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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 12/03/2020
Today we welcome back to the B&H Photography Podcast  Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and friend to the show, Salwan Georges. Georges joined us four years ago to talk about his documentary project centered around the Arabic communities in Michigan, but a great deal has changed since then, and today he joins us to discuss his work covering the 2020 presidential campaigns for the Washington Post. With Georges, we dig into the nuts and bolts of navigating a presidential election in the middle of a pandemic. We talk about press pools, political rallies, booking your own airfare, and making sure your hotel room is disinfected. We also discuss getting new angles to tell stories, prime versus zoom, switching to the Sony a9 II, and using an iPhone when that’s the only option. Georges also relates his experiences working with editors, having the backs of other photographers, and his additional work covering the opioid crisis and other painful stories of our time. Join us for this insightful conversation that we recorded in the days immediately following the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Guest: Salwan Georges Photograph © Salwan Georges Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden listen outside of the Chase Center as he speaks during the Democratic National Convention, in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post President Donald J. Trump listens to a question from a reporter during a news briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at The White House, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, September 27, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, gives a victory speech after winning the New Hampshire Primary during Primary Night Celebration at SNHU Field House on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post President Donald J. Trump throws a hat to supporters during a “Make America Great Again Victory Rally,” in Waterford Township, Michigan on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill Biden, greet supporters with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, outside of the Chase Center, the secondary location of the Democratic National Convention, in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden appears on screens during a flight from Detroit on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Nash Ismael, 20, places his arms around his sisters Nadeen, 18, left, and Nancy, 13, as they visit the gravesite of their parents on Father's Day at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery on Sunday, June 21, 2020, in Troy, MI. The Ismael children lost their parents within weeks to COVID-19. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post 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 05/08/2019
As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, we welcome an artist to the B&H Photography Podcast who is using her camera to examine quotidian spaces to further a conversation about the “deeply felt subjective experiences of motherhood,” particularly as they are felt in the workplace. Joining us is photographer Corinne May Botz, whose current series is entitled “Milk Factory,” and it takes lactation rooms, the spaces where working mothers go to pump breast milk, as its subject. Also joining us as guest host this week is our colleague and new mom,  Liz Groeschen, who will be celebrating her first Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. With her 4 x 5 film camera and digital medium format system, Botz has been invited into the varied spaces, some sanctioned and comfortable and others improvised and “multipurpose,” where women go several times a day to pump milk when working and away from their children. Her work engages with the mothers but, like most of her previous projects, is focused more on the often-overlooked details of the spaces we occupy, inviting the viewer to enter these rooms and gain an understanding of what they might signify to the mothers themselves and, of course, to ask us to recognize how we prioritize space for the needs of motherhood and, in turn, healthy families. We discuss the process of creating this series, how Botz interacts with the women who have invited her into their intimate spaces, and her thoughts regarding portraiture and documentation compared to fine art or “constructed” photography. We also chat about her way to maneuver a relatively large camera setup in tight quarters, finding relevant details within a space and, of course, post-processing, printing, and the Pentax 645D. While she does not consider her series to be didactic, she aspires to elevate the status of motherhood’s concerns to the highest levels of cultural dialogue and workplace policy. In an understated but precise manner, her images make very clear the need for improvement in how we treat the experience of motherhood in the workplace. The “Milk Factory” series was recently exhibited at the Baxter St. Camera Club of New York and supported by a collaboration between Baxter St. and the National YoungArts Foundation. Please join us for this engaging conversation. Guests: Corinne May Botz Above photograph © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Bedside Manner,” 2013 © Corinne May Botz From “Parameters” © Corinne May Botz "Haunted Houses" book cover, 2010 © Corinne May Botz "The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" book cover, 2004 © Corinne May Botz Elizabeth Groeschen and Corinne May Botz © John R. 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 04/10/2019
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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