Autumn Challenge: On Little Cat’s Feet

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Growing up, autumn seemed to creep in on little cat’s feet to me. Yes, there was often fog in the air, but it is more that it came in quietly and unobtrusively. There was a gradual change from the heat of summer with the crisp nights and mornings. I recall waiting for the school bus to arrive in October, shivering a bit underneath a sweater that would come off by lunchtime, then be slipped back on if we sat out on the porch in the evening. It meant the coming of Halloween and my favourite holiday, Thanksgiving. And growing up on a farm, it was always a busy time with harvest and getting the garden prepped for the winter and coming spring.

This week, Berry has asked us to complete an Autumn Challenge. Here’s what we’re supposed to do:

Meme Instructions: Take an autumn inspired picture and/or answer the following questions about autumn. Don’t forget to leave your answers in the comments of this post and if you take an autumn picture, please add it to the Blog Memes flickr group. Thank you! ❤

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1. Is autumn your favorite season? Why or why not? – It is my favourite. Growing up, I loved the brisk, cool mornings and evenings and where I lived, there was a riot of colours as the maples and oaks changed hues. It meant wearing layers and the first opportunity to snuggle up near the fire. Now that I live in the southern hemisphere, I still love the time when it means I can start sleeping under the covers and turn off the fan in my bedroom. Deciduous trees are rare here, so I miss the colour change, but we compensate with different types of plants blooming in autumn. It’s just a different type of change.

2. Do you call it Autumn or Fall? – I always called it Fall when I lived in the US. In Australia, most of the time if I use Fall I am met with a blank look. Like so many other terms, I have adopted the local vernacular and now call it autumn.

3. What kind of weather does your area get during this season? – On the east coast of Australia, we get a couple of months of blending between full-blown summer and generally mild winters.

4. Which color do you always associate with autumn? – Orange. Pumpkins, leaves and warm, cozy fires.

5. Which Autumn themed sim is your favorite at the moment? – Currently, most of the Calas Galadhon Park sims have an autumn theme and I do love the park. I shot these photos at the Dimrill Dale sim, and I really should have done some location shots. Maybe I’ll be able to get back to do that before they change for the winter.

I have to mention that when I slipped into this top, I had no idea I would meet these little kitties as I visited this cabin at Dimrill Dale. The little fella in the window seemed intrigued; as you can tell, the calico near the fire was much too content to nap in the warmth than be alarmed by another feline so nearby 😉

Pretty stuff I’m wearing:

Exclusively at Cosmopolitan Sales Room (review copies)
Top: .::: MC FASHION :::. Sweater With Rolled Up Sleeves Shirt Under by Anca Knave
Hat: JfL Plains hat black/burgundy band by Johnfrancis Laville
Earrings & Bracelet: Baubles! by Phe SoMuchForVegas Box by Phedre Rexie
Poses: Eternal Dreams *ED* In These Shoes 01 (pack) by Fata Boa & *ED* In These Shoes 02 (pack) by Fata Boa

Other items:
Leggings: Maitreya Tights (Pinched) * Chocolate by Onyx LeShelle
Boots: Maitreya Stagioni Boots * XS-S Chestnut by Onyx LeShelle
Skin: [PXL] Creations – [PXL] JADE SK Cherry Lips MEB C2 by Hart Larsson
Makeup: [PXL] Creations – [PXL]JADE SK TopLine Eyes (tattoo) by Hart Larsson
Hand Appliers: [PXL] Creations[ PXL ] Slink Hands Appliers SK
Hands: Slink Mesh Hands (av) Casual by Siddean Munro
Hair: Amacci Hair Nicky ~ Sangria by Carina Larsen
Eyes: Amacci Gaze Eyes – Ocean Blue by Carina Larsen

Windlight Settings Meme: I’ll Know It When I See It

StrawberrySinghHeadshot + LumiPro Lee Filter Catalog Bright Rose 0.4
StrawberrySinghHeadshot + LumiPro Lee Filter Catalog Bright Rose 0.4

I kind of giggled when I read the questions that accompany Berry’s meme challenge this week. Most of them can be answered with “I don’t know.” I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t save the metadata for my photos, so knowing which Windlight setting I use is kind of a mystery…even to me. I will do my best, though, to answer the questions with more than just, “Why are you asking me?”

I, like Berry, have done very little editing of my photos, other than cleaning up the edges a bit. I haven’t made any adjustments to the lighting or shadows at all. WYSIWYG with these pics (which is a far cry from what you usually see here!).

Here’s what we were asked to do:

Meme instructions: Answer the following questions about windlight settings and share some that you’ve created yourself. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post in this meme’s comments.

1. Do you use windlight while taking pictures? If not, why not? I can answer this one – Yes! I am obsessed with it. Thankfully, in the Firestorm viewer I can easily access their extensive collection directly from the Quick Preferences so it’s as easy as scrolling through them.

2. When taking a closeup snapshot for a profile picture, which windlight preset do you use most often? Sighs. Here we go. “I don’t have a clue.” OK, I can tell you which groups of settings I tend to use, but I normally get my angle set and then do several shots using various Windlight settings. I use the Luna Jubilee, and Strawberry Singh presets that I stole downloaded from Berry’s tutorial page, but I also use the group of Places presets loaded into Firestorm. Some of my favourites are Places Greed, Places Greed 2, Places Old New York, Places Paris and Places Paris 2.

3. Which windlight presets do you use for full body portraits? “Am I really supposed to know this???” OK, I use the ones above, expanding the choices from the Places group, depending on the subject, location and mood I want to portray. I like Places Sand, Places Pathfinder and Places Abracadabra (there are three of these). If I want a really cool shot, I sneak into the Phototools section and try out the Hufflepuff, Owlery Light or Puppy Light settings.

4. If you do landscape photography, which windlights do you use for that most often? *Looks around blankly* Landscape photography is not my strength and I really don’t do it that often. However, I have been working on it a bit more lately, largely thanks to last week’s meme. I use the same method with landscape photography that I do with portraits – find the angle then scroll through the Windlight settings until I find something I like. I start with the Places group then expand from there. The Places series were created by Chic Aeon and I’m eternally grateful to her for these settings AND that they have been pre-loaded into Firestorm! And I occasionally venture into Torley Linden’s settings, as well.

5. Do you have any tricks or tips that you could share for using Windlight effectively? Actually, yes! This is my “cheat”. I have been using the LumiPro HUD for all of my portrait work – whether it is myself or a client. This works especially well with body shots, but I will make adjustments for closeups if, for instance, I like the overall shadows but the face or body is a bit too dark. I use this system in place of static studio lights because the lights move with the model. If you have ever gotten lighting just right, then changed the pose and had to start all over again, you’ll understand why this feature is so important – and a massive time-saver. And with the upcoming changes to the system, you will have even more lighting choices (I did a full review on the beta version I am helping test for Stefan by clicking this link.) Here is an example of how using the LumiPro can help you adjust your lighting without having to go into the Environment Editor (which is no-man’s land for me).

As you can see if you hover over each photo, I have used StrawberrySinghHeadshot as my base Windlight setting. But by adjusting the intensity of the LumiPro Lee Filter Catalog Bright Rose from 0.1 to 0.5, I instantly have variations in the lighting (I chose 0.4 for my lead photo since I hadn’t planned on any post-processing for publication). Seriously, if you struggle with the Environment Editor like I do, this is the best tool ever for portrait photography! You can check out my blog post for more details on how to test it and buy it, or pop over to the LumiPro blog or check out the LumiPro Flickr group for photos uploaded by LumiPro users.

(While the particular filter I am using in these photos are not available in the current version of LumiPro, the new release is expected in about a week and you will receive the update automatically upon wearing the HUD if you purchase it now. And no, this is not a paid endorsement – I just really, really LOVE this product!)

6. Have you created any windlights that you would be willing to share with us? Another question I can answer! lol Um…no. I have played with the editor a bit in the past, but as you can probably judge from my previous answers, I avoid that sucker like rezzing a no-copy item on rolling restart day!

I’m going to step outside the boundaries of the meme and ask my own question!

7. What Windlight setting do you use for generally bopping around Second Life? If I’m not shooting photos, I drop my settings from Ultra to High and use the CalWL setting. I like the brighter setting for shopping, working in the club, getting dressed or just puttering around. If I go to explore a sim I am unfamiliar with I will change to the sim default lighting, but it is not unheard of for me to turn on ALM and scroll through my settings to find something more to my liking. I may not know much, but I do know what I like…even if it sometimes takes me a while to figure it out 😉

Gah! I forgot the credits!

Pretty stuff I’m wearing:

Top: Immerse – Spring Top – SunShine by Lilly Juno
Jewelry: EarthStones Maxine Necklace & Earrings – Larimar by Abraxxa Anatine
Hair: *ARGRACE* Lily A – Red by rika Oyen
Eyes: Amacci Gaze Eyes – Ocean Blue by Carina Larsen
Skin: [PXL] Creations [PXL] JADE SK WineLight Lips MEB C2 by Hart
Lips: [PXL] Creations – [PXL] JADE LipGloss #1 by Hart Larsson

Pose: //elephante poses// EP – Part Of Me set by MelissaJeanne Flores

On To New Challenges

1 ABC 30

And so it goes. Thirty days, 35 posts and a sense of completion. And a bit of sadness that we have come to the end of the iRez Avatar Blogger Challenge.

I admit to feeling a bit of trepidation when I began the iRez 30 Posts In 30 Days challenge on June 1. I wondered if I really belonged – I am a “baby blogger,” having started this blog less than six months ago. I’m not on the radar of the big-name designers or movers and shakers in Second Life. I just take pictures, add a few words and slap them on the internet. I have a few loyal followers, to whom I am eternally grateful, but I’m not in the Big Leagues of SL blogging. But I took the plunge alongside some amazing chroniclers of our virtual world. And I’ve discovered some fantastic new blogs and even more amazing people along the way.

I want to thank Strawberry Singh who has been an inspiration to me since before I started blogging myself. It was her post that drew my attention to this challenge, and although I can’t find the original post now, just check out her blog (if you haven’t already). She is not only an incredible photographer, she is amazingly generous in sharing her knowledge and encouraging other bloggers. She’s a peach among berries 😉

And I especially want to thank Vaneeesa Blaylock for putting this challenge together. For setting up the ABC Gym so each blogger had his or her own workout station. For getting us together for photos and giving us space at LEA11 to display our meme photos. And for her inexhaustible energy, wit and insight. She is an artist by profession, but what I recognise most in her is her caring, giving soul. I may never have met her had it not been for this challenge, so for if no other reason than crossing her path, I’m so happy I participated.

Yesterday, Vaneeesa pulled as many participating bloggers together for one final photo shoot. Our formal shot is the one above and includes 11 of the (at least) 29 bloggers who participated in this challenge. It was a tricky shot – group photos are a bitch! – but we all snapped away, memorialising this special group. I’m proud to have been among their numbers.

When we finished, in true Vaneeesa style, on the count of three we all dived into the water. A metaphorical baptism, sending us out into the world as members of the ABC Crossfit Gym, ready to follow our hearts, having learned something from this experience. For each blogger, it will be different lesson. But no doubt, one that will be long remembered.

1 ABC 30 Wet

And now, on to new challenges.