As another week flies by us all we find Toad Hollow Photography searching all the known corners of the internet, looking for links to the best tutorials, special features, great photography and interesting blogs to share here with everyone. This weeks compendium features a wide variety of articles and pictures, presented by some of the finest talents working in the field today. We truly hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
Change Your Lens… – one of my favorite contemporary photographers who is very well known in the field shares some epic insights into how to turn a location shoot into a thing of incredible beauty, resulting in truly compelling imagery. Joe McNally shares tips and tricks from years of experience in a short blog post, peppering the entire article with incredible shots that each can stand on their own merits as being awesome.
7 Functional Tips for Better Product Photography – all sorts of tips and tricks are shared in this fairly detailed article that discusses how to achieve great product photography. Lighting and angles are explored, as are post-production techniques, sure to give the reader a great basis on where to start in this exciting realm of photography.
How to Straighten Converging Verticals in Your Photographs – Dzvonko Petrovski shares a great article that covers the basic concepts that photographers use to correct converging verticals in photographs. Several different methods and software programs are discussed, along with each of the processes pros and cons, giving you a broad idea of how you can apply the specific technique that works best for your situation.
Photographing Birds: Tips and Tricks from a Pro – this is an interview with a very successful photographer in the field of bird photography, revealing some insights and a few tips and tricks on how to best capture these highly dynamic creatures in the wild. Roland Albanese also includes some really incredible bird shots to augment the interview, showcasing his incredible work.
The Peter-Coulson Look – A Lighting Exercise – this terrific tutorial takes us through a complete decomposition exercise to learn how a well-known photographer produces his images. From the concept, to the model, the shoot and through post-production, each step is documented and discussed to serve as a learning tool for those interested in this style.
Triumph and Tragedy – join Andy Hooker (LensScaper) as he takes an introspective look at the history and the scenery found at one of the world’s most wonderful features; the Matterhorn mountain. Andy shares some great details on the history of the location and the challenges it has presented over the years for climbers, as well as a series of photographs he has taken of this majestic mountain range over the years.
Trumpeting life… – for those who appreciate and love natural beauty, this post is for you. Sherry Galey shares a wonderful set of photographs all featuring the brightly colored and vibrantly alive sunflower in various settings and facets of it’s day. Sherry opens this delightful photo post with a quote from a movie to add a wonderful layer of interest to the presentation.
Golden Hour at Weber House…In the Palouse – as we revisit the Palouse area with Michael Criswell, he finds a composition that is purely stunning in it’s nature as the sun begins to set for the day. In this shot we see the famous dilapidated house on a farm known as Weber House leans to and fro as a gorgeous palette works in the sky above to add mood and color to the overall scene.
TIME DILATION – Beno Saradzic uses a very complex processing technique to carefully render and create an image that is surreal and natural at the same time. By carefully blending layers taken at three different times, he creates a stunning cityscape of the city of Dubai full of wonder and interest as the eye takes in the various facets.
Miniature Car – Len Saltiel captures and shares a wonderful piece with this photograph, a shot that really does define the term artistic tension. Len finds a terrific little car parked in a barn and through the art of composition captures a shot that showcases the wonderful textures and details of the little vehicle, all the while leaving us with so many unanswered questions as to it’s origin, who owns it, and what it’s life must be like now.
Mansion in Wonderland – some contrasts are hidden while others are laid bare in this incredible infrared shot by photographer Bob Israel. An incredible mansion sitting on the side of a shore finds itself nestled amongst beautiful trees, all the perfect subjects for this style and type of photography that focuses on a light spectrum not normally explored in images.
Dead Tree Long Exposure – Jim Denham finds motivation to leave the safe and comfortable confines of the house on an early Sunday morning to capture this picture he has shared. Wonderful colors from the rising sun grace the scene with vibrant hues, adding to the distinct haunting feel the long exposure has created in turning the waters into a silky texture.
Urnes Stave Church, Norway – a UNESCO world heritage site springs to dramatic life from our screens in this epic photograph by Europe Trotter. Originally built in the early 12th century, today this marvelous example of ancient architecture stands tall, surrounded by the incredible landscapes of Norway.
Boston from Nahant – Bob Lussier sneaks out in the middle of a wedding reception with this piece, capturing a view of the Boston city skyline at dusk. The colors in the late days sky work in perfect harmony with the gently lit city below, highlighting the wonder and personality of this terrific city.
Mother and Baby Giraffe in Tanzania – Anne McKinnell finds a wonderful composition while in a moving safari vehicle in the heart of Africa while on an epic adventure. This heartwarming shot features a mother and a young giraffe, and in this case Anne’s perfect composition brings all the character and spirit of these amazing creatures to life in a single frame.
Chateau HB – the weathered remains of a room in a long forgotten chateau are featured in this dramatic shot by Iris van Wolferen. Time has not been kind to this place, and all the textures that can only be found after years of neglect add a perfect touch of artistic tension to a scene that leaves far more questions unanswered than the mysteries it solves.
Plantation Gates – Boone Hall Plantation, Mt Pleasant, South Carolina – a regal historic mansion lies at the end of the vanishing point created by a driveway in this great shot from the studio of Len Saltiel. The addition of context for the scene adds a great element of interest to the composition, and Len delivers a great shot as a result.
…hallstatt XI… – a frigid, snow covered morning comes alive in this rustic photograph by roberto pavic. A little village full of wonderful European character finds itself under a dappled covering of snowfall, showing off the personality of the community as it sits nestled amongst the jagged mountain peaks that surround it.
Sail Nauticus Norfolk – Jimi Jones finds and composes a wonderful shot featuring a gaggle of sailboats each featuring a uniquely colored sail. A bit of digging reveals that the boats are operated by a terrific local sailing school, and Jimi shares a bit of his personal insight to add something special to a shot that is really terrific.
Sarpincik – a beautiful Turkish sunset creates a stunning color palette for the landscape scene captured here by Nejdet Duzen. A lighthouse in the forefront of the frame adds a perfect anchor, and a dash of detail and color, bringing this picture alive and sharing a vista of an exotic location.
The Ben Franklin Bridge – Scott Wood captures a stunning shot of the Ben Franklin bridge in Philadelphia, taken at night to really showcase the architectural beauty found in this structure as it is lit during the dark hours. The city behind the bridge adds a great element to the shot, featuring some of the city’s architecture and adding interest to the overall picture.
Sunrise in Istanbul – the world-famous city of Istanbul greets the morning as the soft light reveals details of a very dramatic building with spires that reach for the heavens. The damp walkway creates a path on the waterfront, gently guiding you into the frame where years of history makes its presence known.
Colonial Williamsburg – a terrific selection of photographs is posted and shared here by Derrick Birdsall, featuring some of the vignettes found contemporarily at this world-renown location. Derrick’s keen eye for composition allows him to select scenes that truly tell a story in a single picture, sharing a bit of the character of the location.
New Born Star – a beautiful and colorful flower is carefully photographed and processed here by Susan Chan to deliver something that is abstract in nature. The wonderful hues of the flower work with the contrasts it exhibits, casting a lovely image against a stark black backdrop to bring the subject into clear focus.
Traveling Light – Mark Garbowski captures a terrific night shot featuring the fast moving light trails of traffic meandering across the Seattle roadways. Mark takes a slightly elevated perspective of the colored and dynamic lights in motion, all leading naturally towards the wonderful city of Seattle in the far distance.
Bridge – Anita Megyesi captures and shares a wonderful shot of a bridge at night, using the dramatic architectural elements of the bridge as a leading line to guide the viewer across the shot. The perspective and composition are terrific, rendering a shot that is full of raw tension and terrific tones.
Invitation – Dave Wares captures a highly stylized and gentle image of a rose just freshly opened. This macro study of a stunningly beautiful flower exhibits the textures and deep color palette that can only be found while embracing that which nature itself brings to the world we all live in.
Danger in the Shadows – proof-positive that drama and intrigue lies within the shadows, this shot from photographer CJ Schmit delivers a scene that looks like it was found in an abandoned building of some sort. The dark corners reveal nothing, while the door that is visible in the shroud of darkness is marked with Danger signs, leaving us all with an intent desire to find out what lives behind it.
Lessons Learned from Shooting Large Format Photography – large format photography is a mythical being, one spoken of in hushed voices in the digital field. Unwieldy, hard to transport, and requiring a great deal of foresight, this type of image production requires the photographer to slow down and really find and compose the shot intended. The results are astounding, both from the perspective of the pictures produced, as well as the personal and profound impact the practice has on the photographer. Join Dylan Goldby as he shares his insights into this specific form of photography.
Chasing Photographic Style – David duChemin shares a profound short essay on the importance of creating a personal style in terms of delivering a cohesive theme in your own imagery. But, this is all a means to an end and shouldn’t be the entire journey in and of itself. David shares some great personal insights in this article that is sure to have you thinking deeply on the topic, as well as inspiring you to get out there and stand alone in a very crowded space.
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.