A re-visit to L2 Gallery and LHOOQ Gallery in Second Life

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021 – click any image for full size

In checking back through my visit history, I was surprised to see the last time I dropped into L2 Studio & LHOOQ Gallery, the Full region held and operated by Lindini2 (Lindini2 Lane) and Jessica (jessicabelmer) was in 2016.

Surprised, because the region – the home to Lindini2’s store and Jessica’s art gallery respectively – used to be on my list of places to visit semi-regularly due to it being highly attractive and subject to periodic changes, and I enjoyed dropping-in semi-regularly to see what had changed. So this being the case, I took a trip to see had things are today.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

No landing point is enforced, although one is defined – and used as the SLurl here – that brings folk down in the gardens between the L2 store and the LHOOQ gallery, allowing quick access to Lindini2’s creations (including teleports up to the demo areas in the sky for her buildings) and to appreciate Jessica’s art

The gallery and store are located on the largest island in the region, where they sit within the south-east corner, forming two of the biggest structures within the setting. The gallery in particularly is impressive, its design light and airy, the two floors offering plenty of space for Jessica’s work to be displayed in a fairly large format.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

Surrounding them, the gardens and land beyond are presented as a something of a wildling environment that is both managed and also left to grow fairly free: manicured cypresses mixing with shaggy fir, the grass mixing with scrub and rock whilst being maintained more by the munching of sheep than by any bladed means. It’s an effective, natural environment that climbs westward to where a Japanese teahouse sits within stone walls, the passage through its grounds literally forming the gateway between east and west

The teahouse is not the only structure to be found when wandering the paths around the studio and gallery, nor are the sheep the only animals waiting to be found. Some of the former are obvious, others take a little more discovery as they meander around and climb up and down through the landscape. The easiest to follow will lead you to an old gazebo, the way up to the teahouse close by; others might take you to a folly guarded by foxes or a little fenced garden offering a way down to a shingle beach and a view out to the north-west, or off to the north-east side of the land, of which more anon.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

Nor are the foxes and sheep alone in claiming the wildling setting as theirs; horses wander the grasses. An attempt has been made to cultivate a small part of the wildling, but I did find myself wondering how long it might last, given the way some of the sheep appeared to be eyeing things!

The store and gallery are balanced to the south-west by a house with garden and outhouses. A narrow neck of rock connects this headland with the rest of the main island, pools of water feeding waterfalls on either side.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

Such is the design here that it is hard not to avoid the feeling the water – whilst crossed by a hump of rock – is there to form a natural barrier to indicate the house and gardens beyond are perhaps private property, a feeling added to by the steep shoulder of a hill rising between the falls and the house beyond that is sans obvious path up or around its slope. There are no signs to confirm this, but is did leave me a little circumspect in my wanderings so as not to trespass, just in case.

To the north, the region is given over to settings that showcase Lindini2’s houses. The first of these is laid one in a manner suggestive of Dutch waterways, although the houses are perhaps more North American in styling. Water forms a narrow basin with walled sides and cobbled road surfaces surrounding it and a pair of little bridges arching over it. Four house sit on the cobbled ways, while across a narrow channel of water, a low-lying, sandy island offers a beach-like setting for more houses.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

The final element of the landscape is a little town are that sits sandwiched between the island houses and the store and gallery. Located on its own little promontory, it balances the hill-top teahouse in having a Japanese vibe to its styling (perhaps with the exception of the little hi;;top greenhouse overlooking it, set is it is form a spot of very English afternoon tea!). There is a wealth of detail packed into this little town that it makes for its own entirely photogenic spot.

Finished with multiple touches that help bring a sense of life to it, from boats on the water to the animals and birds and the various places visitors are encouraged to sit and pass the time, L2 Studio & LHOOQ Gallery is richly detailed and a visually engaging visit. The layout allows exploration to be carried out in a single visit, over a course of days, depending on your mood.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

However, all this does come at a price; the the vast majority of the region’s land impact has been used, so there is a lot of mesh and textures for the viewer to handle, which can impact performance, so depending on your settings, you my need to make some adjustments. I found it a lot easier to get around by turning off Shadows when exploring, and only using them for photographs.

Even so, I would say the region remains enticingly photogenic, and is well worth a visit be shutter bugs, and Jessica’s photography stands as a very worthy reason for patrons of SL arts to also hop over and visit.

L2 Studio and LLOOQ Gallery, July 2021

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Luane’s lost world in Second Life

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021 – click any image for full size

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Luane’s World, the estate held and operated by LuaneMeo, but a recent blog post by Rig Torok of the estate’s main Full region – Le Monde Perdu (The Lost World)- gave me pause to take a jump back and take a fresh wander.

Le Monde Perdu is a beautiful, romantic Island far away from everything. A place where you can find inner peace, enjoy and relax. Landscaping by LuaneMeo and Gorba McMahon.

– from the region’s About Land description

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

I first visited the region in 2016, and then again in 2018. At the time of both of those visits, Luane’s world occupied a different location as an estate with two regions encompassing public spaces, Luane’s store and Luane’s Magical Garden. Today, the estate comprises five regions  – the main public region of Le Monde Perdu, and four residential regions gathered to the north of it, and both the store and Luane’s Magical world have shifted into the sky, reachable via teleport.

The ground level of Le Monde Perdu presents itself as a rugged island with a high horseshoe of hills skirted from south to north via the west coast by a sandy beach, with the eastern side falling to a narrow ribbon of rocky, shingle waterfront sitting between cliffs and shallows. At roughly the mid-point along the island’s south side, the hills break, allowing the sand to flow inland and cup the waters of a freshwater pool at the heart of the island, fed by falls that tumble down the cliffs that form the pool’s north side.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

Within this setting there a a lot to see and capture, thanks in part to a use of altitude and landscaping – the hills aren’t all of a single height but offer stepped rises that present natural shoulders that present spaces which Luane and Gorba have used to the fullest. To the south-east, for example, the hills rise from the entrance to the inner pool to offer a choice of routes: one around the statue at the top of the rise and then down to a ribbon lake that sits on a lower shoulder, or left along a cobbled path that branches at the foot of a further rise.

The right branch of this path curls up around the the next rise of the hill reaching its top and the small farmhouse sits there alongside a sparkling, fast-flowing stream that tumbles down along the spine of the hill to help feed the freshwater pool below via its own falls. The left branch of the path, meanwhile, descends along a gentle slope to where a dining table has been set out beneath a net awning that also overlooks the central lake. The path to this dining area also offers a way down to (or up from) the lake via steeply-set steps, so giving visitors a further route of exploration.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

The top of these steps is also home to a zipline that spans the mouth of the southern cutting, giving a means to reach a cabin that sits above the beach to the south-west, nestled under a truncated peak that feeds another stream that runs around the ridge of the hills to reach the north side waterfalls..

The shelf on which the cabin sits runs west and north around the island to reach a cavern, passing steps that climb up to it from the beach, whilst also offering visitors a further option to go horse riding within the region (there is one at the landing point, alongside a bicycle rezzer, although options for comfortable riding are a tad limited due to the lie of the land).As a further attraction, a little pond sits just down from the cabin, the home to a family of otters.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

These otters are just a touch of the wildlife to be found across the island, and part of the fun in exploring is that of coming across the various animals and birds / waterfowl. Some are easy to spot, others might require keen eyes; some might even appear a little threatening / intimidating – the shark casually swimming alongside a part of the beach where paddling is clearly encouraged, and the bears within one of the island’s caverns (the second of these runs through the western hills between inner and outer beaches).

The richness of detail across the region cannot be over-emphasised; wildlife, plants, overall design, placement of buildings and structures, and places to sit have all been carefully considered to present Le Monde Perdu as a perfectly natural environment that flows from point to point, whilst also offering numerous individual locations that are either highly photogenic or offer places to sit and appreciate the surroundings – or both. And if you want to catch a different perspective of the island and its surroundings, try hopping up to the hot air balloon that floats serenely above it.

Luane’s World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

Finally, don’t forget that there is also Luane’s Magical World awaiting a visit in the sky overhead as well. You can reach it via the SLurl here, or via the experience-based teleport sign alongside the ground-level landing point for the region. I’m not going to delve into that here; suffice it to say it is another engaging setting, and I’ll leave a little taste of it with an image.

Captivatingly set and with a lot to see (and do), Le Monde Perdu remains a thoroughly engaging visit.

LLuane’s Magical World – Le Monde Perdu, July 2021

SLurl Details

Le Monde Perdu is rated as Adult.

Leloo’s land of the sea in Second Life

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021 – click any image for full size

‘Twas off back to Leloo’s World, a corner of Second Life offered for public enjoyment by LeLoo (LeLooUlf), for me during the week, as I wanted to witness the latest of her designs following a suggestion from Shawn Shakespeare for the poke!

The last time I visited, a scant two months ago, the quarter-region parcel offered an inland setting that put me in mind of Old Mexico, with high canyons and desert environment. The new setting – Tierra Mer Mar – retains a sense of high rocky walls, but rather than being the walls of canyons, they are now the faces of the high cliffs of a coastal area that cup within their arms a small bay as they face a sandy island rising out of the blue sea.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

To the south, the cliffs are set far enough back to allow for a shelf of land to sit between them and the waters below. This shelf is home to the parcel’s landing point. It also provides the first area of exploration, with a gacha area tucked into the trees to the west, and narrow walk along the foot of the cliffs that runs to the east, the land dropping away along one side, the path itself eventually coming to a blunt end.

A set of rope steps runs down from the end of the path to offer a way down to a shallow bay that otherwise sits almost completely hidden from the rest of the setting courtesy of a low headland. Thee steps down to this little bay might be missed, thanks to clearer wooden steps and platforms leading the way down to the water’s edge at the head of the larger bay, and a floating deck topped by a shaded piano. A further route down to the water’s edge can also be found closer to the gacha / landing area, where stone steps offer the way down to another floating deck.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

Those wishing to make their way to the north side of the bay can do so by following the track from the landing point and through the gacha before doubling back along a hanging footbridge that runs above the rocks of the bay’s edge and alongside a series of tanks in which sharks watch visitor progress. After turning to run along the base of the western cliffs, the footbridge provides access to the the north-side beach and headland.

As well as being an eye-catching setting, Terra Del Mar is home to a host of wildlife. Seals play in the shallows or bask on the shore and on floating platforms – the latter practically thumbing their noses (so to speak) at the orca swimming nearby. Dolphins also play on or close to the surface of the water, whilst the dorsal fins of sharks can also be seen cutting through the the waves in places.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

On land, bears are also enjoying the sun, and a couple of sea turtles appear to have been carried up from the water and unfortunately left on a deck well above the water. Birds and waterfowl are also much in evidence; gulls fly overhead, and pelicans and cormorants have found perches along the water’s edge, doubtless keeping at least one eye on the waves lest a meal swim into the shallows, whilst sandpipers scuttle back and forth on the sand.

There are more creatures to be found in the water as well – fish, sharks, rays, the aforementioned orca and dolphins, more turtles – all of which make spending time in / under the water strongly recommended. Indeed, swimming and puttering about on the water is encouraged: there’s a dive point at the end of a pair of logs extending from one of the over-water platform and float rezzers await use, while boats can also be found that offer sit points. If you have a swim option on your AO or a dedicated swimming system, then this a a place to put it to good use!

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

Staying on land offers a lot to discover as well – such as the secluded bay mentioned above, where shoreline snacks can be enjoyed or a shark balloon obtained and played with. There’s also the various decks and narrow stretches of beach where seats can be found for sitting one your own or with a friend or friends, with more shaded by the inland trees and swings are awaiting passengers here and there.

Once again rich in detail and demonstrating you don’t necessarily need the space of a full-sized region to create an engaging and noteworthy setting, Terra Del Mar at LeLoo’s World is deserving of a visit and offers multiple opportunities for photographers.

Tierra Mer Mar, LeLoo’s World, July 2021

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Summer at Mimmo in Second Life

Mimmo, July 2021 – click any image for full size

Elise Sirnah is not only an established Second Life photographer, she also has an eye for region design, something she has demonstrated with Mimmo, the Homestead region she co-holds along with Grace Shade (graice2). It’s a place that I’ve visited on a number of occasions, although this is just the second time I’ve blogged it, the first being back in 2019.

I’ve no idea how many times the region’s looks may have changed since then, but July 2021 saw me hop back to take a look. What I found was an interesting setting that brings together mixes of tropical and temperate environments and public and private spaces – the latter placed in such a way that it is relatively easy not to confuse them as part of the public areas – into a single setting.

Mimmo, July 2021

At my last visit, Mimmo had the look and feel of a garden and extended grounds of a Tuscan style villa that occupied one side of the region, the rest of the landscape flowing outwards from it. With this iteration, the region offers far more of an island-like setting, offering numerous discrete point for photography, all of which more-or-less flow together as a continuous whole.

When looked at on the map, the region has an an intriguing look, resembling some kind of vast sea creature basking on the surface of the sea, its head to the north-west, three of its flippers outstretched and a bulbous tail to the south-east. Two of these “fins” are formed by headlands, one stumpy and sandy, the other sinuous and heavy in trees, with the largest of the off-shore islands forming the third, and another of the rentals making the bulbous “tail”.

Mimmo, July 2021

The use of smaller islands as homes for the rental properties helps minimise the risk of accidental trespass, the private spaces they represent only reachable via stepping stones through, and bridges over, the coastal waters. These smaller islands, together with the southern end of the main island give the region that more tropical feel, with sand and palm trees much in evidence. North and east, the rest of the main island is far more temperate in looks.

The north-west of the main island is dominated by a curtain of cliffs together with a large body of fresh water below them. A stream proceeds from the lake, forming a “spine” through the region as it runs south and east to reach the sandy coast and a fallen lighthouse that once overlooked one of the region’s rental isles. Paralleling this stream for part of its course is a rough dirt track, which also circles through the region’s landing point whilst also presenting obvious paths to follow when exploring.

Mimmo, July 2021

The landing point sits within the fenced grounds of a large wooden cottage / farmhouse that looks highly suited to the role of a studio gallery.  It shares it grounds with a small potting shed and old British-style telephone box. This cottage is one of two large structures on the main island, with the second reached by following the track north and west from the landing point and over the single formal bridge spanning the stream (there is also a makeshift bridge made from logs also available further downstream).

The second structure takes the form of a barn – or possibly warehouse, given the paved waterfront it is built upon – conversion sitting on the west side coast of the region. At first glance, this looks like a private residence, but on examination it can be seen this is not the case; rather it presents a cosy home with furnishings and fittings by Grace (that is already giving me ideas about a possible new place on the home island!).

Mimmo, July 2021

Balancing this house to the east of the stream is a gently sloping landscape that sits as something of an extended garden, complete with an old folly, places to sit, sculptures, and a geodesic dome for those who need a little shade from the Sun. More places to sit and past the time can be found throughout the setting: along the coast, or just back from it (or even out on the water), off along the north-east headland with its small hill (note the little island just off this headland is another rental property, not part of the public spaces), and also on the stubby western headland, where a little café sits.

There are some rough edges to the the landscaping – rocks and mesh not fully blended into the terrain so they either float or leave gaps, the odd floating plant, etc., but nothing that serious detracts from the overall photogenic nature of the region, or the opportunities to visit, sit, dance and / or swim. Those wishing to have rez rights can join the local group for a fee of L$150 –  but do please clean up after use! Also, do note that a local chat extender is in use within the region, and can be disabled by using channel /999.

Mimmo, July 2021

SLurl Details

  • Mimmo (Pomerania Park, rated Adult)

A trip to Blackwood Farm in Second Life

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021 – click any image for full size

Following a recommendation from Shawn Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla), I opted to spend a little time on the farm. The Blackwood Farm, to be precise, a Homestead region gorgeously presented for public visits / use by Corvus Blackwood.

Sitting under a burnished summer sky, the clouds turned to bronze by a low-hanging Sun, the region presents as a single island into which  a channel of water has cut its way, roughly dividing the landscape almost into two. To the west, the land is predominantly low-lying, to the east it is dominated by a raised table of rock marked to the north and south by ribbons of scrubby coastline, the former of which sweeps east and west across the width of the region, curving past a small off-shore isle to the west, the home of a squat lighthouse watching over the channel between the two landmasses.

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021

The western side of the setting is home to the Blackwood Farm. This is a place, we’re informed by a large friendly sign close to the landing point, that is family owned and operated. An unfenced field of corn sits just behind the sign, stretching south along the track leading up to the farm, fir trees and a rocky mound also sitting with it within an oval of rutted tracks.

An aging gateway and fading wall guard the entrance to the inner sanctum of the farm. They face the imposing farmhouse that is flanked by barns to either side, and is fronted by a square fenced field of cattle.  It is a peaceful, pastoral setting: chickens wander freely, apples are in the process of being picked from a little copse of trees, a little lemonade stand awaits those in need of refreshment. In fact the setting is so peaceful, deer are happy to graze on the grass within the farm’s grounds.

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021

The farm is overlooked to the west by a uplift of land topped by a windmill that offers one of the many places to sit within the setting, a pair of batterer trailer homes sitting in the shadow of the hill, between it and the span of the south coast. Very rough and ready in their set-up, the two trailers are clearly occupied: a fire pit is burning, a fan is on to cool seats under one of the trailer’s awnings – but both have been left to a little goat to watch over. It forms one of several small vignettes awaiting discovery by visitors, and which bring the entire setting together as a whole.

Over to the east, the primary upland is home to the Apple Fall Old Manufactory, a structure that is so popular among region designers that at times it feels as if it is a required feature within an public region. Its popularity is likely down to both its aged looks and its flexibility of use. Here it has been turned into a charming house, complete with a large patio terrace that stretches from it to a little open-sided potting shed. It is an altogether eye-catching setting – but do please be aware that the house is actually a private residence, as indicated by the localised ban lines that will appear if you stray too close.

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021

The rest of the hilltop is very much open to exploration, as is the rough coastline to the north and below it. Reached by steps cut into the slope of the upland, this coastal area is again a place of little vignettes – a camp site, walks, a dock stretching out over the water and little boats that again add to the richness of the setting.

Those wishing to rez within the region can do so by joining the local group (fee: L$250) – but those who do re asked to clean-up after themselves.

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021

Such is the all-round natural looks to the setting, it really is an ideal location for avatar photography whilst the landscaping is equally photogenic; what is more, the setting works equally well under a range of different environment setting to the default – as I hope can be seen in a couple of the images here.

Whether or not you opt to play with the environment settings or use the shared environment, The Blackwood Farm is visually and – thanks to its sound scape – aurally engaging, richly detailed, and a joy to explore and photograph. This being the case, it should come as no surprise that I’d note it as a recommended visit.

The Blackwood Farm, July 2021

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Nelipot’s summer beauty in Second Life

Nelipot, July 2021 – click any image for full size

Shawn Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla) and Lien Lowe invited me to get a sneak peek of their new design for their homestead region of Nelipot ahead of the region’s “official” re-opening in its new location – an invitation I was delighted to accept and jump upon.

The first time I visited the region, it offered a ruggedly handsome island surrounded by gently undulating off-region hills that together suggested a temperate archipelago, perhaps caught in early spring. Within the region itself lay a richness and depth of detail that delighted the eye and camera, as I noted at the time in Nelipot’s beauty in Second Life. This remains the case with this latest iteration, which includes a number of touches that harken back to that previous design that give an underlying sense of continuity between the two settings whilst also allowing this iteration to be unique in and of itself.

Nelipot, July 2021

While the region still sits within a surround, the low island hills have given way to a range of high mountains through which water from the sea beyond winds, giving the impression that the land here is a small nest of islands cupped within a sheltered bay, the tall peaks protecting and hiding them from the world beyond.

There are four islands making up the group. two small islets, one of which comes close to being an outlier such is its position and difference to the others in the group, and two main islands that sit as a cupped pair. Lying towards the south-west, the landing point is on one of the smaller islands, a grass-topped table of rock which the landing point shares with a small chapel. It is separated from the two large islands by a channel of tidal water that can be crossed in one of three ways: wading through it, flying over it, or by grabbing a swan pedal boat from the rezzer at the little dock just down from the chapel.

Nelipot, July 2021

Taking the pedal boat is perhaps the best option for those who wish to really appreciate the region naturally, as it presents the opportunity to skirt around the beach of the more western of the two large islands to reach the shallow open waters to the north. Here, it is possible to pedal around and have a little fun – providing boaters keep an eye out for the region boundary. More particularly, it presents the two large islands as they lie, one cupped in the curving arms of the other, the beach of the nearest of the pair continuing along its north side, facing the second of the two small isles.

This second islet looks almost like a an upwelling of coral that, for whatever reason, a departing sea level has exposed over time to allow nature’s other mechanisms – wind, rain, erosion – gradually turn into a group of connected knolls that offer a little retreat covered in scrub grass and where seeds of flowers have been blown to take root together with a quartet of scruffy, wind-blown pines.

Nelipot, July 2021

A further boat rezzer sits on a deck built out from this little isle, providing the means for visitors to come ashore and enjoy the islet’s offering before continuing their journey aboard another pedal boat. East of the isle the water is broken by humps of rock that stretch towards the headland at one end of the largest island in the group. Sitting like stepping stones a giant might use to cross the water, these rocks sit as a hazard to navigation by boat – but is is possible to plot a route through them and so reach the calmer channel of water that separates the two large islands.

Crescent-shaped, the larger of the pair holds its sandy-edged cousin cupped in its arms. Such is their position relative to one another, it appears as if these may have once been a single landmass, the slender tongue of land that almost connecting them adding to this – although the dilapidated state of the bridge that spans the narrow gap between tongue and island also suggests it’s been around a long time, so if the two islands were ever connected, then it might have been very long ago…

Nelipot, July 2021

All of the above is just a thumbnail sketch of the setting – the real meat is in the detail that Lien and Shawn have built into it, something they have done without a major impact on viewer performance. It is within some of this detail that those little echoes of the previous build can be found. Take, for example the sheep that graze on the crescent island, and the way some of them are doing so close to a parked vehicle. This directly reflects Nelipot’s previous iteration, whilst the change in vehicle and presence of the nearby headland and its lighthouse makes it clear its is not just a copy of the past design.

The best way to discover this details – the warehouse converted into a cosy house, the summer house on the beach island, the open-sided pottery shed with its pot-bellied kiln and pots and vases that await glazing and firing, and so on – is by exploring directly. This brings into focus the care with which Shawn and Lein have again created a setting that is welcoming to visitors and offers multiple places, indoors and out, where people can sit and pass the time and enjoy cuddles and quiet times if they so wish.

Nelipot, July 2021

Exploring also reveals all the little touches that help bring the setting to life – the wrap-around sound scape, the St. Bernard waiting to greet wanderers and the many cats who are content to sleep or ignore those who wander by in that way only cats can – aside from one, who is very clearly keeping his eyes on all that is going on from his vantage point! -, and so much more.

Rich in natural beauty, complete with a perfect soundscape folded into it, Nelipot remains a must-see destination. Many thanks to Lien and Shawn for the invite to drop in!

SLurl Details

  • Nelipot (Safe Haven, rated Moderate)