Different Strokes

Busy Bee
Me this week!
Image Source: http://www.clipartpanda.com

One of the things I love is going to different places in SL, exploring and taking photos of all the amazing sims I find.  I follow blogs of fellow explorers and and lots of people on Flickr so I can find cool places to photograph.

It’s always interesting to me when I see how differently each photographer experiences the same place.  As new sims pop up, people will go explore and photograph, and their photographs will inspire me to go to the same place and explore.

Sometimes, though, even though I find other people’s photos beautiful and amazing, when I visit the same sim, I’m hard pressed to find anything I want to photograph myself.

Nothing wrong with that, of course – different strokes for different folks and all that.  But it is often frustrating, because I have limited time to explore these days, so visiting some place without taking any photos is an aggravation I don’t need.

For instance, yesterday I had some free time to explore, so I did.  I visited probably 12 different sims.  Of those 12, 5 were a bust – I could tell immediately upon landing they just weren’t for me.  Again – this is not to say that there was anything wrong with these sims, just that they weren’t something I was interested in photographing.

Of the 7 left, I wandered around 2 of them, hunting for something to shoot.  Nothing caught my eye, so I left without taking any photos.  So, down to 5.  I took a few photos at 2 of them, but once I had time to sit down and look at the photos, I didn’t really like any of them.

That left 3 sims that I actually took photos of.  The first sim I visited was amazing and I took a load of photographs.  Maybe that’s why some of the next ones were disappointing.  However, I persevered and ended up with some good shots I will be sharing here and on Flickr.

If you’ve visited any fabulous sims lately, please share!

The Trace Too – Summer Trace

The Trace has long been a go-to destination for photographers and beauty lovers.  There have been some changes, so I decided to head back for another look.

What I discovered is that there are now three (3!) Traces – decorated for Summer, Fall, and Winter.  The Trace Too is the Summer Trace, and it was absolutely gorgeous.

beach buoy

This was my view upon landing – simply stunning. I love the soft pinks and purples in the horizon. The waves and water are so realistic – I just stood and listened and looked for a while.

beach house at The Trace Too

There are several beach houses dotted around the sim, all superbly staged.  They looked so comfy and cozy, it was hard to resist plopping down onto one of the swinging chairs and lazing the day away.

chair at The Trace Too

There were also little vignettes here and there, like this adorable sun chair, tucked in under a sheltering tree branch.

Fountain at The Trace Too

I love fountains, and this lovely maiden with her fishy companion was just too cute.  Something about the sound of running water is so soothing.

beach house at The Trace Too

All the beach houses were lovely, surrounded by the water and gorgeous fields of colorful flowers.

vintage car at The Trace Too

My favorite find was this vintage car.  I can just imagine driving around, top down, the wind blowing through my hair, taking in all the gorgeous sights.

The Trace Too is a must-visit!

Thinking Out Loud

Busy Bee
Me this week!
Image Source: http://www.clipartpanda.com

It’s been a very hectic week for me, and I have found myself without much time (or inclination) to blog.  😦

I used to post every day, sometimes twice a day – one written post and then one LOTD post.

I’ve taken on some additional projects and it’s taking me a bit to get used to the lack of free time to write and take photos.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I would stop posting every day and see what happened.  As expected, my traffic fell.  Which is disappointing, but totally understandable.  I don’t read every single post every single day of the blogs I follow, so I don’t expect that from my readers either.

However, finding a happy medium has so far been elusive.  I’ve considered changing the direction of the blog (that dreaded ‘niche’ word), but I like writing about many different things.

I love taking photos of fantastic sims and sharing those, and those posts tend be popular.  I love taking my LOTD photos, though those are probably more for me than anyone else. 😀

I also love writing about dance – which is the reason I started this blog.  I am still involved in dancing in SL, and enjoy it very much.  However, I’m not sure that many readers actually enjoy reading about it.

I’ve also become very involved with learning the Artiste tools, and many of my posts have been about that.  Certainly a niche group for those posts! 😛

So, if I post less often, please be assured that I am still here, and I do intend to continue to write (and dance, and take photos).

Enjoy your Thursday!

It’s a New Year! Don’t Forget to Update Your Copyright Info | Photofocus

copyright
Image Source: http://www.writinggooder.com

This is something I always overlook when it’s a new year!

If you have something you want copyrighted, don’t forget to update your copyright information.

You may need to do it in more than one place, so make yourself a checklist for next year. 🙂

Source: It’s a New Year! Don’t Forget to Update Your Copyright Info | Photofocus

Using Smart Objects Before Transforming [UP22] | Photofocus

Image Source:  www.iheartnaptime.net
Image Source: http://www.iheartnaptime.net

Perhaps one of Photoshop’s best ‘hidden’ or ‘under-used’ features.

Smart objects allow you much more flexibility when editing photos.

Source: Using Smart Objects Before Transforming [UP22] | Photofocus

The Flickr Fave ★ | The Bergdorf Reports

FlickrCameraThe article linked below is a post from Kate Bergdorf with some funny categorizations of people on Flickr.

I had never heard of Flickr until about a year ago.

When I started doing my LOTD posts, I thought it would be a good place to share some of my photos.

I initially resisted because I don’t like Yahoo, but finally caved and got an account.

I really enjoy looking through photos and seeing other people’s creativity.

However, the site is not really user-friendly.

When you follow individual people, you can view their latest works by going to your ‘People’ tab.

So I can go to that tab and see the latest pictures posted by people I follow.

Great!

There are also a ton of Flickr groups that you can join, both so that you can share your own pics and see the pics of others around certain topics or themes.

I am in several SL dance groups, and several landscape groups.

But there is no ‘group’ tab/feed so that I can easily see the latest posts from the groups I am in.

Supposedly you can create an RSS for groups, but I’ve tried doing that, and it doesn’t work.

So the only way to view items from a particular group is to visit each group individually to look at photos.

If you’re not familiar with Flickr, this makes the process longer – instead of one click (as I would to view the latest ‘people’ posts), I have to go to my groups, wait for them load (which seems to take a while), pick one, wait for it to load, and then click on the ‘photo pool’ button for that group.

Instead of opening Flickr, clicking once, and scrolling through loads of cool photos, I often get stuck waiting for stuff to load.

First world problems, I know, that it takes 3 or 4 clicks instead of one, but if the goal of the site is to make it easy to share photos, they’ve missed the target in this area.

In addition, I don’t understand how the number of views are counted on photos.

When I am looking at recent photos, when I scroll down, my stream seems to constantly refresh itself – it’s not adding any new photos to the list, just constantly refreshing.

Are my involuntary refreshes being counted as multiple views?

Sometimes that is the only explanation I have for how some photos have thousands of views and hundreds of likes, when other (in my opinion, better) photos don’t.

I only ‘fave’ photos I actually like.

Perhaps I’m in the minority?

Source: The Flickr Fave ★ | The Bergdorf Reports

Perpetual Learner

Perpetual Student
Image Source: ellehull.co.uk

If I was independently wealthy, I’d be a perpetual student.

I’m curious about so many things, and there’s only so many hours in the day. 😀

Recently, my friend Nai told me about Creative Live.

I did some research and liked what I saw.

You can buy downloads of content on various subjects – business, crafting, photography, writing, you name it.

Or you can watch some of the classes for free when they are held live.

The downside of live classes is that they tend to be long – like all day.

I’m not wealthy, but I am lucky enough to be a SAHM.

So I can carve out time for the free classes.

It’s free and I learn stuff.

Win-win!!

The last few days I have been taking a Photoshop class.

It can get tedious (3 days of all day Photoshop?), but I am learning a lot.

The first day was spent on ‘key concepts’; many of those included things like using keyboard shortcuts.

I don’t generally use these, but since I started doing it, I know I’ve gotten faster at processing photos.

Such a timesaver!

I’ve also learned more about tools like the layer mask, clipping mask, and smart objects.

After the first day, I felt like my head would explode.

As I’ve begun taking photos in-world and posting to Flickr, I’ve wanted to do some cool effects, but I couldn’t figure out how to do what I wanted.

Thanks to the class, I now know how to approach what I want to do, and how not to ‘paint myself into a corner’ when it comes to using Photoshop.

Yesterday we learned about type tools, making reusable effects, and actions.

Today we will be learning about color techniques, layouts, and templates.

I’ve been taking notes, but I’m sure I’ll forget some things.

However, I’m looking forward to taking photos and experimenting with them using some of the techniques and tips I’ve learned.

It’s also actually made me excited to go out and try my hand at some photography in RL, so yay!

Who knows where this will lead?

To another class, probably.  😛

Trying Other TPVs – Black Dragon

Old TPVs
Image Source: http://www.slideshare.net

Over the last week or so, I’ve been trying out different viewers.

I didn’t think I would find one to replace Firestorm.

CtrlAltStudio is a close second for everyday use, just because it’s so much like Firestorm.

It also seems to be easier on my computer when maxing out my graphics.

So I probably would have used it to take hi-res photos.

Until I tried Black Dragon.

Black Dragon certainly has some things about it I don’t like, such as the fact that there is no built-in AO.

There is no worn tab in the inventory, which is kind of a pain.

The chat panel seemed backwards to me – the names were listed on the right, while the chat appeared on the left.

It also didn’t have a built-in pose stand like Firestorm does.

There are no phototools like in Firestorm, but – it does have some amazing options.

The UI looks more like the official viewer (and Alchemy); however, I’m willing to put up with that to use the amazing graphics tools.

It doesn’t come with as many pre-loaded windlights as Firestorm, but it does have quite a few.

Most of the items in Firestorm’s phototools you can find under Preferences → Display tab.

I was able to bump up my graphics settings to the max.

When I went to take a photo, there was absolutely NO delay when refreshing.

In addition, the viewer has a number of built-in filters you can use to enhance your photos, like lens flare, sepia, toy camera, etc.

Having those options can really cut down on the amount of time I spent post-processing a photo.

And having it refresh instantly, even at max settings, is a timesaver (and less stressful!) as well.

Like CtrlAltStudio, I am able to travel around to various places with all the graphics settings maxed out.

However, I much prefer the options I get with photos using Black Dragon.

For the time being, I plan to use Black Dragon when taking hi-res photos.

That leaves more time for shopping!!

I didn’t try out the Kokua or Catznip viewers.

I did try out Singularity, but it was too much like the official viewer, so I didn’t really spend any time using it.

I didn’t try out Restrained Love viewer or the UKanDo viewers, so that is the end of the reviews of the TPV’s.

I’m off to take more photos!

Picture Proof

It's me!!  Image courtesy of Aelva
It’s me!! Image courtesy of Aelva

You know that old saying – ‘Unless there’s pics, it didn’t happen’?

Sometimes performances can feel that way.

You work so hard, you spend a lot of time putting a performance together, and then -poof- it’s over.

Gone.

And if you’re like me, you often forget (or are too busy) to take snaps of the performance.

Thank goodness someone took a few pics from the first show at Le Artiste.  🙂

There are plans to film the acts, but of course that takes time.

So if you’re curious about the show and didn’t attend, take a look at these pics that Aelva was kind enough to share.

There are two acts that aren’t in the pics, so if/when those are filmed, I’ll let you know. 🙂

If you’re interested in Le Artiste, contact Yummy about joining the VIP group.

Those of you not in the US, enjoy your weekend!

Those of us in the US, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead tonight.

Daylight Savings Time.

Yay.  -.-

Feeling Inspired

Image Source: www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Image Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

The last few days have been rather chaotic for me, something I detest.

I’m a planner – I want everything laid out and ready to go. 😀

So when plans change at the last minute, or people are, you know, people, I sometimes find it extremely frustrating.

I have to take a deep breath and remember, ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys.’ 😛

I think I survived the chaos, and this morning I was feeling inspired.

I have become addicted to taking photos now that I can play around with shadows and windlights.

I’ve been visiting all kinds of places, looking for good locations to shoot, for interesting art, and just generally exploring.

Whiskey Monday is one of my favorite SL artists.  I love her dark, yet hopeful, view of the world.

She was granted an LEA sim and I eagerly await her posts saying she has a new build up to explore.

I went and took some shots today – I hope they turn out as well as I want them too!

And since I neglected to post a LOTD yesterday, I put on an outfit and went exploring for that as well.

I find I am loving having an excuse to play dress up and wear all those things that usually just sit in my inventory.

I am trying to go through some of my older outfits first, so that I can box them or throw them away if necessary.

It’s amazing how much stuff you can acquire in 5+ years. 😛

I’d better get busy!