Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Only in America-Hurricane Sandy NYC

Only in America-Hurricane Sandy NYC and Halloween and apocalyptic Devastation

As I am here in my  warm nicely electrically powered  and heated home in suburban  upstate NY this Halloween evening doorbell rings and rings with children trick-o- treating – for candy.  Some children  will say thank you some children just grab the candy and walk away.   A Young lady wheeling a stroller  said “I need water give me a bottle of water”…  I gave her the water and ask if she is OK?.. she turns to run to the fire truck giving out candy..…never to say  “thank you”   for the water..she just walked away…She needed water…really? 

…My family  and so many others in the north east are facing devastation.  Tonight, my daughter has opened her birdcage sized studio apartment so others can come there and get a much needed warm shower and get clean or even just charge a cell phone.  She opened up her tiny studio apartment so her cousin could have a place to sleep until sometime in the future.    Tonight I learned my sister in-law lost her car, completely destroyed. She lives alone, she is retired… she has no power, no toilet, no heat and running very low on water..(SHE NEEDS WATER).    She ventured out along Brighton Beach in Brooklyn  to find a store that would allow her to charge her cell phone.

 She walked down 12 flights of dark stairs  ( no lights no generator in her building).   Time and time again  she would ask the shop owners  if she may charge her cell phone, and each shop owner said no, and no again, you cannot charge your cell phone here.  Finally, a very kind flower shop owner took her in and said yes,  of course you may charge your phone here, come  in and stay awhile.  They fed her and gave her something to drink.  She was moved by the kindness and bought some flowers from the shop owner.  She now walks up the 12 lonely dark flights of stairs through an unlit stairwell, with those fresh flowers. She has water to place them in… yes …she needs water… … Only in Amercia.. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Photographing Jewelry Tips and Tricks

What's your approach to photographing jewelry?

Please feel free to post in the comment section.

 When I first started photographing jewelry   I was such a novice... I quickly learned  a tripod is a must, using a light-box helps.  Learned quickly that "Tungsten" is the setting needed to photograph silver....Oh my so much to learn... And then I get lost in the detail  playing with all sorts of ideas to photograph jewelry..I love photographing the jewelry as much as finding those unique pieces that I sell...

Secret Garden Gems
People judge jewelry based on photographs that substitute for the real thing. In general, what they expect the photo to convey is:

  • Texture of the materials, whether metal or stone,
  • Color,
  • Degree of polish,
  • Quality of the craftsmanship, and
  • Fidelity to the original piece.
These qualities are important, but when it comes to photographing jewelry it boils down to controlling reflections. Cut stones and metals are highly reflective, which is why they are used in jewelry: they catch the eye, and that's the whole purpose of body adornment!

Lighting: The art of jewelry photography requires precise lighting technique. I don't recommend flash: continuous light is easier to control.

Keep your lighting soft. A small light tent or light dome is ideal.

Use back-lighting judiciously. Overdone, it will lead to distracting specular reflections. Do it right, and it shows the polish on surfaces. Back-light is a good choice for translucent minerals, making crystals, agates and gemstones glow from within!

A tabletop light-box (aka transparency viewer) is a great soft light source to make these materials glow! See the photos below for an example of light-box photography.

Equipment: If you're getting started, use whatever camera you have available. Even point-and-shoot compact cameras can make acceptable jewelry photos, but they have one major flaw: no auto-focus override, so precision focus is hit-or-miss.

A full macro photography set-up includes a camera, macro lens or other close-up photography accessories, tripod, some light modifiers, and lighting.
Precise focus is essential. Always focus on the surface closest to the camera. When using a camera without manual focus (i.e., compact, point-and-shoot), review digital photographs carefully. You may have to change the framing a little to "instruct" the auto-focus to focus on the plane you want it to.

Telephoto macro lenses (in the 70 - 100 mm range, 35mm equivalent) are preferred because of their greater working distance than shorter macro lenses. You'll appreciate having a bit more room to work, plus longer lenses are less likely to show up in the reflections of your jewelry piece.

Jewelry should be cleaned well before being photographed. Smudges and other imperfections take away from the beauty that good jewelry is supposed to embody.

Close-up photography reveals scratches and other imperfections in pieces that have been worn, such as vintage jewelry.

Studio photography accessories for photographing jewelry include modeling clay (to hold rings upright), alligator clamps for holding small light modifiers (reflectors and black cards), and a dress-maker's bust for hanging necklaces.

Earrings can be hung on two parallel fishing lines: an upper one to support the earrings, the other to prevent them from rotating. The line can be removed with editing software afterward.

It's very difficult to photograph necklaces and bracelets to show both detail and scale. Measure the length of strand jewelry and record the length in the digital file name, and in a caption if you are displaying them in an online store or auction.

Always use a tripod! No exceptions!...with the exception, of course, of one notable exception, which is to...

...try photographing jewelry with a flatbed scanner. The illumination is unexciting, but the clarity is excellent, and you can work quickly. This is an excellent option to document your jewelry collection for insurance purposes (see an example of a scanned jewelry photo below, upper right)!
Bali Jewelry

Sunday, October 7, 2012


TIGERS Preservation Station

I recently returned from spending a wonderful week with my daughter and cousin in Myrtle Beach.  What a delight to spend time together as distance keeps us a part from seeing each other day to day.  My daughter is the shopping and tech guru and had soooo much patience with us old gals.   Of course- she outfitted us with the latest trends from jewelry to clothes and everything in-between. I have been busy restocking Secret Garden Gems for our holiday sales.

The highlight of our time together was visiting Doc Antle’s T.I.G.E.R.S. At Preservation Station we got nose to nose with 500 pound, adult tigers and cubs. We had the opportunity to have a tiger cub sitting on our laps or to cuddle up with a monkey . 

Yogi and Maya
 We Enjoyed the experience of a lifetime. While at the preserves, the senses are awakened to a whole new world; feeling the leathery hide of the elephant and feeding it carrots…, and the heart pounding sound of tigers running at 55 miles per hour. During these encounters we got to connect with wildlife in a very intimate way which personally involves them in the lives of these amazing animals. They then walk away into the world with a desire to save these creatures and help preserve their environments.

It   was a good feeling to know we contributed to The Rare Species Fund  which was established to provide funding to critical, on the ground, international wildlife conservation programs, thereby complimenting the educational messages and field research of T.I.G.E.R.S..

Doc has come out with a beautiful new book called FIERCE BEAUTY  
a beautiful photography book featuring    the wild cats that inhabit the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS). This wildlife preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,

Visiting Doc's  Preservation Station  was an experience of a lifetime….and a wonderful and joyous  time spent with family….