Nag, Nag, Nag!

I swear, sometimes I wish I actually had to do everything myself, because then I would not be surrounded by dozens of demifae, all twittering at me to do this or that, or make a decision about that other thing, and why don’t I want a big formal dining room in the treehouse, and on, and on, and on!

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“It’s not finished!”

“It’s not finished!” Clutie is jabbering in my ear as I survey the Treehouse living room. “You need a rug, another sofa, and what about something more formal in here? You never know who might be coming to visit!”

I sigh. I roll my eyes. “Clutie,” I say, “how many times do I need to tell you that this is my private home. There will be no diplomatic visitors. Friends come here, not dignitaries or emissaries. All that stuff will take place down in the pavilion.”

“But the pavilion is so open, Your Majesty.” She is whinging now, and right into my ear, and the timbre of her voice is beginning to drive me mad. Why did I pop to the Wylds and save her from the ire of the Unseelie Court, again?

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Now I’m pacing.

Now I’m pacing. “Look, the kitchen is finished.”

“There isn’t a spice rack,” Clutie says.

Her constant companion these days is Arabelle. All Arabelle ever seems to do is nod and voice her agreement with Clutie. She does this now.

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“Will you two shut up?”

“Will you two shut up?” I’m losing patience now. “Blah, blah, blah! How many times do I have to tell you: I cannot be in ten places at once. I have a town to finish, a Realm to polish, and then I have to go to the Supernatural Paranormal Whatsis Agency to apply for Open Fae Town Status, which is just dumb if you ask me. While I would love to spend the majority of my time here in the Treehouse snuggling up to my husband and entertaining you lot, I do have more important things to do.”

“It’s the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, Your Majesty.” Clutie’s smile is smug as she corrects me. “But we do really need a rug or something in here. These wooden floors are so cold.”

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I stalk back into the kitchen.

I stalk back into the kitchen. “And Bran insisted on a mediaeval kitchen in here, so I can’t even toast bread! I’m going to designate one corner of this kitchen as belonging in the twenty-first century, and I’m going to get a toaster and a proper electric kettle and a microwave in here, and Bran can bite me.”

“I don’t think Bran would ever bite you, Your Majesty. I mean,” and her smug turns sly, “unless you really wanted him to.”

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Now I’m angry.

Now I’m angry. “My relationship with Bran, and it’s none of your business anyway, is purely platonic and he’d probably drop dead of embarrassment if I ever tried to make it be anything more.” Great; she’s made me raise my voice. I take a deep, calming breath.

“That’s right, Your Majesty,” Clutie says, as if there’s nothing for her to worry about in the world. “Calm yourself down, and then let’s go talk about rugs for the living room.”

I actually growl. “Clutie.” And now my voice is soft, even, possibly dangerous. “You and Arabelle need to find something else to do. Right now. You are both dismissed, and I don’t want to hear another word from either of you until I’ve had two cups of coffee and some French Toast. Bran!”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Rood
Hair: No Match, No Return (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Headpiece: Una, Tiara Leaf
Suit: M.I.X., Autumn Jacket
Shoes: Empire, Xyris

 

House: LAQ, Serene Tree and Windmill House
Living Room Furniture: Libertine, Viscount Set
Kitchen Fixtures: Artisan Fantasy, Kitchen Collection
Kitchen Table and Chairs: Cheeky Pea, Modern Farmhouse Dining Set

Faery Companions: Ohmai, Gerbera Fairy Companion (Clutie); and Tulip Fairy Companion (Arabelle)

Wall Art:
“Now I’m Pacing”
Black and White Photo: Starfall 04, by Bear Silvershade
Kitchen Painting: The Last Dance, by Eucalyptus Carroll
“Will you two shut up?”
Foreground: Music in my Mind, Part 2, by Kody Meyers
Background: Ilse of Serendipity, by Sandi Benelli (top); and
Winds of Change, also by Sandi Benelli
“I stalk back into the kitchen”
Kitchen Painting: The Last Dance, by Eucalyptus Carroll

I try to buy the photographs of artists I admire when they have gallery shows and put their stuff up for sale. It seemed only right that I decorate my personal space with the photos I love the most, those of my peers. Kody Meyers is a particular favourite: He and I were classmates at the Visionaire Institute, and his style and the elegance of his compositions never cease to amaze and please me. I’m honoured to know so many talented photographers, and I hope I’ll be able to talk about that side of my Second Life a little more in blogs to come. 

skinlogodiap   hairology-October

 

The Stolen Child

 

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Where dips the rocky highland….

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuthwood in the lake
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our fairy vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.

 

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Come away, O Human child!

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Where the wave of moonlight glosses

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;

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To and fro we leap

To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

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To the waters and the wild

To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Where the wandering water gushes

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild

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With a faery, hand in hand,

With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Away with us he’s going, The solemn-eyed:

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breath
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.

For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,

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For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

Poem, of course, is “The Stolen Child” by the immortal WB Yeats, a native of Sligo, where my late husband’s family were from and where many of them still reside.

All thanks go to Noah, who agreed on fairly short notice to find some schoolboy clothes and come be my Stolen Child for an evening. Noah’s player is among my favourite people in SL, and their portrayal of children as real kids taught me not to be completely dismissive of child avatars when I was new to SL roleplaying several years ago and we ended up on a sim together. Noah is an amazing kid, and is that not the most adorable child you have ever seen? Here, he is seven years old, and I thought he brought me the perfect Stolen Child.

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The amazing and adorable Noah!

When Astralia came up with the stunning Ivy Elf Set for The Gacha Garden, I knew I had to do something special with it. Once I dressed Gwyneth in the outfit, I could only think of the wild faeries of Irish folklore, and of course Yeats’ poem came to mind as something accessible, and short, that I could use as a springboard. With very little preparation, I decided to use the beautiful forest Dyisi Oppewall created on my sim, Awenia, as a setting. Raindale‘s beautiful boat, Meriel, provided the simple stage we used to take these photographs. I am grateful to Lumiya Rae, who created this lovely skin, Aurora, which is coming soon to The Coven: it got me to streamline my Lelutka Simone Bento head-shape to give Gwyneth this stern and otherworldly face. ColeMarie Soleil, the creative force behind Cole’s Creations, created the glimmering bits of gold that are sometimes visible around Gwyneth’s body and head and also the beautiful moonbeams that illuminate her Faery form as she appears to Noah. This photoshoot took nearly three hours, possibly a bit longer, and I could not have done it as well or efficiently without my experience in the Visionaire class or our masterclass with Senna Coronet on lighting. Nearly all the moonbeams on the water are made with projectors I created, and the projector on Noah dimmed out the lamp on the boat, so I had to create projectors to simulate that, as well. This was shot in various Phototools Moonlight wind lights, with the exception of the last photograph, which I shot in Phototools No Light so that I could bring all focus to Noah’s adorable and pinchable little face! (Noah is going to barf when he reads this!)

Style Cards:
Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Mesh Head
Hair: Mina, Ava Lin (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Aurora, Hexed (COMING SOON to The Coven!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears HD
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Clothes (bra, headdress, body leaves, neck leaves, necklace, leaf tattoo, leggings, armbands, corset, and necklace): Astralia, Ivy Elf Set (Available NOW at The Gacha Garden!)
Wings: Zyn, Woodland Tree Wings
Moonbeams and Gold Sparkles: Cole’s Corner, Fairy Gold Dust and Illuminated Lightbeams (Moonbeam Aura)

Noah:
Hair: *ARGRACE* GAKU
Socks: EB Atelier – Mesh_Socks Grey
Necklace: MeshMerized – Pan
Sweater: Loki Mesh – V4 Timerascal – Top
Shorts: Loki Mesh – V4 Timerascal Shorts
Boots: Loki Mesh – V4 Workboots – Brown
Mesh Body: #SMB Mesh Body 2.2
Skin: [Lee] Yang Skin Child Version
Eyes: [Icy Winter EYE] by Lubellia

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never re-enact a Yeats poem in SL without it!

lumae-logo   raindale-logo

Shadow Play

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!

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Shadowplay 1

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 ArteSmoky 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-GlamElysian 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.

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Shadowplay 2: Gobo

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!

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Shadowplay 3: Different Gobo, different lights!

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.

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Shadowplay 4: Close-up

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.

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Shadowplay 5: Symmetry/Asymmetry

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.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
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!

h011017   lumae-logo

Where’s she gone now?

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From the player:

Going back into full time work has affected my blogging schedule more than I’d like it to, which probably isn’t a surprise for those of you who know me. Today I’m home sick with something that feels more flu-like as the hours go on (and I just got a flu shot last week—oh, the humanity!), but in an ordinary week, I’m now working five days.

Because my job is retail, I rarely have two days off together, and because I haven’t been at my job for some time, getting my stamina back up to being away from home for 11 hours out of my day, with nine scheduled in at the shop (one of those is a lunch hour), has been tough. I felt less exhausted last week, though I still spent a goodly portion of my day off sleeping. I’m slow at waking up in the morning, plus those of you who know me in RL know that my brand of makeup takes a little longer than the average person’s, so the rest of my waking time is often spent getting ready before work rather than having time to play after, I’m afraid.

I know, I know; it’s one excuse after the other from me. Trust me: my roleplaying group have been saying this for over a year now.

On top of it all, I’m enrolled in the Visionaire course this term, so a large proportion of my SL time will be spent doing assignments and improving my photography, which I think will be all to the best.

This time, instead of asking blogging sponsors just to bear with me, I’m going to be backing away from blogging for sponsors, with two exceptions. I’ll continue to blog Lumae skins, because the commitment is low-stress, and I’ll continue to blog for The White Armory & Silvan Moon Designs, because again, the commitment is low-stress. For everyone else, I’ll move aside to make room for other bloggers, because I cannot promise x number of posts per month/week/whatever. I’m committed to only the highest-quality photographs I can take, the best stories I can write, and I can’t promise that in the limited time I have. There are plenty of SL bloggers out there who take a great photograph and tag it, credit it, then post it as their blog entry for the day or the hour, and I know loads of them who do a great job and post as many as 5-6 photographs a day. That’s not what I want to do with my blog, though I enjoy reading many blogs that do that very thing. Without the time to craft a story, my blog doesn’t feel like my blog.

For those of you who are interested in such things, here’s my first Visionaire homework: it’s a photo of Gwyneth returning from some Realm or other, greeted by deer in the Great Seelie Forest.

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Visionaire homework 1: Self-Portrait

The deer are from Half Deer; they are a gacha at Kustom 9 this round. Nothing else is current, but the portal is SPELL’s Portals to Other Worlds, from a Chapter 4 Gacha, and the woods are the Enchanted Woods from Studio Skye.

Gwyneth is wearing:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Elanil
Hair: Monso My Hair, Somi
Clothes: RealEvil Industries, Avery Jeans & Avery Jacket
Shoes: Roped Passions, Leaf Lullabye
Pose: An Lar, The Carrie Series

Spiffy photo taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make enrol in a SL photography course while simultaneously starting a PhD and going back in to full-time work without it….