At the start of May, I happened across Baja Norte after it appeared in the latest updates to the Destination Guide’s Photogenic Spots section. As I noted at the time, Jac Mornington has created something very special with the region. So much so that I’ve been shuffling around looking for any of his other builds in-world. Thanks to Ziki Questi, I came across Jac’s work at Sol Existence.
The home of the Casa Sol Manarero group, the region is a collaborative effort by Jac and Sunshine Zhangsun (of RFL of SL fame), who is the region’s owner, Sol Existence is a beautifully-crafted region. so much so that to arrive there is like setting foot inside a watercolour painting; the colours and composition are such that wherever you look, you can’t help but feel the region has somehow slipped off of a canvas somewhere and found its way in-world.
Not that this is simply a place to sit and admire – allowing for the private house overlooking the central lake – the region offers a lot to see and explore , and a number of things to do. From the arrival point, you can follow the path up to a barn and stable and admire the horses and Llamas, then follow a trail around the edge of the lake (don’t disturb the deer as you walk around the barn!) to one of two lookouts offering views across the region and opportunities to observe the wildlife.
For those who like messing about on the water, there are boats you can take to row across the lake – or to the floating pontoon in the middle – allowing you to watch the beavers and ducks, if you’re so inclined.
The attention to detail here makes this an ideal destination for the avid SL photographer. Not only does the overall composition of the region mean that it has a painting-like look and feel which is ideal for capturing in snapshots, it also means that it offers a photo opportunity at just about every turn as you explore. Nor is the region restricted to the one windlight option – tweaking with settings and playing with the time-of-day can result in some marvellous opportunities for the perfect snapshot (and I’m pretty sure my own efforts in tweaking and snapping don’t do this fact justice).
The wildlife to be found across the region is rich and diverse, from the aforementioned horse and Llamas, through deer, ducks and beavers to birds in the skies overhead or busy in trees and otters sitting at the side of the lake and pools. There’s even a bear out fishing for his lunch! All of this makes the region a great place to explore and the light, bright colours are liable to lift the bleakest of moods, offering a late summer / autumnal feel to the region.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m not a great one for region (sim) surrounds. Lately, however, I’ve found them being used to great effect. Sol Existence is another example of this – the region blends near-seamlessly with the surround when viewed from the avatar’s perspective, and this does a lot to enhance the feeling that this is a home on the edge of the wilderness. I’m still not entirely convinced on sim surrounds, and this one did seem to cause me some of the same lag and other issues I’ve come to expect from many regions employing them (you may only want to flip Advanced Lighting Model & shadows on when you find a subject / view for a photo), but the way in which this surround adds to the depth and feel of Sol Existence cannot be denied.
All-in-all, I’m really pleased I peeked inside Ziki’s blog and saw her entry on Sol Existence. Thoroughly worth a visit.
(view slideshow full-screen)