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Estonian Seasons

Runtime - length of the film: 10m45s
Language: english
Skill level:
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Young Estonian nature photographer Sven Začek describes vividly in this video his photographic year, dominated as it is by the northern seasons.

Sven started taking photographs as a hobby in 2003 while still at University. In 2005 he turned his pastime into his profession. Interestingly, he is one of the coming generation of professionals whose first camera was digital and who have never experienced analogue photography.

Taken by his father-in-law on hunting trips for moose and wild boar, Sven came to enjoy nature and the outdoor life. When the hunting season had ended he returned to the wild, this time with a camera and a long telephoto lens. He got to know the places and the animals so well, especially the roe deer, that he later exclaimed, ˝I can’t kill these guys, I know them all!“ Estonia, though small, is blessed with beautiful landscapes that Začek brings magically to us.

The prices that Estonian nature photographers can get for pictures in their home country are very low. Začek therefore had initially to do other kinds of photography, run workshops and tours. However, now that he has an outstanding international reputation Sven can follow his passion single-mindedly.

Winter is his favorite time of year: “Tracks in the snow are like a book˝, he says.  In spring nature goes ’boom’ – “there are so many birds!”  As a kid he was always climbing trees: Now he uses this skill to photograph birds, sitting sixty feet above the ground, swaying gently in the breeze. In summer the wanderlust grabs him and he’s off walking and photographing the unique bog lands and forests and lakesides of Estonia. Then in autumn the bigger mammals come slowly into focus again. And so the cycle of the seasons turns.

Sven’s current preoccupation is with the intimate life of the Ural owl (Strix uralensis). He has been following one individual pair of owls for over a year. And in May, during the nesting time, he was with them in their tree almost every afternoon for six or seven hours. That's the kind of patience, dedication and endurance that it takes to be a top class naturalist and nature photographer.
Sven Začek has published more than a hundred articles on nature and photography. He is editor-in-chief of the nature photography magazine LoFo and co-founder of the most popular Estonian website on nature and nature photography.  Visit his homepage for more links and to see more of Začek’s cool and stunning images.


Runtime - length of the film: 14m35s
Language: english
Skill level:
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In this film, FotoTV founder Marc Ludwig visits the Museum for Industrialization in Wuppertal to test the GigaPan robotic device, a tripod-mounted, motorized camera robot that automates the process of creating massive, gigapixel-size panoramas. Beginning with complete theoretical aspects, we learn from Ludwig that the GigaPan is really quite easy and uncomplicated to handle.

Almost any compact digital camera will fit onto the adjustable mounting plate. Moving on to practical examples, and after a short calibration of the manual settings on the digital camera, Ludwig sets up a scene to photograph while discussing the importance of specific settings crucial to shooting panoramas with the GigaPan. The device works by taking many zoomed-in shots of a chosen scene, with each one at a slightly different angle.

These photographs are then stitched together seamlessly by GigaPan’s software, on the computer. In conclusion, GigaPan produces astonishing detail, is amazingly simple to operate, and an overall well-built device that creates photos that are artistically good as well as technically interesting.