delivers a HDR rendition of a well worn and used tractor in a field outside an asylum. This shot is full of character and is delicately processed to really bring the spirit of this old tractor to life.
The Golden Cross – a truly historic tudor style pub in Coventry forms the subject for this awesome shot by Bob Lussier. This picture taken during the blue hour accents all the details and fascinating architectural elements for the viewer to enjoy.
I Followed The Rivers Edge – the natural raw beauty of Vermont comes to life in this beautiful outdoor shot from Andy Gimino. Andy uses a special post-processing technique called focus stacking to achieve this distinctive and awe-inspiring look.
KLCC Petronas Twin Tower at Dusk – an epic pair of skyscrapers illuminates the evening sky and Foo Weng takes advantage of this to capture a spectacular image. Great details in the city and its architecture all come to life in this amazing photo.
Standard Stamp Mill – an old-fashioned scene is carefully captured and shared in this photograph by Raymond Jabola. I believe the town this photo was taken in is now a museum featuring the buildings and artifacts of a long abandoned ghost town.
Black Hills Backwoods – a gorgeous view of a rolling landscape full of tall trees is presented in this post from Robert Berry. Robert grabs this shot from the door of a cabin in South Dakota, creating an image that immediately takes the viewer to a peaceful place.
Dream Night – as the stars of the universe spin around us, an abandoned boat sits on the shoreline, creating the most amazing photo subject for Hossein Zare. This great image tells a story 1,000 miles wide and is sure to be the source of delight and amazement for all who visit.
Moraine Lake – this lake sits deep in the Jasper/Banff National Park and due to it’s astonishing hues found in the blue lake water it forms the most perfect landscape to take in and photograph. Noppawat “Tom” Charoensinphon does a wonderful job with this, capturing an image full of great elements including a stunning reflection in the lake of the surrounding mountains.
Château des Singes – a lovely old château sits abandoned since 1976. I find it amazing beyond description that wonderful old places like this exist, and that they are still in fine enough condition to allow these urbex photographers into their inner sanctums to photograph and share their story with a larger outside audience.
Mt. Rainier Reflection – great photographs sometimes lead the viewer to grapple with trying to identify their favorite element. This is a great example of this concept by Scott Wood, who photographs the majesty of this mountain and captures a stunning reflection of it in the body of water in the foreground of his composition.
Summer's over – Jim Nix takes us seaside in this colorful and detailed photograph of beach chairs and umbrellas sitting on the shore. Jim’s perfect composition creates a natural leading line with the beach regalia that also delivers a touch of tension to a scene that you would expect to be full of people, yet isn’t.
rusty time – a long forgotten sunken ship sits on the shore in Portugal. This photograph was captured at night, bringing a huge extra element of drama to the scene as captured and shared here by Nuno Mota.
Chapel Hill – a romantic and magical scene is presented in this great post from Renée M. Besta who captures and posts a pair of photos of an old historic chapel nestled in the rolling vineyards of California. The sky is full of drama which adds a whole layer of depth to the images posted, creating a fascinating piece that will be enjoyed by all who visit.
Tick-led By This Location – a great message is shared in this post from Blake Rudis. It’s really amazing what dedicated photographers will go through in an effort to get that next killer shot, and Blake’s post here shares both; a great photo and a story of sacrifice to land it.
just chillin' . . . – we get a stare-down with what must be the coolest dog on the planet in this photograph from dragonflydreams88. A big furry character of a dog is captured here sportin’ a pair of mighty serious looking shades. This is a great shot, full of personality.
Grapevine Vintage Railroad – classic railroads tend to deliver a strong sense of nostalgia and romance. This pair of photographs from Mark Summerfield truly embodies this notion, with scenes that take the viewer back to a simpler time with a glance.
Under and Above Water in Las Canteras Beach – this is just so wonderful, it’s pretty much a study of life in two separate worlds. Alberto Espiñeira creates a fabulous image here by composing half the shot to be above water and the other half below.
Gornergrat Vista – prepare to be astonished and amazed at the grandeur and beauty found naturally in the Alps. LensScaper (Andy Hooker) takes us along as he explores these absolutely incredible examples of the power of nature at work. He discusses their natural beauty and some of the finer details found in the scenery, creating a post that is guaranteed to amaze all who visit.
Dark Passage – a wonderful study of lighting in a medieval feeling setting is presented in this photograph from Giuseppe Sapori. A glorious old fashioned chandelier adorns the chamber here with a set of stairs leading the viewer through the frame to the back. The dance of lighting shared between the natural light streaming in against the light coming from the chandelier forms and interesting scene that is a pure joy to view.
Beach in Oils – a lovely scene taken on a beach takes the viewer through the beautiful grasses by naturally leading the eye through the footprints in the path. Mark Neal applies a painterly effect to his processing in this shot, accentuating the tension found in the footprints and creating a beautiful scene.
Huntingdon Beach Pier – Jerry Denham whisks us away to a beautiful beachfront where a pier forms a spectacular natural leading line to guide the viewer through the frame. The end result is a compelling picture that features a fabulous vanishing point to add another element of interest.
Night Sky over White Mountains – Bob Lussier delivers a dramatic night time shot in this post. The mountain range included in this shot creates a stunning silhouette to add interest to the overall scene that includes a great patch of light in the distance.
Two Doors and a Little Kindness – we get two gems for the price of one in this great post from Jim Denham. Jim captures and shares a wonderful photo of a garage that is full of great character, and uses his post as a means to share some inspiring thoughts and words. This is a fabulous post, well worth the time for a visit.
Back at the Light…Portland that is! – this is a wonderful classic lighthouse, perfectly composed and captured here for everyone to enjoy by Edith Levy. Lighthouses can be the most romantic subject to photograph, and Edith does a wonderful job here in bringing this concept to life for everyone.
The Next Day I Quit – there is something absolutely captivating about this piece from CJ Schmit. We’ve all heard the expression “a picture tells a thousand words”, and this great photo really delivers on this. An abandoned warehouse sits with remnants of decay, a lonely chair and the remains of a broom… tension personified!
One More for the Rhode Island Red – who knew that a chicken could be so photogenic. Rob Hanson blows this question out of the water with this awesome photograph of a Rhode Island Red who is rather engaged with going about her business.
The Claaaaaaaaaw – this shot will keep you awake for weeks on end as you carefully listen to every sound in the quiet of the deep of night. Chris Nitz uses just incredible lighting to create strong drama in the juxtaposition of light versus shadow, making for a great photograph to view.
Old train graveyard – a very low perspective draws the viewer into the frame in this awesome shot by Robert Gustavsson. Train tracks form a natural leading line that guides the viewer into the frame where old unused trains and cars are left behind to discover.
Skylight – an abandoned hospital in New Jersey produces a striking scene for the camera of Scott Frederick. Light and shadow play off each other in this wonderful photo to create a strong dichotomy by answering some questions but leaving others unanswered.
Fawn Kiss – this is a wonderful photograph, as presented here by Mark Paulson. By framing the image with the surrounding vegetation, Mark gives the viewer the feeling that we are peeking at a personal moment being shared between these two very cute fawns.
The Grey Man Heads Underground – we get a new installment in a new running theme from the studio of Mark Garbowski that is fast becoming one of my personal favorites. The Grey Man takes us to various places and through the clever and intentional use of tension we get to see and ponder dramatic scenes captured and shared in black-and-white.
Sunsets and architecture – Jim Nix transports us to The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth where he captures a vivid photo of the museum as night falls. The rich colors in the sky punctuate the subtle reflection in the pool of water in the foreground, creating a scene that is sure to captivate all who visit.
Snowy Volcano in Calm – an amazing image is shared in this post by Cristobal Garciaferro. A lovely church basks in the glow of the sun as a looming volcano watches over it, creating a truly compelling piece.
The Aurora Borealis – Iceland – the raw beauty of the Northern Lights is explored in this photograph captured by Gunnar Gestur Geirmundsson. Vivid colors paint the sky and as the viewers eye makes its way around the frame, wonderful details emerge, like the great reflection of the tower in the water which helps to bring balance to the picture.
A River Runs Through It – a striking and detailed image is shared here by Steve Beal. A damn provides the primary subject in this picture which is further accented by the great details and textures in the controlling shack that sits by the falls.
Untitled – differing layers of contrast converge in this wonderful photo from Heather Neil. I can’t say with certainty what the subject is, but Heather’s unique composition and monochromatic end result creates a strong image that is beautiful in it’s form.
Summer with the Kidd – prepare to see a reflection so sharp it has the ability to cut! This gorgeous landscape piece from the studio of Neil Jolly features a majestic mountain and it’s resultant reflection in the water, all brought together with the rich majesty of the surroundings.
View from the bridge – a vantage of the inner harbor of my home city, Victoria, BC, is featured in this great photograph from Lotus Johnson. Victoria is surrounded on three sides by ocean and this glimpse into our inner harbor gives the viewer a chance to see the natural beauty of our city.
Tunnel – great and vivid colors and tones are presented, all of which are contained within striking black lines that form the structure in this shot from Metro DC Photography. This is truly an abstract piece in it’s purest form, a picture that is sure to be the source of delight for everyone.
396 – the title of this post leaves you searching this frame for a piece of context, and as a result you get to fully take the picture in and enjoy it the way it was intended by John Sotiriou. The shallow depth of focus that John uses here further serves to bring attention to the main subjects in the photo.
Ghost Ships – how someone manages to get aboard decommissioned military boats like these to take incredible photographs is beyond me. Yet somehow this had happened and we get to enjoy the fruits of this grand adventure by seeing a set of photos that not only is highly unusual to see, but we can also enjoy the sense of tension that is created with the methods used to capture these photos.
Inside – The Damage Today – an abandoned building plays host to a very decrepit looking room, and Mark Garbowski finds his way in to capture a great photo. Wonderful textures are all exposed in this shot that is full of fascinating natural decay.
Paris from Above – the magic of this fabled city lies below as Tim Stanley brings us along on his adventure. The beauty in the old architecture and the surrounding landscape helps to anchor this shot that really is totally full of rich details to view and enjoy.
Rustic Getaway – rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the rich tones and wonderful details that all come to life in this awesome photograph from Len Saltiel. The roof of Fort Wilderness Lodge in Disneyworld presented Len the most wondrous composition to photograph, and he has in turn come away with a truly mesmerizing piece.
Mauve Roses – wonderful, wonderful colors and tones are brought to life in this picture that exhibits perfect exposure. Nancy Andersen delivers a detailed piece here that brings all the wonder and beauty of nature to your monitor.
Schloss Neuschwanstein – a majestic European castle strikes a commanding pose for this photograph. The incredibly beautiful surrounding countryside brings color and a natural element to this absolutely striking image.
What has been seen… – a study in deep contrasts produces an eerie image in this shot by Frank Grace. A spooky figure emerges from the dark mist in an old alley, creating a piece that is sure to both delight and terrify everyone who visits.
marina bay singapore – the beautiful and exotic architecture of Singapore is captured in a shot taken during the blue hour by hamni juni. The perfect composition utilized to produce this image creates strong leading lines with the brightly lit architectural elements in the frame.
Silhouettes – two wonderful silhouettes make their way down a street that finds itself draped in delicate golden light. Anita Megyesi produces a photograph here that is full of great natural tension and wonderful colors and tones.
Todaiji temple (Nara, Japan) – an absolutely fascinating Japanese temple is photographed and shared here by Domingo Leiva. The wonderful architectural details that can only be found intrinsically in this style of building is fully brought to life for everyone to enjoy in this image.
Lake Monowai NZ – petrified wood forms intricate tendrils that reach out into a still lake in New Zealand in this stunning landscape photo by Paul Emmings. The stone-like wood forms wonderful natural leading lines for the viewer, all of which is anchored together with a stunning reflection found in the still waters.
Pop Goes the Weasel at Glacier Point – everything about this wonderful post from Kristi Hines makes me smile! We’ve got the cutest little weasel here peeking out from his burrow with just the most amazing expression on it’s face. Kristi did a great job with this shot in bringing all the character of this little fur-friend to life.
Inside Marine One – I don’t about you, but I’ve always wanted to see the inside of the US presidents helicopter or plane. Tim Stanley gives us a great chance to do just this with this image taken inside this chopper that was in active duty for President Nixon and President Ford. There are plenty of wonderful details exposed here, giving us a great idea of what it’s like to travel in such style.
Grapevine Vintage Railroad – the romance and intrigue of steam trains is boundless, and Mark Summerfield captures a pair of shots of these classics on display to share. The natural beauty of the old design is really brought to life in this shots from Mark, producing a post that is sure to delight everyone.
Enter and Proceed with Caution – a highly dramatic black-and-white image is posted of the entranceway to an abandoned building. CJ Schmit creates an image just dripping with natural tension here, making a scene that compels the viewer to see more details hidden in the shadows.
A Day at the Lake – the folks from Jay&Jacy Photography give us a gorgeous view of a tranquil lake surrounded by vibrant and colorful foliage and trees. The rich blues in the sky add a further sense of warmth and peace to this beautiful picture.
The Keeper’s House – John Sotiriou takes us to visit a wonderful old character home that serves as the main domicile for a lighthouse keeper. The lighthouse itself peeks out from behind the house, making for a picture that is full of great textures and details for the viewer to take in and enjoy.
Abandoned Theater (Backstage) – an old abandoned theater captures the heart and mind of visitors in this epic shot from the studio of Scott Frederick. Scott takes an unique approach to his composition on this one, looking straight up. The results are breathtaking and rather unexpected.
Marilyn Meets Chicago – Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck share a scene taken of a statue of Marilyn Monroe in front of the Chicago Tribune building. The wonderful composition used to create this image helps to produce a piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Cayman Islands – a busy, teeming underwater world is brought to the surface in this great shot by Romeo Penacino. The aquatic beauty that is only revealed once you descend beyond the surface is eloquently captured in this captivating photograph.
Heading South – like a scene cast from a movie, Mike Criswell captures and shares a pair of images taken at a historical site in Georgia. Mike’s typically amazing post-processing skills are all brought to bear in producing these pieces, resulting in a truly mesmerizing post to view and enjoy.
Pharmacy, Leeuwarden – all the character and wonder of great European architecture is captured and shared in this wonderful photograph of a very old pharmacy building. molair does a top drawer job in photographing and processing this intricate scene, creating a picture that is full of exotic and captivating details.
Seeking shelter in Glasgow – great, warm tones accent all the rich details in the old Scottish architecture in this incredible image from the studio of Jim Nix. The careful balancing of contrast Jim applied in processing this shot help to create a picture that is very sympathetic to the subject.
Rawr – a fabulous study in light and shadow is presented here in this pair of shots by Chris Nitz. A toy character creates a menacing pose, and Chris’ careful lighting techniques further add to the rich drama that is found in these two great pictures.
Life in IR – the French landscape delivers a striking scene for David Keochkerian to photograph in IR. The shift in light spectrum really brings all the details of the setting to life, including the rich reds found in the surrounding trees contrasting the still waters that sit in the foreground.
The Great Salt Lake – a fabulous decrepit pier forms a vanishing point in this image that takes the viewers eye right through the frame. Tony Murray creates this picture by using a fabulous compositional technique that is punctuated here by the rich and vibrant colors dancing in the skies above.
Zeche Westfalen – this picture shares a very dramatic black-and-white scene from what appears to be an abandoned factory. muenster765 captures this picture with really compelling natural light streaming in through the windows that plays with the debris found on the ground from the decay of time.
Heartbeats – absolutely breathtaking details in the architecture of the city at night are shared in this simply stunning image from Gost • Ridr®. This panoramic vision features great and compelling cityscapes, fabulous reflections and incredible lighting that brings all the magic of the city to life for everyone to enjoy.
Glacier Point Summer Storm, Yosemite – Jim Goldstein takes us to this majestic park where he shares a photograph he captured that features the rugged landscape accented by beautiful nature light that drapes across the scene. This is a wonderful image that gives the viewer the ability to see across the massive expanses that make up this iconic park.
The Fireworks That Were – perspective and composition are two very important tools in the photographers magic toolbelt. Scott Wyden shares a whimsical story accented perfectly by a great shot of the fireworks. The anecdotes that Scott offers here really help to exemplify the importance of thinking outside the traditional fenced confines we find ourselves typically working in.
On Being Influenced By Cinema – Brian Matiash shares a great shot full of character, of a forlorn bus. Great details in the old vehicle come to life in this shot that is accented here by some great anecdotal thoughts from Brian.
The Only One For Me – Curt Fleenor takes us high atop Whitetop Mountain in the Appalachians where he captures and shares a gorgeous landscape image that gives the visitor an expansive vista to view and enjoy. There are so many elements of interest in this image, making it a picture that is sure to delight everyone.
The Mandarin Drake – Bev delivers a truly colorful and captivating image in this photograph. This absolutely striking duck is full of rich colors, and Bev’s wonderful photography brings this all together in wonderful fashion.
Wild Mushrooms: A Photo Essay – this is a wonderful study by Kat White that features the inherent interest and uniqueness that nature produces. As Kat hikes through the mountains, she finds and photographs a vast array of different mushrooms, compiling them all together in this post.
The Sweet Kiss of Rain – a beautiful red flower is presented here by Kerri Farley. As a drop of water from a recent rain hangs on with all its might to the edge of the flower, Kerri captures and produces a highly compelling image from it.
Alcalá La Vieja, Alcalá La Nueva – a fascinating journey into the countryside where an ancient site in various stages of archeological exploration is underway is presented in this terrific post from Light Stalkings very own @astaroth. The rich history of Spain reaches back for many years, and a site of historical interest like this presents the most interesting photo opportunity.
Bruce’s Caves Conservation Area – a most amazing series of photographs is accompanied here with a story that reaches far back in history. Roving photographer and adventurer Jordan Oram continues his journey stopping at this historic location to share a most amazing story.
Masset Base – my good friend and local photographer, Ehpem, has recently returned from an adventure in the northern areas of BC. This post features a series of images of an abandoned armed forces base that brings the decay and desolation of the setting to life. These great images of this facility are accented here with his great writing, bringing together all the key ingredients for a fabulous post that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Designed – LensScaper (Andy Hooker) tours the town grabbing a collection of images that have a common thread running along them all. Andy then compiled the photos into an organized series and has written a very thought-provoking piece to go along with them. This is a fabulous post, one that will satisfy everyone’s desire to look at awesome photographs, as well as providing the fuel for an introspective look at what drives us in the field of photography.
Apple Moves One Step Closer Toward Location-Based Camera Disabling – this is an interesting article that discusses a patent that Apple has submitted as pending. As more and more people transition to using their cell phones as a camera, these sorts of issues become more prevalent.
HDR Photo Contest Winners – a truly epic set of HDR photographs is shared here, the finalists from a recent competition. These are fabulous examples of the results that can be achieved with HDR, showcasing the unique beauty and interest that an artist can express with the technology.
Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop – long before the advent of the digital age, artists had to resort to traditional methods of photo manipulation to share their personal vision. This piece marks a new exhibit about to be launched at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Whisper-September 2012 Desktop Wallpaper – Dru Stefan Stone shares a beautiful September desktop wallpaper with everyone in this post. The gorgeous flower she used as the subject in this shot is full of rich and vibrant colors, a perfect companion to brighten up your personal desktop space on your computer.
Photographers Should Be Storytellers – I can think of no better way to wrap up this week’s links list with a highly inspiring message about moving through the process of becoming the successful artist you want to be. If you follow one link this week, this should be it.
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.