Monthly Archives: August 2012

Summer vacation…

Ferris Wheel at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds
I’m in vacation mode right now. I have been off work since last week, sort of unexpectedly, as my kids finished summer day camp and my daycare is temporarily closed. Given I had no other choice, I used my vacation time that I was saving for a winter getaway to someplace tropical, so I could be home with my kids during these last days of summer.

Not regretting it at all. We decided to make it a “stay-cation” and be tourists in our own town. Everyday we have been doing something in the city and it has been a memorable vacation so far. We have plans to do some road trips this week, and find some new places to explore that we have not been to.

I have a ton of Second Life pictures sitting on my desktop that have been piling up for the last couple of weeks. I may get around to sorting and posting them soon…or I may not. It depends how busy our tourist itinerary is.
Either way, I’ll be back to exploring Second Life sooner or later. :))

Better late than never. My late entry for Single Frame Stories this week.

This week’s prompt for Single Frame Stories was “Grave Mistake”. I found myself drawing a blank for this one all week, until late last night. I came up with an idea while I was reading bedtime stories with my kids. I think I was thinking about it too much and ideas weren’t flowing. Seems like the moment I relaxed and forgot about it, I had a little light bulb moment.

I planned on going back downstairs to make my image after they were sleeping but I fell asleep first! I woke up at about 3am in my son’s car bed with a crooked neck! Ouch.

Anyway, here’s my take on “Grave Mistake”.

A forest clear cut. A grave mistake.

Check out this week’s gallery at Single Frame Stories.

Circo Loon – Origami Editions by Pallina60 Loon

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had much time to take pictures or blog this week. Blogging has become like a habit for me, and one that I love, so when days go by without updating here, something feels kind of off. 

So last night I was looking through my Flickr groups and saw this picture and I knew I had to head over to explore right away. 

Circo Loon – Origami Editions is by Pallina60 Loon and it is an enchanting and beautiful place to explore. You will find paper cranes and other origami creations all over the area, and some of them are interactive. 

There are areas where you can relax, meditate or cuddle with your sweetheart. It’s a really pretty, meditative and fun place to experience. I think you should head on over and check it out. I loved it!

(click this link, copy SLurl and drag into your Second Life viewer for the landmark)

It’s all about Love (and RL camera envy) in the Noweeta Grasslands…

Yes, it’s all about Love in these peaceful grasslands…

But Noweeta is not just for couples and romance. I met a couple of people like myself who were there to explore, enjoy some solitude and take pictures of the beautiful landscape. It’s a SL photographer’s dream.

So this morning while I was zooming around the sim, framing my shots, I realized that I rarely, if ever use the ctrl 8 camera feature for my SL photos. I often use ctrl 0 to zoom in on objects, and the rare close up pics I have of my avatar face. But ctrl 8 for zooming out, is not a function I have ever made much use of. I figured it was a good time to give it a try. As you can see from the two photos above, this function gives your SL camera somewhat of a fisheye effect and changes the entire look and feel of the scene. I plan on experimenting more with this “fisheye lens” for future shots.

I’m kind of addicted to Depth of Field shots. Honestly, I don’t know what the hell I am doing with the DoF sliders in the Dolphin Viewer. I couldn’t tell you what F Numbers, Focal Length, or Circle of Confusion means. I just slide them all around until my screen looks good to my eye,  and then I snap a picture. Maybe I’m doing it all wrong, but it works for me. 

As much as I love taking photos in my Second Life, it gives me a bit of RL camera envy. I would love to have a “real camera” besides my iphone to snap pictures around the city on my daily walks and weekend bike rides. I’m not kidding myself. I realize that landscape photography in the atomic world is FAR different from what I do in SL. But I would love, LOVE to spend more time out in nature, hiking through trails, exploring landscapes and waiting all day for the right light for that one perfect shot. This may seem crazy, but the thought of this makes me dreamy. 

The trouble with this day dream is not that I don’t have the camera and equipment. I can get those things. The trouble is finding the time for it. Between my 9 to 5 job, managing my husbands business, two children, shopping, appointments and shuttling them to lessons, playdates and all that, I am left with very little time to spend an entire day in the country taking pictures. Maybe one day I can make this happen, just not right now.

But hey, that’s life right? I’m not complaining. I enjoy my life the way it is and I get to do all kinds of fun things with my kids. But it’s good to dream and to want certain things so you can work towards it and have something to look forward to.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the opportunity I have to live out my day dreams in the virtual world. 

Svarga: An ode to the simple prim

If you have never been to Svarga, I think you should probably put this destination on your list of places to visit in Second Life. First appearing on the grid in 2006, Svarga was described by Philip Rosedale as coming close to his original vision of Second Life. 

It mysteriously disappeared in 2009, and then two years ago returned to Second Life when Linden Lab purchased it from the owner and creator, Laukosargas Svarog. 

I heard of Svarga before, but only visited it for the first time this week after reading Inara’s very informative blog post about the destination. I was pretty amazed to learn that everything in this sim is made from basic building tools and simple prims, before sculpties and flexi prims. It’s pretty cool.

There is a tour system in place that you will find at the landing point. Hop on the giant bee and tour around while learning about the artificial eco-system.

Svarga is definitely a must see “historical” destination in Second Life and I highly recommend a visit. 

Challenges, taking risks, and possibilities

Here is my entry for this weeks Single Frame Stories Challenge. The theme this week is “Illumination”…


Brown sugar flecks of melanin
speckled across my face,
lights up pale skin
like sunshine
from the

Three years ago when I first arrived in Second Life, did I ever think I would be posting extreme close ups of my face on the internet, with no make up and untrimmed eyebrows? Hell no! Yet here I am!

I felt totally insecure and vulnerable about posting that for the Single Frame Stories this week. When I read the theme for this round, I knew right away what I wanted to do…except I wanted a picture of my freckled face avatar.  But my graphics issues prevented me from doing that picture because my avatar skin looks too pixely and blotchy close up. I also wasn’t sure if anyone would get my single frame story. In the end I decided that it means something to me and that’s really all that matters. I think it turned out better this way anyways, untrimmed eyebrows and all.

I really love the Single Frame Stories Challenge and I love seeing everyone else’s photos and their takes on the weekly theme. There is still time for you to take part! Check out Single Frame Stories for the details.

Another weekly challenge that I have been participating in is the Virtual Artists Alliance Photohunt Challenge, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. This is a lot of fun, and the photo above was my entry for last night’s challenge.

I’ve never really taken part in such challenges in Second Life and I’m learning about how positive these kinds of group activities are for my confidence in expressing myself creatively. It’s also great for drawing inspiration and encouragement from my peers. They are a challenge in the sense of coming up with new ideas, thinking up ways to express that, and sometimes taking risks in doing so. 

The old me would probably have shyed away from taking part in these challenges. Instead I would have choosen to sit back and observe, while feeling slightly envious of everyone’s creative talents. 

Now, I’m realizing that in stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new, you gain an opportunity to do your very best at something. Expressing yourself creatively involves taking personal risks sometimes, but the true risk I think comes in the possibilities you lose when you fail to at least try.

Update: Please see bottom of post! Experience a Nordic summer in Finlandia

Funny, after I whined and complained yesterday about the graphics problems I am having, I logged in last night and everything seems to look fine for high res photos.  The sky and my skin still looks pixely in mid-graphics though, but at least I can still take landscape photos in high graphics. For now.

I don’t know much at all about Finland, to tell you the truth. Snow comes to mind, and long cold winters. Finland definitely would not come up in my thoughts when thinking of summer getaways. But based on my explorations of Finlandia, the virtual world representation of a nordic summer in Finland, I think my assumptions about the country are inaccurate. Or, they are incomplete. 

It’s so pretty and peaceful here, I could have spent hours more in the sim.  It’s ripe with landscape photo opportunities. I will be going back to this place and adding more photos to my Finlandia set on Flickr.

There are several areas where you can hang out with friends, in a treehouse, around a campfire, swimming, or swing on the tire swing and take in the tranquil mood of the landscape. 

Follow the paths from the landing point, that will lead you on a quiet walk through the countryside.

This flagpole intrigued me. I did a bit of research and learned that it is called a Juhannussalko – a flag pole that the Fins put up in their midsummer celebration. The celebration takes place between the 20th and 26th of June, which to us in North America is Summer Solstice.

Finlandia is certainly a very pretty place to explore and take pictures. There is a tip jar at the landing spot if you would like to donate to this sim. 


Visit Finlandia in Second Life

ETA: Please see the comments below for information regarding the Juhannussalko flag pole. It’s actually Swedish and not Finnish.

Also, the owner of Finlandia, Daniela Finchy has a new blog for Finlandia. Click here to check it out!