It’s rare that I’m in Second Life on a week day, but as I was pouring my third cup of coffee and debating what to do with that last day of my long weekend I remembered that the Virtual Artist Alliance’s PhotoHunt Challenge has a Monday event at 11:30 SLT.
I logged in and arrived just in time for them to announce the theme would be tranquility and to receive the landmark for World’s End Garden.
What a fabulous location. I don’t think I’d ever been there before and my camera finger was clicking like crazy. Everywhere I turned I found a new wonderful sight that embodied the theme of Tranquility.
At one point I cammed in on this set of candles in a gazebo and though the entire sim lends itself to beautiful landscape shots, a close up of an object is not something I normally do so I felt this would be a good challenge for me.
As I was playing with lighting and trying to frame the shot just right since we can’t crop or use any post processing, we got the 10 minute warning to return and upload our pictures. So I headed back and took a few minutes to look over all the selections on my desktop and decided on the candles. Surprisingly, I tied for second place.
I’m certainly pleased with that, but my goal in these challenges isn’t so much winning as it is pushing myself and I keep looking at that picture and wishing I could have had a little more time to tweak the lighting, and I certainly wish I could have cropped it. Perfectionist? Not necessarily, but it’s frustrating when I have a feel or concept in my head and the images just don’t fully capture that.
With the contest over, I went back to World’s End Garden to redo the shot. Ok, maybe a bit of a perfectionist. Though the contest time constraints and rules about no editing are really good for me, I do normally prefer to spend a few lazy hours experimenting with every possible angle and lighting before I take a shot. It’s a form of relaxation to me.
As I once again stood by the very same candles and experimented with lighting, I stumbled on one that cast this shadow of me on the curtains behind. This was it, this is what was missing from the first attempt, what I had been trying to say with my photo and just hadn’t realized it. A tweak of the depth of field and the picture was set.
I did do a bit of post processing, a tad of softness and muting the colors down a bit, but since I had a really good raw shot to work with it didn’t take much. I must say, I think it’s my best work to date and it wouldn’t have been possible without these photohunt challenges.
World’s End Garden
Virtual Artist Alliance’s Photo Hunt Challenges every Monday and 11:30 am and Wednesday at 6 pm.