Flowers on “Film”

In my last post I wrote about photographing jewelry because that’s where it started for me. But I’ve always taken pictures of my pets and sometimes the sky, but rarely flowers.

Homeless Beauty

When I became homeless, there was no place really to create jewelry. I think this is when I started noticing the beauty all around me. When I would walk my dogs, I started taking pictures of the flowers. There are many flowers that I’ve no idea what their names are.

This lemon clover, although considered a weed is edible and has a tangy essence to it. One can pair it with miner’s lettuce if lost in the woods and/or low on food.

Common Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) with a stone Spring 2020
White flowers Spring 2020

These pinkish lavender looking flowers grow on a large bush. The open flowers don’t look like much, but the budding ones, or the closed up ones are very unique.

Pink-lavender flower buds

Contrasting Colors

When I saw the red roses growing together with this Vitex, I took the picture… but it came out blurry. I’ve noticed that I cannot really take pictures of large subjects with the iPhone 7+ as the images tend to not be crisp.

Vitex agnus-castus with red roses

But if I take images up close – like the photograph below… The image on the left is of another Vitex or Chaste tree, and the image on the right is a closeup of the “branch” – you can see the incredible detail of each individual flower.

Vitex

Adding Borders

I started applying my own borders to my images as it adds pop to my “subjects.” It draws the eye to the color of the flowers. However sometimes, the flowers have their own backdrop.

I was at a parking lot walking my dogs and a tiny pink flower caught my eye. I grabbed my phone and knew I wanted to capture the pink flower amidst its dark blue-black berries, but also wanted the warm terra cotta brick as the background.

Tiny pink flower amidst blue-black berries

If I saw this bush by itself, I wouldn’t have looked twice at it. It’s not very pretty. It’s just a bush. But I’ve noticed to look on a smaller scale now.

Flowering bush

I used to download colors from the internet, but trying to get the correct color was extremely tedious. Now, I just take the color of my subject and that becomes my border.

Notice how perfect the border matches the flower in this image? There is no way I could get this perfect color by searching the internet. Well, maybe, but it’d take awhile. I would have missed this flower entirely if I wasn’t looking at this plant. This is a huge growing vine-like plant growing next door to my Dad’s house… and there was the one flower on it, just one.

A Rainbow of Flowers

Again, my apologies as I don’t know what most of these flowers are. But they are all in Santa Cruz, California.

Snapdragons growing underneath stairway

This tiny blue flower is magnetized by 8. The grass seed next to it indicates how small this flower really is. The tanbark is the background.

Wood sorrel

Flower Wreath

While taking pictures of flowers around the lot I’m staying at, I came across a bunch of purple daisies which belong to the Osteospermum family. In one section of flowers while editing, I saw what looked like a wreath of flowers – see image below with “X” above wreath.

I then used one of my apps to erase everything except for the wreath of flowers.

With this, I was able to create what I think of as a “masterpiece.” Halo, my Pomeranian with her ‘halo of flowers.’ This collage took a long time to make, but it was well worth it.

All photographs are the property of JC Heart Designs.

Photographing Jewelry with iPhone

I used to have a Canon Power Shot, but knowing nothing about photography and needing to take pictures of jewelry – I would waste countless hours taking pictures and not getting the results I wanted. After my camera burned up in the fire that destroyed my home, I looked into iPhones. I ended up purchasing an iPhone 7 plus.

Although it’s easier to take pictures with the iPhone vs the Canon, photographing jewelry still requires the correct lighting and backdrops. I do have a light box and props for photographing my jewelry, but it’s still a learning experience. I take about 50 to 100 pictures of one piece or set of jewelry for ten perfect photos to use. I have found that using a black background definitely makes my jewelry stand out better than using a white background, but I do use props to give different angles.

Kelly Green Magnesite Memory Wire Bracelet and Earrings

This next jewelry set was taken on a white background and it doesn’t look nearly as beautiful as the one above on the black background. It doesn’t stand out.

Silver Glass Bracelet-Earrings-Ring Jewelry Set

But this ring was taken on a clear over white background, and the silver stands out from the white. So the clear prop in these photos helps the ring.

Wire wrapped orange glass ring

Same with this pic, the lace helps the silver stand out instead of just blending into the white background.

Red glass herringbone earrings and pendant set

The wood prop in this photo allows the earrings to hang down and show the cascade of all the wrapped stone beads. It doesn’t show the ear wires. The lichen brings out the green in the earrings.

These simple drop earrings display well hung on just a branch covered in lichen with a piece of scrapbook paper with a simple design on it. If you look closely, you can see all of the copper flecks in these blue goldstone gems.

Lighting

When photographing jewelry, you can make your own light box, take pictures in natural light, or buy a light box. I would recommend buying a light box. Which light box you decide to buy depends on your wallet, but make sure it’s large enough to hold your biggest props and has both white and black backdrops and comes with sturdy lights.

Props

What to buy, where to buy – this depends on what you’re after. What’s your brand? What type of jewelry do you make? If you make sea glass type jewelry, you might want to look into seashells, starfish as your props. If you create rings, you’ll want props that show your rings at different angles. Earrings look great on branches, or even hanging on metal fences for an urban feel. You can find props anywhere – local craft stores, parks, online, even pet stores. The sky is the limit for props.

Editing Apps

Editing apps are your friends. Make sure to edit your photos. Crop them, adjust them, add more light if you need to. Edit, edit, edit. Take more pictures if you need to. When I start taking pictures of my jewelry again, I will have to look at more apps because the one that I purchased years ago doesn’t give me everything I want now. Don’t be afraid to use all of the different tools on your editing app – that’s the only way you’ll learn what each one does.

And remember think of photographing jewelry as a new art.

It’s About Routine

My life is a tad bit boring as I await housing. It seems like quite a waste. There’s so much more I’d rather do, but without a place…

Every morning, I wake up, but I don’t get up as soon as I wake up. I do my leg exercises while still in my “bed” – in the cargo area of my 4runner. I need to strengthen my legs as the osteoarthritis in both of my knees is much worse than last year.

My Mornings

I then crawl out from under the covers, potty in the bucket, and then proceed to get dressed. Then I pull off the Reflectix bubble insulation from all the windows in my SUV and wrap the bungee cord around them. I get the harnesses on my two dogs, unplug the electrical cord from the lamppost and take Roscoe and Halo on their morning walk around the church lot.

When we get back to the 4runner, Halo, my Pomeranian, is jumping up and down – she is so excited. She knows it’s breakfast time. I pick up both her and Roscoe and put them into their kennel which sits where the front passenger seat used to be. I fill up their water in the bowl that is attached to the inside of their kennel and feed them their breakfast. While they eat, I scoop the litter pan and feed Abygayle her kitty food and fill up her water in the no spill bowl. Brush my teeth and then I’m off to 7-eleven for my morning coffee.

My Afternoons

After I get my coffee, I find somewhere to park and then while drinking my coffee, I check my emails, notifications, voicemails, and figure out my blog content for the next week. I also check my appointment book, eat breakfast – rice cakes with cheese or pop tarts – and edit pictures.

Then it’s time to figure out where I want to go for lunch and use a bathroom with running water. I will either go to Safeway or Nob Hill – they have my favorite salad: cranberry walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Yum! After this, and before I eat, I take the dogs to the dog park. (I also dump my garbage in the dumpster.) We catch up with friends for a couple of hours and then I drive next to the oak trees where I eat my lunch and watch a movie or TV series.

My Evenings

It’s time to use a bathroom again with running water and head back to the church. I walk the dogs, feed them their dinner, plug into the lamppost, put the Reflectix up on all the windows which gives me privacy, but more importantly, makes it about ten degrees warmer in my 4runner.

I brush my teeth, take my medications, and then crawl over the front seat into the cargo area. (I took the back seats out awhile ago.) I then put the litter pan on the floorboard of the driver’s side and Aby’s food and water in the driver’s seat.

I’ll give Aby some pets and lovies depending on what time it is and then take another potty break in my bucket and then walk the dogs again.

Depending on time, I play with Roscoe with the stuffed animals 🧸 I purchased at the Dollar Tree. Attempt to brush Halo and pet her – sometimes she’ll let me, sometimes she won’t.

I plug the rest of the cords into the extension cord that is going through the passenger door of my 4runner. Charge my iPhone, battery pack, and connect my CPAP. Then get the two comforters and my bed cozy, dress into my pajamas and now, it’s ready for nighty night time.

Just Before Sleep

Roscoe sleeps under the covers at my feet, Halo sleeps on top of the covers, and Aby makes her way from the front to the back by the way of the side of me, walking up my leg, kneading it, and then sleeps on the blanket next to my pillow. Sometimes she gets the zoomies in the middle of the night and runs back and forth, on top of me, around the inside of our little 1997 4runner. Other times, she likes to eat my hair, or just drool 🤤 on my face. Yuck. If Halo is bumped into, she growls.

Photos

Roscoe waking up one morning
Roscoe tucked under the blankets
Halo, after a trim – she looks so small without all of her fur
The ring of flowers on top of Halo’s head are from a bush of flowers at the church lot we park at. I erased all of the other flowers and foliage except for this “floral crown.” I added her image to a background of pink daisies inside a silver picture frame and then added the pink hearts.
This is my cat, Aby, showing off her new harness and leash at a dog park sans dogs. We took an early morning stroll with just our dogs. She enjoyed it, surprisingly.

4runner >>> Domicile

  1. Removed front passenger seat and added the dogs’ kennel, complete with comfy cushion and water bowl.
  2. Added Reflectix bubble insulation to top of kennel to reflect sunlight and heat off of them. (This also keeps them warmer when it’s cold outside.)
  3. Bought window slats for back passenger windows for the summertime when it’s hot and I have to leave them in the shade for when I do my grocery shopping. I also bought a stroller for this purpose too so I don’t have to leave them in the car.
  4. Removed back passenger seats for more room for our bed to sleep in at night.
  5. Bought Reflectix bubble insulation for all of the windows to keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  6. I have a storage unit to put all of the dogs’ clothes, the pet stroller, and Aby’s backpack/carrier in.

A Corny Poem

A poem for you

That’s corny, but true

~

I come into your store

Although it’s not really next door

~

To catch sight of those pearly whites

That sure do make my nights!

~

Yes, I come in

For nicotine, caffeine, or gasoline

But only on your shift,

If you catch my drift

~

It’s your many smiles

That brighten and melt the miles

For me, do you see?

~~~

Written on August 27, 1998 to a gas store attendant when I used to work grave shifts at a veterinary hospital. 😂

A Lone Valentine

A tear drops

Color splatters

💔

A single red rose

Baby’s breath

Extinguished

💔

Sun swept hair

Sparkling sapphire eyes

Now, smoldering grey

💔

Silk dress, pure

Now, crimson stained

💔

A lone Valentine

💔💔💔

Written by Beth Malbon

February 13, 1998

My apologies as this is not a happy or loving poem for Valentine’s Day. But when I wrote it I always wondered what those who didn’t have Valentines or loves in their lives felt like on this celebratory day of love would feel like.

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