We’re in that no-man’s land of a week between Christmas and New Year, where we come to the realisation that the year is about to end.
I doubt that many will miss 2016. By most measures, it’s been a complete dick of a year. Originally, I was going to write a post about just how much a dick of a year it’s been, but after a couple of paragraphs I found myself getting depressed all over again. In the end I decided that Bad 2016 can go fuck itself, and that I’m not going to give it the attention it so desperately craves for all its evil deeds. Instead, I’m going to reflect on what I’ve personally achieved in the year.
Second Life photography has been a key area of skills development for me during 2016. Whilst I started off by publishing photos simultaneously on Flickr and on this blog, I found over time that having to create a blog post placed restrictions around my picture taking; now, then, most of my photos go straight to Flickr and do not appear on this blog. So this top ten – organised according to the number of favourites each photo has received – is a way of getting some of these pictures back onto this site.
Published just a few days ago, this winter picture was taken in the city of New Babbage, an eleven sim corner of the grid I find myself increasingly drawn to. Earlier in the year, following a blog post photoshoot, I shot one of my experimental ‘moving postcards’ there. A steampunk city, it’s an ideal location for any sort of Victorian style shoots; since ‘A Christmas Carol’ is one of my favourite festive tales, I returned to New Babbage to see if it had been wintrified. I was not disappointed. So much work has been put into the snow here: just look at the footsteps on the path and the banking of the snow at the edges of the road. It’s a stark and welcome contrast to the more frequently found countryside snow regions.
For the photo, I used an extremely shallow depth of field to simulate a ’tilt-shift’ style; when used well, I think this effect can add a sense of realism to SL pictures by making them feel less flat.
#2 Amazing Metaverse
Published in February, this is a detail from the front cover of my short story compilation, ‘Amazing Metaverse‘ and features Kate Bergdorf, who also posed for a few of the inside illustrations. I wanted the this image to feel like the front cover of one of the old detective pulps. It’s probably the most work I’ve ever put into an image, with a lot of time being spent choosing the location, the poses, the suit I was wearing, the lighting, the camera angle and then working on post stuff (which included separating out the cyan, magenta and blue layers, and then recombining them slightly misaligned to mimic old printing techniques). The crop above was selected for the ‘in explore‘ Flickr group, making it by far my most viewed image (currently almost 3,400) views.
#3 The Fall
By contrast, the picture above, taken in October at The Fall Trace, was created quite quickly, one of just two snaps taken in a fairly short session and treated to very minimal work in post. I was quite surprised by the positive attention this picture got.
Taken a couple of weeks ago on the astonishing steam train build at Arctic Express, this is my own personal favourite of my pictures over the year. What makes this one work is a combination of lighting and composure. What fascinates me about this picture is how I must have spent a good half an hour sitting in that position and trying out various tweeks on angle and sunlight strength/position, with all of those prior combinations mediocre at best: as soon as I hit this particular angle, however, I just knew it was the one.
#5 The laughter pulled me outside and deeper into the wood.
One of a sequence of pictures taken at Hunting Hollows for Halloween, my first serious attempt I think at black and white SL photography.
#6 Close to Kate
Another photo featuring Kate Bergdorf. This time, however, the shoot was one of hers for an upcoming exhibition at Dathuil. Whilst Kate was taking her pictures, I took this as an inworld snapshot.
#7 A ticket for the next train out of here
Whilst I understand its appeal, this is actually my least favourite of the shots I took at Time Portal, a wonderful collection of period buildings to which I have no doubt I will be returning in the future. This was taken in the sim’s railway station. I think its very wide aspect ratio lends it a cinematic quality; combined with the image’s composition and title, a story of sorts is thereby created in the viewer’s mind.
#8 Looking Glass
#9 It’s been a long time
Another picture taken at Arctic Express, this time featuring Ylva. Once again, I think the cinematic aspect ratio combines with lighting and composure here to create drama in the viewer’s mind.
#10 One way / That word
These two pictures received an equal number of favourites. The first is another picture taken at Time Portal’s railway station.
The second was a picture back in May taken to accompany this poem and on the occasion of a close family member in RL being given a terminal diagnosis.
So that’s my top ten (or rather, eleven) favourited pictures of my own creation in 2016. I’m hoping next year I’ll break through the 100 favs barrier as I continue to work on my technique and add new followers at my Flickr.