This week's comprehensive list of photography related links is full of hand selected pieces that feature the very best Toad Hollow Photography could find in the field. This week's list is full of tutorials, special features, great photography and interesting blogs, all intended to share the best the internet has to offer. We really hope you enjoy checking these links out as much at the Toad did himself in bringing this list to you.
Image by European Southern Observatory
100 Professional Wedding Photography Tips – this is simply the most concise and complete list of tips and tricks for wedding photography ever compiled. Some of the items noted in this list may seem obvious to some, but when read in the context of the list as a whole a clear picture begins to emerge showing you how to come away from one of the most important days in someone’s life with great photography that properly reflects this.
Understanding Golden Hour, Blue Hour and Twilights – a comprehensive and fairly complete article that discusses the various aspects of natural light as it cycles throughout the day. Sample photos are included in the post to give the reader a strong understanding of the principles, and the strengths and weaknesses of shooting at a specific time of day.
Studio Tuesday: Working With a Grid – Joe Farace discusses working with a light grid, sharing details on how to most effectively use it to create great images that meet your expectations. As always, Joe accents his article with a great portrait piece to illustrate the core issues covered in the post.
Room Sized Lightbox Provides The Perfect Lighting Every Time – the efforts we go through to have control over light is something that is definitely unique to photography. This great and brief video presentation shows you how to build a huge lightbox that is extremely versatile. Be prepared to see some pretty amazing shots captured using this setup.
Image by Leo Hidalgo
Enchanting and Surreal Wet Plate Collodion Photography by Alex Timmermans – moody and nostalgic in feel, this collection of stunning monochromatic pieces by Alex Timmermans showcases the power of his chosen medium for photography. Each piece can easily stand on it’s own merits for the incredible imagery shared, but when viewed as an entire collection it becomes much more.
MicroSafari – Blepharisma – John Mead creates and delivers a fresh new episode in his series of MicroSafari’s, featuring a very small organism doing it’s thing. This episode is particularly engrossing as we discover one of the creatures near the end of cell division about to become two individuals, and we also enjoy a pass-by from a giant version of Blepharisma with an underlying story I personally can’t wait to hear about in an upcoming production.
‘The World at Night' Reveals Beauties of Earth and Sky – this special feature showcases 10 images that were selected as winners in the 2014 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest, presented by The World at Night. These shots are most certainly all considered profound, revealing a little of the mystery experienced at night in the world we live in and the universe we are all a part of.
Eerie Large Format Photographs of Central Park Taken in the Middle of the Night – this monochromatic series features the work of Michael Massaia who uses insomnia as a means to capture surreal and incredible imagery of the usually bustling areas of New York in the heart of night. These shots feature empty scenes and a mastery of the format and light encountered, each delivering on the underlying promise of deep artistic tension in unanswered questions.
Image by darkday
Superstition Mountains Panorama – Chris Frailey captures and creates a breathtaking panorama shot of the famous Superstition Mountains under the fading light of a beautiful sunset. The gorgeous colors in the sky work flawlessly with the overall landscape to deliver a special piece that shares the feeling and thoughts Chris had in making the shot.
Sunrise At Victoria Peak – Hong Kong – this is an absolutely stunning and emotional piece, captured diligently and shared here by Jimmy McIntyre. The fourth morning of heeding the call of the early alarm yields incredible results for Jimmy as he overlooks the gorgeous city of Hong Kong as a sliver of light from the coming daylight punch the scene with color and intrigue.
Sushi Brawl – the inherent power and underlying fury of nature at work comes to life in this incredible photograph by Jay Taylor. The Bald Eagles are well known inhabitants in the Pacific Northwest, and in this shot Jay captures a fleeting moment where a juvenile and an adult bird are battling it out in the skies for final ownership of the seafood treat at stake.
Til the last frame of my life… – Sherry Galey shares a trio of truly amazing photographs featuring the delicate beauty of butterflies in the wilds. Each showcases it’s own gorgeous markings and colors, and each is composed and framed to share the wonder felt in observing them.
The Bridge to Faerie – a strong vignette leads the viewer directly into the heart of this frame captured by Derek Kind. The combination of the smooth waters from the majestic falls works in harmony with the architectural details of the walking bridge high overhead to deliver a romantic landscape image.
Image by Mark Tighe
Beachcomber Sunset – a vibrant and dramatic shot featuring a stunning sunset looking out over the waters into an endless horizon. Randy Hall’s photo finds a great anchor in a rock that sits on the edge of the shore, sitting under a blanket of vividly colored clouds.
Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain – I just love old wooden tall ships with their regal masts and dramatic lines that instantly hearken you back to a time hundreds of years now past. Scott Wood encounters and photographs a pair of these ships as they prepare for mock battle for a feature event in the area. He then spent quite the amount of time and effort to properly post-process this shot to be sympathetic to the scene and the times they represent.
Sioux Falls Dreamscape – this is a complex piece that is full of differing elements, making the breathtaking results that Aaron J. Groen has created that much more incredible. A gorgeous waterfall scene sits under a blanket of stars in this shot as the Milky Way gently paints the night sky in color and detail. Make sure to note the comet trail that adds the proverbial cherry to the cake.
Natural landscapes: observing the glacier – the glaciers, lakes and other water features found in the Canadian Rockies make for fabulous landscape photography opportunities, as evidenced by this great shot from the studio of Frank King. The incredible scale of this particular glacier is hard to fathom until you explore the shot a little deeper to notice the people on the shore across from it.
Godafoss “Waterfall of the Gods” – the epic beauty of the waterfalls found in Iceland comes to our screens in this wonderful photograph by Skarphedinn Thrainsson (Skarpi). The long exposure used to capture this piece turns the fast moving waters into a veil of fog as the dramatic snow-capped mountains in the distance deliver a focal point that is draped in lovely tones from the natural light.
Image by Thomas Leuthard
West of Carlsbad, New Mexico – one of my personal favorite storm-chasing photographers does it once again as he encounters a simply wicked storm system while he is out hunting for these subjects. Mike Olbinski delivers a fresh storm shot chock-full of wonderful drama and tension that can only be found and expressed in nature.
Great Horned Owl Stare, Arizona – this terrific shot from Mark Paulson features a Great Horned Owl sitting perched on a limb, staring back intently at Mark as he captures his image. The great spirit and personality found in these majestic birds comes to life fully in the photograph featured in this post.
Sparks Lake Sunrise – a peaceful and beautiful vista greets your eyes when visiting this photograph posted by Zack Schnepf. Incredible colors in the sky work in harmony with the overall landscape that features dramatic mountains in the distance reflected back in a mirrored water surface at the front of the frame.
Prairie Dogs – a trio of Prairie Dogs poses perfectly for the camera of Wayne Beauregard in this shot that features their wonderful spirits and personalities. As Wayne mentions in his post, timing is crucial for great photos and this one most certainly falls into this category.
Jetty Into the Light – this wonderful photograph by CJ Schmit is minimalistic in nature, yet delivers some really strong elements to draw the viewer into the frame where discovery begins. CJ uses an old wooden jetty to form a natural leading line, guiding the viewer out towards the water where a gradient emerges from the changing light showcasing the beautiful colors of nature.
Image by Syafiq Khairan
Old Boat – this haunting monochromatic piece by Marius Kastečkas features the skeleton of an old abandoned wooden boat as the ravages of time from the ongoing effects of the ebbing and flowing of the ocean take their toll. This picture is highly dramatic in nature, and does a great job of extolling the inherent beauty found in artistic tension.
Hustle and Bustle – Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan, New York – this is a terrific architectural and detail study done by Len Saltiel that explores the wonder found in Grand Central Terminal in New York. Beautiful details and textures come together in this photo that really showcases the inherent light and majestic beauty of the facility.
Dubai Marina – the crop factor used by Vinaya Mohan to create this compelling shot works perfectly in highlighting the intense drama and manmade beauty found overlooking the world-famous Dubai Marina. Incredible details in the architecture works with the lights from the city and buildings to create something sure to be enjoyed by everyone who loves cityscapes.
Be My Guest You’ve Got Nothing To Lose – Mark Garbowski shares a terrific rendition of his perception of a cityscape captured in the early morning from a pier opposite the city. Mark’s anecdotal thoughts on this shot serve to enhance the feeling he has successfully created in this shot.
Gateway to the Sea – a breathtaking and somewhat lonely feeling landscape scene is delicately shared with the viewer in this shot by Jim Patterson. This rock opening twice a year reveals a beautifully lit and colored scene resembling a vista from another world entirely.
Image by Lingeswaran Marimuthukumar
Bottles – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) shares a simple yet evocative image featuring two rows of glass bottles sitting on shelves. Different designs and colors create a canvas that is really pleasing to the eye, and Andy’s background information on the site itself adds depth to the overall post.
Does Gear Really Matter? 30 Mind-Blowing Images Taken With Entry-Level Gear – the age old argument of gear vs skill comes into focus in this post that discusses and features a terrific series of photographs taken with what is referred to as “entry level gear”. Prepare to be amazed at this collection, and to consider camera equipment as an adjunct to the core skills of a photographer after reading this.
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.