Christmas Cookie

     This is the card most people remember.  Today it would be easy to superimpose, or collage, or photomanip.  In analog 1988, I had to be a little more clever than that.  

     The first step -- Put a HandyCam on a tripod and tape myself kissing a pane of glass. Two lamps were above and behind, to simulate a small appliance bulb in a white box.  I mugged for five minutes, giving plenty of different combinations of lighting and position. 

     Second step ...   Fake a running microwave oven.  This required me to dismantle mine and re-assemble it around a TV set..  I set aside the door assembly and the faceplate for the controls.   Then I took a sheet of paper and pasted it to the backside of the faceplate, to make visible the red line indicating that the timer had been set.  I clipped a small red tree light and wired it to a doorbell transformer.  That became the phony  "on" indicator light.

     Third step...   Assemble the pieces on my kitchen sink.  I set it on some books for the right altitude, and then fastened the door and faceplate to the front of the TV with duct tape.  The cables draped out the back to my VCR.  I played the tape I'd shot earlier until I found some frames that looked right through the door, and froze the image. 

     Fourth...  I put the metal cover assembly from the microwave on top of the TV, and finished setting the stage by adding the dish soap, coffee cup, and microwave platter.  And of course, the small tree in the background. 

     The scene was photographed with my 35mm camera on a tripod, using a cable release.  I set a variety of speeds and apertures on the camera.  I also adjusted lighting, and brightness levels on the TV.  This particular shot was a one-second exposure, necessary to eliminate TV scan lines. 

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