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Posted 04/29/2021
It’s Macro Photo Week at the Explora blog and you’ll find many helpful articles and videos about the tools, techniques, and practitioners of macro photography. On the podcast, however, we go deeper than macro, like 1000x deeper—our conversation is with geologist, gemologist, and microscopist Nathan Renfro, of the Gemological Institute of America. Renfro is a renowned photomicrographer, and his images of the interiors of gems, with their unique inclusions and imperfect perfections, are stunning color abstractions of the natural world. With Renfro we speak about the art, craft, and science of photomicrography—using microscopes to make photos—and how he documents the inner life of a stone. Renfro got his start in gemology thanks to the collection of rocks and gems his grandfather, a miner from North Carolina, left to him. From this collection a fascination grew, ultimately taking him to GIA as a protégé of John Koivula, noted gemologist and author of the Photo Atlas of Gems series. Renfro himself has become one of the leading image makers in his field, and we discuss the tools and techniques he uses to create his work, including fiber optic lighting, focus stacking, and Differential Interference Contrast. We also discuss the surprisingly simple cameras that he uses, as well as the adapters, filters, and apps that enable his wonderful creations. We ask about the advantages that mirrorless photography holds for his craft, about the commercial and scientific applications of his work, and how traditional photography with a standard zoom lens has improved his understanding of composition and color, thus benefiting his photomicrography. Join us for this exploration deep into microverses, which are as complex and unique as any place on Earth or beyond. Guest: Nathan Renfro Photograph © Nathan Renfro Today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was produced using Audio-Technica  microphones. Amethyst © Nathan Renfro Arkansas Quartz © Nathan Renfro Blue Diamond © Nathan Renfro Chrysoprase © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Sapphire © Nathan Renfro Greenland Diamond Trigons © Nathan Renfro Topaz © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Iris Agate © Nathan Renfro ZEISS microscope with Canon 6D DSLR © Nathan Renfro Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 11/19/2020
On November 22 and 23, B&H will host the 2020 OPTIC All Stars Conference, with a stellar list of outdoor, travel, and adventure photographers giving online presentations and, on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome one of those photographers: Rachel Jones Ross. Ross is a landscape and night sky photographer based near Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, and our conversation with her is rife with practical tips for shooting in the mountains and with suggestions to improve your night photography. For starters, we speak with Ross about her workflow as it pertains to planning her shoots, which often require long hikes into the mountains. We discuss the apps she uses to gather information on weather, trails, and the night sky. We also ask about staying warm in subzero temperatures and find out that her most important piece of gear is her pair of  Heat Company gloves. From there we discuss basic (and not so basic) techniques for star and night sky photography, including tips on composition, focus, and focus stacking, including a handy “sharp star” filter for accurate focus. Because Ross is also a well-respected educator, we discuss transitioning to online workshops during the COVID-19 pandemic and her “Night Photography in your Pyjamas” course, and she offers a preview of her OPTIC All Stars presentation. We also discuss her go-to gear and how she decides which cameras and lenses to use for particular locations. Ross is a member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective, and she relates her preferences for the various Alpha series cameras and when and why she’ll decide to use a Sony 16-35mm zoom lens or a Zeiss Batis 18mm or Zeiss Loxia 21mm lens. There is a lot of solid information as well as practical tips enmeshed in a very pleasant conversation with the wonderful Rachel Jones Ross. Join us for this episode and register for the free 2020 OPTIC All Stars Conference. Guest: Rachel Jones Ross Photograph © Rachel Jones Ross Moraine Lake, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Mt. Assiniboine, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Blue Dragon Ice Cave, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park © Rachel Jones Ross Bow Lake, Jasper National Park, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada © Rachel Jones Ross Methane bubbles at Vermillion Lake, 2019 © Rachel Jones Ross Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/15/2020
Imagine the privilege of being present at the creation of one of the “wonders of the world,” and then imagine being asked to document the magnitude—and the details—of that creation. Our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast has just that privilege and that responsibility and, as he puts it, this telescope may “change the way we understand our universe.” Chris Gunn has been a NASA contract photographer for almost twenty years but, for the past ten, he has dedicated himself to the James Webb Space Telescope and documenting the construction and eventual launch of this spacecraft, which will replace the Hubble as NASA’s most powerful telescope. We speak with Gunn about all aspects of his job and, specifically, about the gorgeous medium format images he creates that are made available to the public. Gunn is responsible for documenting the construction process, which includes portraits of scientists, as well as macro shots of screws, and he relates how he has “taken the extra step” to evolve as a photographer, incorporating medium format photography and detailed setups. Gunn must be prepared to shoot any style of photo and he discusses his daily responsibilities, how his gear has evolved over time, the lighting he chooses, and his interaction with the hundreds and technicians and scientists he works with regularly. We also discuss marketing yourself as a photographer and the specific challenges that make his job like no other, including working in giant “clean rooms,” accepting that your work is immediately in the public domain, and incorporating the aesthetics from science-fiction films. Sitting in on this recording is our own member of the B&H Space Force, writer Todd Vorenkamp. Join us for this fascinating episode in which we learn about this incredible spacecraft and the work that goes into documenting its creation and check out our 2016 episode, in which we speak with the imaging scientists from the  Hubble Telescope mission. Guest: Chris Gunn Above photograph © Chris Gunn Chamber A Door © Chris Gunn/NASA Blanket Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Wings Deployed © Chris Gunn/NASA Lights Out Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Container Doors © Chris Gunn/NASA Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/18/2019
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we revisit our conversation with Stephen and Bette Wilkes in honor of the release of Wilkes’s great new book Day to Night, and the accompanying gallery show at the Bryce Wolkowitz gallery, in New York. We also spend a bit of time reflecting on a few of the legendary photographers who have died recently. The Day to Night series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for ten years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame, are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail; and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes—his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easygoing and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the Day to Night series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in New York prior to October 26, 2019, check out the Day to Night exhibit at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes Highline, New York © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York © Stephen Wilkes Flatiron Building, New York © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park © Stephen Wilkes Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti Plain, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Mourner in front of Robert Frank’s apartment building, New York © John Harris Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 04/13/2018
The “Day to Night” series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for several years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail, and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes, his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easy-going and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is both physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the “Day to Night” series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in Washington D.C. prior to April 29, 2018, check out the “Day to Night” exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, and keep your eye out for the upcoming book, to be published by Taschen. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes The Highline, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York City © Stephen Wilkes The Flatiron Building, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Santa Monica Pier © Stephen Wilkes The Western Wall, Jerusalem © Stephen Wilkes Inauguration Day, 2013, Washington D.C. © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park, California © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti National Park, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes The Grand Canyon © Stephen Wilkes Regata Storica, Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes © John Harris Stephen and Bette Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 03/10/2017
Today’s episode broadens our normal photographic sphere as we discuss ophthalmic photography and how the eye’s own optical system is used in conjunction with camera equipment—some techniques very common, some not so—to examine the interior of the eye and to diagnose illnesses that go far beyond problems with vision. We are joined by Mark Maio, clinical medical and ophthalmic photographer and developer of the first high-resolution digital imaging system in ophthalmology. We talk with Maio about his early interest in social justice photography, working as a “jack-of-all-trades” photographer for a hospital, and how his eventual concentration in ophthalmic photography led to early adoption of digital technology and the development of a tool that helped to transform the industry. Throughout this conversation, we learn about the use of analog and digital photography in the biomedical field and how fundus cameras and other specialized gear are used to diagnose optical and systemic maladies. When the pupil is dilated, they eye becomes a portal into the body, and with the proper tools, we can see inside our corporeal system without cutting. Maio is also an accomplished fine art and documentary photographer, and we will also discuss how these various disciplines have intersected throughout his career and resulted in the workshops he leads on ophthalmic imaging, documentary, and landscape photography on the beautiful Isle of Skye. Guest: Mark Maio From the series Saving Sight-- The Flying Eye Hospital From the series Against the Grain – Buffalo Grain Industry From the series, Isle of Skye Previous Pause Next All photographs by Mark Maio DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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