More Musings on Jersey Shore 2008

I wish I lived near the beach. It’s interesting because years ago I had my natal chart read. I found an astrologer and sent her the date and time of my birth and she in turn sent me a map of the alignments of the planets and stars at the exact moment of my birth. Fascinating. One of the things my chart told me was that I am deficient in Water, of the four elements, Earth, Fire, Water and Air. It advised that I should either live near water or drink a lot of water everyday. Even before this information was shared with me, I have always felt very drawn to the sea. So, someday, I would like to live by the beach so I could walk at the water’s edge every morning as I did when I was on vacation. It is at the top of my list of “well fillers”.

As long as I’ve been visiting the beach, I’ve listened to my Dad’s stories about his passion for fishing. Fishing is one of his well fillers, I think, and it really doesn’t have all that much to do with the fish or actually catching them, if that makes any sense. It is the whole experience of being at the water’s edge or out on the sea in a boat and interacting with it. My Dad’s passion, even though it is much different from my own, has inspired my passions for nature and art and photography.

As we look to our parents and those venerable elders who have influenced our lives, it is there that we can learn more about ourselves. I am grateful for so much my Dad has taught me about life.

I was sad to leave this wonderful place and week of Being but have come home with its wisdom of connecting, with myself, with my family and with Nature.

I am looking forward to my return next year…

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My EZ Cube Light Tent

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This is my EZ Cube light tent along with one of the two lights that came with the kit I purchased. I put it inside of the tent so I could show what the light looks like.

When I first started taking photographs in the tent, I positioned the lights on either side of it but found that it didn’t illuminate my jewelry the way I wanted it to. The photos kept coming out too dark. I now take the lights off of their little stands and sit them right on top of the tent. Since I always use the timer for taking a shot, I have time to raise the lights a little and hold them into a position where I want them.

You can see the top of my tripod in front of the tent. A tripod is invaluable for taking photos of your jewelry as you will probably use very slow shutters speeds. You shouldn’t hand hold your camera if the shutter speed is slower than the length of the lens. In other words, if you are using a 50mm lens then you should use a tripod for speeds of 1/50th of a second or slower.

The tent diffuses the light so you don’t end up with glaring hot spots on your jewelry. I have been using a gradient paper background but have found that this type of paper scratches very easily. I noticed in some professional jewelry photographs that the background is gradient and reflective so I wonder if that is some sort of glass or plexi-glass background. In my next round of experiments, I want to try using fabric as a background.

So, a lot of my jewelry photography has been trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t. The website Etsy has been an invaluable resource for me to look at jewelry photographs and see what kinds of shots I like and what doesn’t work. I have learned that there are a lot of jewelry photographs out there that are just too dark, including a lot that are presently on my website. Before I purchased my light tent, I took outside shots and also used a rubbermaid container for indoor shots.

For taking professional looking photographs of your jewelry or artwork, I highly recommend finding a way to diffuse your lights and using a tripod. A camera with a macro lens and a timer is also very valuable.

Have fun experimenting!

More photo experiments

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With my photo experiments so far, I have used natural light and flourescent daylight bulbs, colored paper and a black velvet bust. The photos taken in the natural light of my window were too dark. The photos taken on the black velvet bust were too flat looking. The photos taken on the colored paper looked too busy to me. The jewelry was getting lost in the color of the paper. Some props I used competed with the jewelry. Then I borrowed some gradient paper and did some experimenting. It is the best so far, I think. Clean and professional looking, it does not compete with the jewelry at all. In fact, it seems to make the colors of the jewelry stand out so it enhances the piece.

My “Woodland Fairy” bracelet was inspired by a stitch technique in the marvelous book, “Mastering Beadwork” by Carol Huber Cypher. Carol calls the technique “peyote-carry-one” and it is similar to a Dutch spiral in that you add an extra bead which is then not woven into on the next round. It gives more fluidity and drape than regular tubular peyote which can be pretty stiff. It also enables you to add a bead with small holes since you don’t stitch into it on the next round. I decided to use the drop beads I used in my “Woodland Fairy” necklace but I didn’t want to carry them through the whole bracelet. I think it gives the look of a textured bead in front.

What do you think?