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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 02/18/2021
Has the Canon EOS R5 changed the conversation about using mirrorless cameras for bird and wildlife photography? This is the position of our guest, David Speiser, who, this summer, traded his Canon 1D X Mark III for the R system camera and lenses. But his colleague, fellow bird photographer and—for now—DSLR stalwart Grace Scalzo, is not quite ready to make that switch. Today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast focuses on the features of the Canon R5 and RF lenses that specifically benefit bird photographers. Speiser relates his decision to sell a treasure trove's worth of gear and reinvest in Canon’s mirrorless system. He notes the advanced eye focus, the customization features, in-body image stabilization, and new, sharp lenses as factors in his decision. Scalzo, however, is not ready to give up her rugged, fast, and ergonomically balanced DSLR with its broad selection of quality glass and an optical viewfinder. This is a fun-spirited and well-articulated debate between two shooters who really know their gear and their craft. In addition to the DSLR vs. mirrorless smackdown, we discuss 600mm lenses, adapters, gimbal heads, tripods, sharpening software, and even some land management and wildlife ethics issues. Join us for this vastly informative conversation, ideal for Canon photographers and wildlife shooters considering their next purchase. Also, please check out the Musea Gathering virtual photo conference, a wonderful two-day event on wedding and family photography. Guests: Grace Scalzo and David Speiser Photograph © David Speiser Black-chinned Hummingbird. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 1.4x teleconverter. 1/3200 second at ISO 1600 © Grace Scalzo Great Horned Owl. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 1.4x teleconverter. 1/125 second at ISO 1600 © Grace Scalzo Summer Tanager with Bug. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/640 second at ISO 1600 © Grace Scalzo Gray Fox. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens. 1/500 second at ISO 3200 © Grace Scalzo Painted Lady on Thistle. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/640 second at ISO 400 © Grace Scalzo Common Cuckoo, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/4000 second at ISO 1600 © David Speiser Barred Owl, NYC, 2020. Canon R5 with RF 100-500mm f/4.5 Lens. 300mm at 1/40 second, ISO 3200 © David Speiser Western Tanager, NYC, 2020. Canon R5 with RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens. 500mm at 1/320 second, ISO 2000 © David Speiser Atlantic Puffin, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/2500 second at ISO 800 © David Speiser Black Guillemot, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/2500 second at ISO 800 © David Speiser Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/800 second at ISO 3200 © David Speiser Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 08/21/2020
We present a fun and insightful conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, perhaps due to the Midwestern charm of photographer Julie Blackmon and the enjoyable discussion of her wonderful tableaux vivants of family life in middle America. We also welcome back to the show gallery owner Robert Mann, who is currently hosting an exhibit of Blackmon’s photographs titled Talent Show. Mann was a guest on our show, in 2018, when we spoke about the work of Australian photographer Murray Fredericks. The medium format compositions of Julie Blackmon infuse innocent playtime with a creeping sense of danger to create works with a wonderful dark humor. There is also a welcome DIY spirit to her work, and we talk about the creation of her photos and the involvement of her own family and friends in the images; even photos that have up to twenty-five subjects are produced and organized with her sisters and fellow parents.  She is hands-on in all aspects of the work, including making the large prints herself. We also talk about her use of the Hasselblad H system and how she combines wide angle and normal perspectives in her detailed final prints. After a break, Robert Mann takes the lion’s share of the questions as we discuss the many challenges faced by photography galleries. In addition to the expense of a brick and mortar gallery and the proliferation of online viewing and sales, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the idea of a public art gallery.  Mann relates the decision to close his Chelsea gallery and receive collectors on a by-appointment basis, as well as his thoughts on creating editions and limiting prints and the general state of the fine art photo market. Join us for this enlightening four-way conversation as we gain insight from the perspective of the artist and the gallerist. Guests: Julie Blackmon and Robert Mann Photograph © Julie Blackmon River, 2020 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Baby Toss, 2009 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Stock Tank, 2012 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Talent Show, 2019 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Outing, 2019 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Spray Paint, 2020 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/27/2017
Bird photography is a big deal around B&H, and we’re not just talking about the lenses needed to get those wonderful close-ups of warblers, herons, gulls, and raptors. Bird photography is a passion that grabs pros and amateurs alike and seems to not let go; there are very few photographers as dedicated to their craft (and gear) as bird photographers. We are fortunate to have two photographers with us to discuss the gear, technique, and protocols necessary to capture pleasing images of our feathered friends. David Speiser is a member of the Board of Directors of New York City Audubon and has been an avid bird photographer for more than twenty years. He has an incredible body of work that includes birds of all varieties, and brings not only technical excellence to his photographs, but a birder’s meticulousness to his archive. Klemens Gasser is a visual artist who became enthralled with birding several years ago and turned his fixation into an exhibit of bird photographs enlarged to 72 inches across. He brings an artist’s spirit to his bird photography and humor to our discussion, and clearly loves the thrill of the chase. We speak with these two photographers about the gear and apps they use, their shooting styles, favorite locations, and how digital technology has transformed bird photography. Join us for some very practical advice and a fun conversation. Guests: David Speiser and Klemens Gasser Baltimore oriole, photograph © David Speiser Blackburnian warbler, photograph © David Speiser Canada warbler, photograph © David Speiser Great gray owl, photograph © David Speiser Prairie warbler, photograph © David Speiser Red-shouldered hawk, photograph © David Speiser Red-tailed hawk, photograph © David Speiser Snowy owl, photograph © David Speiser Spruce grouse, photograph © David Speiser Upland sandpiper, photograph © David Speiser Common grackle, photograph © Klemens Gasser American bittern, photograph © Klemens Gasser Snowy owl I, photograph © Klemens Gasser Glaucous gull, photograph © Klemens Gasser Saltmarsh sparrow, photograph © Klemens Gasser Franklin’s gull, photograph © Klemens Gasser Painted bunting, photograph © Klemens Gasser Snowy owl II, photograph © Klemens Gasser Snowy owl III, photograph © Klemens Gasser Klemens Gasser, Allan Weitz, David Speiser, photograph © 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 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 07/14/2016
Are dance and photography natural enemies? Well, of course not, but one art form is about the still, captured moment, and the other about choreographed movement and fluidity. However, anyone who truly understands photography knows the importance of timing, grace, and harmony, and a dancer must also recognize the relevance of rest and static. Sculpture, or gesture perhaps, is their common bond and our two guests know well the significance of gesture and the conflicting and compatible characteristics of dance and photography. They join us to talk about their distinct work and shooting styles. Lois Greenfield is one of the recognized masters of the craft, having developed a singular style sought by the world’s most renowned dance companies, and Omar Z Robles, an official Fujifilm X-Photographer, brings a fresh take, blending aspects of documentary and street photography. Enjoy this episode as we discuss improvisation, inspiration, dodging taxis and, of course, lighting systems and camera and lens choices. Guests: Lois Greenfield and Omar Z. Robles   Photographs by ©  Lois Greenfield Photographs by ©  Omar Z. Robles   Don't miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes;   Stitcher; and  Google Play           Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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