The Last Forever

The Last Forever is a new destination inspired by Marfa, TX from the creators of West of the Rain , Oobleck Alagash and Nodnol Jameson (KraftWork), along with the creative team of Kai Mannequin, Brooke Barmy, Rooky Yootz, Triin, Misty and Jack Hanby. It has been immensely popular amongst Flickr photographers lately, and I headed over earlier in the week to see what the hype was all about. This is such a cool desert place! There is, amongst other things a shabby-looking town (including a shopping center), railroad tracks, asphalt roads, all kinds of desert vegetation, as well as an incredibly well-made camp site. Also, close to the camping site is a laundry/wash room facility. Those of you who know me a little better are aware of my weakness for all things domestic in SL, so you can imagine my delight. This is a really a great place, with wonderful attention to detail and a superb ambience. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your photos in The Last Forever Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

revisiting norderney

Jacky Mcpherson’s NorderNey feels very much like real life to me. Rarely have I encountered in Second Life a landscape sim that is so incredibly true to nature. It has to do with the objects used and how they are put together. Jacky seems to know exactly what kind of grass and rocks to use, which flowers and trees to select, and then picks out the perfect ground texture to go with it. The terraforming is carefully planned here as well; the place seems just flat, but it is not the case at all as there are subtle variations in level all over. The immersive sense of being on a beach is of course not achieved by merely selecting the right objects; it is the result of years of sim designing experience. There is a love for the craft of designing and a devotion to accuracy that is immediately noticeable here. Bravo Jacky for all of this and thank you for sharing with us your talent.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

natural falls

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Dann Chris has done a fabulous job with the newish sim Natural Falls V. The location name is followed by the roman numeral V, so I am assuming there must have been several Natural Falls places before this one. I never visited any of them and this was a pleasant surprise. One teleports into a boardwalk in front of a huge neon sign that reads and so the adventure begins. I love that this spot is the beginning of a journey that follows on the rather derelict and shabby part of a metropolis that awaits ahead. The boardwalk extends throughout the sim; above it, an old railway and below it, accessible by stairs, all kinds of builds in water. The builds here are fabulous! Most of them are by Soy, but also some by AptB, KT Syakomi and Agathe Latte and others. Do not be fooled, however, by the run-down architectural maze here, there is plenty of green spots in between. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your images in the Natural Falls Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Japan at One Caress

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Today I re-visited Japan, a newish addition to One Caress, by sim designer duo Squonk Levenque and Miuccia Klaar; it is located in the sky and accessible from the One Caress landing space. I’ve been wanting to visit again for a while and my report is long overdue. Upon landing in the sky area, one stands in a small dark space. There is no direction or advice on how to proceed from there, which I think is very clever; the visitor has to sort it out and find a way on their own. Suddenly, after a few attempts to enter, one is then on a street surrounded by busyness and neon lights. That is all that Japan really is – a little street. But this is not any short strip of street, far from it. Rarely have I seen in SL a place with so much ambience in such a small space. The details here are incredible and there is stuff in most every corner. But nothing is really random here I think, each object seems to have been placed with the utmost consideration for space and overall impact. And it rains. The rain somehow envelopes the space and makes it come together as a whole. I am so impressed. Bravo Miu and Squonk, this place is nothing short of astonishing. Oh, and as I was standing around blogging, my friend Huckleberry Hax  eventually joined me and took some amazing photos; be on the lookout for them on his Flickr stream.

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Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

L2 studio & LHOOQ gallery

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I always liked the work by Lindini2. She is foremost a designer of buildings, but a talented landscape designer and photographer as well. Her beautiful sim L2 studio & LHOOQ gallery has now been given a makeover and it is just stunning! A quite elaborate landscape consisting of sand-dunes, beaches, all kinds of stately trees, carefully selected grasses and animals surround the buildings designed by Lindini2. The houses are fully furnished and decorated and all are welcome to hang out and enjoy. The builds are also for sale in the demo area in she sky. Tucked away in one part of the sim is the LHOOQ Gallery, also build by Miss Lindini2 and currently showing works by Jessica Belmer. The gallery space is incredibly well constructed and fits perfectly in this tranquil setting. Do head over and take a look at all this and don’t forget to bring your camera.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

places to visit now

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There are several interesting places to visit right now. One is the the very recently opened La Digue du Braek, created by Serene Footman and Mlle Jade Koltai Jacuzzi, who also put together Furillen and Pravum Est. Teleporting in to this sim, one lands on sand. There is is a sense of not knowing where to turn and what to do next as no directions are provided. I really appreciate this opportunity to explore, to find my own way. Nice touch. Walking up to the top of a small dune then, one then stands in front of a waterway, on the opposite side industrial builds, completely unexpected. My curiosity peaked. About La Digue du Braek, Jade and Serene note that [i]nspired by La Digue du Braek, a 7km long road near to Dunkerque, flanked by a beach on one side, and heavy industry on the other – a perfect tension between nature and machine. Head over and take a look and if you bring your camera don’t forget to post your pics in the La Digue du Braek Flickr group. The other intriguing place that recently opened, and which has already become immensely popular, is the sim One Caress by the talented sim designer duo Squonk Levenque and Miuccia Klaar (the two also previously created H22O, 2304 Rain, and Treptower Park). One Caress is rainy and dreary, just like most of us love it for SL places to be. Gloomy-looking trees, bears, rusty furniture, and whimsical builds come together here to create a beautiful photogenic whole. Bravo Squonk and Miuccia. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your pics in the One Caress Flickr group. The last place worth a visit is Mineral Ridge, a grungy old mining town; a town once booming in the mining industry a now eerie place to visit. Come explore the unknown because the biggest fear in life is the fear of not knowing what lurks around the corner or just a few feet down the street. There are plenty of things to explore here and many photo-worthy corners. Head over and take a look!

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

winter trace

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The Winter Trace sim, by renowned landscaper and decorator team Kylie Jaxxon and Elvira Kytori, is now open. It was fun visiting today, bumping into many Flickr photographers who most I assume were there for the same reason that I was, namely to take photos. There was actually a kind of tangible excitement in the air, at least I thought so! Some of us were not at all dressed for the cold weather and zoomed home and put on proper attire and then returned, inspired. A gentle but steady snowfall falls over hills and valleys here, covering roof tops and trees with a gentle layer of snow. The trademark Trace sim combination of various kinds of grass, trees and other kinds of vegetation mix beautifully here with fabulous builds. There are of course plenty of poses to use here too. Head over and take a look, enjoy and make sure to post your pics in The Trace Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

fall trace

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There is always great excitement amongst us grid travelers when the sim The Trace changes for the season. I usually head over and blog about it (here and here and here) and  of course I did today again. The Trace sim has been in SL since 2013, originally put together by Kylie Jaxxon, who then in 2014 started designing the sim in collaboration with Elvira Kytori. Most recently, Elvira and Kylie are implementing a new idea and note that; [t]he new concept was to have 3 seasonal Sim’s where each will stay for a whole year for all to enjoy, before changing for a new season, and design. This years Fall Trace has been primarily designed by Elvira Kytori. The Winter Trace will be mainly designed by Kylie Jaxxon and will open in early December. Fall Trace opened to the public a few days ago and in keeping with past tradition does not disappoint. A swamp-like landscape, filled with an incredible amount of different trees, flowers, and grass provides a great backdrop for photography. An abundance of little houses, including one of my favorites, Soy‘s Old Chanty Boat, are placed throughout the landscape offering seating with poses. Head over and take a look, enjoy and make sure to post your pics in The Trace Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

west of the rain

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I’ve visited several times now West of the Rain and also posted photos on Flickr, but never blogged about this sim. The time has come! I can’t speak highly enough of this destination, put together by Oobleck Alagash and Nodnol Jameson, and inspired by the San Juan Islands in Washington State. The winding roads, the selection and variety of trees, and the carefully selected objects come together here to create a breathtaking and inspiring whole. You will find a little town center, a harbor, an athletic club complete with a locker room, a recently added surgeons office, several smaller builds nested in the landscape and much more. There are plenty of seating with poses, including couples, dispersed all over the sim. Finally, please enter your photos in the current photo exhibit that will close on September 21, read more about it here. Above is my contribution to the contest and a tribute to the last days of summer. Thank you very much to Oobleck and Nodnol for  opening their very beautiful place for us all to explore.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Arranmore

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I haven’t blogged about places that I like in a while, but here is one now. There is a newish sim, Arranmore, put together by the talented Lauren Bentham, that I very much enjoyed visiting. There is something eerie and dark about this place, reflected in the carefully selected objects that all in their own way contribute to the general mood. I also like that some of the builds selected here are by lesser known builders and are not the same houses we repeatedly keep seeing on other sims. Visitors will be offered a free flashlight upon arrival, which can be used to further enhance the gloomy ambience on this sim. The sim itself is fictional, but the name Arranmore is derived from an island with the same name located off the west coast of Ireland. Lauren notes that [t]he island of Arranmore, is today, a sleepy, almost deserted island, but was once a thriving community, small, but very active. The fishing port was the main source of income for the islanders, but they also relied heavily upon the investment from Lord & Lady Inman, who were the owners of the large manor house in the centre of the island. Many years ago, Lord & Lady Inman, along with their 2 children, took a holiday, and seemed to vanish off the face of the earth. To this day, no-one knows why, or what happened to them. This was a heavy blow to the community, who relied on Lord Inmans investments, and slowly, over the years, Arranmore fell into decline. Today, it has a handful of die hard residents who remain, but little is seen of them. Strange things began to happen on the island, which seemed to drive many people away. So, here we are today, still a beautiful and scenic island, but with few inhabitants. A manor house, that has not been lived in for years, and what seems like a dark, eerie cloud, hanging over the island. Joining the Arranmore group for a fee of L$175 will provide rez rights; auto-return is set to one day. Do head over and take a look at this beautifully put-together sim. Remember to bring your camera and post your photos in the Arranmore Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf