As another week rolls by us here, Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy looking in all corners of the internet for links to the best tutorials, special features, collections, great photography and interesting blogs to share with everyone. This week's comprehensive list features posts pertinent to all genres of photography, as posted and shared by some of the most talented artists working in the field today. We really hope you enjoy perusing this list as much as the Toad did in bringing it to you.
Tips for Better Available Light Portraits – this short post by Joe Farace shares a few insights into portrait photography. The points shared are common sense in nature, but if you haven’t considered them before they can really expand your horizons in this genre.
My Favorite Quotes: Eddie Adams – photography is definitely one of those fields that seems to be full of quotes and one-liners, many of them holding the key to creating great imagery if applied correctly. Joe Baraban shares one of these quotes as well as some personal thoughts and insights into it, making for a terrific post sure to be enjoyed by all who take the time to visit.
Getting Started with Split Toning – this video tutorial is a little over 18 minutes in length, containing some pretty advanced tips and tricks on split toning in post-processing. The video takes the viewer through the intricacies of this technique, delivering a great tutorial for those who might be interested in this topic.
How To Put Together a Beginner’s Light Painting Kit – this article is a bit of a primer into the artform of light painting in dark settings. This great high-level article discusses how to go about using very inexpensive elements to start playing in the genre, allowing you to see if it’s of interest to you before making a large investment.
A Look at Reducing Noise in Photographs Using Median Blending – a complex mathematical process is discussed in this feature that shows how median stacking can be used to produce striking images with massive reductions in noise. This procedure only applies to static subjects, which introduces other side benefits in some cases, and the results are absolutely astounding.
Tips for Better Outdoor Portraits – once again Joe Farace delivers a brief and concise article that discusses a few basic tips and tricks for outdoor portrait photography. These common sense ideas are sure to help everyone working to perfect their craft in this particular genre of imagery.
Getting Started with Your New Monolight Kit – this comprehensive article discusses the differences between a speedlight and monolight setups, illustrating the key points with photographs. This great article contains all sorts of details and tips, sure to help anyone trying to get started in this realm save some time by reducing the learning curve.
Top 20 Ultimate Ways to Use a Disposable Camera – this here is a terrific list of things you can do and try with the common disposable camera. Many of the ideas presented are fairly straightforward, but there are also a couple of ideas listed here I hadn’t thought of before. All the concepts discussed have a corresponding picture with them to give the reader a visual cue.
Spirit of the Great Bear Rainforest – this is a most profound collection to me personally, featuring the beautiful and rugged landscapes of the west coast we love and call home ourselves. Steve Williamson takes us far up the coast of BC in Canada where he spends the day shooting the beautiful and poignant Spirit Bear. This bear is a direct descendant of the black bear family and casts a striking figure in it’s white fur in the wilds of BC. Steve includes absolutely incredible information on the bear and it’s habitat with his post, taking a series of shots that would be utterly amazing to see on their own and turning this post into an absolute must-see destination in this week’s list.
Black-and-White Photos That Capture the Feeling of Winter Mornings in Montreal – snowy winter scenes lend themselves perfectly to the medium of black-and-white photography. Julien Coquentin’s natural ability to create compelling compositions full of artistic tension with the candid nature of the people included in his pieces do a fabulous job of sharing a little of the character and spirit of this great city as winter drifts down upon it.
The Mysterious Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park, California – this place is the source of stories and enigmas, many left unanswered even though many people have opinions. Whether you believe in some of the stories that place the responsibility on aliens for these incredible moving rocks in the middle of the desert, or more natural sources, the feeling one has when seeing pictures from this place is unlike that of anywhere else. This great collection of photos by Renée M. Besta is accompanied in this post by some really terrific background information on the site.
Cornish Works, Sheffield – March 2013 – this post finds us joining mrdistopia on an exploration of a now-defunct toolmaking factory. This comprehensive collection of photographs showcase the facility in remarkably decent condition considering the time that has passed. Wide shots featuring the architecture and natural light streaming in are shared alongside some really terrific detail pieces highlighting some of the finds left behind in the factory.
Beautiful Black and White Photos of The Basilica of the Sagrada Família – this collection of black-and-white images focuses on the architectural genius of Antoni Gaudi, featuring inside black-and-white shots of the La Sagrada Família Basilica. Incredible lines, geometric, shapes, colors, shadows and drama are all wonderfully captured in this series that at times takes on a bit of an abstract feeling as the viewer gets lost in it all.
Best Pictures Of The Decade: The Noughties – **WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT** – this is an epic collection of photographs, showing some of the most profound events and moments of the decade known as the “noughties”. Some of the shots featured could be disturbing to some, but truth is not always wrapped up in a tidy package for everyone’s consumption. I feel it’s important to look at the world and times we live in through many different lenses, making articles like this very important.
32 Pictures To Help You Appreciate The Awesomeness Of Nature – each shot included in this list is a great example of the wonder of nature. Featuring pictures of many different locations and elements of interest, this broad-range of pictures is sure to keep the avid nature enthusiast busy for quite some time.
21 Most Beautiful Nature Photos On Stumbleupon – if you check out one link in this week’s list, this one is a true contender. This collection contains a terrific variety of high quality photographs, many of them of scenes most of us would never see if not for photography.
11 Perfectly Timed Photos You Don’t Want To Miss – it’s been said time and time again, timing is everything. This jaw-dropping collection of photographs contains images that exemplify this saying to a proverbial “T”.
Solitude – a breathtaking post is featured here by Chris Maskell, sharing not just a stunning black-and-white shot full of drama and tension, but also a profound series of insights and thoughts that add great dimension. This is definitely one of those pictures that can stand on it’s own as a terrific piece, but taken in context with Chris’ post it takes on a full perspective sharing a little into our own human condition.
Wasteland – Mike Olbinksi shares a new shot from his catalog of critically-acclaimed storm images. This shot shares a view of a haboob inbound frame-left, with a dry and cracked landscape with a single shrub standing in the right side. The natural artistic tension is almost palpable in this picture, making for a compelling piece to view and enjoy.
Staring into space #9 – many of us spend vast quantities of our lives in search of the elusive question “why am I here and what do I leave behind?” Our very own Tom Dinning (@tomdinning) here on Light Stalking shares a great new photograph that can easily leave the viewer full of wonder in the tension it expresses, and Tom’s profound thoughts behind it prove that he is just as much a philosopher as a master photographer.
Courthouse Butte and the Milky Way – an incredible starry sky fills the top part of this frame and an amazing natural rock formation fills the bottom. Chris Frailey’s shot is guaranteed to take your breath away with terrific colors, tones and details in the rock and the epic details found in the larger universe we’re all a part of.
Moss Roof – an amazing study in weathering is shared in this post from local photographer Ehpem, who showcases a short series of images of a very old house with a roof cloaked in thick moss. The colors and the textures of the scene are quintessentially west coast, all brought to life with Ehpem’s HDR processing. If you like these kinds of subjects, this is a must-see post in this week’s list.
tripped switch – the juxtaposition of modern elements, like circuit boards and wiring, converge with older elements like brickwork to create a strong image in this shot posted by david stoddart. David’s fantastic work in the realm of Urbex allows him to deliver pictures full of fabulous details and textures.
Shadows of history – as you might expect by the name of this image, it’s all about the shadows here. Nejdet Duzen takes us to a wonderful old temple in Turkey that lies in near ruins with a great shot that features all the details one would hope to see, as well as a very dramatic shadow cast by the stone columns.
That first step… – the old adage “watch out for that first step, it’s a doozie” comes to life in this great photograph by Melinda Green Harvey. Melinda finds the best subject to shoot, frequently bearing her lens upon forgotten and abandoned locations. This black-and-white shot features a loading bay with a pair of doors with no steps.
Empty Chairs – as Memorial Day passes in the United States, we find quite a few people reflecting on sacrifices made by others on behalf of our own freedoms. This great black-and-white shot by Bob Lussier is a detailed and poignant shot of small chairs positioned on a sheet of plexiglass, with each chair representing a lost member of the military.
Strech – a beautiful Lynx cat stretches its legs as it looks out to frame right in this fabulous shot by Wolf Ademeit. The cat looks to be fairly mellow in nature at this moment and Wolf’s picture does a great job of capturing a little of its spirit and personality.
Owl in the Grass – owls are just so very expressive, making for terrific photography subjects to shoot and share. Christopher Cove shares a great shot of a Burrowing Owl at morning, standing in a little patch of grass looking out. Christopher’s great composition really brings the great personality of this little bird out for all to enjoy.
North Pier – this shot features absolutely terrific leading lines in the pier that makes it’s way out to the ocean, as well as some really warm and vibrant tones in the early morning sky. This colorful photograph is captured and shared here by Denis Ananiadis.
Cluster – this heavily processed image features great light and shadow and fabulous natural dramatic elements. The lines between reality and imagination are highly blurred in this shot, as captured, created and shared here by Jean-Michel Priaux.
The Ultimate Price – in light of Memorial Day in the United States, Jim Denham delivers a poignant and profound piece, sharing a pair of images that are really sympathetic to the message. Jim’s careful photography and processing on these shots brings the heartfelt message to bear for those who visit.
Fluidity – this is another of those great shots we see from time-to-time that takes us high above the clouds, showcasing a morning in Dubai covered in a slow-moving fog. Daniel Cheong delivers a great picture here, full of fabulous architectural detailing as well as the mystique from the rolling fog that drapes the city.
Festival Hall – as light filters through the architectural features, it dapples the floor in an absolutely riveting scene filled with light and shadow. Ryusuke Komori’s shot taken inside a hall in Japan creates a mesmerizing piece for the visitor to view and enjoy.
Free Fall – without the bridge that spans the sides of these incredible falls, no sense of true scale would be present. With the bridge, we get a strong sense of size and context, turning an already beautiful scene into one that truly captivates the mind and spirit. This is a fabulous shot, as captured and shared here by Len Saltiel.
Tanglewood – Summer Stage – Steve Beal brings us along as he captures a shot of his bandmates putting out the music live. This moment in time is forever captured for everyone to enjoy, bringing a little of the energy and excitement that comes from a live show like this.
Spring Show – Need Help – Averil McPhedran Hall displays a set of photographs being considered for inclusion in an upcoming photo show. These shots are really beautiful, many of them featuring vibrant colors and details found in nature.
Cathartic – after having gone through so much personally of late, Heather creates a new post here featuring a study of her wedding dress, using it as a metaphor for some of the things she finds herself going through. The single picture posted here is really quite dramatic, with careful processing used to create the perfect image representative of the feeling being conveyed.
Lamp’s Eye View – this poignant post by local photographer Ehpem features a looking out view, composed of a great interior wall graced in warm tones and a window that allows the viewer to look out. Ehpem’s great application of HDR to these shots does a great and natural job of balancing the various elements of the image, creating a striking series full of great details and textures.
Yosemite Splendor – the early light of dawn drapes the breathtaking scenery of Yosemite National Park in a warm and inviting light, the perfect setting for Len Saltiel to photograph and share. The indescribable beauty of the park setting finds further interest in the rich and still reflection from the still body of water that lies near the front of the frame.
5 27 13 – oneowner delivers an abstract piece with a muted reflection in a window creating huge interest for the eye to take in and explore. This is a truly captivating piece that goes much deeper as you spend some time taking in the details.
Are those feet I smell? – a great picture from Spencer McDonald starts an interesting journey that finds you on another site entirely taking in the history and background information on the main picture posted. This great HDR photograph features a really amazing shoe museum, creating a post that is much more than just a picture posted; it’s an entire discovery.
Doha City – a line of boats beached on shore forms the most incredible photography subject for Othman Al.mashan. As the boats lie prone on the shore, the beautiful light from the pending sunrise blankets the entire setting in warm tones, adding a further element of interest.
166 channels and nothing on TV – this picture takes on a study of modern living, focusing on our constant need for input and simulation. Much more than a photograph, Jacek Gadomski’s terrific shot of a pigeon standing in an empty TV cabinet creates a profound statement.
Blue Hour – this shot defines the expression “blue”, featuring a great pier that forms a natural leading line to guide the viewer through the frame out into the body of water in the distance. The pier also serves as a terrific vanishing point in this great photograph by Achim Thomae.
butterfly II – silhouettes and extremely fascinating natural cloud formations form the most interesting patterns in this shot, almost forming a butterfly. After the initial impression sets in, the viewer begins to explore this shot which reveals great and vibrant colors in the sky and terrific textures and details in the clouds.
Plot Twist – subtle, long shadows provide the drama in this great photograph from José Ramos. As the viewer’s eye wanders outward in the frame by following the great wooden pier, you are greeted with really wonderful colors in the sky, all topped off perfectly with a terrific vanishing point.
Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, S.C. – a great HDR image from Rob Hanson that showcases a breathtaking fountain in a park at night. The terrific colors of the fountain work in perfect harmony with the details to create a compelling piece sure to be enjoyed by all who view it.
Dead Horse – a truly terrific shot from Bob Lussier takes us deep into this park where we get to enjoy a stunning scene that looks like it goes on forever. Each layer is delineated by the softening tones as the vista goes deeper and deeper. A stunning and highly dramatic image.
Twilight at Mesquite Sand Dunes – a pastel landscape featuring rolling dunes and a soft blue sky is showcased in this wonderful picture by Anne McKinnell. As the fading light changes the scene, changing the tones and hues of the colors, Anne finds a great composition to share with everyone.
Missing Homework – a highly dramatic shot from the studio of Steven Perlmutter of a letter left abandoned in a school. The natural light streaming into the scene creates an amazing setting, carefully and sympathetically processed by Steven to really accent the rich tension.
Badlands = No Bad Photographs – the mesmerizing and ever-changing landscape in the Badlands creates scenes slightly reminiscent of an alien landscape. This post finds us joining Keith Cuddeback as he travels through the area sharing a series of compelling pictures carefully processed in HDR to really accent the rich details of the area.
Sunset over John Moulton Barn – a heart wrenching scene completely draped in wonder and awe awaits the viewer in this terrific shot by Rick Louie. The ultimate drama of the Grand Teton mountain range overlooks this old wooden barn full of rich character, all carefully and lovingly processed in black-and-white to accent the incredible contrasts and details held within.
Love The Dew – a vibrantly colored green leaf plays host to a plethora of water drops, creating a delicate and lovely abstract image that is very pleasing to look at. This is a terrific photograph, captured and shared here by Beverly Everson.
Dome of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart – great architectural details are brought to life in the deep shadows and shapes captured in this great photograph by Tim Stanley. This is a profound shot, featuring really terrific elements in this strong composition.
The Railyards – this terrific and colorful photograph taken by local photographer Lotus Johnson features a community in our city of Victoria situated on the water. Lotus’ great composition showcases the great lines of the architecture, creating natural leading lines in the frame.
in the church with no lights on – in a rather creepy feeling shot david stoddart takes us inside a dark church when no one else is present. The great details and textures in the rich inside of the facility are all brought out in this great shot from David.
Lake Powell Camping – fabulous colors in the morning sky gently illuminate the surroundings of this beautiful location. Ron Niebrugge shares the colorful and detailed setting with us in this shot that also features his wife far below to give an added sense of context and scale to the scene.
Deserts and…color? – the main body of Melinda Green Harvey’s work lies in the realm of old, abandoned places shot in black-and-white to really bring out and accent the sharp details and contrasts held within. This departure from her usual image creation finds us taking in a great color photograph of an abandoned place with a pink set of columns holding up a frame that once held a sign.
Everybody Loves Him!!! – this photograph is absolutely self-explanatory when taken in context with the title given it. photobypawelp finds a wonderful little dog, full of great character, which is perfectly captured and shared in this photograph guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
Manhattan Homestead – when most of us think of Manhattan, we think of multi-million dollar penthouses and basically anything considered the center of worldly banking. In a shot that is distinctly the very opposite of this, we find ourselves joining Bob Lussier who explores an abandoned homestead setup, coming away with a great and compelling picture to view and enjoy.
Cat-Nap – this great shot by Edith Levy features the inside of a book store, with all the great shapes, colors and lines that are created by rows of books. In the center of the frame we find a wonderful little cat, all curled up and sleeping. Edith notes that perhaps he or she has ready everything already.
IR mood – David Keochkerian captures a great infrared landscape shot here, featuring a dramatic and compelling sky and really incredible details in the landscape below. David’s fabulous photograph creates a specific and strong feeling, in some ways slightly surreal in the colors explored and shared.
Peace At The Falls – Jim Denham shares a great black-and-white landscape shot here, featuring a beautiful waterfall. Jim also captures a person deep in thought in the shot, adding a terrific layer of context and tension to the picture.
Giant – Andy Gimino shares a captivating piece in this post, showcasing a large rock sitting in the lake. Andy’s use of long exposure to create this shot smoothes out the water and the clouds, almost giving them an ethereal feel, leaving the details and textures of the giant boulder clearly visible as an anchor in the shot.
on the edge of eternity – Jordan Oram shares a great shot that features the silhouettes of houses against the fading light of sun in the late-day’s sky. Jordan finds an almost perfect reflection in the composition, perfectly mirroring the picture back to the viewer.
“UFO over ABQ” – if you’ve been doubting the pending invasion from outer space, we’ve got photographic proof here. Joe Farace captures a really interesting shot of a UFO on display, and the composition he’s used here works in harmony with the filter selected to deliver something absolutely unique.
limestone – an ethereal shot finds the viewer gazing out over what appears to be an ocean. Fabulous colors in the sky work perfectly together with the natural rocks and sticks in the foreground of the shot to create a truly captivating piece to take in and enjoy.
Rainbow Bridge – a great shot that has a strong bridge as the primary element also features a soft, rippled reflection. RYNTEN picture takes the viewer into the frame naturally with the bridge serving as a leading line, gently leaving you gazing upon the city skyline in the distance.
Smoky Smoky Mountains – a really strong photography element finds the viewer taking in layers of landscape that are delineated by a gradual softening in tones as the distance increases. This effect leads to a sense of scale, as is wonderfully exemplified in this great shot by Mark Neal.
A Classy Impala – gentle flowing lines, wonderful chrome details and trim and a very classy stance all merge in this fabulous photograph by Tim Stanley that showcases a true classic American car. This car in particular is in immaculate shape, creating a great way for the visitor to go back in time in an instant.
Picture Lake – Fall – this crystal clear landscape image by Samujjwal Roy reveals all sorts of features to the viewer as you spend time with it. The epic mountains in the backdrop produce a striking element that is anchored in the vibrant colors of the forest around it and the wonderful reflection created in a small body of still water.
The Edge Explorer – in what would be an absolutely mesmerizing shot on it’s own, we find a further to take in with the photographer’s partner standing on a precipice overlooking an active lava flow. Bruce Omori shares this epic shot and some anecdotal details on it that shows how dedicated photographers are in their practices, including facing danger head-on without any fear.
Cliffs – an incredible natural rock cliff forms a perfect frame for the ocean in this breathtaking piece by Francesco Alamia. This naturally stunning location is perfectly captured in this shot, and Francesco also includes some interesting details about the park to add an extra dimension.
blackdog side door – what a terrific study in texture, showcasing different patterns and colors in the side of a brick building in an alley. The first shot posted by oneowner showcases a wider view of the setting, and the second one focuses in closely on the terrific bench. There is just so much to take in and enjoy in these two photos, making this post well worth the time for a visit.
Cool Blue Morning – the rich blue hues of the morning in Washington, DC are explored in this incredible photograph from Metro DC Photography. The Washington Monument stands tall and proud in this photo, being the prime subject, but it also is served by the soft reflection in the waters that sit in the foreground of the shot.
The Posture of Pisa – Terry Border’s careful use of props has made him well-known. Terry’s work always reveals a special statement for those who seek it within the piece produced. He accompanies his unique vision with strong photography skills that really accent the message being shared.
river saar, germany – a lovely landscape scene featuring a winding river in Germany, as shot and shared here by wolfgang staudt. Beautiful colors in the sky are accented by the gentle white cloud drifting over the vast landscape below.
Mockingbird in the Berries – Kerri Farley captures and shares a wonderful shot of a Mockingbird perched in a tree, surrounded by bright berries. This lovely image does a top drawer job of sharing a little of the character of these birds.
Passing Storm on the Ridge – this wonderful landscape photo from Rachel Cohen finds us overlooking a mountain range, taking in the wondrous natural beauty of the area. A wonderful bunch of clouds adds just a touch of drama to the picture which leaves the viewer with a strong sense of expanse.
Spring Showers – a gentle and soft picture of a pink flower, focusing on the lovely drops of water that sit delicately on it’s petals after a fresh rainfall. Kat White composes and delivers an absolutely beautiful shot featuring some of the finest colors that Mother Nature has in her pallette.
Burj Arab – the incredible architecture found today in Dubai makes for terrific photography opportunities, as shared here by Vincent Xeridat. The striking modern architecture of this particular building makes for a compelling subject, with really great features, all brought together by the soft and beautiful colors of the fading light in the sky.
5 Great Film Cameras on a Tiny Budget – Chase Jarvis writes a fascinating post discussing 5 different models of film camera. Whether it’s a format you’re drawn to for personal reasons or you are trying to further your skills in the field, this brief article is sure to shed some light on this topic.
In the face of tear gas – this post shares a few shots of protesters being actively tear-gassed by authorities. It’s a bit of a strong juxtaposition to see heavily armed police spraying such a totally noxious substance on people who are armed with only cameras and their beliefs.
How to Use Flickr’s 1TB of Free Space to Store More Than Pictures – how to turn Flickr’s new 1TB of online storage space into your own personal cloud based file repository. The folks at Yahoo will undoubtedly be patching this at some point in the future, but in the meantime is serves as an interesting option for those looking to utilize cloud storage options.
Portugal’s love affair with canned fish – this highly interesting photo-study takes us to Portugal where Jose Manuel Ribeiro shares a great piece showcasing canned fish, a highly popular item in this part of the world. Jose’s compelling shots and insights share a great perspective of the people and traditions from this area.
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.