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FotoTV Blog by Robert Schlegel

New Video online: The Bubble Explosion

December 1, 2017 - 15:04 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Still Life

A Soap Opera with Michael Krone

Michael Krone shows us a creative side to color and soap! With a little bit of dish washing soap and an eyedropper amazing things can be done! 

A glass surface and light and we're really getting into it!  Here in this video Michael Krone gives a little "fun at home".

With very little effort and materials you'll be making fabulously contoured light shapes and forms using soap bubbles and color.  One way to spend those bad weather winter days... being creative . So Tune-in!!


FotoTV.Classic: Stuart Franklin

May 29, 2015 - 16:49 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Photo-Journalism

Photography Can Make an Impact

President of the Magnum Photo Agency, photographer Stuart Franklin has travelled to more than 120 different countries photographing impelling news, political, culture, and environmental stories. Franklin’s work has been published in the most distinguished newspapers and magazines of our time such as National Geographic Magazine and TIME Magazine. His seventh and latest book, “FOOTPRINT our landscape in flux” reflects the natural features of different regions, exploring unique landscapes and the space it occupies in man's world.

While working at Sygma (1980–85, today called Corbis) Franklin absorbed the skills of news photography, and also followed legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s approach to photography; as he puts it, ‘curious, gentle, surreal with beautiful compositions.’ This experience had a major impact on Franklin and literally influenced everything he photographed.

With a deep theoretical understanding of the issues and subjects he photographs, Franklin eloquently composes the visible features of an area of land, including physical elements such as landforms, living elements of flora and fauna, abstract elements such as lighting and weather conditions, and human elements amidst their built environment; a keen medley of diversity harmonizing together.

In this film, he talks about his work and the acclaimed photographers who have inspired and influenced him most.

FotoTV.Classic: Pantyhoses for Photo Shooting

February 20, 2015 - 10:28 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Fashion

Ideas for Using Nylons as an Accessory

In this exciting FotoTV film, amateur photographer Michael Zelbel has come to demonstrate a great passion of his, shooting erotic style photos with nylon pantyhose. Zelbel has brought along his beautiful wife Emily to model throughout the shooting and she does an excellent job under his direction.

Zelbel was inspired initially to photograph pantyhose after he saw a photograph of award winning actress Cate Blanchett, photographed by the legendary Patrick Demarchelier. Naturally, Zelbel puts his own signature style to his photos today to create some very erotic and aesthetically beautiful shots.

Zelbel gives valuable tips about what equipment to use and even gives a comprehensive step-by-step set up guide for his shooting. Using only two strip lights as his main lights, Zelbel adds a third spotlight as an accent light to create a vignette affect in the background to draw viewers to his main subject. He keeps his model in relation to his light set-up at a relatively shallow distance to bring out the contours, details and sparkle of the pantyhose. He reviews all his shots with the viewers, giving new ideas along the way, and the photo results are absolutely beautiful.

With just a few pieces of equipment and a simple pair of pantyhose Zelbel has created photographs that could easily be part of a lingerie campaign. Zelbel enjoys photographing artistic nudes and with his work wishes to bridge a gap between western and Asian cultures.


FotoTV.Classic for christmas: A FotoTV Christmas Carol

December 17, 2014 - 17:11 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Still Life

Eberhard Schuy and the Salty Santa Claus

In this special holiday video, photographer Eberhard Schuy of Loft 2 creates a unique Christmas/New Years memento, exclusively for FotoTV viewers.

Starting with basic materials, such as regular table salt and simple container, Schuy demonstrates step-by-step, how to create an iced-over, frosty Santa Claus, perfect to photograph and use as a holiday card. Although Schuy shows us two unique examples, practically any small item can be used and the creative possibilities are endless.

Normally, the first thing that comes to mind when attempting to photograph ice would be to use ice crystals straight from the freezer. Unfortunately, this technique would last only a few seconds, not leaving much time before melting, making it difficult to capture it on film. Schuy’s technique, creating snow that does not melt by using table salt remedies this problem. The frosted, or iced-over Santa Claus remains exactly as is so that there are no time constraints for making photos.

Moving along, Schuy sets up lighting best for bringing out the structure and detail of the frosty creations. Most photographers are aware of the particulars and troubles when it comes to photographing very bright, or white saturated textures. In addition to the thorough and highly beneficial technical information, Schuy takes several test shots, demonstrating specific techniques and tricks in regards to the lighting to achieve distinct shadows and most authentic looking results, and the results are fun and phenomenal—definitely a great idea for the holidays, as well as a way to try out new ideas.


FotoTV.Classic: Anders Petersen

July 18, 2014 - 16:00 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Photo-Journalism

Stories from the Café Lehmitz

In this film, Swedish photographer Anders Petersen shares his personal stories about the creation of his impressive and infamous documentary classic photo book “Café Lehmitz”, first published in 1978.

Café Lehmitz was a bar located near the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany. Open for most of 24 hours, it was frequented by all walks of life, from sailors and cabdrivers to prostitutes and striptease dancers. A woman whom Petersen refers to as Gertrude, introduced him to the place at the end of the sixties and for nearly three years would spend most of his days and nights near the tables, benches and dance floor where life was lived to the full, drinking beer and befriending almost everyone he met there. Petersen compares Café Lehmitz to a church, both being places people met and congregated, with the exception that people were allowed to sleep, amongst other things, at the Café.

The book Cafe Lehmitz is an intimate and sometimes brutally graphic portrait of the patrons of a shabby bar in the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's once notorious red-light district. The book's most famous image is that of a tattooed, pleasantly occupied young man snuggling against a voluptuous, laughing woman. In 1985, it was used on the front cover of Tom Waits' classic album, Rain Dogs, in which Waits imagined a grotesque and downbeat world of American drifters and losers.


FotoTV.Classic: Modulation Transfer Function

March 28, 2014 - 17:50 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Camera Technology | Lenses

MTF Charts Explained by Ralph Lambrecht

In this film, photographer Ralph Lambrecht explains Modulation Transfer Function, MTF, in the simplest possible terms, supported with numerous visual graphs and examples. He also gives us some rules of thumb for reading charts and graphs.

The modulation transfer function is, as the name suggests, a measure of the transfer of modulation (or contrast) from the subject to the image. In other words, it measures how faithfully the lens reproduces (or transfers) detail from the object to the image produced by the lens.

MTF is the spatial frequency response of an imaging system or a component; it is the contrast at a given spatial frequency relative to low frequencies. The essential meaning of MTF is rather simple. Suppose you have a pattern consisting of a pure tone (a sine wave). At frequencies where the MTF of an imaging system or a component (film, lens, etc.) is 100%, the pattern is not attenuated— it retains full contrast, and at the frequency where MTF is 50%, the contrast half its original value, and so on. MTF is usually normalized to 100% at very low frequencies. But it can go above 100% with very interesting results.

MTF can also be defined as is the magnitude of the Fourier transform of the point or line spread function— the response of an imaging system to an infinitesimal point or line of light. This definition is technically accurate and equivalent to the sine pattern contrast definition, but can't be visualized as easily unless you're an engineer or physicist. The modulation transfer function is useful for characterizing not only traditional optical systems, but also photonic systems such as analogue and digital video cameras, image intensifiers, and film scanners, telescopes and MTF even applies to the human eye.

MTF is the most widely used scientific method of describing lens performance. An ideal lens would perfectly transmit 100% of the light that passes though it. But, no lens is perfect, and therefore there are losses. When these losses are measured in terms of contrast this is called the modulation of contrast. In other words, how much contrast is lost — modulation simply being another word for variance. That being said, a photograph's detail is an integral part of its appeal. Many photographers spend a great deal of time, energy and money acquiring equipment to make sharp images, therefore Lambrecht suggests when purchasing new lenses, comparing MTF graphs can be very helpful.


FotoTV.Classic: Steve Sasson

December 20, 2013 - 12:18 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: History of Photography

The Inventor of the Digital Camera

Steven J. Sasson is an electrical engineer and the inventor of the digital camera and his invention began with a simple 30-second conversation with his boss.

In this film, Sasson brings along the invaluable camera and discusses with us in vivd detail his premise for creating the very first digital camera. On a very low budget and literally working out of an Eastman Kodak “back lab”, he recounts the initial imperfections and numerous intricacies involved with this revolutionary project.

Sasson began in 1975 with a very broad assignment from his supervisor at Eastman Kodak Company. The task was, could a digital camera be built using solid state electronics, solid state imagers, an electronic sensor known as a charge coupled device (CCD) that gathers optical information. The practical side was somewhat daunting. His camera had to be built from many different devices as Sasson used whatever that was made available: an analog-to-digital converter adapted from Motorola Inc. components, a Kodak movie-camera lens and the tiny CCD chips introduced by Fairchild Semiconductor.

There were no images to look at until the entire prototype — an 8-pound (3.6-kilogram), microwave-size contraption — was assembled. In December 1975, Sasson and his chief technician persuaded a lab assistant to pose for them. The black-and-white image, captured at a resolution of .01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), took 23 seconds to record onto a digital cassette tape and another 23 seconds to read off a playback unit onto a television. Then it popped up on the screen.

FotoTV.Classic of the Week: Duane Michals

September 13, 2013 - 16:46 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Masters of Photography


A Visit at Home

In this film, photographer Duane Michals engagingly discusses issues over the span of his legendary and influential career, crossing the boundaries between photography and philosophy. Unlike many of his contemporaries who fixate on manufactured ideas of what is true and real in the world, Michals delves deep into the unconscious mind to find lasting meaning in his life and his art, creating a body of work that is unique in the field of photography.

Michals is not just an amazing photographer, he is a true original. He became a photographer as a matter of need. For him it was always a matter of need, and all his best impulses grew out of the need to express something. “The keyword is having something to express,” says Michals. “When you look at my photographs you are looking into my mind.”

FotoTV.Classic of the Week: Sensual Light

August 9, 2013 - 16:53 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Nude Photography

In this film, photographer Steven van Veen shoots a low-light sensual erotic scene, while giving us effective tips and techniques on how to enhance elements of the naked female form for sensual light in fine art photography.

When photographing nudes in sensual light, van Veen also pays good attention to different parts of the body – the arch of a back or the curve of a breast, or windswept hair – and often in a quite romantic and stylish way. Lighting is also important, for beginners as well as professional photographers. Professional photographers use lots of expensive lights, but if you’re just experimenting you can start with one or two lights. Van Veen uses one light with a large octagon soft-box to light the background and model.

Van Veen stresses the importance to make test-shots before beginning to shoot and also to experiment with different apertures, shutter speeds, focal lengths, distances and lighting schemes in order to get good results. His resulting photos are not only sensual, but also truly aesthetic. His photos are indicative of his great passion for the human form, paired with his imaginative uses of light.

It is clear that van Veen is a master of numerous photography techniques, but he is equally highly skilled when working with his models to bring out that special moment when everything joins perfectly, working together in harmony; lighting, model and photography.

Based out of his studio in Schwanau, Germany, van Veen has worked for a multitude of clients in television, advertising, periodicals, fashion and media. He also leads his own workshops for fellow photographers as well as being a regular contributor for FotoTV.


FotoTV.Classic of the Week: A Big One

June 21, 2013 - 16:42 — Robert Schlegel
Tags: Large Format

About the World´s Largest Camera

In this film, Graham Howe, founder, CEO and Director of Curatorial Assistance tells us a an amazing story of six men who had a colossal idea, who put their minds to it and said they could do it, and they did it. This is idea was to build the world’s largest camera and consequently produce the world’s largest photograph.

To the six photographers involved, Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Jacques Garnier, Rob Johnson, Douglas McCulloh and Clayton Spada, the undertaking is part of something bigger than just a really huge picture. A team of six artists of the Legacy Project and an small army of assistants and volunteers converted an abandoned F-18 jet fighter hanger at El Toro MCAS in Orange County, California into a gigantic pinhole camera, then hung a single, seamless piece of light sensitive muslin cloth from the ceiling of the hanger.

Spada presented the idea at a monthly meeting, and the photographers decided, “Let’s go for it!” And so was born The Great Picture project. From 2004 to 2006 the group negotiated with local governments and with the U.S. Government for permission to use an abandoned F-18 fighter jet hanger as a gigantic pinhole camera to produce the world’s largest photograph taken by the world’s largest camera.

The photo was created using the centuries-old principle of "camera obscura" after a gumball-size hole was opened in the hangar's wall, allowing a tiny beam of light to enter. On July 8, 2006, after months of light-tightening the hanger, Building 115, the Legacy Project took the plunge. They would have only one chance to do the job right, so they exposed test strips over the course of several days before deciding on an exposure time of 35 minutes through an aperture of 6 mm (approximately 1/4”) onto a single seamless piece of hand-coated light sensitive muslin that was custom made in Germany.

It was then covered in 20 gallons of light-sensitive emulsion and became the photographic "negative." Howe recalls seeing the fuzzy, 28-by-108 foot black-and-white image.  The photograph shows a dilapidated air traffic control tower, an overgrown runway and palm trees clustered amid rolling hills. Curatorial Assistance is an arts organization that creates and tours art exhibitions that travel to museums worldwide. Curatorial Assistance also publishes art catalogues and books with particular focus on the photographic arts. Graham Howe is also an author, curator, and artist.


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