Thursday, February 28, 2013

Portrait of Ryce by Benja Aquila in Roman Gear

Photographed at Romanum

From Benja Aquila's Second Life: Ryce and Benja resting on Small Beach

for more photography head over to Benja's blog:

Benja Aquila's Second Life: Ryce and Benja resting on Small Beach: Lately Ryce and I have been a little busy in Second Life and Real Life too. We really needed a break and we decided to visit the Small Beac...

Running More Tests With the "Official" Second Life Viewer -- It is Simply Fantastic for Photography

I reported here yesterday that due to an upgrade in my graphic card driver, or due to some other positive upgrade, I can finally use the "Official" Second Life viewer with my ATI card.  I was not able to before.

The Second Life viewer is quite simply the best I have used in six year.  I am beyond happy!   I want to share some more test results with you using the official viewer. I think they are spectacular.

My system is Windows 7 based, and I am running an Intel I7 "Sandy Bridge" Chipset. My graphics card is an ATI 5850, one of their best, and basically similar to the current 6850 model.   My system is more than adequate for Second Life.

I am sharing some unedited test photographs of Calas Galadhon I took last night using the official Second Life viewer. These photographs were taken on ultra at high range (I hardly have any lag), and are unedited.  What you see is what I downloaded to my drive as a JPEG.

 Note the following:

1. They have a very high resolution (1920 x 1005, my window size)

2. There is no tiling -- Exodus would turn ultra images of this size into 4 "tiles" that are not seamless

3. They are clear -- I used a floggy effect on the top 2 photographs, and sunset on the bottom 2. The water effect I selected was "glassy" in environmental editor.  Stability does not seem to be an issue.

Please try the latest official viewer if a third party viewer is giving you any problems.  You might be as pleased with the results as I am.

Addendum-  some additions I took this morning:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Great Day For this ATI Card User! I Can Use the Second Life Official Viewer Again!

Firestorm and the "Official" Viewer Looked Like This Until Today
What a great day!

I can use the official Second Life viewer again!  Easily, and for the first time in well over a year.

Here is my situation. I am an ATI card user, not an NVDIA user.  My desktop - a very good Gateway FX 6803 (also known as an Acer Predator) came with a high end ATI 5850 card - still one of their best. It should, theoretically, run Second Life on ultra at maximum distances.

However, it has not been able to do this.  In fact, until today, it has not been able to run the latest viewer on anything. Take a look at the photo above -- this is what Firestorm and the Official SL Viewer looked like with an ATI card. The problem is that ATI cards do not work with Open GL well-- one of the base technologies SL viewers use. You need an NVDIA card for proper performance.

Water reflections and Windlight simply did not work.  Graphics were horrid, especially for me -- I am a landscape photographer.

I have been using a non-current rendition of the Exodus viewer that works with Windlight. However, it is not the most recent version, and will not work with the latest SSB code once it is introduced (server-side baking).

Everything changed today with the official latest SL Viewer. I upgraded my Catalyst drives (the ones that run ATI and AMD graphics) to 13.1, the latest iteration.  I then downloaded the latest Firestorm and Linden Lab official viewers for windows.

I first tried Firestorm.  No change. By the way -- if you read their official blog things really seem a bit depressing. I wonder if too many cooks are spoiling the soup so to say by putting too many features in Firestorm.

I then tried the newest SL Viewer for Windows.  It works!  Take a look at the photos below and look at how good the water looks!  The reflections are normal, and the atmosphere is now correct!

I am going to now try to get adjusted to the Official SL Viewer  I am not sure if my problems were solved by updating my Catalyst drivers, or simply moving to the latest viewer,  but I am do not really need to know -- SL simply works as it should for me. Hallelujah!

Spurt Beach - High Setting - Windlight Strawberry Singh Sapphire Setting

Spurt Beach  - Ultra Setting - Windlight Bentham Sky Setting

Wizard Hat Studios -- High Setting, Midday

The March Issue of GMP is out- and I have a major photography feature running on page 70

The March Issue of Joaopedro Oh's GMP Magazine is out - and it is excellent as usual.  It is good to know that we have a publication for our community in Second Life as well designed and as professionally done as any cutting-edge real life publication.

You can find the issue here:

I am a regular contributor to this publication, and have an article on Spring Photography beginning on page 70.  I visit 6 destinations and talk about the landscaping and botany on each. Please take a look.

You can access this issue by clicking on the image below to make it larger on your monitor.

Must-See Destinations: Bhaga Yards, The Most Authentic Railroad Station in Second Life

Bhaga Yards is the transportation hub for the Second Life Continent of Sansara. This is the central station for the trains that circle the continent. The trains and tram you see below are highly realistic but fleeting, they rez for a short period of time before another appears. This area is also a transportation hub where you can explore trails by horse, sail waterways by ferry boat, or ride the  roads by jeep.  I loved the industrial and detailed construction of the place and plan to spend more time there. A very unique location to visit.

SLURL to Destination:


From Benja Aquila's Second Life: DJ World On Tour at Aqua Lounge

For more photographic coverage of the event head on over to Benja's blog:

Benja Aquila's Second Life: DJ World On Tour at Aqua Lounge: Last Sunday night, DJ World on Tour came to Aqua Lounge with five top DJ playing for more than five hours. With electric and powerful t...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Second Life Photo of the Day: Benja and Ryce at Dry Land

Great Second Life Destinations: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is the most famous natural attraction in the United States. Second Life's Grand Canyon, which evokes the real life destination,  is actually a collection of 3 sims that have a great deal of activities to do including helicopters, balloon rides, and other outdoor sports. In addition  a  glass observation platform, gives spectacular views, and is modeled after the spectacular Grand Canyon Skywalk in real life.

I found the build very cluttered with all sorts of advertising and other items that detracted a bit from the natural beauty of the place. However, thanks to derender capabilities, these can be made to disappear to make photographic shots more realistic.

From the Second Life Destination Guide:

Explore the gorgeous, rugged beauty of the Grand Canyon — a place of beauty that also offers SL skill-enhancing activities and sports, including balloon rides, dirt biking, zip lines and more. Adventure, contemplation, relaxation and discovery await you at this majestic, peaceful destination.

To visit the Grand Canyon:

Breaking News: The Gay Riviera To Close, Final Week of Events Announced

Baz Ceawin, founder and owner of the Gay Riviera, is announcing the following:

The Gay Riviera will be closing on March 7th.

I want to personally thank everyone for the support you have shown to the Gay Riviera over the past two years, we have strived very hard to provide the community with a high quality and inclusive experience for everyone here on the sim.

Why is the Gay Riviera closing? This has a been a difficult decision to make, but after four years of running clubs and sims, I feel like it is time for me to focus my energy elsewhere. Don't worry, there are not big tales of drama or horrible things that have happened... just time for me to do other things. For those of you who know me well,  you know that I am just finishing up my final weeks of school and I will soon be taking on new challenges and projects in my life.  As we celebrate the 2-year anniversary of the Gay Riviera, it seemed that this was the most appropriate time to announce the sim's closing.

Thanks again for all your support over the years.
    - Baz

Please join us in the final farewell to the Gay Riviera as we celebrate two years of fun and friendship.

Monday    Feb  25th   6pm-8pmSLT        The Last MONDAY MIX
                                                             DJ Zann on the Adonis Rooftop

Wed             Feb 26th     3pm-5pmSLT    The end of the SLAM
                                                            DJ Sasch in the Plaza

Thursday    Feb 28th    8pm-10pmSLT    The last COCK ON THE DOCK
                                                           DJ Karl on the Beach Dock

Friday        March 1st    5pm-7pm SLT     The Final FRIDAY SPLASH
                                                            DJ Yifu at the Adonis Bathhouse
*****2-YEAR Anniversary Farewell Weekend*****


10am - Noon SLT  DJ Tomtom
Noon - 2pm SLT    DJ Zann Baxton
2pm-4pm SLT        DJ Rylan Sirnah
4pm-6pm SLT        DJ Rocky Constantine
6pm-8pm SLT        DJ Wesley Spengler - Sponsored by [Beefcake]

Noon - 2pm SLT    DJ InsyX
2pm-4pm SLT        DJ Regi Yifu  - Sponsored by Regimade
4pm-6pm SLT        DJ Sasch
6pm-8pm SLT        DJ Ritch Nichols  - Sponsored by [Lazybum]
8pm-10pm              DJ Karl Kalchek -  Sponsored by [Beefcake]


Please Take This Week's Poll: Have you ever fallen in love in Second Life?

This week's poll concerns love in Second Life. The question reads:

Have you ever fallen in love with someone you have met in Second Life?

I am giving you four possible answers. The poll ends on March 14.

You can find this week's poll on the top right hand side of this web page. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Avatar Hunk of the Day: Merlin Khaos

Real Life Hunk of the Week: Fitness Model William Price

There is very little up-to-date information on handsome fitness model William Price available on the web. Almost all of his links are stale and outdated, and I cannot find a working Facebook account for him.  I am not sure if William wishes to publicize his career, but he is shown in recent shoots.

However, that does not rule out the fact that William is one of the most handsome and sculpted fitness models whose photography is available on the web.

Here is what one press release had to say about him two years ago:

William Price a natural hunk. A self-proclaimed “country boy at heart,” William was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and grew up in a small town in Central Florida. He loves to “hunt, fish, go out on the boat, or relax with friends when it gets cold around a bon fire.” An athlete at heart, William has been playing tons of sports, as he emphasized, “since I could walk.” Passionate on maintaining his great physique, he loves going to the gym and does training in mix martial arts. He also mountain bikes so he can revel in the outdoors and appreciate the natural beauty of what’s around him.


For more photographs of William:

For photographs of other Real Life Hunks (scroll down):