Sunday, October 16, 2011

Photospot: Carnival Macabre

Photospot on SL Unearthed is a semi-regular feature that highlights a Second Life spot that is a cool place at which to take portrait photos inworld. Not an entire sim, not even a complete parcel, but just a single specific location - a spot - with portrait opportunity.

Gosh, I do love October! Today's Photospot is a small area within a much larger area known as The Castle Macabre. Deep within the depths of a castle is probably one of the last places you'd expect to find a carnival, and yet, here one is. It will be very easy to get lost around here. (Remember, there's no place like Ctrl+Shift+H if need be!) You can try to reach the Carnival Macabre by chasing the SLurl beacon (difficult!), falling into a graveyard tomb (adventurous!), or just select "Carnival" from the handy teleport menu (too easy!).
Photospot: Carnival Macabre
While you're down here in these seemingly endless labyrinthine halls, you can also treat yourself to Sweeney Todd's Barber Shop and Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies. Beware of the witch with the apples, and if you don't like spiders, stay out of the parlor. Wizards and sorcerers will appreciate the potion room. Mad doctors will want to do some experiments in the laboratory.
Macabre Filmstrip
There is a sanctuary for pagan rituals and psychic exploration. Students will enjoy the library/music room. And if you slip through a couple secret passageways, you'll eventually find your way to the grand ballroom where a skeletal band plays on and on and on. But be careful which way you turn or you might end up in the torture chamber where there is a lot more to worry about than spiders.
But let's assume you found your way to the carnival, one way or another, and by this time you know this Photospot isn't exactly going to foster pleasant dreams. Once you've become acclimated to the area, having admired the two-headed animal collection, tested the, um... carousel, and grabbed some cotton candy or popcorn, it's time to get down to photo business. Before the calliope music drives you mad or a sudden-appearing ghost scares you witless, have a look at the rings hanging from the ceiling. Go ahead and sit on them. You know you want to. Especially considering that the rats will stay on the floor.
Here's a quick picture tip that might come in handy here. When you're in a static pose and you want your avatar eyes to look in a different direction while in a no-rez area like this one, Alt + Click something in that general direction. Sometimes you can get good results by Alt + Clicking on a wall or floor behind the avatar, to make the eyes move far left or right. Click higher objects to get the eyes looking upward; lower objects for downcast eyes. Just don't click too near to your avatar or you'll have mixed results. The eyes will be drawn to the center of the clicked object, which isn't always where one thinks the center should be, so you might need to try two or three objects to find a good one. After placing your Alt + Click, you'll have to rely solely on camera controls (either onscreen or via the keyboard) to point your camera back toward your avatar's face. This may be awkward since the camera wants to aim toward the Alt + Clicked spot, but as with most techniques, it becomes easier with practice. And then, to get your avatar looking forward again, Alt + Click on yourself.
There is so much going on around you, it will be easy to be distracted. Keep in mind that the carnival is the stage, but your avatar (or your model) is the star. The setting is just an excuse. On the other side of the coin, the Castle Macabre is an intriguing place to follow up on distractions. And if you do, well, I won't tell.
I hope you enjoy the carnival room (and maybe leave a tip for our hosts for providing such a fun place)! I also hope you have time to return again because you'll find plenty of other photogenic areas here at the Castle Macabre, all quite in keeping with a Halloween flavor. From the landing point, there's the long walk to the graveyard and the graveyard itself. There are gravestones, mangled trees, a cornfield, pumpkins and stray bones of every type, femurs, skulls, etc. There's the castle itself, with many rooms of interesting architecture and furnishings. This place has it all: spiders, crows, owls, ghosts, plenty of blood...!
Come for the carnival, stay for the full environment. And may all your October pictures be ... a little macabre.

Flickr members: you're invited to join the
SL Unearthed Photospot group and add your pictures taken at Photospot locations to the group pool.
Take note that very little in SL stays the same for very long. After even a short while, Photospot locations may be gone or changed in a significant way that renders their SLurls ineffective as originally intended, so be sure to grab these opportunities as they come!

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