~A Beguiling Tango~

Second Life is rich with creative people…each one expressing their genius in his or her own inimitable way.  Each time I set out to explore this amazing virtual world, I am awestruck with the depth of skill and attention to detail that goes into creating beauty, form and function out of pixels.  Pouring your heart and soul into producing something from your imagination is tough enough in First Life…add the challenges of translating that same work into pixels, on a computer, and you start to appreciate the dedication and perseverance required to do so.

I always feel honored and blessed that I have had the good fortune of becoming friends with truly artistic people in Second Life and one of those friends is someone I particularly cherish.  Jillar Lamar is not only an incredibly talented digital artist, in SL, she also has the ability to translate that eye for beauty into the landscape of her Second Life world.

The Beguiled; Art Gallery and Studio is where you will find the collective works from Jilla and where you will also find yourself immersed in a lush, whimsical landscape that invites you to slow down, wander the grounds and take in all the enchanting details.  Jilla has managed to build an artistic, three dimensional masterpiece worthy of Monet.

~A Beguiling Tango~

When I saw the Kara Little Black Dress and the Poppy Dot Chemise, from ~ghee~, I wanted to grab my husband and head to The Beguiled to tango the afternoon away; amongst the flowers.  We found the perfect spot, for dancing, right next to this wonderful Garden Piano from Boudoir.

~A Beguiling Tango~

You can find the Poppy Dot Chemise and the Kara Little Black Dress, and many more fabulous black themed dresses from ~ghee~, at the Black Fashion Fair.

Life is fleeting in any world…take time to explore and stay captivated! ❤ ❤

~X~

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Xiu is also wearing:

In Photo #1

Dress:  ~ghee~  – Kara Little Black Dress (available at the Black Fashion Fair)

Foot Ribbons:  ~ghee~ – Black Ribbon Wraps with optional Poppy Accents (available at the Black Fashion Fair)

Hair:  [elikatira]– Looking (retired style)

Skin:  Glam Affair  Aria – Asia (previous gacha item)

Hands:  Slink – AVEnhance – Elegant1

Necklaces:  MG-Maxis Gossamer Accessories Jewelled Owl, Wild Honey Bee & Jewelled Peacock

Bangles:  [EY:NO] (store closed)

Pose: BODY / shots – Tango d’Amore 03

Shot on location at Beguiled; Art Gallery and Studio  

Photo #2

Dress:  ~ghee~  – Poppy Dot Chemise (available at the Black Fashion Fair)

Shoes:  ~ghee~ – Sequin Heels Ruby

Hair:  TUTY’S MOCAP ANIMATIONS, SKIN & SHAPE, HAIR– LIMBO

Skin:  Glam Affair  Aria – Asia (previous gacha item)

Hands:  Slink – AVEnhance – Elegant1

Necklace: Created by my husband and not yet available

Bangles:  [EY:NO] (store closed)

Pose: ::Focus Poses:: – The Tango  *Please note that the left side of the female avatar, in this pose, gets burried into the right side of the male avatar…I had to do a lot of repositioning of the “female” pose ball to extract her body out of his and get a decent shot (that is why my foot is off the ground).  I also had to heavily edit the arms in this pose, using Animare, in order for them to meet up with his body and arms.

Shot on location at Beguiled; Art Gallery and Studio 

***I used three point body lighting and projector key and fill lighting from the LUMIPro lighting system.

**My Husband is wearing his FATEwear suit, AKEYO Black Wool Fedora and I do not know which shoes he is wearing lol.

***PLEASE NOTE that I am not a mainstream fashion blogger.  My focus is telling a story through a photo…so I DO manipulate my photos.  TRY before you buy. ***

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Art & Fashion…

The opening, yesterday, of the Autumn Art Walk at Beguiled Art Gallery and Studio was very well attended.  Those who joined us gave praise to the amazing pieces of art; set amongst the lush landscape.
Autumn Art Walk @ Beguiled 11/17-12/15

We have very special and exclusive fashion events planned for the first and second weekends in December.  Stay posted for more information to come in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, take a leisurely stroll through the Monet-like setting at The Beguiled and enjoy the latest visual creations from some of SL’s most gifted artists.

*If you are a photographer, fashion blogger or just someone who likes to take pics…you can take advantage of the many wonderful props, scenes, scenery, photo studio and natural landscape at The Beguiled.  You can also rez your own props there…in turn, we respectfully request that you take your things with you when you are finished.

Learning as I go…

It’s been a few days since I posted because I was having major issues with trying to take high rez snaps in Firestorm…for almost a week.  I have no idea what the issue was and I tried the several suggestions that came via the SLU forums…to no avail.  So after the last major freeze then crash, while trying to enable shadows, I switched over to Niran’s Viewer.  I’d heard it was excellent for SL photography.  Still not sure about that…as it is a HUGE learning curve just trying to acquaint myself with the viewer set-up. (AND the sky preset windlight choices are far fewer in Niran’s).  For now I am bouncing between the two hoping to either resolve the love-hate relationship my video card is having with FS or to fully commit to Niran’s.

Anyway, on Monday I had shots (taken in Niran’s) all ready to post for a mash-up dress I’d composed out of two hunt items…but I couldn’t make up my mind which shots to edit/use and finally decided 99% of them were pure crap shots.  Soooo I decided to just start with editing the head shot I took to show the Glam Affair skin (from the WomenStuff Hunt) and the new group gift ChiChickie Iris hair.

This is a the first crop of the raw capture:
test niran's_006PM4

One thing led to another and this post morphed into showing the process and progress of how I am learning to edit my SL photography.  Let me qualify now…I KNOW I am NOT the best photographer…I KNOW I have a LOT to learn…and I KNOW that I make a lot of mistakes.  BUT, through all the mistakes, frustration, lack of editing software skills and pretty much self-teaching…I am enjoying discovering how I can approach SL photography in my own unique way.

First draft of editing…cropped it a bit tighter, rebuilt the crappy nose and tried to maintain the original texture of the skin:
test niran's_006PM3

I wasn’t quite satisfied with the end result…I’d messed up the lovely texture of the skin while trying to fix a few blemishes…which left it splotchy looking. I struggled with going further in editing the face.  After all, there is a point at which the skin no longer looks like the one you will buy.  If I were a fashion photographer and were highlighting the skin for you to run out and grab…I’d leave it as unedited as possible.  BUT, I am NOT a fashion blogger/photographer…I am just someone in SL who enjoys fashion, shopping, photography, art and exploring new places. So I have more creative leeway when it comes to how much I can edit my pics.

My “finished” pic:
Learning as I go...
It took me several hours to edit this pic (on and off…a girl has to sleep eventually)…and I’m sure that someone with mad PS skills could have done it in only minutes.  I did all the editing for this photo in Picmonkey…where I hunt and peck for things…make a LOT of mistakes and learn a great deal from those mistakes.  I break a lot of rules (mostly because I don’t know that I have until I do)…I don’t own PS (That’s a LOT of cash to lay out!), and my skills with Gimp are extremely limited (I can open it…does that count for anything?). I ask as many questions as I can (without trying to be a pest), take classes at Builders Brewery and study other SL photographers work.

In the end…EVERYTHING is open to individual interpretation, we all learn on our own curve and there is usually always more than one way to approach anything in life…including photography and editing.  I’ll continue to make mistakes to learn from and I welcome any help/constructive advice someone takes the time to give me.

Here are several resources that I tap into to try to continue to add new skills, learn and grow:

  • Builder’s Brewery often has excellent classes on photography from beginner to intermediate…check the schedule (online or inworld) for times and dates.
  • Youtube (just enter the search term for the tutorial you are interested in…e.g. “Photo Shop Tutorials”)
  • Strawberry Singh has fantastic tutorials on SL photography. I don’t know her personally, but I am thankful for her kind spirit in sharing what she does.  Study her work…she is fantastic!
  • Cajsa Lilliehook, from It’s Only Fashion, is very knowledgeable in fashion,  photography, blogging and marketing.  She generously shares that knowledge with her readers on the Tutorials & PSAs tab.
  • I belong to over 90 Flickr photography and fashion groups; where I can study fabulous SL photography and post my work for feedback.  If you go to my page, you will find a list of the groups I belong to.  Click on the group link to check it out and to join the group.  While you’re on my page…check out the people who are on my contact list…I am constantly adding people to that list…people who’s amazing work I have noticed and want to follow.  I add them as a contact so I can be alerted when they post new work.
  • In-world I have truly wonderful artist friends who patiently answer my questions.  I also attend in-world art exhibits; to study the work and to support the hardworking artists.
  • Finally, I recently became actively involved, in the SL art community, by organizing/hosting the upcoming Autumn Art Walk that will be running from November 17-Dec 15 at The Beguiled Art Gallery & Studio.

Art and Life are fleeting…stay captivated!  <3<3

Eyes:  Curio Tragic Eyes, Neptune (Large/Shine) (Prim eyes) Sadly not available at this time…HURRY back PLEASE Gala! <3<3

Eyeliner:     LpD  Prim Eyeliner (black)

Prim Eyelashes:  *REDGRAVE* Eyelashes- 11-Showgirl

Mesh Eyelashes:  ::BB:: (Beetlebones) Mesh Lashes V.01 (SLEB Black)

Beauty Marks:  [:T:] Beauty Marks tattoo layers (layer option 2) [:Tuli:]

Teeth: KIKI (Came with a skin I bought from them)

~Rush Hour~

Rush Hour_010Pm2

I often stumble across the best things just from having a serendipitous conversation.  I am in the process of rolling out an Autumn Art Walk and had the wonderful opportunity to have a fabulous conversation, in the wee hours of the morning, with one of the artists.  We started talking about the blustery weather and keeping warm…which eventually lead to talking about fall fashions in SL.
Rush Hour_005PM2

M became very excited about an outfit she found on the Marketplace…from KIKI Designs.  The outfit was indeed fall fabulous and extremely well priced.  With my interest piqued, I flipped through the pages for this store and found another outfit that said “BUY ME!!”.  Now how can I resist that?
Rush Hour_006PM2

This Pied de Poule outfit in pink houndstooth comes with the smashing belted jacket, tights, bag and sky high platform pumps…all for 175L!!  The textures, draping and fit are spot on. I don’t usually like everything to be all matchy-match…but this just works without being overdone; especially when using minimal accent jewelry.

As soon as I put it on, my first thought was  to do a location shot in a city scape…so into search I went and entered “New York”…which took me to this amazing scaled replica of Central Park called “Midnight Manhattan Reverie” @ Virtual Reverie.  A definite MUST see and fantastic location for photo shoots!  I LOVE finding new places to explore and shoot photos!

The Details

Oufit (Belted Jacket, bag, pumps & tights):     KIKI Designs– Pied de Poule OUTFIT(Pink) MESH (175L)

Earrings:     ZIBSKA Severine earrings in Gold (Gift from Hair Fair)

Glasses:     Maitreya Mesh Jackie O Sunglasses

Hair:  *booN DES423 Hair (black) with *booN hairbase mid gather (black)

Skin:  – Glam Affair – Jadis – Natural 09(a) http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Beauty%20Avatar%20couture/164/134/25

Eyes:  [Curio] Tragic Eyes – Fatpack (Purples and Blues) Watercolor Shine Large (Prim eyes) Not currently available.

Prim Eyelashes:  *REDGRAVE* Eyelashes- 11-Showgirl  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/REDGRAVE%20Skins%20Fashion/97/162/23

Mesh Eyelashes:  ::BB:: (Beetlebones) Mesh Lashes V.01 (SLEB Black) http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Beetlebones/48/39/2098

Beauty Marks:  [:T:] Beauty Marks tattoo layers (layer option 2) [:Tuli:] https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/T-Beauty-marks-tattoo-layers/1829557

Hands:     Slink Mesh rigged hands Bag R, Elegant L

Poses:     aDORKable Poses Bag Lady Dork Pack

Shot on location @ “Midnight Manhattan Reverie” @ Virtual Reverie