It is New Year’s Eve and a day to reflect on the year that has passed. For me, it has been a tumultuous year with lots of lows interspersed with a few highs. In terms of my real life I have seen so many changes that I am still attempting to process and come to terms with them. As for Second Life, it has been a better year, largely because of this blog.
And the person most responsible for it is My Cherished, Tylar. I chose to lead this post with this photo because it was largely her encouragement that led me to opening my photography business, which in turn led to this little publication that has become not just a showcase for my photographs, but also an exploration of my life in and out of Second Life. My Cherished, thank you for believing in me, standing behind me and for sharing so many of your wonderful qualities with me.
The rest of this story will be a taste of some of my favourite photos and posts. Some of them may not make a lot of sense to you; you won’t necessarily see only the best photos in terms of composition and technique. But each one of these holds a special place in my heart for one reason or another. This is going to be a long one, so if you aren’t inclined to spend a large portion of your day reminiscing with me, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side.
If you are willing to stick with me, just click this link to take the plunge.
This photo has a lot of meaning to me because it was not only taken in one of the iconic locations in Second Life, The Far Away, but because it was one of my first entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. I no longer participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge simply because I have shifted my focus totally to Second Life and I became a bit intimidated being the only SL blogger to participate (as far as I could tell). But it was extremely important to me starting out blogging because it was a prompt for me each week for one post. It also allowed me to explore techniques that I believe have served me well. And The Far Away…well, it is simply beautiful, tranquil and timeless. If you have been in Second Life for more than a few months and haven’t visited, please do yourself a favour and click the link and be whisked off to this SL stalwart.
2304 Rain was the first new place I found in SL that truly inspired me to attempt landscape photography. Sadly, this sim no longer exists and it saddens me to think I will never be able to visit again. But this is also the picture that gave me my first win in a photo contest, held by Second Friends, a social networking site created specifically for Second Life Residents. Winning that competition gave me a boost of confidence that I had been lacking and I truly felt humbly proud.
Anzac Day is a very important day in Australia. It is a remembrance of the first military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand forces in World War I. This was my tribute to those who have served, including my sweetheart, Grumper. This was also the post that I believe was the true beginning of a friendship that I value so very deeply. My dear lil Cao was so excited waiting to see this post that I felt a need to soften her anticipation, knowing it was a somber post that would have meaning to her. On that day, she went from being a reader to a beloved friend. This post hasn’t had as many views as the majority of the others but the pride I feel in the commemoration of this day is palpable. If you are so inclined, you can visit it here with my gratitude.
I’m sure you’re wondering what the ‘ell this picture is doing here! Very simply, this is the lead photo in the top post on my blog. Several months back, Miss Strawberry Singh began her now famous Monday Memes. I remember cringing when I saw this topic – Teach Me Something. And then I panicked and almost didn’t participate. In the end, I chose to do my very first tutorial on using PicMonkey.com. Other than this photo and a finished shot, it is a totally text-based tutorial. However, it spurred me to do two more PicMonkey tutorials (here and here). I am extremely proud of this series of tutorials because I am aware it has been used as a resource by hundreds of people. I have received such wonderful help and encouragement from so many fabulous bloggers that I am happy to be able to give back in a small way.
I couldn’t possibly do a retrospective without including a memory of the iRez.me 30-Day Avatar Blogger Challenge. I met and became aware of so many incredible bloggers and this challenge pushed me to learn both quality and quantity in my blogging. In addition, this particular photo was not just an entry for Single Frame Stories it was also displayed at SL10B. June was a big month and I felt such a sense of accomplishment completing this challenge. With this photo I truly felt, for the first time, I belonged to the blogging community.
I couldn’t do a review of my year without sharing a photo of my amazing friend, Cao. Fooled you! That’s not really Cao…it’s me, wearing Cao’s shape. In an incredible show of generosity, Cao auctioned off her beloved shape for charity. She raised a huge sum of money for Wigs For Kids and went through one of the toughest periods of her SLife. This post is one I am most proud of because it not only helped publicise Cao’s charitable contribution but because it shows how two people who have never met, outside of blog comments, can become true friends of the heart. ♥ my lil, Cao…your friendship has been one of the highlights of my year.
lol this is out of order, but somehow I missed this photo when scrolling through my media library. Other than my tutorial, this was my favourite Monday Meme to complete. It challenged me as a photographer, pushed my creativity and I still smile whenever I look at this movie poster. There were some incredible entries in this meme, but I have to say, there was none I liked better than my own. *blushes at this rare moment of hubris*
Calas Galadhon. Eleven beautiful sims created simply for the pleasure of SL residents by Ty Tenk & Truck Meredith. I had a lot of technical difficulty shooting this photo, but it is one of the most-liked pictures on my Flickr page. With such beautiful locations to work with, it really isn’t a wonder.
Another dear friend I have made this year via my blog is my sweet Rwah. Our friendship developed over the course of time, trading blog comments. Then it turned into exchanging gacha items in world we thought the other would like. Finally, Rwah, the Queen of the Black & White, gave me this house. As my tribute to Rwah I created this B&W photo inside the house she gifted me. Rwah occasionally pops up when I DJ and she is one of the funniest, funnest people I have met. Hugs, Rwah, my dear friend.
This is my favourite “hat” photo. During the course of the year I was fortunate enough to begin blogging for a few designers. Probably the very last fashion item I imagined myself blogging regularly is a hat. But Johnfrancis Laville of JfL Hats approached me to blog for his (mainly) male hat line and I have found the challenge to be an absolute joy. This post gave me an opportunity to not only show that a man’s hat can be feminine but I love the way the shadows play in the photo. I liked it so much that I made this the header photo for my blog. At least for now 😉
I couldn’t do a post on my year without including one with my sweetheart. I don’t have many photographs of the two of us; he doesn’t get into Second Life very often and when he does I would rather spend my time with him doing something rather than manipulating him on a pose ball and adjusting lighting. But occasionally, I sneak a candid shot, and this is one. I took it on a very special day – our first time together at our homestead. All we did that evening was wander around, arm in arm, talking and laughing. Technically, it is not one of my better efforts. But the heart of any photograph is the subject. And this one means more to me than any other I took through the course of the year. You have a place in my heart that can never be taken away. ♥
And that’s it. I could go on with dozens more pictures, but I think this is the appropriate place to stop. This year has been a journey of ups and downs, tears and laughter, joy and sadness. Much like any other year I have lived and like every other year I will experience. The lessons I have learned have been many and most of them have left an indelible mark on my life.
As we head into 2014, I have no idea what lies ahead for me. All I know is that I carry into it the love and support of so many wonderful friends, both old and new. Thank you for the privilege of sharing a slice of my life with you. I hope to see you more along the way.
Happy New Year, my friends.