Mystery: A secret ingredient to a great photo

Have you ever been in a rut, and only recognized it when you see someone else’s work? I’ve just had that experience. I am, admittedly someone who is still learning SL photography. I’m pretty good on the angles, the lighting, the framing. That’s, fine, but it’s merely the basics. I’ve had this unrecognized itch that my images were lacking punch, emotion, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get around it until I saw this shot by Connie Arida. So it’s very retouched. I can live with that. Seeing this image brought me just the notion that I needed: that a good photo is as much about what is left out, as what is framed. Ever notice that good monster movies keep the suspense up by NOT revealing the monster right away? They hint, they tease, they imply, and as such the audience is captivated by wanting to know what the monster looks like. That’s a trick to engaging content. I realized that while my photos may be ok technically, that emotionally, I was much too explicit. I’ll be working on that for the next little while.

A wonderful shot by Connie Arida, pointing out that sometimes the best part of a photograph is what is not included.

A wonderful shot by Connie Arida, pointing out that sometimes the best part of a photograph is what is not included.

Quite Oh, Cyborg in the light.

Cyborg in the light. (from profile pic to vanity pic)

Cyborg in the light. (from profile pic to vanity pic)

2009-06-13 I was thinking of updating my profile pic. Full body shots are rarely useful for it, but I’d gotten the lighting just-so on this one, so I thought I’d share it. Call it a vanity pic. Unretouched, of course.

Added it to my flickr stream too:

This shot was taken in Midian City

The Perfect Opportunity

So, I’ve just finished building my garage photoscene earlier, it was fun, I showed it off at Show ‘n Tell and that’s it, right? Noooo! Time to watch newbie S&T (don’t ever miss’em, some of these “newcomers” really kick butt–mine any way) and there he was: Large. Ponderous. Character just oozing outta him. TigerChub Torok. Big as life and twice as fun. As fate has it, he was a perfect model for this photoscene. I just had to grab it, and then moments later, Blu Laslo, in her boots and T-Shirt popped in. What a fun combo it was! About 124 shots later (yes, I’m not kidding. Told’ja that most of my shots don’t make it) here are some of the better ones.

Some of these shots are not perfect, arms intersecting with buildigns and such, but so what! The human element was so strong that I just had to include them.

Could Blu possibly have been looking in a better direction? Makes it seem as if there were a fourth party.

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Interview with Brace Coral, founder of New Citizens Inc

Quite Oh: is teleported to Brace Coral’s home…
… and lands deep into the ocean

Quite Oh: Sploosh!

Brace Coral:  welcome to Teh Shack!

Quite Oh: Thank you. Is this TEH shack!? :)

Brace Coral:  Have a seat where ya like

Brace Coral:  Uh… the Brace Luv Shack!

Brace Coral:  lol

Quite Oh: :)

Image of Brace Coral and Quite Oh at Teh Luv Shack

Image of Brace Coral and Quite Oh at Teh Luv Shack

Quite Oh: Well thanks for taking the time, Brace. I’m doing a series of  interviews on the whole of the NCI crew on my blog, and as founding member, many of us thought it appropriate that you be the guiney-pi… er, first member interviewed.

Brace Coral:  My life is an open book! Read the rest of this entry »

Second Life Pet Peev #2: The “Friendship” list

Gentle reader:

I understand that we are all new at some point, and that you want to offer someone a self-esteem boost for the day, and so it’s natural that when you see a button that says “Offer friendship” it’s an instinctive thing. I totally understand.

The Truth about Second Life Friendship list: It is, generally speaking, a dark evil whose name is a lie. A better name for the “friendship” list is “Trackable, Traceable, Pounceable Contact List”. I think of it more as “The Stalker Intelligence Gathering Function”. It makes it so that you can see each time someone logs on or off, or can find them on the map and just kind of show up–whether you have asked or not.

The friendship list is a “live” list of business cards. Think of it this way: Offering friendship is like asking for someone’s personal home number, there’s a time, place and way to do it. When you accept someone’s friendship, you automatically get their calling card anyway, so the only difference is the “real time information” aspect. When you meet someone new, consider instead of offering your card (Right click -> More… -> Offer card)

Put another way: The friendship list is a Buddy List. Same as MSN, Yahoo or other such chat programs. Now, we’ve known each other for less than 1 hour and you want to be on my buddy list why?

Some background:

I’m a newcomer helper at New Citizens International, a pretty female and Read the rest of this entry »

Second Life Pet Peeves: Bright Lights!

OK! That’s it! I need a forum to vent my Second Life Pet Peeves! (SLPPs). Today’s Pet Peev is:

Too many bright lights!

Dear friends, in pre-windlight days, adding a subtle light to your face (face lights) tended to smooth out some of the harsher edges on our face. Those days are over. Now, all the lights do is to make your face really bright.

By the way, did you know that there’s a limit of 6 lights that can be simultaneously displayed in Second Life? So, when YOU are the one wearing 3 on your face, one on your lower body, then two behind, you’ve either turned off everyone’s lights next to you, or they aren’t shining to not do the thing they can’t do any more anyway.

Please remove your face lights.

And if you do wear one face light, please keep it subtle. Do not be the walking halogen light of death! Set the diameter to no further than the distance of your face, and keep the drop off relatively high, at least 50% of the distance. There’s nothing quite like being absorbed in a build to have a living atomic explosion come and scorch your pupils out and render your build an amorphous blob of glare because you think you need the light to look good.

Really: I accept you as you are. Now turn off your light!

Oh. And by the way: light cannot be blocked. It goes though all prims, at infinite layers and even though other avatars. They are omnidirectional. Trust me, if you are using vanity lights to enhance your appearance, we’ll like you so much more for your courtesy than your lack of shadowing.


2008-10-14 Update! you can turn off the avatar attachment lights if you are using 1.21 RC or later! Check out Torley’s Video on it How to turn off those damn facelights!

2008-10-17 Update! I’ve written up a detailed article about the theory, correct use, misuse and creation of face lights.

Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group FAQ

Please note that this FAQ is a work in progress. Time is limited and I’m doing my best to keep on top of SL and RL. Thanks for your patience. I invite your questions and potential answers to help me complete this.

Q: What is the Second Life Pure Photography group about?

This group is about celebrating pure, unretouched Second Life snapshots and sharing the technique for how something was created. It’s about learning, sharing and pushing our limits and the limits of the technologies surrounding second life. You can find the Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group here:

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How to create the dynamic mirror water effect

There are certain classes of people in the world. Most of us, despite how we like to think of ourselves, are common. We live our lives, ordinarily, fullfilling our personal wants and desires and keep on keeping on. Then there are those, who in a particlar area, try to push the limits. Finally, there are those who push those limits and share what they know, selflessly with the world. Zonja Capalini is one such person.

She’s a wonderful photographer, does interesting machinma and seems to be an all round nice person. And best yet, she’s actually humble. Nice combination.

So why doeth thou gusheth thusly, Quite? Because Zonja helps people learn. We all sink or rise together, when when you find an individual that is of the latter group, I think they should be noticed and in a world where negativity often overrides positivity, they should be publicly appreciated for their actions. Sunshine is free, spread it around!

I created the Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group, and joy! She signed up, and posted one of her pics. The picture itself is wonderful, but what struck was was that she freely gave instructions on how to reproduce it. That’s the step above I’m talking about. Most people I meet figure out a little technique, then hoard it and try to sell it for as much as they can while remaining secretive about it. Those are the s(t)inkers of the lot. Zonja is a swimmer.

/me stops torturing metaphors and aphorisms now.

Zonja seems to have a thing for mirrors. As SL has no native mirroring mechanism, Zonja has gone about trying to reproduce them in as many ways as is seems feasable. Check out Zonja Capalini’s tutorial on creating the Dynamic Mirror Water Effect and when you’ve taken your photos and had your fun, send her a thank you note.

Spread the sunshine, baby!

SERIOUSLY Cheezed Off!

I’ve started a new project, I’m going to do an encyclopedia of the various species of avatars in Second Life, and on a coup-de-foudre, spent three hours taking pictures of all my friends and even going to so far as to asking help from the Midian City Nekos. I was flooded with acceptations, and all of these kind people took the time to come down to Kuula, and allow me to take their picture, and the wrote me notecards too.!

Example image of Quite's screwed up images

Example image of Quite's screwed up images

What happened? I had stupidly left show HUDs and UI checked, and also the images became corrupt! I am so incredibly cheezed off at not only losing 3 hours worth of photography, but also to have inconvenienced all the fine people from Midian, people whome I’ve never met to who have and offered me their time and energy.

Deep apologies to everyone! The project WILL go on, but it has a really rocky start. I’m not sure if it would be right for me to call some of you back. If it is, please IM me in world, or leave me a comment here and I’ll reach you again.

Thanks again, and sorry again :/

Death! Blood! Murder! (and other tender Kuula Moments)

It all started with an innocent prank, and little did any of us know that the evening would be changed for ever. Or until we logged off.

Nikko Dezno, probably while on one of his habitual drinking and driving car smashing sprees must have fallen asleep at the wheel. Well, actually being the car, he was the wheel, but I digress. Since Nikko AFK (otherwise known as smashed into the ground into an unrecognizable heap of scrap metal) was begging to be pranked, so, Quite Oh, dutifully and lovingly reached for her photoshop to create a simple graphic as a sign of respect and affection:

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