Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Last week I spent some time exploring a few sims and taking photos.  It’s amazing how much I remember and how much I have forgotten about taking photos in SL.

Part of the joy of photography in SL for me is getting to play around in Photoshop after taking photos.  I love trying out different things – it’s a discovery process for me, because I am largely self-taught when it comes to Photoshop.

I have an older version, back before the subscription model started, so I actually own the software.  It’s outdated, yes, but it still lets me do lots of fun things.

One of the pictures I took last week I wasn’t really happy with.  It seemed kind of bland and blah.  I played around with cropping and then tried some different effects, but I didn’t really find anything I liked.  So I set the photos aside for a few days and worked on other things.

Yesterday I sat down to do some editing and picked this photo back up.  I cropped it and added some background blur.  I still wasn’t happy with the photo, so I added a simple lens flare effect.  It completely changed the photo.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy. 😀

Revisiting Sansar

I visited Sansar for the first time two days ago.  My first thoughts were like those of many: meh?

I want to like Sansar. I really do. But my first visit was not that impressive.  Granted, I’m visiting via PC instead of VR, so clearly I am not the ‘targeted’ consumer at this point.  I’m also not a creator (though I’m working on that), so what I can do in Sansar right now is limited.

I can walk, talk, and take photos.  That’s about it.

My first visit was out of curiosity – to see if it lived up to the hype. For me, not yet.  Some of the computer specs are pretty stiff, and my graphics card, while great for SL, works overtime a lot when wandering around Sansar.

My initial impressions aside, I wanted to go back in and look around again, especially after reading some of the posts people have written about their initial experiences in Sansar.

Is it as robust as SL?  Nope.  It’s still in beta, so of course it won’t be.  They are still developing Sansar as I write this, and likely will be for some time to come.  SL as it is now looks nothing like what it did 1, 2, or even 5 years ago.  (Flexi hair, anyone?) So Sansar as it will be may look nothing like what it does today.

My plan is to log in every so often and check things out as they are updated.  And also to take lots of pretty pictures. 😀

Grand Gardens in Sansar

Today I visited the Grand Hall and Gardens experience by Loz Hyde.  This is the view when you gaze off into the distance.  The clouds, the light rays – so gorgeous!

While I was wandering around taking photos, I experimented again with some of the camera controls and had much better luck this time.  It is a definite learning curve to ‘forget’ how I do things in SL and discover how to do them in Sansar.

My second visit was better than the first – enough to encourage me to try again.  In the meantime, my better half is searching for a VR headset so we can both try Sansar via VR instead of PC.  We’ll see what happens. 😀

Entering Sansar

As you’ve probably heard by now, Sansar has opened its beta doors.  I’m not sure whether Sansar is something I’ll stick with, but I wanted to at least try it out (and snag my avatar name before anyone else did!).

I watched several of Strawberry Singh’s Sansar videos, which were really helpful, because there isn’t a lot of information on how Sansar works (that I found, at least).

First you have to set up a Sansar account (click for the link, because I had to search around for it – you’re welcome 😛 ).  Once you set up your account and verify your email, the next step is to download the Sansar client.

The specs seem pretty stiff to me, so if you have an older computer, you may find it takes a while for things to load.  I have a decent graphics card, and it still took a few minutes for some of the experiences to load.

I will say, the graphics are fantastic.  I snapped a couple of pics, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to take a hi-res photo in Sansar as you can in SL.

god rays in sansar

The avatars leave a lot to be desired compared to what is available in SL. I’m sure Sansar will catch up as creators join. There are some customization options, but they are currently fairly limited.

For now, I’ve set up my account and I will probably log in now and again to see what new improvements they make.  In the meantime, SL will be getting most of my game time, and what free time I have left over will be spent trying (once again) to learn Blender.  My new 3D printer needs something to do, right? 😀

Field of Dreams

Nope, not that one. 😀

This Field of Dreams is a gorgeous sim I found while ambling around SL.

Rustic House

The rustic landscaping is simply stunning and there are little details everywhere you look. (I almost missed the cute red bird sitting on the fence.)

SunflowersThis field of flowers stopped me in my tracks – this is something I see regularly here at home (it’s our state flower) and giant fields of sunflowers are awe-inspiring.  And the seeds are pretty tasty, too! 😛

Cat chasing pigeonsI couldn’t resist snapping a pic of this scene – the cat trying to stealthily sneak up on the birds, the birds flying up out of danger, and waiting to see whether the cat will actually snare something or fall ignominiously into the water fountain.

Rustic WineryI’m a big fan of the Tuscan look (as are many others, judging from the number of times I see Tuscan decor/landscaping), and this winery/picnic area looks so inviting.

There is lots more to see and explore at Field of Dreams, so grab your camera and head on over to check it out for yourself!

Exploring The Dirty Grind

The Dirty Grind is known for its music venue, but it is also a lovely place to wander around.  I’d never been before, so after seeing it blogged, I decided to head over and check it out.

Winter HideoutIt was still winter when I visited, which was a bit unexpected, since most sims are now decorated for spring.  But snow is always gorgeous in SL, so off I went!

Cocoa StandIt was a bit chilly, since I wasn’t really dressed for the weather, so I was happy to come across this adorable hot cocoa stand – just what I needed to fuel my further explorations. 😀

WindmillMy fascination with lighthouses is well-known, but my love of windmills is a close second (they remind me of home).  I’ve never seen this particular windmill in SL before – I love the look of it.

Birdcage HouseSpeaking of things I’ve never seen – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a birdcage house before.  It’s a little too open and airy for me, but it is certainly gorgeous.  I love the spiral staircase.

Grab the LM and a friend and hop over to The Dirty Grind to explore – and then when you’re done, settle in for some music to help you relax.

Orcadi Island Home

Home is something I’ve been pondering a lot lately.

My visit to Orcadi Island brought back childhood memories of playing outside, watching the combines harvest wheat, and laughing at the birds’ frenzied feeding when the grain truck dropped kernels as it rounded the corner.

Orcadi Island HomeNow, I don’t remember anyone having a home that looked like this, but if I had, I would have been knocking on the door, wondering if there were any kids inside to come out and play. 🙂

Windmill and TreeI love the placement of the tree here – as if it’s standing behind the windmill, peeking around to see what’s so interesting. Or stretching away, seeking something unknown on the other side.

Tractor and wheatThis angle captures a view nearly every kid I grew up with has had at some point – laying in the tall wheat, playing hide and seek, or just taking a break to enjoy the wonder of the outdoors.

Orcadi Island HouseAnother angle of the house – it looks so cozy and comfortable, I could move right in! After, of course, I installed some indoor plumbing. 😛

Window HouseI was wandering around, trying to find interesting angles, and stumbled onto this ruin with a window intact, and the house captured just perfectly through it.

Hop on over and have a look (and perhaps a wander down memory lane) for yourself.

Tranquil Rain at Sommergewitter

Sommergewitter is a beach sim, but with a bit of a twist – it’s always raining.

Though it sounds rather depressing, the sim is actually very tranquil and welcoming.

Beach ShelterYou can find all kinds of places to shelter from the rain, including this adorable dinghy.

The Lake HouseWandering around, I found the Lake House, complete with the tree growing up in the middle. (If you’ve never seen The Lake House, look it up when you’re in the mood for a tearjerker.)

Horse and BedPicking my way carefully through the rain, I discovered this beautiful horse hanging out near this comfortable-looking canopied bed.  I’m not sure the flimsy gauze would do much to keep out the rain, but it looks gorgeous. 🙂

Windmill

It stopped raining for a brief moment, and I stopped to take a short rest under this huge tree. The rocker and windmill both remind me of familiar sights where I grew up.  Such nostalgia!

Exotic Beauty at PeTOu

I saw photos of PeTOu on several other photographer’s blogs, and it was so gorgeous I just had to go check it out for myself.

I am so glad I did. The sim is absolutely stunning.

Japanese Sim PetouThe trees and mist give the sim an ethereal quality.  There are a lot of little areas tucked in everywhere, so make sure when you visit that you take the time to wander around.

Japanese BridgesEverything is so calm and serene and peaceful.  I discovered these gorgeous bridges, hidden from sight around a bend in the path.

Wooden Water PumpNext to a small hut, I found this beautiful bamboo water well.

Japanese DragonThere are a couple of dragons to be found around the sim, including this fabulous specimen. The serpentine scales are so rich and detailed, as is the face of the statue.

PeTOu pagodaThis pagoda on top of the hill was my favorite area of the sim. The building itself is amazingly well-done, and the sim windlight perfectly complements it. I love all how the purples and pinks blend together.

Greek Island Bliss at Meraki

I saw some fabulous pictures of Meraki by Loverdag, and I just had to go and see for myself.

Greece is on my bucket list of places to visit (it’s long been a fascination of mine), so having the chance to visit virtually was a no-brainer.

Meraki HouseThere are a couple of different areas to explore, starting with this little residential neighborhood. I wish I could shop from a little market stand like this!

Meraki PicnicI found this little picnic area in a park behind the houses.  So picturesque – who wouldn’t want to sit and eat here while they stared out at the gorgeous water?

Turkish Cafe MerakiAs I wandered on, I came across this fantastic cafe build.  I love the paintings on the exterior. Standing by the rails, letting the salt spray hit your face, smelling the delicious aromas emanating from the cafe – pure heaven.

Meraki HouseThis gem was perched on top of a hill – another open-air cafe/bar where you can just sit, relax, and enjoy. I love the curves on the tops of the side walls.

Meraki RuinJust beyond the open-air cafe, I found this abandoned ruin. The roses growing up over the door just add to the sense of decay, as do the various rusted pieces scattered about.

There was a ton more to explore and see – so head on over to Meraki and check it out for yourself.

C’est La Vie

After a particularly frustrating day with the Destination Guide (with lots of places listed that no longer exist), I decided to try another tack to find new sims to photograph.

This new method led me to La Vie – a gorgeous sandy island that makes me dream of swinging in a hammock, cool breezes blowing while I catch up on my reading with a mint julep handy.

La Vie BeachI would love to live somewhere like this, wouldn’t you?

Everywhere I wandered I found seating areas, all with absolutely gorgeous views of the water.

La Vie BeachI can hear the water, the waves lapping gently at the shore while I relax and meditate.

La Vie Porch

The house had plenty of inviting spaces as well, including these lovely chaise lounges set up out on the patio.

The landscaping on this sim was so well done I am still in awe looking back at the photos.  The windlight was gorgeous and lent the whole island a feeling of peace and tranquility.

La Vie BicyclePlus, I found this adorable bicycle – who wouldn’t want to pedal around the island in this little beauty?!

If you’re looking for somewhere to relax or for some peace and quiet, this sim is just the spot.