What a wonderful week in the world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy searching all over for the best links to tutorials, special features, great photography and interesting blogs. This week's list has a selection of really great tutorials that will be of interest to artists practicing at all levels and in all genres, as well as a really great selection of special features, as well as the comprehensive list of links to great photography from some of the best artists out there today. We really hope you enjoy reading this week's list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Tutorial – How to make vibrant cityscapes – master of cityscape photography Jimmy McIntyre shares a short video tutorial here that packs a lot of details and information, focusing on the processes and techniques that he uses to create his stunning images. The end result is a composite image that showcases both the beauty in the sky and distance from the golden hour at the same time we see the lit buildings of the city from a shot taken later in the blue hour.
The Complete Dummy Guide to Light Painting – a straightforward concept that creates sizzling results, introducing light painting into a car shoot delivers strong and compelling imagery. Andrew Link goes into great detail on how to shoot like this in the field, and tips for post-processing, and he also shares a set of jaw-dropping shots created with this technique.
Dog Days of Summer: Tips for Shooting in the Midday Sun – up here in the northern hemisphere summer is in full swing. Harsh lighting conditions from the huge contrasts found during this time of year create challenges for photography, and this short list of tips and tricks shows you how to take control of this, and even leverage it, to create great imagery.
A Simple Way To Light Your Food – this brief article discusses a technique using very little equipment to produce great results in the realm of food photography. Sample images and pictures of the setup used to create the shot give the reader a deep understanding of the concepts shared.
Quick Photo Tip: Walk Them Through The Light – Joe Baraban shares another of his tips and tricks for shooting people and places in a naturally lit situation. This article shares a concept that is very straightforward, producing consistent and fabulous results as is evidenced by the pair of exemplary images Joe includes in his post.
Preparing and Completing a Photo Shoot On-Location – we do the vast majority of our work out in the field, dealing with the elements, lighting and weather presented to us. This brief video tutorial put together by Simon Plant discusses the planning that goes into these types of shoots and how to be prepared to deal with surprises that are almost always inevitable.
On Safari!- Part 1 – let’s all join John Mead as he goes on a wild safari adventure deep in the wilds of Africa. John’s in-depth piece here takes a look at a handful of the animals he encountered and discusses a little of what life is like for them. Great photography punctuates this piece, delivering a full experience for the viewer, creating a post absolutely guaranteed to be enjoyed by everyone.
Broken Strings – local photographer Ehpem steps outside his usual work to take in a live musical event and share those photographs here with everyone. Some of the shots are presented in color and others in black-and-white, with some being close-ups of the members working and others being wider shots showing the band in it’s entirety on stage. This is a highly challenging venue to work in, and Ehpem’s post does a great job of immersing the viewer right in the heart of the event.
Classic Fan Photos – this post features 17 black-and-white images taken in the 50’s and 60’s of popular bands and their fans. This is a real throwback to a simpler time, a time when rock ‘n roll was just emerging as a new form of music and leaving an indelible mark on society that would continue through to today.
SmugMug Launches a Major Redesign to Wage War Against Flickr and 500px – much of the photography world is abuzz this week with the launch of the new SmugMug. This article takes us through the whole migration process with screenshots to really create a sense of excitement about the new interface. I can’t wait to try it out on our gallery.
Michael Kirchoff Photography – head on over to Facebook to see the posted work of Michael Kirchoff, a fine art and commercial photographer. Many of the photos posted here are moody, dramatic and full of great artistic tension, all the right ingredients to make for terrific photography. Give Michael a Like and follow his adventures!
Coast of Dreams – Laurie MacBride talks about the lost dreams of many who wish to traverse the ocean in a classic wooden boat in this fabulous blog post that features a great shot of one of these types of boats in drydock for what looks to be an extended visit. Perhaps never to return to the oceans that it once called home, today it stands as a reminder for those who have had similar dreams in the past with an abundance of passion but a shortage of funds or time. This is a highly profound post, revealing a little about the human condition through the intricate metaphor of imagery.
The Fall of Hurcules – Michael Criswell brings us along on an Urbex shoot where we get to see the inside of a massive factory that is now defunct. Terrific lines are explored here, creating natural leading lines to guide the viewer around and through the frame to find all the wonderful weathered details that come in a facility like this.
Pennybacker Bridge In Morning Fog #2 – a truly stunning study of the juxtaposition of the peace found in the early morning as the light just begins to emerge for the day against the relentless race of the light trails from fast moving cars. Evan Gearing delivers this image complete with a fabulous reflection, a veil of fog over the beautiful landscape, and the ever-present traffic across the bridge.
Vancouver Cityscapes – the incredible beauty found in the cityscape of Vancouver is explored in this post featuring four terrific photographs captured by Anne McKinnell. A pair of the pictures showcase the waterfront properties from an elevated perspective, and the last two deliver on the wonderful beauty the city reveals in the evening.
Vroom Vroom – Steven Perlmutter lives a personal dream of mine, having access to a brand new Corvette Grand Sport convertible for a day. Of course this would require a plethora of photographs to be taken, and Steven does not disappoint us as he finds a wonderful barn to use as a backdrop for this rolling beauty, and shares two terrific shots of it.
A certain style – a lovely pastoral scene greets the visitor in this picture from Barry Turner. Wonderful colors in the sky from the golden hour play with the natural features of the landscape to create a scene that is as welcoming as it is stunningly beautiful.
Venezia – as the day comes to an end Marcelo Castro overlooks the city below, showcasing the inherent beauty in the local architecture and the gondoliers who are ferrying passengers and tourists around the highlights of the city. The architecture alone is incredible compelling in this shot, and there is so much more beyond this to take in and enjoy.
Old House – who were the people who lived here once, and what was their story? These types of photographs of long-forgotten homes and buildings are some of my personal favorites, exposing a little of the story in a glance yet holding back many more secrets and mysteries. A terrific photograph by Jeff Edes.
Full Steam Ahead – the indelible romance found in steam driven trains is inarguable, as evidenced by this stunning photograph captured and shared here by Ann. A stream train chugs its way around a bend on top of an ancient looking stone trestle, surrounded by the most beautiful green natural landscapes.
Dolomites Revelation – blue tones from the night sky silhouettes the dramatic and commanding presences of the mountains that it covers in this gorgeous picture by SysaWorld Roberto Moiola. As the eye follows the layer-upon-layer of mountain ranges into a seemingly endless vista, the tones and colors presented create a striking sense of depth and dimension to the landscape.
Posts in the Mist – old wooden posts, well underway in the process of decay, lead the viewer out into the body of water at North Point, Milwaukee. CJ Schmit’s photograph elicits a sense of drama and loneliness that is a pure joy to take in and view.
Thriving – a panoramic format is used by Jonathan Danker to create a beautiful picture focusing on the epic cityscape found in Singapore. Incredible colors in the night sky work in perfect harmony with the man made lights that make up the skyline and the features of the city to deliver a piece sure to captivate your imagination.
Hmmmm… – absolutely fabulous personality comes to life in this photograph by Beverly Everson, sharing a glimpse of a squirrel in her backyard sitting at the bottom of her bird-feeder pole with a quizzical look. Beverly’s clever concept on how to keep the squirrel out of the feeder results in a moment that is a pure joy to take in.
Summer Snow – local photographer and friend Ehpem shares an image processed in two different styles that shares a view of summer snow in the Olympic Mountains. The black-and-white rendition creates incredible drama in the beautiful landscape, and the color version accents the beauty of it all.
fairy tree – on a lake in the middle of nowhere the remnants of an old tree creates the perfect conditions for another to grow from it. The results are a bonsai looking tree, almost magical in nature, as shot and shared here by dragonflydreams88.
An HDR Look at Arches National Park – incredible beauty found in the landscapes at Arches National Park comes to life in this set of photographs from Keith Cuddeback. As the light continues to fade on the day, Keith spends time exploring the environs coming away with a series of shots sure to delight and amaze everyone.
DeaD TuG – a dead and forlorn tugboat creates an artificial reef of sorts on the shoreline in this dramatic photograph by ViShWa. As the furious waters of the ocean crash upon the boat, a strong sense of artistic tension comes to life as unanswered questions find themselves washing out to sea with the receding waters.
seeing red pt 3 and an observation – spot-on details on classic cars are the main focus in this exploratory piece posted by Oneowner. As Ken showcases details that are distinct styling cues from the early part of the century, he also muses on a piece of film making the rounds on the internet that I admittedly have not seen yet.
Presidential Retreat – Tim Stanley captures a shot of the President George Bush’s office on display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Warm tones from the woodwork combine with the great details in the room, creating a shot that shares more as you spend time taking it in.
Escape – Rich McPeek brings us all along on a trip out to his family’s cabin where we get to kick back from the fast-paced day and enjoy a relaxing visit. The great rustic scenes found both in and out of the cabin make for fabulous photography subjects for Rich to create a series sure to lower everyone’s blood pressure.
Lincoln Memorial In The Fog – a compelling sense of mystery and intrigue shrouds the Lincoln Memorial in this image by Metro DC Photography. As the warm tones from the artificial light infuse the fog, the entire scene is gently blanketed in tones that further the impression of the scene, delivering a picture in some ways that feels like it came from another universe entirely.
St George's Church, Antigua – incredible character in the architecture of an old heritage church on the island of Antigua comes to life in this post from the studio of Mark Summerfield. Twice damaged by major hurricanes, this grand old building today stands tall and proud on the islands, a testament to faith and determination.
5 Ways to End the Ferris Wheel Syndrome of Life – a truly great shot creates a strong basis for a lesson in life, posted here by Spencer McDonald. While some of the concepts Spencer shares here may be common sense in nature, when taken in as a whole they form the basis for a guide to a happy and fulfilled life.
Natural landscapes: fishing in grandeur – this terrific photograph of a rugged Canadian landscape definitely delivers more as you spend time with it. The unforgiving Rocky Mountains create a stunning backdrop for this shot that also features a wonderful still reflection and a fisherman on the shore to add some scale and context.
Some lightning down on the Rincon Mountains – Mike Olbinski’s storm photography brings a dramatic lightning strike to everyone’s monitors with this post. The purple colors brought to life as the electrical bolt strikes the ground works to gently illuminate the downpour that surrounds it and the silhouette and shape of the mountain where the strike hits.
In Monochrome – the epic and jagged beauty found in the Alps is the focus of this photographic exploration shared here by Andy Hooker (LensScaper). Andy processes this series all in black-and-white to accent the rich contrasts found in the snowy environs and the natural beauty of the mountains that reach for the heavens.
Through the Bridge – in a scene where composition is really everything, Steven Perlmutter shares a picture he took on a bridge looking out at the canal. Great details in the old architecture are explored, as is a great reflection of that, in a shot that finds great interest in the framing the bridge provides to the world beyond.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Panorama | Boardwalk Amusement – A Closer Look – Edith Levy captures and shares a fabulous set of shots of the Santa Cruz boardwalk. The first link takes you to a picture that Edith turned into a wide panorama, and the second link takes you to a pair of shots featuring the rides and all the excitement that comes from a visit to a spot like this in the summer.
Just Jelly – shapes, colors and great natural details come to life in this post from Erin Duke. Erin’s post features a montage of these incredible creatures, showcasing the epic biodiversity and resulting beauty found in nature.
Gas pumps in storage – old gas pumps, made in a time long before the advent of debit and credit cards, are captured in this highly dramatic black-and-white by Melinda Green Harvey. The monochrome aspect of the shot creates great contrast, focusing on the details in the building and the pumps from the weathering process.
Waiting for Sunrise – the iconic Thomas Moulton barn in the Grand Teton Park comes into focus with this gorgeous shot produced by Len Saltiel. The incredible details in the weathered wood surfaces work perfectly together with the emerging blue sky from the dawn of a new day to create a piece guaranteed to take your breath away.
T.A. Moulton Barn Turns 100 – this shot features Steve Creek’s interpretation of the famous Thomas Moulton barn in the Grand Teton Park. Taken in the golden hour of the morning, wonderful details and textures in the barn that has seen a century pass by it is accented here by the epic mountains in the backdrop that add so much beauty and drama to the setting.
Like a homecoming… – a lovely shot featuring some beautiful flowers in a vase is shared in this post from the studio of Sherry Galey. As she takes a summer break she leaves us with a parting image captured with a superbly shallow depth-of-focus to really accent the inherent colors and beauty in the flowers.
Untitled – fabulous artistic tension is explored in this picture that features a lone photographer on the shores as the blue hour dominates the scene in gorgeous tones. aymen M . H creates a piece here that is as poignant as it is profound, leaving so much to the imagination of the viewer.
News Anchor – a really, really good looking frog sits perched, looking intently back at the photographer capturing him. Lessy Sebastian’s title for this image adds a great element of fun to the shot, expressing in two short words the feeling you get when viewing this terrific shot.
The Deer Hunter – Max Rinaldi captures a shot of an eagle owl with clearance to land on final approach. As the beautiful bird opens its wings and reaches for its landing spot, Max clicks the shutter at just the right moment to freeze this special second forever.
butterfly – epic details in this beautiful winged creature all come to life in this wonderful photograph by Detlef Knapp. Detlef captures the butterfly on some form of a reflective surface, adding a fabulous dimension to an already captivating scene.
Super Moon over Craigdarroch Castle – Craigdarroch Castle makes for great photography opportunities here in Victoria, BC. Nathan Philps takes advantage of the facility during a supermoon event to capture a black-and-white that just oozes creepiness and drama.
Soft Spot within a Hard Spot – the waters edge creates a gentle leading line to guide the viewer into the picture to take in the landscape. CJ Schmit uses a long exposure to capture this piece, smoothing out the waters to give them an almost surreal feel, yet leaving the details and elements in the surrounding landscape clear to be seen and enjoyed.
Island in the Alaskan Fjord – the incredible beauty of the northern world comes alive in this shot posted by Trey Ratcliff. Terrific textures and details in the tiny island Trey has found in Alaska create an anchor for this shot that also showcases the wild and jagged beauty that can only be found here.
Urban landscapes: architectural glory – terrific lines and shapes lead the viewer up towards the heavens in this shot by Frank King. The unique perspective Frank uses to capture this image lends itself perfectly to the composition, delivering a stunning piece that showcases the beautiful lines found in some modern architecture.
Denali Reflections – the middle of the night finds the Denali Park in Alaska gently lit as the long days leave trails of light pretty much around the clock. Ron Niebrugge creates a shot in this setting that features the beautiful colors in the sky, the epic beauty of the mountains and a near perfect reflection in a pond in the foreground to mirror the entire scene.
window of opportunity – this shot literally drips with artistic tension; what lies beyond the crusty windows that frames the outside world? david stoddart leaves way more to the imagination of the viewer than what is revealed here, making for a picture sure to be enjoyed by fans of this genre.
Lake Of the Clouds – a stunning reflection mirrors a beautiful scene back to the viewer with this wonderful photograph by Andy Gimino. Great details in the landscape are all explored, making for a shot that instantly leaves the visitor with a strong sense of personal peace and oneness with the world we all call home.
Leonardo's final resting place – as the title suggests, we get a glimpse into a very special place with this photograph taken by Jim Nix. Inside the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci we find incredible architectural details all created by master builders, and Jim’s photograph allows us to study these features in great detail.
Desert Rain Cell – storm chasing is an artform in and of itself, often producing incredibly dramatic imagery that is truly second-to-none. Chris Frailey delivers a terrific two-for-one with his post that features a small time lapse video of a storm front moving across a tract of land, as well as a stunning still photograph showcasing the incredible drama as it was unfolding.
Staring back #2 – really incredible textures and details in old, old stonework is accented in this shot from Light Stalking’s own @tomdinning. As a man enters the building, we read Tom’s great words that go along with the image and come away with a really profound sense of something. Perhaps it’s as simple as a perspective on our short lives and mortality, or perhaps it’s an expression of something bigger.
Fog vs. Sunrise – as an early morning sunrise paints a foggy California coast in brilliant colors and hues, Mark Gvazdinskas finds himself amidst an almost magical world. As the landscape and seascape begins to reveal its secrets from a long night in darkness, we get to take in some terrific features, along with a solitary bird in the distance adding a touch of tension.
Colorado State Flower – a gorgeous flower beams color and detail back to the viewer in this great shot by Joe Farace. The shallow depth-of-focus in this capture does a great job of isolating the flower from it’s backdrop, adding a terrific element of interest to the picture.
Alone I Break – a ship lies prone in the waters that form it’s deathbed, rust encroaching over it’s lifeless body as the relentless seas continue to pound what’s left of it. An awesome image by Tomasz Huczek that reveals the artistic tension found in a scene that benefits greatly from the long exposure used to capture it.
Violet stripes – a glorious set of deep purple lines leads the viewer off into a great vanishing point in this photograph by Francesco Ferrarini. Row upon row upon endless row of lavender plants in Provence, France become a beautiful abstract expression of nature sure to please all.
Moraine Lake Sunrise – breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe the epic beauty found at Moraine Lake and The Valley of the Ten Peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Lina Langlois’ composition and resulting image from this iconic landscape delivers a scene with the bluest waters and a stunning reflection.
Chia Truck – I want one. I’ve got a garden, and that would look great in it. Rich McPeek shows off his latest find of a truck left abandoned for quite some time with Mother Nature herself eventually gaining the upper hand. Now covered almost entirely in vegetation, this great old truck never looked so good as it does in Rich’s black-and-white piece here.
Mediterannean Sky – a totally haunting scene finds us looking at a monochromatic vessel capsized in shallow waters in Greece. Incredible textures in it’s hull lead the viewer straight into the heart of the picture where we find a graceful example of artistic tension captured in a frame. A wonderful photograph by Konstantinos Vasilakis.
Crystal Reflection – a black-and-white view of Marine City in Korea at night casts a stunning subject for RYNTEN to capture in this image. The crystal clear rendition of the amazing architecture against the pitch black backdrop delivers a dramatic presentation of the skyscrapers and their mesmerizing reflection.
Carrier by the Beach – massive American aircraft carriers are a real sight to behold, as seen in this great shot by Tim Stanley that showcases the USS Lexington at the Museum at Corpus Christi, Texas. The incredible size of these ships are hard to comprehend, and Tim’s composition does a terrific job of showing the scale and beauty of these engineering marvels.
Doors at Misfat al Abreen – David A Lockwood takes us to what appears to be old wooden doors in ancient stone walls somewhere in Oman. Incredible textures and details in both the doors and the stones that must have seen many a year pass by draws you in to try and connect with the rich history in this incredible image.
Burj khalifa under foggy – a chance to view one of mankinds crowning architectural achievements from on high is delivered in this shot from the studio of Aylin Kinacioglu. The thick fog creates a surreal veil for the tips of the buildings to peek out from under, creating a sense of seeing the human condition through a completely new lens.
Yellow Jacket Mimic Fly, U, Face, MD, Cecil County_2013-07-31-20.34.08 ZS PMax by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring, on Flickr
Urban SoundWave – a piece so astounding it leaves you with a deep impression almost immediately, a view of Dubai from across the water featuring it’s incredible modern architecture and a silky reflection smooth enough to create a mirrored view of the city, with a gentle juxtaposition of showing slight motion from the effects of a soft wind. Karim Nafatni’s shot shares a vantage of an incredible city that is full of people, yet still seems to be lonely and empty.
Take the Long Way Home – Aaron J. Groen creates night time images that are unique and special, often sharing views of landscapes under a star-filled night gently illuminating the land and other features of the vista. This picture delivers on this premise with a ribbon of highway that leads the viewer off into a never-ending distance, into a wonderful vanishing point all highlighted by the amazing sheet of stars that fills the frame in amazing beauty.
Red Spotted Purple Butterfly – this macro photograph by Kerri Farley brings us all up close and personal with a lovely butterfly perched on a leaf. Really wonderful details in it’s face are all accented in this shot, showing off it’s intense natural beauty in a candid setting.
White Faced Scops Owl – Bev shares a close-up view of the face of a White Faced Scops Owl, highlighting it’s amazing personality and character. It’s all the eyes in this shot, showcasing a face full of life and wonder and helping us all to connect with nature around us.
Getting Better at Marketing Your Photography – this has to be one of the toughest aspects about being a professional photography, that is to market yourself. Joe Farace shares a few really great insights into this activity with a few very straightforward thoughts.
‘The Colourful Mr. Eggleston’ – One of the Most Influential Photographers Alive Today – this BBC documentary presentation gives us a glimpse into the man behind the legend. His ability to pan his pundits and critics as he went about the process of creating a storied career gives the rest of us a great sense of inspiration.
Hack Transforms Common Microscopes Into Gigapixel Superscopes – I can’t completely get my head around this new invention, but I can see that it has profound implications on the medical field, and any other field that requires this level of image quality and resolution. This is one of those examples that showcases the seemingly endless ingenuity of mankind.
When Perfect Isn’t Perfect or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blur – this is a great article, full of practical thoughts and concepts that can really help us all move forward in our practices by working with the world around us rather than focusing on the technicalities and details of working with an electronic device in a digital world.
The News Editor Of Seattle's The Stranger Threatened by Cops For Photographing. Makes a Great Story – for those who love the art of photography and the ability to express ourselves freely, this is not a happy day. Perhaps by raising awareness there will be fewer of these incidents in the future. Check out this story and see for yourself.
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.