Rank #1: Macro Lenses and Advancing Your Photography with Marc Silber
It has been “Macro Week” at B&H Explora, and this week’s episode will put a nice bow on all the articles and photos we have published on the subject, with an overview of what type of macro photography lenses and systems are available. We begin this podcast talking with photographer Marc Silber about his new book Advancing Your Photography: A Handbook for Creating Photos You’ll Love, in which he provides a complete guide to get you from concept to completion. He stresses visualizing your image, gathering the correct gear to accomplish that, and walks the reader through all the steps of production, post-production, and exhibition. The tools he provides are apt for beginners. Enthusiasts—and even pros—will pick up a few tricks.
After a short break, we continue the macro photography theme with a listing of the latest macro lenses available at B&H, and a practical conversation on what defines macro, techniques for improving your macro photography, and alternative methods for creating close-up and macro images.
Guest: Marc Silber
Photo: Allan Weitz
Rank #2: "Learn Travel Photography, Best"
If inspiration is what you are looking for, the story of how Eric Kruszewski became a photographer should supply you with plenty of it. Of course, it all starts with a personal desire but, planning, networking, hard work, and even a simple Google search like the eponymic one above, all go into the recipe for success.
Taking up photography as a hobby in your thirties seems a commonplace occurrence, but deciding to change careers and become a working photographer is another story altogether. Join us as we speak with travel, editorial, and documentary photographer Eric Kruszewski about his journey from newbie to National Geographic. We talk about the value of workshops, mentors, cold calls and persistence, and trace Eric’s career from its inauspicious beginnings through long-term personal projects, one-off jobs, artistic setbacks, new skillsets and, ultimately, a satisfying career—paying the bills doing what he loves.
Allan’s “Gearhead Pick of the Week” is the TetherBLOCK QR Plus Quick Release Plate.
Guest: Eric Kruszewski
Photographs © Eric Kruszewski
Rank #3: Night Photography- Exploring the Creative Possibilities
Rank #4: Bird Photography
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 and for links to the gear mentioned in this article follow this link.
Guests: David Speiser and Klemens Gasser
Photograph © David Speiser
Rank #5: When Was the Last Time You Touched a Photograph?
This is one of our most informative and, dare I say, best episodes yet. We talk about emulsion-based and inkjet photographic paper, with an emphasis on inkjet papers. We are fortunate to be joined by two talented and articulate guests, photographer Robert Rodriguez Jr. and August Pross, Print Manager and co-owner of LTI-Lightside photographic lab, in New York City. In addition to his outstanding landscape photography, Rodriguez is an author with three books on photography to his credit. He leads a very popular workshop series and is an ambassador for Canson-Infinity paper products. LTI-Lightside is well-known for its professional photo services and as the custom printer for many acclaimed fine-art photographers.
In this episode, we talk about the various types of paper available for printing at home and at a lab, and discuss the differences between paper from Fujifilm, Epson, Kodak, Hahnemuhle, Ilford, and others. Topics we touch upon are optical brighteners, outgassing, printing profiles, and Wilhelm Imaging Research, but the focus of our conversation often returns to the tactile nature of the print and the need to understand a photographic print as an entirely different concept than an image on a screen.
In addition to the wonderful dialogue, stay tuned throughout the episode for a B&H Photography Podcast exclusive promo code for a discount on all Canson paper products. Also, be sure to visit our podcast homepage for all of our episodes and, while you are there, leave us a voice message on the SpeakPipe widget. Click on this link to subscribe to our show on iTunes.
Guests: Robert Rodriguez Jr. and August Pross
Photograph: Robert Rodriguez Jr.
Rank #6: Night Photography—From Film into Digital
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 in dark settings. He is currently an instructor at National Parks at Night and along with Nicholson, offers workshops 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. For those interested in night photography, this episode is a must-listen.
Gear mentioned in this episode:
Guests: Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson
Photograph by Lance Keimig
Rank #7: Ethics of Landscape Photography, with Ryan Dyar and Adam Burton
Rank #8: Street Portraiture -- Intention and Interaction with Ruddy Roye and Amy Touchette
The simple theme for today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was to be “how to speak to people in the street when you’d like to take their photo.” For this conversation, we invited two of the best street portraitists in New York—Amy Touchette and FUJIFILM X-Photographer Ruddy Roye, both incredibly talented photographers (and writers!) whose work has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Time, Esquire, and many other publications. They are both also very active on Instagram, with work that seems ideally suited for the best that medium has to offer.
However, as good conversations often do, ours takes a winding road. We discuss personal and family histories, gentrification, race, and a range of subjects, all along tying these ideas to the fundamental aspects of engaging with people, often strangers, to produce passionate and compassionate street photography.
We ask our guests how they approach people, how they describe their work when asking for a photograph, and about the importance of body language and eye contact to convey your intention and develop trust. We also examine the differences in approach when photographing people from cultural and economic backgrounds different than your own, when shooting groups of people and, finally, we discuss how to handle pushback, requests for money, outright rejections, and even upsetting encounters. For the gearheads, we touch on working with formats from medium format to cellphone, and how that effects your approach and the interaction with your subjects. Join us for this inspiring conversation.
Guests: Amy Touchette and Ruddy Roye
Photograph © Amy Touchette
Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables
Rank #9: The 2017 Cameras of the Year and Best Sellers
We’re offering our annual end-of-year listicle of a podcast a bit early, but it comes with a good deal more information than usual. We polled the writers and experts at B&H to put together a set of cameras that represent the best or most important cameras released in 2017 and we welcomed Levi Tenenbaum and Yaakov Adler, two of our most knowledgeable staffers, to talk about the pros and cons of these cameras.
To anyone paying attention to the photo industry, it should be none too surprising that new cameras from Nikon and Sony are competing for top honors, but you might be surprised at the rest of the cameras in our top ten list and at which point-and-shoot and medium format cameras come into play. Additionally, in the second half of the show, we offer statistics from the B&H website regarding the best-selling and the top-rated cameras of the year. These are not necessarily cameras announced in 2017, but we provide the top scores for cameras in all categories, as well as for lenses and accessories. Also, be sure to tune in next week for our companion episode on “Industry Trends for 2018!”
Any podcast with Levi and Yaakov as guests is bound to be informative and entertaining, and this is no exception. Enjoy.
Guests: Yaakov Adler and Levi Tenenbaum
Rank #10: Embracing Technology in the "New" Landscape Photography
This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast posits the notion that we are in a “Golden Age” of landscape photography, and a fundamental attribute of this "new" landscape photography is its embracing of digital and mobile technologies. From soaring ISO capabilities and improved dynamic range to stacking and correction software to weather, mapping, and pre-production apps, the willing photographer can plan and execute landscape images that would have been impossible to create only a few short years ago. We also suggest that the Pacific Northwest, with its proximity to the cradle of the tech industry and a spectrum of natural wonders, is the hub of this progressive landscape photography movement. Veteran photographers have adopted new technologies and created a movement, and a younger generation is following suit, certain to take landscape photography into a future that includes drones, VR, and imaging technologies yet to be imagined. We also discuss the influence of photo-sharing platforms and new career models that enable photographers to distribute their work and travel to destinations that editorial assignments would never cover.
We welcome to our conversation two preëminent landscape photographers, Erin Babnik and Sean Bagshaw, who discuss their work and the use of the high-tech gear and applications in the creation of their photography. In addition to the obligatory Q and A about camera and lens choices, we discuss location and weather apps, post-process plug-ins, and even the latest foul-weather gear, all of which enable them to create the stunning work for which they are known. Both photographers are members of Photo Cascadia, and have a wide following of supporters and students. Their workshops sell out months in advance. After hearing their insights and seeing their imagery, there will be no doubt as to why.
Guests: Erin Babnik and Sean Bagshaw
Photograph ©Erin Babnik
Rank #11: Why Do You Love Photography?
Our B&H Photography Podcast FUJIFILM X-H1 Sweepstakes is still going strong and, in a nod to FUJIFILM, we speak with a few X-Photographers during our show but, in general, we break a bit from the norm and “interview” each other about our own affinity for taking pictures. Allan, Jason, and I each take a turn at describing what it is we love about photography. I tried to fashion the question to avoid the idea of “what do we love photographing?” or “what kind of photos do we like?” to concentrate on what it is about the act of photographing that gives us that sensation of joy, of satisfaction, of love. Yes, it’s hard to find the right words, but we do our best, and to help us out, we have asked three FUJIFILM X photographers to add their thoughts to the subject.
We speak first with street photographer (and podcaster) Valérie Jardin who riffs on “being in the zone” and the need to make every shot count. Then, we speak with Bryan Minear, a Midwest-based freelance landscape and lifestyle photographer for whom image capture can be just the beginning of a good image, and, finally, we welcome Alaska-based adventure and travel photographer Dan Bailey who speaks on the satisfaction found in challenging yourself, whether in sports, music or photography. The work of each photographer is very distinctive and it’s interesting to hear their insights, not only on why they started and continue their love affair with photography, but also into their process and workflow. Join us for our version of a gabfest and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and enter to win a FUJIFILM X-series camera.
Guests: Valérie Jardin, Bryan Minear, and Dan Bailey
Photograph © Valérie Jardin
Rank #12: It is What It is—Mark Mann on Portrait Photography
Today, we welcome portrait photographer Mark Mann to the B&H Photography Podcast, and as Allan notes at the top of the show, if you name a celebrity or famous politician, Mann has probably photographed them. His body of work is incredible. As an example, in 2014, he was tapped by Esquire to photograph eighty boys and men, from age one to eighty, for its 80th anniversary issue. That “who’s-who” list alone would make a career, and it was just one year for Mann.
Over the course of this engaging conversation, we touch on many topics from interaction with subjects, to gear choices (Leica medium format S and full-frame SL systems), to retouching, to shooting with or without a tripod. We also dig into his early career, when he assisted legends like Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge and what he calls the “slow grind” of years of freelance work. While Mann is known for tight-cropped, high-resolution portraits, we also discuss his motion and After Effects work, how he “grounds” himself by occasionally shooting with a Graflex and antique lenses and, of course, the development of his signature lighting techniques.
Also joining us is Cory Rice, who photographed Mann as part of the What is Photography? portrait series and asks pertinent questions on portraiture. Our conversation is loaded with belly laughs as Mann recounts his portrait sessions with Bill Murray, Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams, President Obama, and others. Join us for this enjoyable and informative episode and don’t forget to join the B&H Photography Facebook group.
Guest: Mark Mann and Cory Rice
Photograph © Mark Mann
Rank #13: Fast, Wide-angle Lenses
On this week's episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we take a look at wide-aperture, wide-angle lenses. With our guest, Neil Gershman, a lens expert from the B&H Superstore, we touch upon the history of wide-angle lenses, their design and general applications, and then we discuss some pros and cons of wide-angle lenses with maximum apertures wider than f/2. Given the market demand and the technical capability, lens manufacturers have been introducing wide-angle prime and even zoom lenses with maximum apertures designed for better performance in low light and greater control of depth of field. We will discuss many of these newest lenses from Sigma, Nikon, and Canon and provide a run-down of all the fast aperture wide-angle lenses available from B&H. Join us for this educational episode.
Some of the gear discussed in this episode:
Guest: Neil Gershman
Rank #14: Travel Photography: Travel or Photography?
Rank #15: Cameras of the Year, 2016
Rank #16: iPhoneography and the iPhone 7 Review
Rank #17: The Mirrorless Divide—Fuji is for Artists, Sony is for Pros?
Rank #18: The Wonderful World of Photography Workshops
Rank #19: The Japan Camera Hunter
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Allan as happy as he was during our recording of this episode and, if you are into vintage cameras, lenses, and all things film photography, just sit back and enjoy our conversation with Bellamy Hunt, aka the Japan Camera Hunter. The palpable enthusiasm between these two camera lovers cannot be feigned, and they talked like old friends about Nikon SP, Canon rangefinders, Hasselblads, and anything with a red dot.
We also learn how an Englishman arrived in Japan, worked for a camera company, became a camera hunter, and eventually developed a business that not only sources vintage and rare cameras, but sells film, custom-paints cameras, and writes and shares his love for photography on the “JCH” site. In addition to talking about cameras, we discuss the photography culture of Japan, camera shops of Tokyo, and the renaissance of film photography. Join us for this pleasurable conversation on the B&H Photography Podcast.
Some of the gear mentioned in this article:
Guest: Bellamy Hunt
Image courtesy of Bellamy Hunt