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Creative Nature Photography 6

Runtime - length of the film: 10m05s
Language: english
Skill level:


Out of your easy chair and into the woods. Nature photographer Hans-Peter Schaub is back with another film. This time we are going to see how best to utilize a long focal length to advantage when shooting in the woods.

Common pre-conceptions about shooting in nature are put to the test as Hans-Peter demonstrates how using the Telephoto lens in both close-up and in targeting interesting details in a landscape are best achieved. The shallow depth is exploited in both subtly changing composition with focal points in close quarters and also in using the inherent compression of the narrow field of view to blend  interesting elements in a landscape.

These techniques can lead us out of the woods, so to say and can keep you and your photo results closer to nature.

Creative Nature Photography 5

Runtime - length of the film: 10m21s
Language: english
Skill level:


It's spring time in the western hemisphere and we are back to nature with Hans Peter Schaub .

Here is another installment in his on going creative nature photography in the forest.  This time we are examining macro photography using very fast focal lengths. On hand for this investigation are some popular normal, portrait and telephoto lengths. Wait a minute... where are the macro lens???

That's the catch. Instead of using standard specialty macro lens, we see how to use the high speed standard lens in a similar application. We examine field depth, lighting, format choices and can compare the results of the different lenses.

So up off the couch and in to the woods with creative nature photography .

Creative Nature Photography 4

Runtime - length of the film: 12m07s
Language: english
Skill level:


Nothing like combining nature and macro-photography.

Here is  Hans-Peter Schaub to take us into the woods and back out again. In a spring forest among a bed of blossoming wild-garlic plants; we get a look at combining wide angle lenses with macro techniques. 

As a means of comparison a small compact digital is also employed to demonstrate it's strengths. We learn that the way to get close is to use extension rings. We then can use these wide lenses to pleasing effect. The aperture tames the depth of field and extension rings provide the closeness desired in Macro photography.

As a final kicker, a fish-eye lens is then juxtaposed against the two wide angles and the compact camera. The uniqueness of the view adds yet another creative aspect to your work.

If you like Nature ... and macro...this is for you.

Stacked Imaging

Runtime - length of the film: 17m55s
Language: english
Skill level:
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Stefan Rasch is here to show us some ways to make really sharp pictures. It's not just light and contrast especially when the subject is up-close and bordering on the macro region.

Stefan introduces us to Stacked Image processing. He opens by giving a demonstration of the problem then shows us multiple ways of resolving the problem with increasing automation.

He uses four different subjects with the same intimate problem of a sharp field of view when the depth of field is shallow. The principle to fix the problem remains the same.

In each of the scenarios the same basic technique is employed with ever more precision. The results are stunning. This kind of final precision may not always be necessary, but the technique is something everybody can use. Don't miss it!

Theo Bosboom

Runtime - length of the film: 11m56s
Language: english
Skill level:
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Theo Bosboom is a nature photographer from the Netherlands. His career in photography started in 2003 after a photo trip to southern Africa and Namibia. Deeply impressed by the wildlife and the wonderful landscapes there, and on looking at his pictures back home, he realized just what a powerful medium photography could be.

So he joined a local nature photography club in Nijmegen and was inspired by the work done there.  He saw that it was possible to make great pictures not only in faraway places but also right on his own doorstep around Arnhem.

Theo’s main focus is on landscapes. But unlike most landscape photographers he makes great use of the telephoto lens. He uses it to pick out details and structures that then have  strong graphic impact verging on the abstract.

At the other extreme Theo does a lot of macro-photography. "Here the great thing is", he says, "that it can be done anytime, any place and under any weather".

A major project over the last few years has been photographing in Iceland. On visiting there in 2006 he saw that it was "a dream for photographers" but that many people had of course already taken great photographs there. To find something new he decided to go back several times a year, often in winter, avoiding the tourists in spring and summer, and to explore away from the beaten track.

Thanks to the Gulf Stream Iceland has a relatively mild climate. So to Theo's surprise it was raining when he first arrived in winter and the vegetation was green.  But luckily after a few days it began to snow and "it turned the landscape into a magical place".  For example the Jökulsárlón Glacier is "very special in winter: It looks different every day".

Working in Iceland is hard because the weather can change very quickly. Blizzards and sudden ice on the roads can make travelling risky. Four-wheel drive is a must.

Early in 2010 Theo witnessed and photographed the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull that, with its dust and ash cloud, disrupted air traffic in most of Europe. 

Iceland is a great place for bird photography.  There are a many breeding species, some of them, like the photogenic puffin, very interesting. The harlequin duck, for example, cannot be found anywhere else in Europe.  And one can get surprisingly close to the birds because they are not so shy as in more populated areas.

Theo gives advice in this video to potential visitors to Iceland. If you are planning a photo trip you will need at least ten day to right round the island. If you have less time take a closer look at just one area. And if you only have a weekend or so stay in the southeast near Reykjavik, in the so-called 'Golden Triangle'. It includes the Goðafoss waterfall, and other great but less well-known waterfall and it is one of the few areas in Iceland where there are trees. Driving further east there is good chance of spotting reindeer. The coastline is in some places quite spectacular and one should also visit some  geothermal hot spots to get a feeling for the power that formed the earth.

Theo's website at has a lot of his great Iceland images and Theo generously makes an offer to help you if you are planning a visit there. Just send him an email.

Under South African Skies

Runtime - length of the film: 12m20s
Language: english
Skill level:
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There can hardly be anywhere offering a greater diversity of subjects for animal and landscape photographers than southern Africa. And world-renowned photographer Heinrich van den Berg has taken full advantage of this wealth.

He started taking photographs swhile on holidays with his family in the national parks of South Africa. This hobby eventually turned into a small family business. Now if they go on a photo trip together one will use a wide-angle lens and the other a telephoto. In this way each can concentrate on one type of shot and not have to worry about other kinds of photograph. "This kind of frees you up a lot", he says.

Heinrich grew up in the eastern coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is very diverse with mountains, bush-veldt and coast. There are great mountain landscapes, with bird heights where one can photograph vultures and black eagles. The bush is particularly good for rhinos and cheetahs. And on the coast there are interesting animals such as the log-head turtle, and whales can be photographed from the beach. There are mangroves too with many smaller  animals.

In the Kruger National Park Heinrich photographs amongst others the 'big five' (Lion, Leopard, Black Rhino, Elephant and Cape Buffalo).

The third area in which he works is the western part of the country with its deserts and semi-deserts. The best place here, he maintains, is the Kalahari Desert, in particular the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. Here, he says, it is easy to get great photographs: The background is always out of focus, the colours are lovely and the light is beautiful. "It really is a dramatic place to photograph. In Namibia too there are many interesting kinds of animals like red-footed geckos or flamingos that one does not see in the wetter parts of the country.

The wildlife in the desert is very sparse and van den Berg has to drive around for a long time before finding something to photograph. But then it's really worthwhile. Alternatively he waits at an interesting looking place for something to happen. "Ninety nine percent of the time it's worth waiting, though".

On the danger aspect van den Berg says that it is very difficult to predict what animals are going to do. Especially leopards and hippo can change their mood very fast. Others, like the lion, are easier to 'read'.  But one has always to be careful.

Initially Heinrich tried to capture animals full-frame. Now he often zooms back to get more of the environmen. This, he says, is as important as the animal itself. That way you can show the character of the animal better. The leopard, for example, is a very secretive animal. To show it sitting on a rock in an open area is not true to his nature. Much better would be a shot of the animal hiding in tree.

For the Animal Planet series on the Discovery Channel Heinrich made photographs of meerkats. Because these animals are the subject of a research project they are now habituated to humans and can be photographed at very close quarters.  Heinrich used this opportunity to make photographs with a variety of wide-angle lenses and with flash lights, which didn't bother the animals at all.

You can follow Heinrich van den Berg on Facebook and find a short but excellent autobiographical sketch here.

The Hyperfocal Distance

Runtime - length of the film: 6m10s
Language: english
Skill level:
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In this FotoTV feature, Ralph Lambrecht demystifies hyperfocal distance and depth of field zones. Lambrecht explains two definitions of the hyperfocal distance, the first is the closest distance at which a lens can be focused while keeping objects at infinity acceptably sharp, the focus distance with the maximum depth of field.

When the lens is focused at this distance, all objects at distances from half of the hyperfocal distance out to infinity will be acceptably sharp. Second, the hyperfocal distance is the distance beyond which all objects are acceptably sharp, for a lens focused at infinity.

The hyperfocal distance is entirely dependent upon what level of sharpness is considered to be acceptable and as we learn from Lambrecht, the most most significant variable of the hyperfocal distance is lens aperture and its respective settings. This allows for selective focus to implement creative applications in photography to either highlight or emphasize an element or area of a scene.

Selective Depth of Field 2

Runtime - length of the film: 22m33s
Skill level:


In his second macro photography film tutorial, photographer and editor Hans-Peter Schaub discusses and demonstrates the compositional and creative aspects of macro photography while on location at the Maximillian Park in Hamm, Germany.

Schaub focuses on teaching photographers how to improve their photos by adjusting the depth of field to achieve the desired depth of field that fits with their compositions. With numerous demonstrations test shots he shows three very important aspects photographers can use as guidelines when composing their photographs; Topic, Emphasis, and Simplicity. The use of selective focus and depth of field are two great tools to simplify the image and Schaub uses many techniques to show emphasis as well, for example, through framing choice. In advance, Schaub has chosen nature and insects as his topic, therefore photographers need to be aware of their topic before they shoot macro photography, as well as the general message of the resulting photograph, because it is what inspires people to look at the photograph over and over.

In order to use selective focus effectively photographers must first learn to understand depth of field and how to control it, because control of depth-of-field is one of the most creative tools photographers have. One of the most important points to consider in composition is isolating the subject so that it becomes apparent to the viewer what the photographer is trying to show. Selective Focus not only provides a more film-like image, it provides the photographer with the essential means for focusing the viewer’s attention on a specific portion of the shot.

Trail of Smoke

Runtime - length of the film: 5m24s
Language: english
Skill level:


Water, Fire, and now, Smoke. Today, photographer Herbert Wannhof demonstrates step-by-step in this latest instructional video, how FotoTV viewers can flawlessly photograph trails of smoke as depicted from a broken lightbulb. There is no one correct way to photograph smoke, but it is clear Wannhof has developed his technique over a period of time. And as most photographers will agree it is a learning and discovery process every time they take photos. As Wannhof begins his set-up run through, we learn the most important thing when photographing smoke is getting enough light to freeze the motion of the smoke in mid-air. Wannhof does this by using more than one flash and with a clean and simple background. Wannhof comprehensively details all technical requirements, safety considerations and the tools needed to complete the spectacular shot of the broken bulb with trails of smoke. Although smoke is an interesting subject matter, in Wannhofs photos, the smoke itself isn’t actually the subject matter, it is simply the tool used to create spectacular photographs. Wannhof simply does not create pictures of smoke, he creates pictures by using smoke. A very solid approach to ensure complete creative control, and to manipulate the smoke as needed to get superb end result. Wannhof’s primary points of interests, and therefore his specialties are; portrait and nudes and special effects photography, as well as devoting more time to further develop his interest in panoramic photography. He also works as a consultant for Artlight-Studios in Leichlingen, Germany, a fully equipped and easily accessible studio, which is very "photographer-friendly".

Selective Depth of Field 1

Runtime - length of the film: 20m16s
Skill level:


In this macro photography film tutorial, photographer and editor Hans-Peter Schaub discusses and demonstrates the technical aspects of macro photography while on location at the Maximillian Park in Hamm, Germany.

Schaub focuses on a shallow Depth of Field, also known as "Selective Focus". As Schaub demonstrates, selective focus usually results in blurry foregrounds and backgrounds allowing photographers to draw the viewer's attention to the main subject. This is often referred to as "selective depth of field".

Manipulating the depth of field to your desired needs will help create more creative and subjective photographs and Schaub systematically shows viewers how to best make use of shallow depth of field which allows photographic subjects to stand out from their surroundings, concealing unwanted distractions. Schaub also discusses the use of various macro lenses and the additional implementation of flash light in combination with natural light.