Question about local coordinates with respect to cameraNode and camera

I'm making a card game, and I'd like to attach the players hand to the camera (or cameraNode).  The cards are all 3d models.  I tried the following code:

Vector3f loc = new Vector3f(0,0,30);
        model1.updateGeometricState(1.0f, true);

but the card isn't showing up in front of the camera.  I debugged some values,

model1.getWorld: [X=48.959408, Y=109.546974, Z=238.07762]
cameraNode.getWorld: [X=50.0, Y=130.0, Z=260.0]
camera.getDirection: [X=-0.03468637, Y=-0.68176764, Z=-0.73074603]

so just by cursory examination, it looks like the model SHOULD be in front of the camera.

I guess I have some questions about exactly how the coordinates are set with the camera/cameraNode.  Does the cameraNodes local coordinates align with the camera, so that +z is where the camera is looking and up/left are Y/X?

Im wondering if im going about it the wrong way.  also previously the camera was transformed and aimed by this code:

this.cameraNode = new CameraNode("camDistance",;
        this.cameraNode.setLocalTranslation(new Vector3f(50, 130, 260));
        this.cameraNode.updateGeometricState(0, true); Vector3f(0.0057349987f, -0.7400375f, -0.672541f).normalizeLocal().mult(1000), new Vector3f(0.0063103223f, 0.6725656f, -0.74001056f).multLocal(1000).normalizeLocal());

any help would be appreciated.