Join us each week for a conversation with insightful and entertaining guests. From gear and technique to history, science and art, we discuss the topics most important to the contemporary photographer.
Mirrorless System Advantages for Bird Photography
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 worth of gear and re-invest 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. Grace 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 to be held on February 22 & 23, 2021, a wonderful two-day event on wedding and family photography.
Guests: Grace Scalzo and David Speiser
Photograph © David Speiser
Adapt! Inauguration Coverage and Vintage Glass on Sony Mirrorless, with David Burnett
When we started the B&H Photography Podcast more than six years ago, the concept was “watercooler conversations” with photographers, about gear. Well, honestly, it hasn’t always turned out that way, but this episode with famed photojournalist David Burnett comes as close to that idea as any we have done; there’s barely an edit in the whole episode. Burnett joins us, and we just talk.
We start with his coverage of the recent presidential inauguration and his decision to use a 1930 Graflex 4 x 5 camera in addition to his Sony mirrorless with an FE 100-400mm lens. Burnett reflects on the reasons he incorporates vintage cameras and lenses into his workflow and the need to challenge your own point of view as a photographer. We discuss the motivations that bring a particular camera to his eye and his sense of “obligation to all that has come before.”
In the second half of the show, we talk about using legacy glass on mirrorless cameras and the relentless (and at times “goofy”) experimentation that both Burnett (and Allan) enjoy. From aerial reconnaissance lenses to old Kodak cine lenses, there is nothing that can’t be adapted, and we go into the weeds to discuss some of the many, many lenses Burnett has not just tried, but used successfully for his professional assignments. We also ask about the new Sony Alpha 1, the benefits of customizable functions, and his preference for the Sony a9 II and a6600 cameras. Join us for this easygoing conversation.
Guest: David Burnett
Photograph © David Burnett
Ralph Gibson—To See Beyond What I See
Its hard to imagine a more ideal guest for a photography podcast than the wonderful Ralph Gibson. Gibson checks all the boxes—a straight-up master of the medium, a man of insights and tales, with a comprehensive understanding of photography from the nuts and bolts to the conceptual rigors. After training in the Navy, he assisted the great Dorothea Lange in the darkroom, but found his calling as an artist, staying true to his voice, and founding a publishing house for his seminal photo book, The Somnambulist, and those of many other artists, including Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, and Duane Michals.
On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Gibson about Robert Frank and Dorothea Lange, about establishing a visual signature, “broken focus,” and of course, about his trusty Leica systems. We also touch on his relationship with musician and artist Lou Reed, 50mm versus 75mm lenses, deconstructing the tropes of photography, and the connections between music and photography. This was a conversation we wished could have continued for hours, and we suggest you consider one of Gibson’s bookmaking workshops or simply dig into his incredible body of work, perhaps starting with his latest book, Sacred Land: Israel Before and After Time.
Join us for this wide-ranging and inspiring conversation, and as Gibson states, “I always believed that if I stayed true to my work, everything else would fall into place.”
Guest: Ralph Gibson
Photograph © Ralph Gibson
Staying Power - History and Photography, with Barbara Mensch
Photography has long been used as a tool to explore and analyze history, but in the hands of an artist, that same tool is not asked to be exacting or accurate to the historical record. If anything, artists challenge this idea of photography as fact. And for this reason, it is such a pleasure to welcome artist and photographer Barbara Mensch to the B&H Photography Podcast. Mensch has created a book of history by using photographs she took as an artist.
Having lived in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge for many years, she photographed the bridge in varied light and perspective, but not until she ventured into the bridge itself did she become interested in using her photographic story as the anchor for a researched and nuanced study of the three principle creators of the Brooklyn Bridge. The book, In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators, is the successful result of her work, and we talk with Mensch about re-evaluating older work, the endurance needed to complete a long project, the ability of photography to tell stories, and about square format and Hasselblad.
In the second half of the program, we take up Mensch’s current book project, which also re-addresses earlier work, in this case from her wonderful series on the workers of the South Street Seaport or, as it was then called, the “waterfront.” Here we discuss the intrapersonal skills needed to photograph in authentic, yet potentially dangerous situations, the creative and youthful zeal that fuels such projects, and even about Bergger photography paper. Join us for this engaging conversation.
Guest: Barbara Mensch
Photograph © Barbara Mensch
Malike Sidibe: Protest Photography and Zoom Portraiture
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome Malike Sidibe to the show. With just 23 years under his belt, Sidibe has accomplished a lot in his relatively short time on planet Earth, and not just photographically. But 2020 has been quite a busy year, even for him. His photography has generally been in the realm of editorial, fashion, and personal projects, and he has a lengthy list of clients that include Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Nikon, Nike, and The New Yorker, but this year he created a bold body of work covering the Black Lives Matter marches in New York and made a name for himself with editors shooting portraits via Zoom and FaceTime.
We talk with Sidibe about how he has been able to move back and forth between these various genres of photography, concentrating the first part of the show on his experiences covering protests in Brooklyn and how his emotions brought him to the street, but his photographer’s spirit and eye enabled him to capture some of the most arresting images of the summer. We discuss shooting style, the Nikon Z 7 and lens choices, keeping gear secure, and staying safe in the midst of chaos. In addition, we talk about his process in portrait shoots through FaceTime, the iPad he used, and the tools he sent to his models and subjects for these unique collaborations.
We also discuss Sidibe’s personal story of immigrating to the United States at age 13, his early struggles in school, and how NYC SALT, a high school photography program, helped him on his journey. It’s easy to recognize the talent, time, and work that Sidibe is dedicating to “making the future me happy,” but his good humor and creative love for photography are evident in this informative and lively conversation. Join us.
Guest: Malike Sidibe
Photograph © Malike Sidibe
Energy-based! : Skate Photography, with Matt Price
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, photographer Matt Price describes skate photography as the “perfect blend between studio and sports photography” and, from our engaging conversation, this idea will be made clear. Price knows of what he speaks—in addition to an acclaimed freelance career, he has been a staff photographer and editor for The Skateboard Mag and is currently Brand Director at CCS Skateshop and creates the magazine, Golden Hours Skateboarding.
Price has lost more than one lens to the rigors of his craft, and we talk with him about getting close to skateboarders with a fish-eye lens, as well as other shooting and lighting techniques. We also discuss how he fell in love with skating and, at a very young age, began to submit his work to forums and, ultimately, to editors. He admits to taking his lumps from online critics for his early work, but his passion for skating and desire to improve his photo craft provided the courage and commitment to keep going and, eventually, his “energy-based” photo style caught the eye of editors and brands who sent him around the world to cover the skate scene.
We discuss many topics in this easy-going conversation, from skating techniques to the business of skateboard photography to the differences between the various skate publications. We also get into the relationship between skater and photographer and how such a niche photo style has grown to influence a range of disciplines. Finally, we talk about gear choices and what has worked for Price. Starting with a Canon Rebel that he purchased with money his grandmother helped him secure, Price has worked with Hasselblad and Sony systems, but is currently back where he started, shooting with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L lens.
Guest: Matt Price
Photograph © Matt Price
Customer ReviewsSee All
Every episode is a great listen. This is the podcast that I alway move to the top of my queue.
Topics are always insightful and generally entertaining. Whoever is in charge of finding topics kudos, I hope you get a raise soon.
Allan and crew do a great job keeping me entertained. Delightful!
What photographers need to hear
I am glad I found this podcast. Sometimes I don’t get to talk to other photographers and just hearing others thoughts outside of YouTube helps so much especially during this pandemic. I love the shows.
Worth a Listen
Solid content and the guest share interesting stories and great tips.