Scientist, technologist, inventor, author, and food photographer Nathan Myhrvold blends intellect with creativity

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Scientist, technologist, inventor, author, and food photographer Nathan Myhrvold blends intellect with creativity
Nathan Myhrvold, Ice Queen. The intricate beauty of snowflakes is derived from their crystal structure, which is a direct reflection of the microscopic aspects of the water molecule.



NEW YORK, NY.- Nathan Myhrvold is founder of Modernist Cuisine Gallery and lead author and photographer of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Modernist Cuisine at Home, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, Modernist Bread, Modernist Pizza, and Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography.

He routinely pushes the boundaries of culinary science as a chef, photographer, scientist, and writer. At a young age he consumed cooking books and invested in new cameras and lenses—even while doing postdoctoral cosmology work with Stephen Hawking. While working as the chief technology officer of Microsoft, he took a leave of absence to earn his culinary diploma from École de Cuisine La Varenne in France.

Myhrvold retired from Microsoft in 1999 to found Intellectual Ventures and pursue several interests, including photography, cooking, and food science. Inspired by the void in literature about culinary science and the cutting-edge techniques used in the world’s best restaurants, Myhrvold assembled the Modernist Cuisine team to share the art and science of cooking with others.

He opened Modernist Cuisine Gallery by Nathan Myhrvold in 2017 after years of requests to purchase the photographs he’d taken for the Modernist Cuisine books.

In addition he has also explored other areas of photography such as the subject of 'Winter', "Snowflakes are a great example of hidden beauty. Water, an incredibly familiar thing to all of us, is quite unfamiliar when you see it in this different view. The intricate beauty of snowflakes is derived from their crystal structure, which is a direct reflection of the microscopic aspects of the water molecule.” —Nathan Myhrvold

Capturing the image of a snowflake is difficult, which is one of the reasons photographer Nathan Myhrvold felt compelled to tackle the subject matter. Only a few millimeters across, snow crystals present a challenge due to their size and fragility.

Snowflakes both melt and sublimate, causing the sharp features of the crystal structure to degrade over time. With a subject as delicate as snowflakes, time, temperature, weather conditions, and equipment are extremely important for a photographer.

Myhrvold spent about 18 months designing and building a custom snowflake camera so that he could photograph snow crystals with this degree of detail and clarity. The highest-resolution snowflake camera in the world, it uses a Phase One sensor (100MP) adapted to a microscope objective. Myhrvold developed an optical path to fill a medium-format digital back, allowing him to obtain a larger, sharper image than most microscopic photographs.

To keep the snowflakes from melting or vaporizing too quickly, the microscope has a cooling stage, giving Myhrvold more time to capture and focus-stack images.

The camera is paired with short-pulse, high-speed LED lights, typically used for industrial purposes, to reduce the heat they put out and increase the speed at which a photographer can capture the image. With this innovation, the camera has a minimum shutter speed of 500 microseconds.

These photographs were shot on location in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. Some of the best snowflakes Myhrvold found were at temperatures between –15 and –20 °F (–26 to –29 °C).

Myhrvold’s photographs have been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Popular Photography, Digital Photo Pro, Galerie Magazine, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, WIRED, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Pursuits, and more.

He is the founder of Modernist Cuisine, author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, and coauthor of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Modernist Cuisine at Home, Modernist Bread, Modernist Pizza, and his latest release, "Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography".

He pioneered food photography techniques to take the avant-garde photographs in his award-winning cookbooks. The images garnered worldwide recognition and led to the opening of Modernist Cuisine Gallery, the first gallery in the world devoted to food photography.










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