So I went to a sim I hadn’t seen before

Ziki Questi, whose blog is over here, is someone who I follow because she has a habit of both A) doing insanely gorgeous panorama photography (which I’m a big fan of), and B) she calls my attention to sims I haven’t seen before, filled with lovely views.

I recently got it into my head that I wanted to start doing more landscapey photography – enough of modelling for a while, enough of gawping at gacha items.  Let’s go photograph NATURE.

In Second Life.

Yes, I can hear you laughing.

However, Ziki pointed me at a sim – well, eleven sims – laid out as parkland. Gorgeously packed with plants and animals, and wonderful views.  I think even the worst photographer could do great here with a little work – after all, hey, I did pretty good!

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Wish I was back on the bayou rollin’ with some Cajun queen…

I took a few pictures at this same location, because I just liked the feel of it, somehow.  Dunno. But a few tweaks to your graphics settings, using your environment editor, and you can come up with a variety of effects!

marshes day

Wishin’ I were a freight train, oh, just a-chooglin’ on down to New Orleans

Same area (though a slightly different angle), but with a different day setting, different water settings, looks completely different!  I wound up having hours of fun playing around taking pictures of uhm this same damned marsh.

marshes winter

In fairness, though, it IS a damn fine marsh…

There ARE other things in the 11 sims that comprise Calas Galhadon and her sister sims, though!  There’s an underwater cavern network in one sim, farmland and brooks adjoining the marshes here (just off camera to the left), there’s also some GORGEOUS woodlands.

galhadon 1

This pic was the first one I took in Calas. Really gorgeous stuff.

Also made a discovery that amused me: you CAN screw up your settings on rendering a photo such that instead of getting what is above, you get what is below.  Same shot, same angle, just… very different-looking.

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Just a bit like Mount St. Helens in Washington back in the 80s, huh?

There’re plenty of spaces to see and explore in Calas Galhadon and her sister sims: I’m sure you can find the ones that will call to you! Thanks to Ziki for calling my attention to something new (to me) in Second Life!

In which we discover fireworks! And marching band hats! And uhm… oh right, why we hang onto ancient things!

So last night, it got mentioned to me that the illustrious Uriah Eulenberg (the mad genius behind the Balaclava instruments I’ve been loving so much from the Gacha event at The Arcade (and no, I’m still not done jabbering on about that)) had also done marching-band hats as a gift to those who subscribed to the newsletter at the store (and as Hope just pointed out to me, there are also NINE OTHER free items in the history on Balaclava’s subscribe-o-matic).  So I promptly went over to Balaclava (as you can do if you click the preceding link), and got me one!  After all, far be it from me to turn down something I didn’t have, for free, from someone whose other work I’d liked.  Indeed, I liked the band hat so much I decided it needed a photo, but where…
A bit of SL Search, and I had my answer.

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Don’t ask why I had stripey red and white pants in my inventory. Just don’t.

I went to DeCuir Creations to browse around, and caught their fireworks display demo, quite accidentally, at just the right angle to get a bit of ambiance for the whole thing.  And digging through my inventory debating what would go well with the hat wound up with me finding the hair I’m wearing, which I’d forgotten all about, as well as the striped pants.  OK, the reason I said don'[t ask me why I have them is I honestly don’t remember why.  But weren’t they the perfect thing with the band hat and the drum!  I would’ve been lost dressing up for this photo without them, truth be told.
Now speaking of lost, where’s that blasted sousaphonist…

* * *

As a bonus, since my last entry had no photo in it, here’s a second pic.  I went to a sim that got named on someone else’s blog, named Cupcake, as the photos he’d gotten really struck me with the way they reminded me of Paris.  The sim’s a beautiful build, full of little back-alleys and staircase streets a la Montmartre.  They also have a rainstorm installed under grey gloomy skies, which wound up with me going here:

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So there you go, three things you probably didn’t know when you woke up.  Enjoy your Second Life!

Stylecard:

BOTH Photos:
Skin: Ispachi “Gabriel”
Eyes: No, they’re not available inworld anymore, g’wan, beat it, get offa my lawn.
Shape: Made it myself, it’s not for sale.

Photo 1:
Jacket and shirt: Gabriel “::GB::military Suit with Boots(black)”Hat: Balaclava “BALACLAVA!! Marchin’ On – Shako hat”
Pants: FIR “Red Stripy Pants 1”
Hair: Naughty ‘Dare’ (restyled by yours truly to fit under a hat)

Photo 2:
Hat and Hair: Mr.Poet “Bakerboy Cap and Hair” Jacket: +grasp+ “Cargo Jacket (olive)”
Scarf: +grasp+ “Skull Desert Scarf” (group gift from the shop!)
Shirt: Lapointe & Bastchild “Death Royale”
Pants: “Pixelmen Jeans Black Pants” (w/ prim cuffs)

I’d like to be, having a tea…

In Nath Pevensey’s skybox/ o’er the sea…

So today’s something new is definitely only something new to me.  I decided to play with shadows in Second Life photos today.  I had a much less powerful computer before this one, and it just was NOT up to the kind of work needed for higher-end photography.  I figured hey, that’s no big deal, I’ll just use the camera for fun and amusement.  I kept being befuddled by the way that other people were able to use it, the effects they achieved.  How much Photoshop was going on, here???

Yeah, I was naive.  But I know better, now.

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Here’s some more prizes from the gacha event at The Arcade, which is ongoing through all of March.  The dolls are from The Loft, the spotlight lamp is from Trompe Loeil, the Bibliotheque chair is from Alouette, and the tea service (the plate at my feet, the cup on the armrest of the chair) is from Schadenfreude. All of these are gifts from the fair, none of them cost over $L100, and as you can see, they’re all stunning.  Especially in a setting where light and shadow play.

Let’s get a closer look at some of these things, shall we?

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Beautiful, aren’t they?

I love the swirly pattern on the top of the ‘latte’ over to the bottom right.  But there’s more to these than meets the eye at a distance.  Let’s zoom in a bit closer, shall we?

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Closer up you can see the detail of the sculpting, the perfect tone that was assigned to the tea over on the right-hand side (with the orange slice in it), the lovely little octopus arms that swirl inwards on top of the petites-fours.

There is a scripted colorchange hud in there that allows you to re-color each item into one of nine other colors!  I chose the green color because it does a fine job of showing off the sculpts, but really, they’re all good color choices.

They are from Schadenfreude, at The Arcade’s gacha event.  Scroll down a bit, you can find a TP  Enjoy! The event runs through the end of March.

Gacha Fair part 3: I can’t be left to my imagination…

So I hadn’t intended to do three posts on the gacha fair that The Arcade organized, but I’ve gotten so much awesome out of them that it’s exhausting. No seriously, I’ve worn myself out trading things for other things for other other things to get the thing I wanted.  At this point I’m just done.  Let me rest.  Let me snore. Image

Let me be weak, let me sleep, and dream of sheep…

Rejuvenated in the morning, then, I started examining the things I had, by the light of day and with a less wearied mind.  There’s a lot of terrific stuff going on in the gachas, and I’m very happy to give it all a home!  Several lovely poses like the prop-and-pose in the prior photo as well as the prop-and-pose in this photo:
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There were also a few manically interesting things like the instruments from Balaclava, which you can play individually or get a dozen people together and play en masse as a marching band:Image

Oh and then there was the insane fixation I developed on the one pair of antlers from +half-deer+ that I HAD TO HAVE.  They’re in all of the photos above.

It’s surprising to me how many lovely things there are in the Gacha Fair: things for everybody!  Poses, accessories, ridiculous musical instruments, I didn’t even touch on the awesome music boxes that [ContraptioN] did…

Really, you have to check it out.  A whole lot of things you’ve never seen before!

And venture not there on Yuletide…

So I am learning how gacha fairs work.  People get 9 million of the common items, and swap them around for other common items, or several of the commons for a rare.  This has wound up with me having more antlers than I could shake an… uhm, shake an antler at!

On the plus side, though, I happened to put one pair of them on while wearing a hat and was stabbed with a bit of inspiration.  Herne the Huntsman is one of those charming little folktales of the British Isles: he’s said to have antlers or horns, and to haunt the woods of Windsor Forest, in Berkeshire.  He’s mentioned passingly in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, even:

Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

With the antlers on and a top hat, I imagined either a Victorian production of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, or perhaps someone off to a fancy dress party.  Some poking and prodding later, I had assembled an outfit, like so:

oberon

My thanks to Penny Wiesel for suggesting the setting for this one.  Of course, I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I did further tweaks and pokes, prods and modifications.  And got a much better picture!

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Ill-met by moonlight, proud Titania.

Much more beautiful photo, to my eye!  I may even make it a desktop image on my computer, why not?

One more pic so you can see the details that make the outfit, the antlers, the ears, the pale skin, the red eyes…

oberon3

Oh and the ears.

Amazing what a jumping off point a single item you never considered owning can be, to my eye! The interesting thing to me in these is that I’ve had everything I’m wearing for a year or more, save for the hair and the horns.  So sometimes, what’s new in Second Life is what you find just by mixing and matching things you’ve had for ages in new ways.  Who ever thought of Oberon in an evening jacket with an opera cloak?  But it just… it works, doesn’t it?

Take a look at what’s in your inventory that you haven’t played with for a while, see what it inspires when you knock it together with something newer.  I bet you’ll find a brand new use for that ancient outfit you’ve been so ashamed of ever since prim attachments started to be a thing!

Stylecard:

Shape: I made this!
Top Hat (Pic #1 only): Hatter Is Mad “Barbed Nude Top Hat”
Skin: Nomine “Ultralight”Hair: Wasabi Pills “Orion – Royal”
Eyes: Fallen Gods “Blood Eyes” Free in their store
Ears (Pic #2 and 3): Hybrid v2 “Mythic Ears White”
Horns: +half-deer+ “Eternum Antlers (Constellation)”
Suit, shirt, gloves, tie: NiCo “Claude – Steward’s Costumes ver.2”
Topcoat / Duster: BHD ‘Charcoal Duster Coat: Large’ – Free: this is BHD’s gift for the boys on the Steam 8 Hunt
Half-Cape: AvId “AvId side cloak”
Location:
Pic 1 and 3: Mieville Doyle
Pic 2: Mieville Shelley

The Arcade March 2013!

I’ve been trying off and on all day to get into the Arcade’s Gacha Fair.  Just successfully got into the sim!  Hurrah! And then? I got knocked off of Second Life entirely!!!

NOT FAIR! NO NO NO NO! NOOOOOO!!!!!  I swear I probably woke someone up next door.

–but when I logged back in, I was still in The Country Club sim.

So I, uh, did a little shopping.  For those of you who don’t know what a gacha is in real life or Second Life, it is a vending machine which is stocked with smallish items.  You drop in your cash, you get out an item.  These items are often the same thing in different colors, so if your schoolmate gets the purple one and you wish yours was purple, and you have the green one and she wanted the green, the two of you swap the items, and you’re both happy!

Given the way SL works, a gacha is usually somewhere between L$50 and L$100.  What’s inside can be anything: you’re not limited by the vending machine’s size.

I may have gone a little crazy.

gacha - honey I'm home

the pose and the shoulders-and-necklace thing (they call it ‘Epaulettes’) are both from the Gacha Fair that The Arcade is hosting right now. Yes, the bags come with the pose. gacha - rainbow bags

Did I mention I did a little shopping?

Another pose from the same vendor.  Once I’d unpacked everything I felt like I needed to sit down and clear my head, just take a load off and let my mind wander with a good book.  As luck would have it, the fair had set me up admirably to do that.

gacha - curl up with a book

The Bibliotheque chair is something I wish was sitting in my RL livingroom.  I read SO much… and the lamp behind it is another gacha fair item, it’s from Trompe Loeil’s gacha there.  I would love to have a corner like this in my home!

But yeah, there were other, weirder things in the gachas.   I don’t know why everybody seems to think having antlers is cool, I really don’t…

gacha - black gold antlersgacha - black silver antlers

…but well, I’m ready the next time someone says it’s Antler Time, whether I am wearing warm or cool colors!

Of course there were other things there, besides lamps and chairs and antlers.  There was a delightful little kokeshi doll that fit perfectly with my house, as I kind of have this half-assed Japanese thing going on with the decor (minimalist aesthetic, plus some actually Japanese looking things), so here she is.  Paradox Messmer, the master of mix-and-match stitch-it-together-and-run-lightning-through-it-and-scream-joy-when-it-gets-off-the-slab fashion in SL, was kind enough to grab her for me, as I was a moron and TPed home without getting any one of the kokeshi.

gacha - kokeshi

Paradox’s blog, as it turns out, is the aptly named ‘Fashion Frankenstein’, and can be found here.
And there was a telephone I liked, which turns up in the next photo, but there was one particular item I Had To Have.  HAD TO.  My god I needed it like burning.  They offered it in several other animal colors and shapes but I wanted the wolf one and the tail to match and and and and.
This is how a gacha gets ya, ya see.  They know you’ll waste time and lindens buying that ONE ITEM you so desperately want.

I'LL EAT YOU UP_001

But in fairness, how complete is ANYONE’S life without the hooded pyjamas of Max, from Where The Wild Things Are?

The Gacha Fair is running through all of the month of March, at The Arcade’s skybox.

I recommend visiting the Fair in late hours SLT (after midnight): the sim was SLAMMED all day today.

Stylecard:
I’m only gonna name stuff from the event: if you’re curious about other things in the pic, please let me know!

Picture #1:
Pose: Adorkable Gacha Shopping Spree 8
Jewellery: Gizza’s ‘Epaulettes Brown’

Picture #2:
Pose: Adorkable ‘Gacha Shopping Spree 2’

Picture #3:
Pose, book, and chair: Alouette ‘The Bibliotheque Chair – Navy’Spotlight: Trompe Loeil’s ‘Spotlight Lamp’

Picture #4 & 5:
Antlers: +Half-Deer+ Eternum Antlers (Black Gold Studded) and (Black Silver Studded)

Picture #6: Doll: The Loft – Yorokobi Doll = Joy RARE

Picture #7:
Phone: floorplan. antique telephone gacha / sky
Chair and Lamp: as in picture #3

Jumper, hood, and tail (tail not seen): [AUK] Wild Rumpus Hood Wolf (Gray) and Wild Rumpus Jumper Gray RARE