Another week comes to a close and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy searching for the best links to tutorials, reviews, special features, great photography and interesting blogs to share here with everyone. This week's list contains a little of everything, ranging from feel-good stories to abandoned power stations to huge landslides. We really hope you enjoy checking out these links as much as the Toad did in bringing this week's list to you.
Using One Light in the Studio or On Location – sometimes the best solutions are the most straightforward, as is evidenced by this lighting setup discussed by Joe Farace. This simple setup produces striking results, as shown by the photograph Joe shares in the post to illustrate his key concept.
Gear Review: LOWEPRO TRANSIT BACKPACK 350 AW – this is a great review, written by Ren Bostelaar, discussing the latest bag offerings from LOWEPRO. Ren’s great write-up includes a couple of images to show you how great the bag is full of gear, and he talks about how reliable and multi-faceted these items truly are.
County Courthouse – Ehpem takes us to the County Courthouse in the San Juan Islands where he showcases the great architectural statement made by the building itself. He also shares a few shots showing different aspects of his processing on this image, including the use of the latest Topaz Labs offering Clarity. This presentation makes it easy to see the subtle differences and adjustments the varying algorithms make in the post-processing phase.
Video: Photographer Joe McNally Shoots From the Tallest Building in the World – what’s better than getting a chance to see one of your favorite photographers in the world behind the scenes at a shoot? How about a chance to see an amazing image unfold right in front of your eyes! This captivating video presentation takes us along as Joe McNally climbs to the tippy top of the highest building in the world to capture an iconic shot.
Timelapse of a supercell near Booker, Texas – an epic natural event occurs as Mike Olbinski and his friend chase the perfect perspective to capture a time-lapse video of the unfolding phenomenon. The results of this forward thinking and hard work is a once in a lifetime time-lapse that strongly resembles a highly dramatic scene unfolding on another planet entirely.
Simply Forgotten: Jon Crispin – this special feature documents the effects of people institutionalized earlier in the century. This project undertaken by Jon Crispin delivers a profound and poignant look into the fabric of the person these items once belonged to, leaving the visitor with a deep sense of sorrow for the lives spent and forgotten in these facilities.
Kinsol Trestle – this refurbished wooden trestle is widely considered to be one of the largest of its kind in the world, and it happens to live just a few miles away from us. Local photographer Keith takes us along on a detailed exploration of this incredible piece of engineering, showcasing it from all angles. It’s absolutely amazing to see, and it happens to be one of our favorite subjects to visit. For comparison, here is a link to our gallery of Kinsol Trestle photographs.
Power Plant Mega – Germany, May 2013 – a massive power plant facility, now long unused, forms the prime subject for Urbex explorers to visit and come away with an incredible set of photographs. The incredible scale of this place becomes evident as you spend time with each image posted, taking in the great details carefully composed to showcase the awesome size and scale.
Massive landslide stops production at Bingham Canyon Mine – this is not just an amazing story, it’s also an amazing compendium of photographs documenting what is believed to be one of the largest recorded landslides in the US in history. Reading the article leaves the visitor absolutely gobsmacked in terms of trying to understand the sheer scale of the event, but the real star of this show is the 37 photo slideshow that accompanies the article.
Mirror Mirror – Scott Frederick delivers a new image for his portfolio, this one featuring a washroom in a long-forgotten facility. The incredible natural light streaming in plays with the textures and details left behind by years of decay to create a captivating shot that reveals all sorts of wonderful secrets as you spend time seeking them out and taking them in.
Camels in Broome, Australia – what I would consider to be an unlikely find in Australia of all places makes for the perfect subject for Shahar Keren. A line of camels is led along the shore of the ocean as the sun sets, creating really compelling and striking silhouettes against the backdrop of the beautiful colors in the sky. A strong reflection from the waters and wonderful cloud formations in the sky add the finishing touches to this piece.
Monumental – in a vista the seems to have no end, Mike Criswell comes away with this terrific landscape shot full of details. The scene presented features the Colorado National Monument in all of it’s glory, perfectly processed to highlight all the natural beauty and intricate details of the surroundings.
Postcard from Maple Bay – a lovely image taken from my own backyard, Maple Bay, by local photographer Joseph de Lange. Joseph frames this great photograph with some of our famous local Arbutus trees, revealing a breathtaking vista beyond of the ocean and mountains that Vancouver Island is so famous for.
The Barn Door Was Open – Jim Denham finds his way into the inside of an old barn, coming away with this rustic shot that really showcases the character of the place. Terrific textures and details are explored in this photo, making for a real must-see shot in this week’s list.
Synergy – a terrific compendium of photographs delicately processed to align with the age and type of car featured, as posted and shared here by Chris Maskell. A classic and historic Rolls-Royce motorcar is the primary subject in this set, and Chris does a terrific job of creating a presentation sure to be enjoyed by old car fans from all walks of life.
Beware of the Fremont Bridge Troll – a huge statue under a bridge forms a cornerstone in the community of Fremont. Spencer McDonald does a terrific job of composing and processing a shot that reveals all the fabulous character of the statue, and he includes some background information on the piece to add a great dimension of interest to his post.
Awestruck By Beauty – a barren landscape sits under the epic beauty of the Milky Way in this breathtaking piece by Michael Shainblum. Terrific colors in the sky work together with the rugged and uninviting features below to paint a picture with a strong and dramatic feel.
A supercell near Booker, Texas – the raw fury and drama revealed in a supercell storm is explored in this photograph from Mike Olbinski. This true must-see shot details an almost once in a lifetime event for a photographer to fully capture, and Mike’s picture certainly does this all justice.
Time Is Golden – this strong image features what I believe to be a city skyline in Singapore with really compelling architecture exposed beneath the warm and golden tones of the lights from the buildings and the rich blue hues from the waning light of day. A great photograph captured and shared here by Manita Goh.
Open? – Steven Perlmutter finds and shares a picture of an old artifact at the mills he shoots. This piece seems to denote that something is open, but we’re not sure what. Terrific textures and details in the old, worn metal makes for a compelling shot to see.
The Scream – a powerful and dramatic shot featuring a raptor making it’s feeling known by eliciting a scream. This great photograph by Pedro Jarque Krebs is composed with the bird looking off frame, adding a terrific touch of dramatic tension to the photo.
Nordic walking – Jacek Gadomski casts a haunting feel in this monochromatic image that showcases a path in the forest with light streaming in. The processing and the way the light streams in from outside the field of view work in perfect harmony to create a picture that defines artistic tension.
Manhattan at night – strong wooden piers form a great leading element to guide the viewer across the waters to rest upon the intricate beauty of the city’s skyline in the distance. Krzysiek Rabiej captures a dramatic shot full of details, sure to keep the viewer engaged as you spend some time finding all the treasures held within.
Mount Fuji(B＆W） – this very dramatic black-and-white image features the landmark Mount Fuji. Motony Anitha’s use of a monochrome processing style really adds a strong element to the inherent drama found in the landscape.
Morning Glory – inherent romance is found in old lighthouses, a favorite photography subject of mine. Steven Perlmutter delivers a terrific shot of Annisquam Light in Gloucester, MA, composing it perfectly to really accent the character of the setting.
Iris Buds – a fabulous series of black-and-whites featuring the delicate beauty and drama found in Iris’. Local friend and photographer Ehpem delivers a great set here, really focusing on the intricate details that comprise the beauty of these flowers.
Shack, Cisco, Utah – a shot that defies straight lines everywhere, as captured and shared here by Mark Garbowski. A rundown old shack stands in the middle of nowhere, well underway in the process of decay, and Mark captures a great shot of the scene that features textures, and light and shadow.
walk the gang plank! – I get nervous just looking at this shot by david stoddart. A completely burnt out factory is presented in this shot, with a look across the factory and into the floor below from where once a boundary existed. Terrific details and haunting textures leave the visitor with many questions unanswered.
Taylor Barn Rolls In – Jerry Denham captures a truly American rustic scene in this landscape photograph. An old wooden barn, full of terrific character, sits in the frame surrounded by hay bales and the diffused morning light of a sky filled with a veil of fog.
Mississauga Skyline, Ontario, 2013 – Ren Bostelaar shares a view of the Mississauga city skyline through the mist of fog. As we look across a body of water at the city in the distance, the diffused details of the city’s architecture is exposed in the silhouettes of the buildings.
Running Over – this gorgeous shot of a waterfall in Oak Creek Parkway in South Milwaukee is presented by CJ Schmit. CJ uses black-and-white in creating this shot to really accent the strong and dramatic natural elements of the park setting that surrounds the beautiful falls being captured.
Night-o-rama – Light Stalking’s own @astaroth shares a trio of night shots in this great post. These super-long exposures deliver scenes filled with star trails, delicate night light, great architectural details and light trails from passing vehicles. A must see set in this week’s list.
Sylvan Lake – Robert Berry creates and delivers a lovely landscape scene showcasing the natural beauty of a lake in South Dakota and it’s surroundings. This beautiful scene takes the viewer immediately to a peaceful place to take in the compelling details that comprise this stunning setting.
Grills – you just can’t beat the great character found in old vehicles, especially ones that have been long forgotten and are well underway in their journey to return to the earth. Rob Nopola finds one such old truck and captures and shares an image processed in black-and-white to really accent the drama.
Inner Harbor At Baltimore – epic blues, subtle reflections and captivating architectural elements work together in this photograph from Metro DC Photography. The beautiful city skyline is gently reflected back in the still waters in the foreground in this wonderful photograph.
The Long Beach – Barry Turner shares a fabulous landscape scene showcasing a beautiful oceanside beach as the sun sets. Barry’s careful composition does a great job of highlighting the beauty of the place, all brought together in the perfect vanishing point that the viewer finds by following the shore into the distance.
Soportales – this is a fabulous example of a photographic study of lines and shapes, light and shadow, featuring a row of grand pillars that leads the viewer right through the frame naturally. Mariló Irimia captures a terrific shot here and carefully processes it to accent the key elements found in the composition.
Pyramid Mountain – this lovely landscape scene features a rippled lake in the foreground and a majestic mountain trying to peek above the clouds in the backdrop. Brenda Widdess does a stellar job in capturing and creating this piece, making for a landscape photo sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Sunflower – this close-up macro shot of a sunflower by Anita Megyesi provides the definition for the term “colorful”. Anita’s careful composition with this piece showcases a segment of the center and the petals of the flower, producing a colorful splash with some really fascinating details to take in.
On Guard – this fabulous shot features a group of stags standing in a field in the early morning, surrounded by a thick fog and warm tones from the rising sun. This ethereal piece by Peter reveals the true drama and tension in the scene created by the silhouettes of the stags.
Old Mill – a rustic and colorful scene is presented to the visitor in this shot, showcasing the raw beauty of a river deep in the forest with an old wooden mill. Rodney Lange’s shot features absolutely fabulous details in both the natural elements and the inherent character found in the old mill itself.
A Dark Grey Cloud – for those who love incredible reflections, this is a must-see shot in this week’s list. Jim Denham finds a fabulous scene with a very still body of water in the foreground and some terrific natural elements around it. The still waters create an almost perfect mirrored reflective surface with just enough movement to introduce a bit of dimension to the scene.
Hummingbird photography – trying to capture a Hummingbird in flight is like trying to catch air; they flit around so quickly that composition is only the beginning of the challenge. Scott Wood captures a fabulous shot here and discusses a little of the technicalities behind it, making for a really great post to visit.
Grand Vista – Len Saltiel takes us along on an exploration of the Grand Canyon. Len’s stunning and dramatic image features great light from the golden hour, and as a result of the time this shot was taken it also delivers really captivating shadows that showcase depth and scale.
Silver Bullet – the Chevrolet Corvette means business both on the track and parked. This fabulous shot by Michael Lewis Glover features a 2014 Corvette Stingray on display, and Michael’s terrific shot does a great job of exploring the lines and curves that make this car the icon it is.
The Civil War – Rachel Cohen brings us along as she explores a re-enactment of the Civil War. Rachel’s set of photographs in this post focus on the people in the event, and her shots are all processed using sepia to further the nostalgic feel.
Bay Bridge blues – Jim Nix shares a colorful and detailed shot of the Bay Bridge, showcasing the beautiful landscape it sits within and a set of really fabulous wooden piers in the foreground. This is most definitely an image the delivers more for the viewer as you spend time taking in some of the terrific details.
Preikestolen, Norway – if we didn’t have the added context of a person in this shot it would still be utterly amazing, but when included, the person standing on the edge of a precipice adds great context and scale. Europe Trotter captures a dramatic and stunning shot here, creating an image the expresses the true scale and expanse of this natural formation.
Early Morning Solitude – Len Saltiel brings us inside to enjoy the rustic feel of a wood lodge in the Alaska countryside. The warm tones from the natural wood bathes the scene in welcoming tones, almost beckoning the viewer to step into the frame and enjoy a moment of peace.
Staring into Space #12 – a great visual and thought-provoking study into the state of being is shot and shared in this post from our own Tom Dinning (@tomdinning) here on Light Stalking. This simple photograph delivers much more to the viewer as you read Tom’s words that accompany it, painting an entire scene in the mind’s-eye of the visitor.
Craigdarroch Castle – a truly iconic spot here in my hometown, Craigdarroch Castle was designed and built by one of our local families that has deep roots in the colonial settling of Vancouver Island. The castle has a distinctly European feel to it and makes for great photography. For comparison, see the gallery of HDR photographs we’ve taken of this site.
Low Clouds – Jeff Clow takes us deep into Grand Teton National Park where we get to enjoy a lovely shot of the incredible landscape that makes this place so famous. A terrific mirrored reflection adds a great element of interest to this scene that finds the incredible mountains in the distance looking out over the expanse of the park.
A New Day Begins – Len Saltiel takes us along to a spot I’ve visited often growing up. The incredible beauty of Lake Louise creates a terrific reflective surface for the surroundings, creating a striking image sure to take your breath away.
Lake Ashby – Marks and Joey Culver explore a great park in this set, coming away with a terrific series of monochrome images showcasing the landscape and some of it’s finer details. The rich contrast expressed in this set does a fabulous job of defining depth in these shots, making for a compelling series of images to view in this week’s list.
Fisgard: A Guiding Light – this is a fabulous shot of one of our area’s prized icons, the Fisgard Lighthouse. Today it stands as a national heritage site and a must-see destination in our city. Laurie MacBride’s great photograph showcases the inherent romance and intrigue of the facility, with an incredible mountain range looming in the backdrop.
Kirk Fell & Great Gable – an absolutely gorgeous landscape scene is presented to the viewer in this photograph by Tom. A lovely old stone fence gently guides the viewer into the frame by creating a leading line, taking you out into the vastness of the green rolling hills and all they have to offer.
The Hajar Mountains – incredible layers of mountains and rolling hills are explored in this great shot from David A Lockwood. Great shadows streaming in from frame left create a sense of scale and depth to the gorgeous scene, making for a shot that a viewer can certainly get lost within.
The Church on the Hill – a wonderful and old stone church sits on a bluff in France, looking out over an endless sea in this epic photograph by wim denijs. The warm tones exposed in this image create a strong sense of drama and tension, as if we all await a stream of medieval visitors to make their way here.
Turret Arch Nightly View – Turret Arch cuts a striking silhouette against the night sky, highlighting the grand beauty and colors coming from the Milky Way far overhead. This is a very powerful and dramatic image, as shot and shared here by Scott Ackerman.
The Terraplane Hood Ornament – cars and their details can make for fabulous photography subjects, displaying lines, colors and details that have broad appeal. This great shot by Tim Stanley features an old hood ornament, sharing a little of the character of the car and the times it represents.
Daybreak – Nags Head Pier – this is a fabulous sunrise shot, as shared here by Curt Fleenor. Beautiful colors from the rising sun bask the scene in great blue tones, and a wooden pier serves as a natural leading line to take the viewer through the frame and eventually out to sea where you are greeted with a colorful day break.
The waterfall at The Grand Wailea – a really lovely waterfall in front of the Grand Wailea creates a perfect subject for the photography of Jim Nix. The dramatic lighting that envelopes the scene helps create strong areas of contrast, accented perfectly by vibrantly colored flowers and the strong sense of motion from the falls themselves.
Night Vision – this is a great study of light, shadow and color, as shot and shared here by Bob Lussier. As the light makes its way into the stairway vestibule of the old mills Bob is famous for photographing, it changes tone and hue as it plays with edges and shadows making for a really dramatic shot.
Snoqualmie Falls – Bobby Joshi pretty much travels to the very ends of the earth to capture this stunning photograph of one of the Pacific Northwest’s best known landmark. Bobby encounters the Snoqualmie Falls in December just as the clouds make way to let in some fabulous tones that gently light up the area, producing a breathtaking scene of this incredible natural formation.
Kupapa‘u – a place where lava meets the ocean, a place unlike that of any other place. Bruce Omori captures a stellar photograph of a lava flow cascading down the side of a rock face into the ocean where a huge plume of steam comes alive from the outflow. A colorful and detailed photograph sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
P-51 Mustang, Manassas Airport Open House 2013 – Perry Bailey delivers a striking portrait of a very famous aircraft. Perry’s subtle processing on this HDR image allows the full dynamic range to be explored, as well as the great details that go into this aircraft design. This plane looks as beautiful parked as it does gracing the air.
Fly – Stefano Ronchi captures a fabulous shot of a owl in flight, capturing the finest details in the bird as it concentrates on the task at hand. The composition that Stefano used to create this image does a perfect job of sharing the natural artistic tension in the scene.
Jenne Farm – if this is an example of Wayne Beauregard’s acceptable work, I cannot wait to see what else he has in store for us! Wayne visits a rustic and picturesque farm in Vermont, coming away with this terrific landscape photograph that exhibits all the character and beauty of the area.
“Sports” Rain Delay – there’s something profound about this shot from Howard Jackman, featuring a ball and glove lying on the field during a rainy day. Howard’s careful composition with this piece delivers a strong sense of tension with it as we await the brighter skies and the ump’s call of “Play Ball!”
Demoiselle Crane – this close-up shot of a Demoiselle Crane is a striking portrait of a really wonderful bird. Bev captures and delivers a shot using a very narrow depth-of-focus, completely isolating this terrific bird from it’s backdrop.
A Different View – this lovely and colorful photograph features a yellow flower in bloom, as shot and shared here by Kerri Farley. Kerri accompanies the photograph with some profound words that add further dimension to the image, making for a must-see destination in this week’s list.
Manuel Labour Coffee – what a terrific scene captured and shared here by Edith Levy. A teardrop trailer serves as a food truck, dispensing apparently the most delicious coffee out there. Edith’s great shot shows off the great character going on at the event, and specifically the character found in this cool like trailer.
Reflections of Jackson Lake – a lovely landscape scene is presented here by Rick Louie. The Grand Teton National Park is home to some of the most stunning landscapes you will ever see and this fabulous shot by Rick showcases some of this with a perfect mirrored reflection in the waters in the foreground reflecting back a striking natural scene culminated with a really powerful mountain-range in the distance.
Architecture and Lines – this is a fabulous study in architecture, shapes and lines, as shared here by Jimi Jones. Jimi’s recent trip to Annapolis finds him discovering this great building, and with the discovery he shoots a great shot that features the architecture, but also some really compelling tones and colors in the overall composition.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science – this is a very dramatic architectural study from the studio of Mike Criswell. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science casts a striking pose for Mike under a dramatic sky in the fading light of day… the results?… a truly amazing image.
This Zoomable Composite Aerial Photo of San Francisco is Like a 1938 Google Earth – what a great exhibit, showcasing the city of San Francisco from high above in the year 1938. This presentation allows the viewer to totally interact with the piece, creating a site sure to engage the viewer for some time as you take in some of the finer details in the city.
Anecdotes: Asics Tennis Shoes – the only thing better than the great photograph posted by Joe Baraban is the anecdotal story he shares. Spend the first few moments of this post taking in the beautiful photograph and it’s scenery, then read his post to uncover a truly humorous moment.
Video Of A Pair Of Barred Owls – Steve Creek steps outside his normal posting of still images to share this brief video featuring a pair of Barred Owls doing what they do best… hanging out and enjoying things! This short video presentation is a real joy to watch, giving the viewer a little glimpse into the terrific personalities these birds have.
Just Add Water: Amazing Houses – this compendium of images all feature homes that sit next to or feature water elements. Whether it’s the shore of the ocean or an incredible swimming pool, there’s no question that the water features of these abodes make for a place that would be enjoyed by each of us if given a chance to visit.
10 Ways Photography Can Change Your Life (It Changed Mine) – what a perfect way to wrap-up this week’s list. This terrific and inspiring article discusses the reasons and merits behind photography as a practice, whether you perform it professionally or on an amateur basis. This profound article will take a few moments to read, taking in some great photographs as you follow along, and in the end you’ll be left with an impression that can last a lifetime.
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.