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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 09/25/2019
When one of the world’s most “followed” photographers is available for a conversation, you make the time to talk with him, and when that photographer is acclaimed adventure, landscape, travel, and surf photographer Chris Burkard, expect that conversation to include some serious insights into the passion and ambition it takes to create the beautiful images he makes. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Burkard about a range of subjects—and this conversation does not disappoint. We get right into it by asking about his penchant for shooting in frigid locations, and how stubbornness and even persistence can be the enemy of good photography in sub-zero temperatures. We discuss the composition of his photographs and how that is indicative of his views on nature, and we dig into his “origin story” and why clients began to come to him for the kind of photography he creates. In general, however, we stick to the nuts and bolts of his photography. We learn why he prefers mirrorless cameras, specifically the Sony Alpha a7R IV, how he organizes his commercial workflow to make time for the adventures he craves, and how he sets time aside to be with his young family. After a break, we ask Burkard to walk us through the creation of a few of his best-known images. Not only does he offer insight into the photographic aspects, but he elaborates to give us a better understanding of the remote locations he finds and the teamwork needed. To quote Burkard, “to better understand how the Earth was made, we must look at it from new perspectives.” Join us for this eye-opening conversation. Guest: Chris Burkard Aleutian Islands, 2013 © Chris Burkard Westfjord, Iceland, 2016 © Chris Burkard Highlining in Joshua Tree with Garrison Rowland on Hall of Horrors formation during the Supermoon, 2016 © Chris Burkard Skógar, Iceland, 2014 © Chris Burkard Westfjord, Iceland, 2016 © Chris Burkard Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/01/2017
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we continue our exploration of photographic collaboration with photojournalists Ben Lowy and Marvi Lacar. In addition to sharing a vocation, they also share two children and a life together. Photojournalism is a decidedly independent, at times dangerous, career, certainly not one known for a routine home life, but when domestic responsibilities and children enter the picture, how does a couple balance craft and career with the need to earn a living and the time needed to nurture relationships? More so, when both people are working in the same field, how does bolstering one career cross the line into debilitating the other and how do the individuals comprising a creative couple find ways to support each other’s efforts? Lowy and Lacar bring an animated humor and a willingness to talk about the difficult moments from their lives and careers, and explain how they have come to recognize their best personal and professional attributes, bringing those strengths into a working relationship that continues to evolve. Guests: Marvi Lacar and Ben Lowy From the series "Melting Pot," Marvi Lacar From the series "Melting Pot," Marvi Lacar From the series "U.S. Bases," Marvi Lacar From the series "U.S. Bases," Marvi Lacar From “This Is a Love Story,” Marvi Lacar From “This Is a Love Story,” Marvi Lacar 2004 Democratic National Convention, Ben Lowy Protest at 2004 Republican National Convention, Ben Lowy Iraq Perspectives #1, Ben Lowy Iraq perspectives, #2, Ben Lowy Wounded soldier, Iraq, Ben Lowy Ski Jumper, Sochi, 2014, Ben Lowy Speed Skater, Sochi, 2014, Ben Lowy Great White Shark, 2016, Ben Lowy Seal, 2016, Ben Lowy Ben Lowy and Marvi Lacar at B&H Photography Podcast, 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 07/21/2017
When you get a chance to speak with an expert, you take advantage. At this year’s OPTIC 2017 Conference, when Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson passed by our mobile studio, we did just that. Keimig is an author, instructor, and above all, a photographer who specializes in night photography. Well before digital technology made photographing the Milky Way an easy endeavor, Keimig was experimenting with film stock and developing processes to create long-exposure images. He is currently an instructor at National Parks at Night and along with Nicholson, offers workshops in night photography at many US National Parks. On today’s episode, we speak with Keimig and Nicholson about the differences between creating night photography with film and with digital cameras. There are obviously many modes and functions on a digital camera that make night photography simpler, but at the heart of the enterprise, is the process the same? We ask this question and discuss techniques used with film and the advantages that accompany digital cameras. We also ask, “What is night photography?” and “What are the charms that keep these two photographers interested in this specific discipline?” Listen as Keimig provides insight into the history of night photography and Nicholson discusses his shooting methods and ideas on composition that he applies while working in national parks. Guests: Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson Click here if you missed our episode,  Night Photography—Exploring the Creative Possibilities. Click here for Jill Waterman’s article on Lance Keimig’s switch from Canon to Nikon equipment. Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Digital photograph, Lance Keimig Digital photograph, Lance Keimig Blue Ridge Parkway, Chris Nicholson Cape Cod National Seashore, Chris Nicholson Death Valley National Park, Chris Nicholson Joshua Tree National Park, Chris Nicholson Mount Rainier National Park, Chris Nicholson Olympic National Park, Chris Nicholson 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 06/02/2017
It’s a short week here at the B&H Photography Podcast, so we thought we’d take care of some cleaning that we have put off all winter. Unless one is a full-time pro or serious enthusiast, most of one’s photography is done in the fairer months of spring and summer, whether that be on family vacations, at sporting events, weekend picnics, or just working out that macro lens in the garden. So, it’s time to pull the camera bag from the closet and give our gear a quick once-over to make sure everything is in working order. In this episode, we discuss little ways to maintain cameras and lenses, and things to do to prepare them for the shooting season. From firmware upgrades to mode settings to dust and grease removal, there is a lot you can do in a short time to better understand your camera and to keep it functioning smoothly. In the second half of the show, we continue our serial “Dispatch,” with Adriane Ohanesian. This ongoing segment takes an inside look at the life and work of a freelance photojournalist working in East Africa. In this episode, Ohanesian updates us on her coverage of the conflict in Somalia as she spends time embedded with African Union troops and travels north, to photograph the effects of the ongoing drought in Puntland. She discusses being contracted by the International Rescue Committee to document the refugees “flowing” from war-torn South Sudan to settlement camps in Uganda and, finally, analyzes the risks and expenses freelance photographers take on while working in conflict zones—and the often adverse objectives of news organizations and NGOs. Guests: Todd Vorenkamp and Adriane Ohanesian Click here if you missed Episode 1 of "Dispatch." Photographs © Adriane Ohanesian Mohamed Abdi Bare, age 4, stares at the line of people inside of the waiting area at the Department of Refugee Affairs office in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2017. Ugandan African Union armored personnel carriers at dusk along the Afgooye road outside of Mogadishu, Somalia, February, 2017. The Ugandan African Union Special Forces wait inside of an armored personnel carrier during a night patrol in Mogadishu, Somalia, February, 2017. The shelters of nearly 400 pastoralists families who have lost a majority of their livestock due to drought, have set up camp along the road in search of food and water in Uusgure, Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. Severely malnourished, Farhiyah, age 2, lies on the floor of her family’s hut where she stays with her three siblings and mother who came to the area in search of food and water in Uusgure, Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. The remains of dead goats lie next to the road in Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. South Sudanese gather to collect their belongings that were transported to the Imvepi settlement for South Sudanese refugees who have fled to northern Uganda. March, 2017. 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 02/03/2016
Despite poking a little fun with this episode’s title, we are big fans of photography websites and camera blogs, and if you are reading this, you probably are, too. On this week’s podcast, we are fortunate to have Kevin Raber and Jason Hermann, proprietors of Luminous Landscape and SonyAlphaLab, respectively. Have you ever wondered how sites like these operate, are funded, get gear to review and deal with the, shall we say “experts,” who populate the comment sections? In this very animated, on-point conversation, Raber and Hermann talk specifically about their sites, the proliferation of gear chat, and the camera industry in general. Guests: Kevin Raber and Jason Hermann To listen to this week’s episode: Listen to or download on  SoundCloud, or subscribe to the B&H Photography Podcast on  iTunes;  Stitcher;   SoundCloud; or via  RSS.   Photos by  Kevin Raber   Photos by Jason Hermann b Host: Allan Weitz Producer: John Harris Engineer: Jason Tables Executive Producers: Bryan Formhals, Mark Zuppe
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