Monday, 28 October 2013

Back InWorldz

Cracker's Run, Naporia
Oct. 28: Spent some time visiting InWorldz again this morning, this time around Crooked Creek in the DanCoDi sim. It's kind of out of sight in my pics of this Mediterranean coastal resort, but there is a nice little mall kicking around behind the ridge in a neighbouring sim.
Crooked Creek, DanCoDi

Quality of these builds is every bit as high as in Second Life, so there is lots to see. And while there are some glitches -- a few problems TPing and got sunk into the floor while editing my appearance -- it's come a long way since 2010 when I first rezzed in. 
Crooked Creek, DanCoDi

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Exploring Inworldz

St. George Reef, Inworldz
I rarely visit Inworldz, even though I've had an avatar there nearly as long as in Second Life.
Truth be told, I have a bias against Inworldz, since my first experiences there were so poor. When I first rezzed in, I could walk hardly walk 10 steps without sinking into the ground and getting stuck. And unfortunately, it wasn't only me … later I discovered that some sims would set out dance and other pose balls at intervals to help you get unstuck.
I’ll skip over the problems with finding shops to buy some decent bits and pieces to create an avatar. But the quality of many builds was also less than impressive, so there was little to draw me back. I couldn't understand why anyone went there, other than it seemed most Inworlders and those that talked it up had a huge hate on for SL.
But earlier today, I read +Strawberry Singh's blog about 20 SL designers opening up shop in Inworldz and was intrigued enough to visit and explore for a bit. And I've got to admit, things have changed.  
Builds are better, graphics and textures are better and it no longer feels like walking through mud to get around. As a matter of fact, some of the builds in the sailing area I visited were easily the equal of SL.
But there is still the problem of people. Perhaps this new infusion of stores and creators will draw some in, but frankly, going to a VW where there is only 200 or so people in world time feels a bit desolate.
So, the upshot is I won’t be leaving Second Life for Inworldz, though I may spend a little more time there exploring. Now, if I could only find a nice quality sailboat there….

Sunday, 15 September 2013

And a star to steer her by

Click to enlarge
This particular post is in response to one of +Inara Pey's "For the Few," a homage to flight in Second Life. I decided to do the same for my favourite activity; Inara provided the inspiration, I provided the image and John Masefield provided the words: 

"All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

And while not a tall ship, the Patchogue II from Jacquleine Trudeau, is certainly elegant enough to suit Masefield's "Sea Fever."

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Challenge: Windlight

Ocho Tango: soft and hazy
So  +Strawberry Singh, the mistress of windlight settings, wants to know how the rest of us use windlight in our images in her latest Monday meme.

Do you use windlight while taking pictures? If not, why not? Sure. I experiment with them a lot as well as having all the bells and whistles turned on: advanced lighting, ambient occlusion and so on. Usually though, I leave local lights turned off – I want to be in complete control of the light.

When taking a closeup snapshot for a profile picture, which windlight preset do you use most often? I don't often do portraits. I think my profile pic is more than two years old (and really kind of sad - it was an experiment) I do shoot a lot of images of singers and performers, but then, I usually follow the same pattern as when I am doing landscapes - it's all about the mood.

Which windlight presets do you use for full body portraits? Pretty much the same answer as the last question.

If you do landscape photography, which windlights do you use for that most often? Ah, here we go! My final images are almost always in black and white, so there are a few things going on in my head when I am working. First is “what is this going to look like without colour? So I tend to favour windlights that don't have strong colours to begin with: It's gonna rain, Amsterdam, Dusty Bright. Mainly for me, controlling the light is all about setting mood, so I am most concerned with contrast, shadows, clouds and intensity of light. For that, there is no substitute for just playing, especially with the haze level.

Ocho Tango again, after the fog lifted

Do you have any tricks or tips that you could share for using Windlight effectively? Not really sure if this is a windlight tip, but one of the biggest pains for me is spending 10 minutes experimenting and getting my camera angle and windlight synced perfectly, only to move or hit escape and bounce back to default. Pick up a copy of HUD CAM or the pushpin hud to lock your view down.

Have you created any windlights that you would be willing to share with us? Unfortunately no. I experiment a lot and rarely use the same settings twice. I can share a bit of advice I learned through RL photography, though; try to previsualise how you want the final image to look. Not so much in detail, but in terms of how the light will convey the mood of the scene. Then work towards that image. Easy, right?

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

What do you do with a flat Rodvik? 

My take on +Strawberry Singh 's latest Monday meme: Flat Rodvik. Seriously, this guy needs better clothes.

Even if it is Rodvik, I am not going to be seen in public with him until he gets a decent outfit, so I took him to Deco to see if he could find something he liked. It's taking a while, though.

Check out for more or Deco at

Thursday, 13 June 2013


I haven't done one of Strawberry's Monday memes for a while. She has been picking out some tough ones... and I have never been any good at poetry, especially haiku.

But the SL Movie Poster challenge was right up my alley, especially since I just created a poster for myexhibition space at SL10B. So here it is... that film noir classic, "Journey of the Lonely Man."

Okay, yes, there is no such classic, but this is SL. I can imagine that I am living out a black and white art film if I like...

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Paintings by Starz McCullogh and Maymay Matova (in back) are just a tiny portion of the work on display at the Raglan Shire ArtWalk
Putting the final touches on my exhibit!
Aye, that’s colour in my images. Pretty rare, but well, that’s Raglan Shire.  Way to much colour and cheer to reduce to black and white easily.For the month of May, it’s going to be even more colourful as Raglan welcomes the grid for the seventh annual ArtWalk. From May 5 to the 26th, hedges throughout four sims of the Shire (set up especially for the event) will display 2D and 3D works of artists, big and small, beginners and top names, from around the grid.
According to ArtWalk director Teal Freenote, 130 artists preregistered to take part in the event. But the actual number of participants may not be known for a while yet. Zayn Till, magistrate of the shire, notes there were 117 artists pre-registered last year, but there 154 participants at the final count.
So give yourself some time. This isn't an exhibition you can cruise through in a few minutes, there is way too much to see.
ArtWalk has a long history. Zayn started it in 2007, not long after he founded the shire, in imitation of the RL ArtWalk in Seattle.
Kayak Kuu dances at the opening of ArtWalk 2013,
 with Seth Stratten resting in the background in front
of works by Derry McMahon.
It’s also got a history for me. ArtWalk 2011, about a year after I first rezzed in, was my introduction to the bright, lively, incredibly silly and talented tiny community and I have never looked back.
 It was also the first time I exhibited my images in SL. That makes this the third year for me, a long way from being too shy to show my images to any but closest friends.
In fact, besides Raglan, I have two other exhibitions running right now.
Runningbears Gallery has an exhibition of my SL landscapes and the Rose Theatre & Art Gallery has Journey, a series of my “Lonely Man” images in Gallery 5. Use the teleport next to the landing point if you don’t feel like wandering. But like Raglan, there is a lot to see, so take your time. Quan Lavender recently did a write up of the extent of the galleries.
For Raglan, you might want to start at the Acorn Stage; that’s where my work is hanging.

Raglan Shire:
Runningbears Gallery:
 Rose Theatre & Gallery:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Answering Berry’s challenge

Are you looking for a way to put off doing something? Because Strawberry Singh has issued another challenge/meme.
Bear and Derry hanging out at Artropolis.

I am not usually much of a joiner, but this one comes on the heels of Berry’s Seven SL facts about me meme and she offers good reasons for starting it: she’s nosy and she is trying to get everyone to procrastinate like her.

And since I can’t resist the temptation to put off writing a story, well, let’s just say it’s all Berry’s fault I got no work done this morning. Copy the questions yourself, and put something important off.

What is the rez date for your current SL Avatar that you use most often?

Bear Silvershade — March 22, 2010?

Where was the first place you made friends as a newb and got to know people in Second Life?

That would have to be the Buddha Centre. I am a buddhist in RL, so I finally wandered in there to attend a ceremony after wandering around for a few days without talking a lot to people — Hey, I am shy. They were very welcoming people, and still are.

Where do you spend most of your SL time now?

I don’t think there is one particular location, since I spend most of my time sailing or exploring. Probably either my home in Fruit Islands or my studio/workshop at Artropolis.

Who is your closest friend in Second Life? (only pick one)

Oh, that’s not fair to just pick one - lots of good friends, but my partner, Derry McMahon, has to rate as closest.

What is the most favorite thing in your inventory? (only pick one)

That great black duster mesh coat I picked up from Deco.

The last thing you purchased in Second Life?

Rain. Aye, you read that right. The Best Rain. Cool stuff and very realistic.

What color clothing does your avatar wear most often?

Black. Grey.

Do you prefer to walk, run or fly?

I generally walk. Flying all the time seems unrealistic, though I prefer that to running when I am in a hurry.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done in SL?

Does friending Crap Mariner count? Turns out that’s not so crazy, so I’m not really sure what counts as crazy in a virtual world - maybe the time I armed myself with a teddy bear shooter and joined the Tinys in a battle against the Orks?

Who would you like to play YOU, in the movie of your SLife?

Humphrey Bogart. Or perhaps Cary Grant. No, Bogart.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

van Gogh revisited

Torell Nederland

I was pleased to read in Honour MacMillan’s column earlier this week that the recreation of van Gogh’s Arles was back up, though it no longer resides on the Arles sim. It’s a build I have visited many times, but I've never felt that I have explored it as well as I should have, so I was glad for another chance.

The new build at Torell Nederland, a sim devoted to arts and culture, is well worth exploring. While it would be near impossible to recreate the sights and sounds that van Gogh experienced, Mudpuddle Cleanslate’s re-creations gives us a taste of what he might have seen and experienced as he walked through the town and countryside.

Torell Nederland
I was very young when I was first exposed to van Gogh, through a movie documenting his life. At that age, the themes of his troubled mind and instability went way over my head. His art went over my head too. Let’s face it, my experience of art was pretty limited at the time - I remember getting an A for a sculpture out of macaroni and spaghetti in Grade 4 art class, but that’s about it.

But the movie stuck with movie through the years, this portrayal of an artist, so filled with passion that it exploded into his work. That memory never went away, even though my own personal tastes turned to photography and another great and passionate artist, Edward Weston. It wasn't until later that I rediscovered van Gogh, when I got to see one of his paintings -- The Starry Night -- in person for the first time and was struck by the intensity of the work.
Mudpuddle seems to suffer from a similar fascination - as it was in Arles, the new sim is dotted by his recreations of van Gogh's paintings, complete with a copy of the original on an easel.

Like both originals, the new Arles is well worth a visit. But pack a picnic basket and take your time to explore and let the ambiance wash over you.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Experimenting with Happy Mood

Happy Mood
The March 13 Photohunt took us to Happy Mood, and its associated sims, Be Happy and Cadenza

I've visited the sims before, so I took the opportunity to relax and experiment a little in this  feature rich environment. Happy Mood is also home to HPMD, where you can purchase your own copies of  Sasaya Kayo's detailed creations, the lush plants and animals decorating the sim.
Happy Mood

 I fought my tendency to look for sweeping vistas; instead, I concentrated on details, which these sims have in abundance, and experimented with different ways of looking at them.
Happy Mood
One of the rules of the Photohunt challenge is that the image you enter can't be manipulated after the fact, so no true B&W images for me; I do manage, through careful windlight settings, to often present a more limited palette of colours. 

But for this week's entry, since I was experimenting, I decided to go with both full on colour and the theme we were given of "soft." I found this bit of cotton candy in the sky above Cadenza.
The Photohunt challenge takes place twice a week: Monday at 11:30 a.m. SLT and Wednesday at 6 p.m. SLT, starting from our gallery at Afar.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My Seven SL Facts Meme

I liked +Strawberry Singh and +Laurence Simon's (Crap Mariner) Seven SL Facts so well that I decided to jump aboard the meme.

So I moored the Windshadow at Tromp and relaxed while I gave it some thought.

1) Bear is my RL nickname - at least it’s the only one I admit to. When I signed up for SL, I was surprised that I actually had to choose a name for my avatar. I would have used my RL name, except all the last names for Steve were used up.

2) I am perfectly capable of seeing colour, I just don’t want to. 

3) In SL, I have so many sailboats that I have been accused of trying to keep Jacqueline Trudeau in business single-handed. The only time I have ever sailed a boat in RL was when I was a boy scout.

4) I get nervous whenever my inventory exceeds 6,000 items. That’s not a typo: 6,000, not 60,000. 

5) Speaking of typos, I can’t type two words in local chat without making three typos. And yes, I write for a living in RL. I consider myself job security for proofreaders. 

6) My favourite colour is black. And it is so a colour.

7) I do not say “aboot.” The last letter of the alphabet is pronounced zed.