Monday, May 4, 2009

What Light Through Yonder EZ Cube Breaks?

I am constantly struggling to improve the quality of my jewelry photos. Long ago, in a galaxy far away, I was a pretty respectable photographer. I used a Canon SLR that I loved, and I shot pictures of everything. But times changed. The world went digital, especially for posting pictures. And I ended up with a hand me down Canon Elph that was considered very cool and small when it was new… about 42 designs ago. Now it’s a digital dinosaur. But it’s mine and if you line up the little focus squares, sometimes what you shoot is in focus.


When I started my jewelry biz, I used to take pictures in my bathroom. Hey, the light was good! And the shower curtain filtered the eastern light that came through the window over the shower. I would arrange the jewelry on the toilet seat and shoot away.


But then I progressed. I bought some forms to make photographing the jewelry easier ~ a round bracelet form and eventually a torso for necklaces. I moved out of the bathroom to the dresser in the bedroom, beside a window with west exposure. My sweetie bought me mats in various colors, and I would shoot away every Sunday afternoon. Then my sweetie would apply his ever-improving PhotoShop skills to make my shots look like something.

Of course, depending on the time of year and the weather, the window of opportunity for shooting can be… capricious.


So this year for Christmas, my sweetie bought me the AMAZING EZ CUBE!!!
I was sure this would solve all my photography problems. My sweetie set it up for me, with two little lights on tripods on each side, and an overhead light. He also gave me a detailed explanation of how I was aiming for no shadows and somethingmutterbahblahblah. Yeah. I kind of zoned out.


Then, with a farewell kiss, he headed back to Albuquerque, leaving me with son Yo and my EZ Cube.

My first batch of photos with my new best friend were kind of sad looking. The colors weren’t bright. The gems didn’t sparkle. But I wasn’t balancing on the sink, so I coped.
DH suggested having Yo give me a brighter bulb to go above the EZ Cube, which he did.


The pictures looked worse.

DH returned home for a visit and replaced the Yo bulb with a brighter bulb. I took a new bunch of pictures. The bracelets looked like they’d been tinted with mud.

Last week, desperate, I decided I would shoot outside for BRIGHT TRUE COLORS! Yeah, right. It was windy. My paper blew away. My shell props dribbles sand. The shadows made my photos look like something out of a noir film. My sweetie fixed them somewhat with PhotoShop. (At least I give him the opportunity to learn lots of new PhotoShop tricks.)


I supposed the colors were truer, if you could ignore the glaring shadows and blasting Santa Anas.

When my sweetie returned home at last, the first item on my HoneyDew list was to make my EZ Cube work. Flushed with the challenge, he headed to Samy’s cameras in Pasadena. He returned with a Photo Flood lightbulb, ECA 250 watts, 3200 K.


For those of you who just started hearing blahblahblah, that’s one frickin’ bright and hot lightbulb.


It has a life span of four hours. Yes. Two hundred forty minutes. Max.

And the holder thingie would have cost another $150, so he didn’t get one of those.

I hauled my new creations to the photo room and fired it up. Let me say that is was hot. I mean, really really hot. After it was on for a minute or so, the socket holder thingie would start to make funny sounds. Maybe it was sizzling. (Fire picture from It's not really my photo session.)


So I’d turn off the light and rearrange the jewelry and turn it on and shoot again, and turn it off.

I was starting to sweat. I think I was also starting to go blind. It was very hot.

But I was sure this was the answer to my fervent prayers.

I handed the camera to my sweetie and he opened them up in his iPhoto and OMG, they were ugly. The colors became hues not found in nature… or on my jewelry. They were awful.

I am not going to display any examples of them. They were just toooooooo ugly.

So guess what? I went back and re-shot all of them without the Sizzlelean light. I tried adjusting the side lights some more.

And that’s how I got this week’s photos. Not perfect but the colors are close to true, and no one died of heatstroke.

I look for that in a photo session.



  1. You neglected to get a steak going while the firelight was on. Multi-task, it's what's for supper.

  2. You neglected to also get a steak going while the buring bush...err, bulb was going. Multi-task, it's whats for supper.

  3. LOL Eleanor..I can sooooo relate to this journey of taking better photos!