international date dial jewelry + macro lenses


Now busy with a toddler, making slow progress, I’m getting back into the studio little by little! Five recently completed pieces have been fabricated around the date dials of old watches – either the days of the week or the monthly date. With fewer and fewer people relying on their watches to keep track of the date, and more smartwatches on the market, these little hidden graphic gems may become obsolete soon.


All of these pieces are hand-made from sterling silver and resin, with bezel stone settings or brass details. The days of the week are printed in English, German, or Spanish. The German weekday pendant spins freely on an axis. Even though time has halted for these pieces, I wanted to make something kinetic that mimics the spinning of the dial inside the watch. The second pendant below is double-sided with the exposed watch gears visible. More examples of jewelry made with date dials and vintage watch parts can be seen here.

This is the first attempt photographing with lens adapters on my camera for macro focusing. Using a Sony A6000 with a standard E-mount 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-75mm, I was unable to achieve enough of a close-range image of my jewelry. Sometimes photos shot from my Samsung smartphone came out better! Before investing hundreds of dollars in a new macro lens, I decided to try a lens adapter which enables you to convert almost any lens into a macro lens at a fraction of the cost while maintaining its original optical quality.

neewerI went with the Neewer Metal AF Auto-Focus Macro Extension Tube Set 10mm&16mm for Sony NEX E-Mount Camera. The extension tubes have no optics, but do have electronic contacts, allowing for the use of autofocus. They are mounted in between the camera body and lens to create more distance between the lens and image plane. By moving the lens further away from the film or CCD sensor in the camera, the lens is forced to focus much closer than normal. The greater the length of the extension tube, the closer the lens can focus. The exposure must be compensated as the extra length allows for less light to enter. I left the camera on automatic mode to see how it worked. Since I usually have to do some image processing in Photoshop anyway, I didn’t find the loss of light to be much of an inconvenience. The adapters are made of metal and snap on and off fairly easily. All in all, I am pleased with the focal range and ended up using only one extension rather than both, which actually proved to be too close.

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