Live, love and care, with kindness.
.. with love in her heart .. was a sim that won me over straight away. An enclosed pool of water, a circular inlet of the sea, and a beautiful example of virtual natural art. ‘A simple homestead by the sea… reminiscent of days gone by’, as the sim description goes.
The other day I was looking for somewhere to go – somewhere attractive, maybe a place to dance – and thought that this was a good place to revisit. I headed over, to discover that there are now two adjacent sims: Salt Water and Isle of Grace. Tre (tremeldazis) and .Sunshine Amelia Gilmore. (sunshine.zhangsun) are variously builders and owners of them all. Salt Water is the perfect compliment to .. with love in her heart .., providing a backdrop that rises across the water, whereas Isle of Grace is something of a contrast. They all have the same music stream, so follow the link if you want a bit of background music while you read this.
Last time I was at .. with love in her heart .., I took shots in midday sun; I’m not really sure whether the windlight1 setting has changed, or whether I wasn’t consistently following the one set for the sim at that time.
The windlight for Salt Water and .. with love in her heart .. are set to late evening, as the sun drops at the end of the day. The light casts low across the heights of Salt Water, illuminating the dance area and the Motel on the top.
It was Susan Sontag that talked of photography being natively surrealist – virtual worlds take this a step further, situating the abnormal as if it were normal. Access to the motel on the top of the hill is by a footbridge only – it is so perfectly, yet so utterly impractically, placed.
The motel is clearly seen from much of .. with love in her heart .., rising up on the horizon. However, unlike the well-lit upland of Salt Water, the land here is deeply folded, and the sun casts deep shadows. The circular inlet that I captured last year, vibrant with the warmth of bright colours, is now a dark pool. In real life this is difficult photography conditions, and so it is in second life too, with high contrast and a tonal range shifted heavily to one side. It requires careful post-processing of the images to put some life into the shadows without losing the dramatic lighting (I am not a fan of over-cooked HDR). But it is so well worth the extra time.
It would be so easy to tweak the time of day a bit, and move everything back into the light. But if I had changed it, I would have lost the heart of candles glowing in the deep shadow, with the last of sun shining over the horizon and shimmering across the pool.
And I would have missed the way the ridge line, dark on one side and sunlit on the other, pointed across the water to the Salt Water motel.
This was the point I was making on a previous post; working with the preset windlight made me work with what was there and helped me see things I would have otherwise missed.
Isle of Grace, as I said earlier, is different. This is like the west coast of Britain in autumn or winter, sunless and overcast, dark and brooding, the sea rolling. The dark grey of the sky is reflected in a monochromatic sea. It is so atmospheric that it prompts the senses; the smell of the sea is pervasive, as is the damp salty sticky feel of the sea spray that coats and seeps into everything – clothes, hair, skin, lips. This place has a chill and distant moodiness that contrasts with the warm evening hugs of the other two sims.
These are three sims at the forward edge of what is being built in Second Life. For myself, this was three days spent in amazing places getting three sets of photographs. Wonderful. Or as the sim description for Isle of Grace goes; ‘Happiness is the experience of living every moment with Love, Grace & Gratitude…. ♥’.
- How sky and water effects, and the time of day or night, are set in Second Life.