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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 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 01/16/2019
This week, we recognize the 10th anniversary of the "Miracle on the Hudson." On January 15, 2009, with both engines crippled, US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the icy waters of the Hudson River, with 155 people onboard. All passengers and crew survived. On this week's episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photographer Stephen Mallon, who documented the recovery of the airplane from the river, and Denise Lockie, who was a passenger on Flight 1549. Stephen Mallon is that rare photographer who successfully blends editorial, documentary, commercial, and fine art photography, often in the same image. He is recognized for documenting large-scale industrial and marine projects, including the "The Reefing of USS Radford," "Next Stop Atlantic," and, of course, "Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549." His clients include the New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Publicis, Sudler & Hennessey, and MAYTAG; and his series, "American Reclamation," is currently exhibiting at the Front Room Gallery, in New York. Mallon discusses his career trajectory, his medium format and full-frame gear choices, and how he straddles the line between his documentary subjects and a fine art photographer's vision. Of course, we also talk about the series he produced on the recovery of Flight 1549 and how he approached such a historical subject. In the second half of the episode, we are also very fortunate to welcome Denise Lockie, who survived the crash landing and a protracted stay in the icy waters. Lockie tells of her experience that day, her recovery process, and about looking back on such a life-changing event after ten years. We also discuss with Lockie her feelings about Mallon's images and the other iconic photographs from that fateful day. Guests: Stephen Mallon and Denise Lockie from “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549”, 2009 © Stephen Mallon from “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549”, 2009 © Stephen Mallon from “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549”, 2009 © Stephen Mallon from “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549”, 2009 © Stephen Mallon from “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549”, 2009 © Stephen Mallon from “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549”, 2009 © Stephen Mallon from “Next Stop Atlantic”, 2010 © Stephen Mallon from “American Reclamation”, 2017 © Stephen Mallon Allan Weitz, Denise Lockie, and Stephen Mallon © 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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