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Why won’t one earring stop jiggling?

April 9, 2010

What feels like a long time ago (though not far away), I spent many years working as a cookbook editor, fretting over every photo in the book to make sure they looked as appetizing as possible. Each one required a team of almost a dozen people to produce, and even more stressful was knowing that a lot of people up the food chain would have many opinions over the our work. Red meat shots drove me crazy (after a few minutes on set a juicy steak starts looking mighty bloody and raw), hands in the scene had to look just so, and don’t even get me started on all the ways I could agonize over a salad.

Compared to that, taking a few pictures of my jewelry would be a cinch though, right?  Just pick a sunny window, set up a few things on a neutral background, and snap snap. Easy peasy. Piece of cake perhaps … Ah, not so fast there tiger …

First there is the fact that these wonderful little charms I made today are tiny! I’ve not measured them, but I’d guess they’re about 4mm wide or thereabouts (definitely smaller than an apple pie). Even though I have a pretty sweet camera, I don’t have a macro lens yet, so getting things in focus requires tripod and a whole lot of trial and error.

Next I decided to move on to something bigger, so I tried to shoot a lovely pair of drop earrings that hang on French wires. They wouldn’t look very nice laying flat, and by now I knew a self-portrait would drive me absolutely batty, so instead I thought I’d slip them over a piece of a dowel rod  placed in a third hand.

In theory, it was a great idea. I carefully set them up, adjusted the camera and waited for the earring on the left to stop swinging back and forth. Now don’t get me wrong — these earrings have nice movement to them; they catch the light as they swivel on the wire hooks and look just dazzling when  you’re wearing them … but hang them on a dowel rod? Feggediboudit.

After a lot of fits and starts, I finally figured out I needed to use the self timer because part of the movement problem was actually me breathing or something. So I pressed the 10-second button, prayed the earring on the left would settle down, stepped back to watch the magic unfold, and then … at the very last possible moment … the flash setting popped open and SNAP! Wonderful shadows on my slightly out-of-focus creation. Hardly what I was reaching for, but I need to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world.  I’ll just try again later this weekend. Good thing earrings left out to sit for a while don’t get bloody like steak.

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