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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 12/18/2019
The B&H Photography Podcast wraps up 2019 expanding our minds, with the help of Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. Enabling his playful and slightly sinister imagination with a wealth of design and photographic talent, Johannsson makes images that toy with the veracity of a photo while using relatively basic photographic processes to create them. It is certainly worth viewing Johansson’s website or Instagram feed before (or while) listening to this episode to familiarize yourselves with the images we discuss and to gain a sense of his mastery of scale and narrative. Combining landscape photography, staged scenes with actors, oversized props, and the best of digital collage, Johansson creates images that seem to emanate directly from his dreamy imagination, but are undoubtedly the product of much real-world work, and he kindly takes the time to explain his process and workflow to us. A woman emerges from a shopping mall escalator to find herself in a dark forest, a man pulls a lonely country road across a field like a bed sheet, a house is tossed as verdant farmland turns into a violent tidal wave. These scenes, along with many others (and some with a decidedly MC Escher feel), have us wondering, “how does he do it?” Join us for our conversation with Johansson to find out the tools he uses (starting with his Hasselblad camera system) and the amount of time and production it takes to create each of these surrealistic vignettes. As we celebrate our 200th episode, chime in on our Facebook group with your all-time favorite episode or let us know a subject you’d like us to cover in 2020. Thanks! And have a great New Year. Guest: Erik Johansson Above photograph © Erik Johansson Above All, 2019 © Erik Johansson Just Visiting, 2019 © Erik Johansson Self-Supporting, 2017 © Erik Johansson Lifetime, 2017 © Erik Johansson Road Closed Unexpectedly, 2019 © Erik Johansson Office Escape, 2019 © Erik Johansson The Cover-Up, 2013 © Erik Johansson Let’s Leave, 2013 © Erik Johansson Daybreaker, 2018 © Erik Johansson Demand & Supply, 2017 © Erik Johansson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 04/10/2019
This is one of the more informative and hands-on practical episodes of the B&H Photography Podcast that we have produced in some time. Obviously, it helps if you are “practicing” car photography, but the insights provided in this episode are useful for a wide range of photo disciplines, and touch on techniques for making better images of moving objects, reflective and non-reflective products, tight interiors, and how to photograph large items in a studio or on location. For this wealth of information, we must thank photographer Nate Hassler, who joined us to talk about his extensive work photographing cars, whether for advertising, editorial, or for personal projects, a.k.a. fun. Hassler is accomplished in each of these areas, and his advertising clients include Toyota, Honda, Lexus, and Mercedes. He is also a respected motorsport photographer, with work appearing regularly in Road & Track magazine. We find out that Hassler grew up around photography, helping in his parents’ photo studio, but developed a love for cars all on his own and seems to have found the perfect career that blends his two passions. We learn a bit about the automobile advertising business, but mostly we discuss capture technique, including the rigs and gear he prefers, shooting moving vehicles, stabilization, bracketing, back-lighting, lens distortion, and post-process. This truly is an educational and entertaining episode, and check out the B&H Photography Podcast Facebook Group for an image of Hassler’s “Franken-Instax” camera that he created to make instant photos with a Schneider lens. Guest: Nate Hassler Photograph © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler “Franken-Instax” camera © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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