I looked for songs about shadows to illustrate this post, but they all seem to be about being fooled by bad relationships or psychotic ex-lovers, and that’s not really what I wanted to talk about, so despite the fact that the chorus for Fish‘s song Shadowplay keeps going through my head as I write this, I won’t inflict it on you guys. You’ve probably never heard of Fish anyway. He was with a band called Marillion, and you’ve probably never heard of them, either.
Anyway. I haven’t spoken a lot about my experience with the Visionaire photography class here, but you’ve seen the results, changes, and experimentation in my photographs. Or at least I hope you have. Friday was our last class before graduation (February 19— I’ll just go ahead and invite all of you to the party now!), and we had a guest teacher, Senna Coronet. Now, the only thing I knew about Senna before this class was something one of our instructors had told me: he photographs in complete darkness, using only projectors. But the fact is, Senna is a genius at explaining very complex things in a simple way. And, I’m convinced now that not only can Senna photograph in complete darkness, using only projectors—so can I!
Shadowplay 1: Here, Gwyneth is lit by a projector and three prim lights, the usual LumiPro setup. She is in a constructed prim box, which in retrospect I probably should have made totally white in colour/no texture; however, I knew I would be shooting in Phototools No Light windlight, so I didn’t bother. I may go back and reshoot some of these for my Visionaire graduation portfolio and see how the texture of the box might change the photographs. Anyway, I wanted her to be mostly black and white, so I chose Lumae‘s Eirtae Nimbus fantasy skin: it’s very white with subtle shading, and I’ve used it before when I turned Gwyneth into a Bain Sidhe for a post several months ago. This outfit is one I’ve seen photographed a lot: it’s Blueberry‘s Angelberry set from the current (and half over!) round of The Epiphany. This hair is special, as well: it’s from Emo-Tions, and it’s at Hairology for another few days: it’s Anik, and I loved it so much I’ve already used it in a blog this month, but I love Emo-Tions’ silver textures so much that I put it on again for this one. Gwyneth is wearing eyeshadow from Arte, Smoky Eyeshadow, but it’s also called Gwen, so of course I had to buy it! The red lipstick is one of the Catwa choices for the Catya mesh head, which Gwyneth is in almost all the time these days. The lipstick and the eyes (from Avi-Glam, Elysian Eyes, colour Ghost) are the only things with colour on Gwyneth.
In order to get the projector to appear in a perfect circle, I chose LumiPro‘s wide spotlight bulb for the projector, then moved the projector so that it was centred on Gwyneth’s middle. I pulled it back so that the spotlight appeared to be in a perfect circle around her. This pose, and all the poses in this post, come from An Lar‘s new Flutter Series, which you can find at this month’s SaNaRae. The prim lights are arranged so that Gwyneth’s face and hair are highlighted, and the third (LumiPro standard) prim light is on her body below the waist, on her upper legs. She’s rotated so that there is just a bit of sharp shadow behind her and so that you can see the fluffy wings make a shadow as well. I used some tips I got from William Weaver in the class he taught us at Visionaire about using Phototools to best advantage to make sure my shadows were sharp and visible behind her.
I shot a couple of photos with this lighting setup, and I was so pleased with myself that I sent a Gyazo link to Senna, proudly noting that I had been listening in class. At the same time, the creative and delightful Lola Key suggested that I try a Gobo, so I started playing with some of the LumiPro gobos to see what I could come up with.
Here is a double experiment: a gobo, plus a single blue coloured prim light behind her to colour the shadows and set a different tone for the floor area. In retrospect, I’d like to try this with her floating against the wall so that the shadows don’t bend, but the wall/floor dichotomy also makes her appear to be on a stage somewhere, so perhaps it’s a good thing. Notice how the blue prim light affects the colours of the shadows behind her legs and the bottom part of the wing? This was Senna’s suggestion when I sent him the Gyazo link, and after that I just went crazy, putting differently coloured prim lights behind her and experimenting with different placements!
Here, there are two more prim lights placed behind Gwyneth so that you get a different colour both on her body and wing shadows, and also one off to the side so that the gobo changes colour on the right side of the photograph. Ordinarily in a blog photo I’d have turned her so her face is visible, but here I was concentrating more on the shadows of her hand against the wall. The Vista Bento Hands do such great things with their random movements, even with static poses, that I left this option on and just shot when I liked the position her hands were in.
For this photograph, I turned off the gobo option and moved the spotlight very close to Gwyneth so that the spotlight circle would appear smaller behind her. I left the purple and teal prim lights in place to create some interest around the edges of the spotlight. For those of you in the UK who are familiar with Charlie Brucker, I’m concerned that Gwyneth looks a little too much like Philomena Cunk in this photograph, but I’ll overlook that for now. Note that all the LumiPro lights were set to a grey colour and I turned the intensity and falloff down so that Gwyneth’s white skin would not be blown out by such a close placement of lights here.
Here, I intentionally kept the spotlight fairly small, while panning out so that the single prim light behind Gwyneth’s ankles shows you that she’s standing on a surface somewhere, possibly a stage (which the spotlight sort of implies). I carefully positioned the camera so that her shadow was roughly equidistant from her on all sides, even though she wasn’t perfectly centred in the spotlight.
So many thanks to the whole Visionaire crew for this amazing class. Wren and Nariko have created a wonderful thing. If you want to get your mind blown on a weekly basis and learn more about SL photography than you could possibly absorb in a single second lifetime, check out the Visionaire Website for more information and to see when applications will open for the next class. If you’re super keen, you can always IM WrenNoire Cerise in-world and talk to her: she is approachable, warm, and a great teacher. I cannot say enough about how enlightening and empowering the Visionaire experience is. Do not think about the money. It is not about the money. I am thankful every day that I splashed out for this class. It has been worth every Linden and much, much more. It’s worth it for the critiques alone, but the lessons will blow your mind, and the guest speakers are amazing, and the opportunities for learning more about your own work, developing your own style, and finding out how the pros do it? Just wow.
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions, Anika (Available for a few more days at Hairology!)
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Elysium Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Nimbus Fantasy Skin (Available at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Outfit: Blueberry, Angelberry, in colour Slayer (Available until February 15 at The Epiphany!) —all the colours are beautiful, but I particularly wanted the black for this series of photos.
Makeup: Arte, Gwen Eyeshadow (Smokey Eyeshadow) (Lipstick is included with the Catya head)
Poses: An Lar, The Flutter Series (Available NOW at SaNaRae!)
Setting: A Box!
Learn more about Visionaire at The Visionaire Website!
Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never talk about lighting Second Life photography without it!