Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Photo I took with my Pentax Optio W20 camera in Kyle Cassidy's jewelry photography class.

I've touched back down to earth after a very busy week. First there was the tax preparation. One of my least favorite and most avoided tasks is book keeping, and every year I swear I'm going to get better at it. I am improving over the years, slowly, but for some reason I find it terribly distasteful. Who wants to play with numbers when you can play with fire? Anyway, I finished, and we are ready for taxes.

As a reward for finishing, I took a fabulous photography class in San Diego with Kyle Cassidy, and learned a lot about how to get decent bead and jewelry pictures with my point and shoot camera. A big shout out to Kate McKinnon for arranging this class and making it super fun. There were all kinds of interesting people in the class, even one woman who didn't make jewelry but instead was a forensic photographer who specialized in rock pictures. She brought some fabulous rocks from her geologist husband's collection, and I think we loved those images even more than the jewelry shots.

Here is an old shot I took of the necklace, before the workshop,
under artificial lights (though they were Ott lights). Nice fur, eh?

Kyle likes to take pictures with natural lighting, so we spent a lot of time near the windowsills in Jay Whaley's studio. Didn't the photos below turn out great? For one of them I used a gradient background from a PDF file printed on banner vinyl by my local printer, in a window that had not sunlight, but indirect light. I always thought that I needed sun to shoot my glass beads and jewelry, but the shadows and glare can be harsh. Kyle taught us how to adjust the exposure settings on our cameras for the lower indirect light levels, as well as how to use depth of field to add interest. I am excited about what this new knowledge will do for my Etsy shop photos, as well as those that I'll use for juried shows. I'm still planning to call David Orr for special shots, but at least my every day images are going to be a whole lot better now.

After traveling home from a very long day in class, we headed to Sacramento to attend the memorial service for a dear family friend who recently passed away from lung cancer. He had been through a nightmare of other health issues over the last several years, but had regained his footing and even found a special friendship and happiness at his care facility that gave him renewed strength and vigor to face one final battle. For this last ray of sunshine we take comfort, but Jim, we will think of you often and will miss you always.

Yesterday we had an amazingly gorgeous spring day, and hiked the Maguire Peaks trail with some friends and our dogs on the way home from Sacramento. The wildflowers were in full force, as was the balmy spring air and vibrant green grass. I considered taking some macro shots of the California poppies, but the breeze was moving them too much. The dogs had a great time blowing off some winter steam, and Bodie even took a dip in a livestock watering trough, which I welcomed since he had been magnetically drawn to every fresh cow pie we passed (and there were many) on the hike.

The fountain is once again clean and filling our lives with
the wonderful sound of falling water, after a winter of neglect.


mairedodd said...

incredible shot! i love indirect light but don't know all of the finer points... this is wonderful... have fun with the new knowledge!
glad you got to unwind a bit this weekend...

kate mckinnon said...

And you should mention that you took that photo with what, an underwater point and shoot?

Patty said...

Yeah, the "W" in the W20 model number is for underWater, I think. Just in case we find an opportunity to do Etsy shots while snorkeling, I guess! Carpe pixem! (seize the pixels?)

Sarah Dungan said...

Actually, underwater product photos would look really neat.
The current might be a problem though, hehe.

Patty said...

Well now that you mention it, Sarah, I heard once that you can get a better bead image (without glare) if you take it underwater. I never got around to it because I figured I'd have to buy scuba gear, LOL. Then someone told me that only the BEAD had to be underwater.

A said...

Yay, I found the Plays with Fire lady thanks to Sarah's blog!

Your beads are so beautiful, and I think underwater photos would be great fun.

Rocks always look better under water!

Ann, The Geology Spy

Patty said...

Yay, I found Ann! Thanks for sharing your beautiful rocks with us in the class. I've always had a soft spot for them, and it was a treat to see such nice specimens.

Do let me know if you do any notecards with the images...I would love to buy some. And do send a link to your work online, so I can drool some more. :-)


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