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Posts Tagged ‘flickr’

Until recently I was making sure that every night I alternated between posting a picture to Flickr, and writing a new post here – so that I was consistently contributing to both. Flickr’s right pissing me off lately because it’s removed almost every favourite I’ve ever had added to my pictures, which is an annoying glitch that I’ve asked them to fix. Even if it wasn’t pissing me off, I’ve just been too darn busy to keep up with the expectations I set myself.

Busy in a good way though – as I’ve already said in previous posts I’m back managing Crown & Pearl (which actually involves quite a bit of work – especially with the big auction tomorrow / today). I’m also working on a writing piece for a new SL magazine (which is even more work than managing Crown and Pearl right now). Plus when I get the chance I am trying to work on building a home to retreat to on some land I now have. And still everyday making sure I never forget my friends in IM and that I hang out with them at Crown and Pearl as well.

When I go to my home it’s to work quietly on things without external in-world disturbance – when I’m there I’m usually talking to people about work matters in IM, or working on writing things up in notecards. So colour me a tad annoyed when my neighbour (from waaaay down the beach), walks on to my precious plot of land, stands there staring at me, then IMs me to say hi. At which point I’m already confused – why walk all the way up to me, on my land, just so he can IM me..? He could have done that from his own plot of land. He mentioned a few inane things that I can’t recall – because they were inane – then pointed out his home to me. It was clear where it was all going so I politely but firmly said that when I’m at home it’s for some private time and I wouldn’t be coming round his home to see it. He took this quite well considering he’d gone out of his way to find and talk to me, and he wandered off to from whence he came. I’ve lived on five different sims in my life, and hadn’t met anyone before that day who thought going around uninvited to neighbours plots was the polite thing to do. I would have thought private living quarters were where you went to escape, not to socialise (unless you choose to live with other people there).

Anywho, not sure how I got onto that. I’m quite tired so chances are I’m forgetting to edit myself right now ^^

So that’s all really – just explaining why my posts and pictures have got a tad more sporadic of late – I’m appearing lazy because I’m busy 🙂

Oh yeah, and remember to come bid on me at the auction (Feb 8th, 1pm SLT at C2P / Angel Square). Else I’ll beat you up. Unless you like being beaten, in which case I’ll refuse to beat you up.

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One of the old unused pictures I processed today

One of the old unused pictures I processed today

Every Second Life photo shoot I do ends up consisting of around 10 to 50 shots. I normally choose to process only one of those shots for public viewing. The rest sit in my picture folder until I am ready to dump them. I dump them when the picture I chose to process has fulfilled its role – such as the client has accepted the picture as what they required.

More often than not I desperately want to process more than one of the shots; I change the sky and sea settings and angles constantly during the shoot, so the range is wide enough that the pictures can come out very differently. There are two main reasons I don’t process more than one: (1) I like the picture to stand out on my Flickr stream, if there are two similar ones they both lose impact, and (2) it is very time consuming to get a picture to the level that I am happy with. I used to find it frustrating that it took me so long to work on such tiny details, and used to look for a quicker fix, but now I see it as part of my own style and accept that this is the way I do my pictures.

Today I found some time to dig back through my “waiting to be dumped” group of pictures, and worked on bringing out in them something unique or improved – something to distinguish them from the original picture that was published for that shoot. The top three pictures of my stream right now are all in this category, and in the description of each picture I have provided a link to the original shot I produced.

Not only is it satisfying to go back and do what I wanted to do those weeks or months ago, it also brings back memories from the shoots themselves: The people who were present, how long the shoot took, the difficulties, the emotions, the jokes, etc. All my pictures carry some memory for me, it is rare that I explain the full motivation, intent and meaning behind my pictures. But today I realised something new: That processing an old shot resurrects variations of those memories, separate from those encapsulated in the original published picture.

Doing my Second Life photography has been a constantly evolving learning process: I learn new techniques, and I learn new things about my subject matter, and especially about myself. This is just the latest in a long list of ongoing unexpected lessons.

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After an intense (and gotta say, somewhat unpleasant) chat with a SL friend today, I feel I have to do a quick post on a topic which is bound to recur in my blog: Being seen, being noticed, getting attention. The friend suggested those things are people’s principal motivation for blogging and putting pictures up on Flickr. That might be true for some, but I feel I can honestly say it is not true for me.

I recognize that in most countries it is hard to get famous for doing good and important things, simply due to the excessive numbers of people in those countries. Well in New Zealand, where I have lived my entire life, it isn’t really too hard. Again, because there aren’t that many of us – 4 million is not a large number on the grand scheme of things. We have an ad campaign here for a drink, with a phrase that applies beautifully “world famous in New Zealand” – we have our own ideas of what is famous here.

I’ve had my share of fame here. I got to the stage more than once that people knew me before I knew them, they knew my name and things about me that kinda shocked and amazed me. I’ve spoken to many crowds of hundreds of people, sat on various influential bodies, received various awards etc etc etc.

Now the reason I mention this is because it strikes me that most people in SL come from the larger countries and haven’t tasted much in the way of fame (or what feels close enough to fame to give some perspective to the experience). Having tasted it and adapted to it and reached the point that I can take it or leave it, I do not do what I do in SL just to get noticed. I don’t need to be noticed, it’s not my driving force. But I can understand how a lot of people in SL might really feel a huge drive to taste “importance” and feel like they matter because they are finally noticed. I understand it, but I don’t particularly like it.

Just to clarify, I do want to be noticed by a few people – my friends, and people who’s opinions I respect because they have talent and knowledge and experience that I know about and respect. I don’t want them to notice me for the sake of it though, I just want to share my achievements with them and get their input and give them joy and get their praise – which is meaningful praise because of who they are. Along those same lines I am always open to making new friends, and yes some of my new friends come to me via blogging and my art, and that is a beautiful thing – when our mutual interests and passions bring new people into my life.

Because I am not driven by attention for the sake of it, I do not “act out” just to be looked at, I do not do the drama queen thing just in the hope that someone will point and stare, and neither do I have any interest in people who do.

This post has already gotten longer than I intended so I’ll wrap it up there for now. But I’d be interested to know your motivations for your blogging and your Flickring, for instance. Do you do it for the attention, is that your main, or partial motivation, do you care who’s attention you get, and is your attitude effected by experiences of “fame” in real life at all..?

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When I first joined SL I had no appreciation of how much of my life it would become, and I definitely had no awareness of how much my SL persona would come to exist in webpages external to the game. I thought Landsend Korobase would be a SL-only entity, it never crossed my mind that I would end up using the name to do art-works posted on Flickr, or to write blog entires in WordPress. There are many other sites I’ve considered extending her existence to as well – I have a KoinUp account and I’ve considered that Plurk thing, but my hands are full already with Flickr and WordPress, and keeping up not only my contributions but following my friends’ contributions to those sites as well.

In each extension of the SL persona and world – pictures, blogging etc – there is a different community feel. For example, in Flickr there are a lot of intense and emotional personalities, in-groups, and also a mafia-style separation at times between what group of artists or friends hold your loyalty. I actively try to keep my SL life separate from my Flickr life, by which I mean I never seek out people I’ve met in Flickr, in world. If I run into them so be it, but I do not assume any base of friendship or closeness based solely on our Flickr interactions. Appreciating someone’s art is one thing, but there is no automatic connection between lovely art and a lovely person.

Blogging is an interesting one as well. An increasing number of my friends have taken to actively blogging lately, which I think is awesome, especially on days like today when I didn’t make it in-world but still want to know what’s going on and how they are. I like the blogs that give insights to the person writing it, and not ones that are dominantly commercial or “today I rode a horse” style. I like to read emotion, I like to see what the person doesn’t necessarily or easily reveal in their daily SL interactions. I try to deliver that myself in my own blog and am reasonably happy with how mine is progressing.

I’m yet to get a good feel for the blogging community, though I am aware of references from things that get said in blogs weaving their way into SL discussions and emotions, and the growing importance of their impact on my SL existence: I read blogs, I respond, I post my own thoughts, the wheel turns and we all endlessly – intentionally or otherwise – feed off each other; my daily life now involves posting and reading my friends posts, how can it not impact on SL life? Flickr art also reflects and feeds into SL life – pictures reveal who you spend time with, who you care about (whether you intended to convey that or not), the places you go, and very often your emotions.

These other sites are fun to participate in, and I’m glad I gave them a go. I’m a trial and error girl though and I will not be taking up every new external-to-SL-but-related-to-SL trend. Not just because I don’t have the time, but because there is also a lot of un-necessary double-up in the function of these sites. And perhaps most importantly, the thinner I spread myself, the less quality each of these endeavours will get from me. Anyone who follows my Flickr will know my submissions there have proportionally lessened in relation to my posts here. And anyone who followed my SL presence would have noticed a huge drop-off in my time in-world when I first joined Flickr too. It’s about time managment and priorities, and these things will even out, and I’ll multitask better, my posts will be written faster, etc.

One thing I always try to do is whenever I discover something new and exciting that I think has enhanced my SL experience, I share it with my existing SL friends and openly encourage them to partake as well. Cause at the end of the day SL is all about your friends, and if I can make their lives better I will. Pictures and posting isn’t for everyone, but trying new things is. And these extensions are all part of the rich tapestry of a fully functioning SL life. I love how my SL keeps growing and expanding, and can’t wait to see what turns up next ^^

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Replace this picture for me!

Replace this picture for me!

Ok, I promised a photo contest, and here it is:

Theme: Design us a new Club Picture for the Haven’t Had Sex with Prad Club. The picture can just be of Prad being Prad, or humourous (along the lines of a warning notice if you like), pretty much whatever you like, as long as it somewhat relates to the Club. Get creative! No limit on use of post-processing techniques, just remember to properly attribute and get permission for anyone’s art you use 🙂

Rules: You must be a member of the SL Group “Haven’t had Sex with Prad Club” to participate (and to win). Membership is free, sign up yourself or I can invite you if you like, just IM me in world.
If you require pictures of Prad to play with and don’t already have some on your own stream you can mangle, you have my permission to use the two most recently posted to my Flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/23347879@N07/ – the head shot and body shot. Prad’s really busy as usual (having sex probably), so please don’t pester him for a photo shoot for this, however randomly snapping him as he floats around Crown or where-ever is free game.
Contest starts now and ends 2 weeks from now (Friday 7th November) at 1PM SLT.
All pictures must be submitted to this group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/885716@N24/

Maximum of 2 pictures per person – so you can do a serious and a humourous style one if you like ^^
Judges: Myself and Prad, so getting too offensive isn’t going to make you win :p. Please do refrain from getting nasty at poor Prad, any cruel or excessively distasteful pictures will be removed from the group.

Prizes:
This is mostly for fun so the prizes are somewhat tokenistic, just a small something for participating.
1st prize: $200L and your picture used as the Club Insignia.
2nd Prize: $100L
3rd Prize: $50L

Any questions, just let me know.

Enjoy! 😀

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A picture that won me 2nd place in a recent SL contest

I am a big fan of entering SL Photography Contests. I’ve got placings in a few too which I’m quite proud of. And in all this entering I have learnt a lot about what appeals in contests, and what turns people off, or perhaps I should be more specific: what makes me want to take part and what makes me think the people who constructed it put little if any thought into it. So I thought I’d share my wisdom, just cause I can 😀

Prizes: Prizes vary from pure prestige to store credit to lindens, and everything in between. The most attractive prize packages always include an amount of lindens, even if only a token amount in addition to whatever other prizes are on offer. What prizes are offered will of course reflect the purpose of the contest: If it is to raise profile of a new business which might otherwise be struggling, then of course sole store credit makes sense. The thing is, if you’re smart, you’ve made your own sim a location requirement for the pictures thereby upping your traffic and consequently usually sales – from photo takers and from the attractiveness of high traffic. I’ll talk more of this “requirements” aspect later. Bottom line: Taking pictures takes time, making poses for pictures takes time and money, and people like to be compensated for both, plus lindens are the most versatile and widely valued option. Include lindens in your prize pool.

Placings: Do not have one first place on offer. This is a huge deterrent – there is always some uber talented person out there that as soon as they enter the contest will put off a lot of other people even bothering since they know the possibility of beating that person is insurmountable, or it at least feels that way. Even if it means splitting a small prize pool up to create a second and third place, do it. It will make a huge difference. Also, it’s a good idea to give honourable mention to people who didn’t get a placing or prize – they will very much appreciate it and it will encourage them to take part in the future. It will create good will between you / your brand name, and the person getting the recognition. Such a simple thing to do, and so effective. So do it.

Requirements: Keep these simple and to a minimum, a few I want to comment on specifically are location, post-processing and technical aspects:

Provide a location is always a good start – it creates a level playing field and raises traffic to whatever place you had in mind – you’ll always be able to find someone who wants more traffic to their sim so try to set up a deal with someone if you have no place of your own.

It is a good idea to expressly state if post-processing is allowed or not, for the sake of clarity, and to make sure that those who have those skills know whether they can use them or must abstain. If you have provided a location required for the shots you won’t have to make clumsy claims about entrants not post-processing the picture to death since that will already provide the unmistakably clear message that the picture must hang on to some origin content. I strongly suggest allowing for post-processing as a general rule, unless the content is specifically geared at making the most of SL settings, or similar. This is because (1) you’ll end up with people trying to sneak past processing and claiming others have done so anyway, and (2) you’ll get better quality pictures and higher quality of entrants.

Technical aspects. Keep these to a very strict minimum, in fact I’d totally leave them out if I was you. What I mean here is restrictions on size, dimensions, file type, etc. The easiest way to avoid this being a problem is to run your contest through Flickr. If you later need the photo to be of quality enough to include it in a book in-world or whatever, worry about it at that point. When you place these restrictions from the start all you do is dissuade people from entering at all who can’t be bothered figuring out either how to meet the requirements or mucking around with doing so. There are all sorts of variables involved in whether technical aspects will be specified for not – especially if the pictures will be displayed in world – but really, if at all possible, find a way to not place these restrictions on people.

Themes. If you want to use a theme (ie besides the location itself providing one), keep it open and simple – allow the artist to interpret it cause that’s what creative types like to do after all. It needs to be very clearly worded, it has to be the sort of thing that you don’t have to read three times to try to understand. Best way to test if your theme has gone way off base is ask a few of your friends what it means to them. If they can’t come back with a quick and clear explanation, you need to re-word or re-think it.

Time-frame: A month is a good amount of time to run a contest, as a general rule. You need to provide enough time for thought, time to visit in-world, take the picture, process and choose which one they want to submit. You will need to provide a reminder about a week out from closing, artistic types are forgetful and easily distracted, they like reminders ^^

Communication. The method in which you communicate its existence, reminders, and announcements of winners, is absolutely essential. Of course. Use every method you can think of to announce it: Flickr groups, in-world group notices (with notecards attached ideally), pictures advertising it on your own photostream, and if you’re clever you’ll insist all entrants include in their picture description that it was taken for that specific contest, thereby advertising it further. Make a point of advertising who won too, it will make the winners feel great, and will make everyone feel like it was worth entering because at least someone very clearly won something from it. Do not just post the winners in a discussion thread and leave them to contact you, this is unfair. People get very busy and forget they enter contests sometimes, or lose the relevant links. If you run the contest part of your job is to make sure the winners get their booty: Message them through Flickr and in-world if possible. Do not just try once, if you get no response try again in a week. You do not want angry disgruntled contestants on your hands, else there goes all the good will you’d built up, especially if they talk to others about it. You’re not required to endlessly try to give people their winnings, but make the effort! I would strongly suggest announcing on the winning pictures in Flickr (if you’ve used that medium, which is a good idea), that they won and which prize. This immediately communciates to the person who will be following their own stream, and shows everyone else that you care enough to do more than one discussion post on the issue. If you take it seriously, show the contest mattered, then other people will think it did too. This is great for future contests of course.

Attributions: It’s a good idea to remind your participants to give credit where credit is due: State where the picture was taken, perhaps who’s clothes they are wearing, what brushes they used etc. You don’t want to get too picky – like making them declare who made the earrings you can half see, you just want to say something general to remind them that you are aware of and concerned about proper attribution of any work and sources which are not their own. Last thing you need is a intellectual property issue tainting your contest or your own name and brand.

Judges: Clearly state how many judges are involved and what their relevance to the contest is: Are they store owners, or experts in photography, etc. You need transperancy in order to be taken seriously and to avoid grumpsters later. The judges should obviously refrain from commenting on the submitted pictures until after judging is finished, the last thing you need is looking like there’s a foregone conclusion on who will win, or the appearance of bias.

Basis of judgement: Beyond just stating a theme and location, you may want to state what you are looking for in the pictures, such as humour or “adherance to the rules of photography such as thirds” or originality or whatever. Personally, I’d avoid doing this, because it limits the creativity of the entrants and is so open to interpretation that it’s probably not going to help or guide the contestants much. Furthermore, it puts some onus on you to explain your decision in those terms later, which you may or may not want to do. I do suggest commenting on what you liked in the winning pictures though, it shows you put in thought and fair consideration in the decision you made. The higher the prize pool amount, the more willing you should be to do this.

It’s been a long post and I feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface of this issue; how to successfully run an SL photo contest. If you have any further thoughts or opinions I’d love to hear them, this won’t be my last post on this topic 🙂

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There are many aspects to SL life that keep people like me coming back everyday for over a year. And it’s not the seedy big-boobed free-sex underbelly, because that’s all that is – the underbelly. If you get too caught up on that aspect you miss what SL really has to offer. And today I want to reflect on a prime example of that deeper level of experience SL can give you – visiting a sim set up for the beauty.

Today I visited the sort of sim that takes you away from your computer chair. The sort of sim that makes you feel like you’ve discovered a rare beauty that you both want to protect for your own enjoyment and yet share with everyone who will listen to you rave about it. Next time you’re in SL punch these three magical words into map search: “The Nameless Isle”. Do it. Then thank me later, or even better, thank the genius creator Baron Grayson.

It is rare for me to publish untouched SL pictures, because there is always something that needs improving, right? Well this sim astonished me with its inherent mystical sense of existence, its reality, its depth, its utter breath-takingness. Go check some of the recent untouched pictures of the place on my Flickr if you want to know what I’m on about: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23347879@N07/

These sorts of places have no seedy sex element. Rather, the people who go there go to discover, wander, appreciate and get lost in awe of it. The people flying past you are names you recognise from the flickr pages as they too discover those angles and lighting options that turn a “oooh” into a “wow!”.

So next time someone puts SL down, or dismisses it as a nothingness of nobodies, try to get them to think again, and if they won’t, it is their loss. And what a loss it is.

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