LUMIPro Chats with Wheeler Oppewall
Interview conducted by SamoanHoneyPot AKA Sammie Ansar
LUMIPro Media Manager
There are so many wonderful things I get to do, because I work for LUMIPro, but I have to say one of
my favorite things is getting to chat with all of our wonderful users. I recently had the pleasure of sitting
down with our very own Wheelerwood Oppewall, and here is some of our interview:
How did you get started in Second Life?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I read an article when I was at the dentist office, became interested and
more less been here ever since.
Really an article at the dentist office? It almost makes me want to ask what you were
having done. Do you remember the name of the magazine?
Wheelerwood Oppewall: No, that was close to 8 years ago, sure it was some science based
magazine,since that is what I read mostly.
How did you get started in Second Life photography?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I had known of shooting in Second Life for a long time, but early in my
Second Life career I was doing other things on the grid. I met Bianca Xavorin in June of 2012 when I
had returned after a fifteen month break from the grid. She took me to her gallery. At that time Bianca
was shooting most of her work in a Dogme style of photography. Her work was a huge influence and
meeting her changed my course within Second Life.
So besides being inspired by Bianca; why did you get involved in Second Life photography?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:It was an another form of creative outlet and to keep up on Photoshop work.
Can I ask what were some of the other things you were doing in Second Life before
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I had a music venue/gallery early on in Second Life, but that more less became
a full time job, so I pulled the plug on it in 2008.
So does music ever inspire or influence work? I am curious since you used to have a music venue.
Wheelerwood Oppewall: Yes it does, very much so I have music on all the time when I am editing.
Did you get more out of Second Life photography than you expected?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I go into everything with no expectations. For me when I am doing a shoot or
an edit. I just try and focus on the task at hand. I think when you go in with a set plan, you are not open
to things that can come up. Yes you need some road map, but at the same time, you need to be open to
things as well.
Does the end result that comes out of the edit process ever surprise you?
Wheelerwood Oppewall: Every once and a while something will pop up that I will enjoy, but the
bottom line is the model in the image is the one that needs to be pleased.
How would you describe your photography style and do you feel it says something
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I try not to do just one style. Personally, for me the shooting the same style
over and over is just being lazy and not exploring. You have to take chances, and sometimes the
chances results in producing crap, but that is how your work moves forward and doesn't become stale.
Now if I was to have to put my work into a slot that still really isn’t easy for me. There are many artist
both in Real Life and Second Life who influence my work. Raphael for color, the 18th century Dutch
masters for light play, Salvador Dali, and Android Jones for pretty much everything else. Within Second
Life there are many artists who have had an impact on my work. Bianca as I mentioned earlier, Meryll
Panthar, Freyja Merryman, Caoimhe Lionheart, Asia Rae, Koey Brown, Addison Strenton, Skip
Staheli, Dido Hass. Prettyp Rexen, Thati Boucher, Vaz, Harper Beresford , Benjamin Glenddale, and
Cenedra Ashbourne. I could go on and on about my influences in here, but these artist work are my
Do you prefer Second Life or Real Life photography?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:Real life. It’s more of a challenge for photo editing. Perfect skin is rare in real
What are some of the benefits of Second Life photography versus Real Life
photography and vice versa?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:In Second Life the weather is always perfect, I can control where the sun is,
the skin isn’t a mess, and if something or someone gets in my way I can just de-render. The down side
of Second Life is the on going technical issues. Personally I can’t compare Real Life photography to
Second Life photography; except the rules of composition. Real Life photography is a completely
different from my perspective.
What are some of your favorite Second Life activities (besides photography)?
Wheelerwood Oppewall: Shooting pics is pretty much my primary activity within Second Life, pass out
Photoshop advice when asked,. look for a good suit, and keep out of peoples drama and pissing
I think everyone can agree that with Second Life comes drama. If you like helping
others learn ever thought about teaching a photoshop/photography class?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I get a lot of the same questions about Photoshop. How I light , doing fixes,
so I am tossing around the idea in my head about doing a blog that would be Photoshop based.
So lets talk about LUMIPro...
How did you hear about LUMIPro and what made you decide to purchase?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I came across it by accident on Marketplace. I decided on the buy because
everything I feel I needed (lights, and avi control) was in one unit. I like to keep things simple.
Do you feel LUMIPro has improved your photography in Second Life? And has it made Second Life
Wheelerwood Oppewall: With the ability to be able to control the lights as well as the avatar I would
say yes it has made it much easier. It allows me to focus on the shot and do my work much quicker.
No there isn't a time element; but at the same time, I don't want a model having to stand there while I
am “gooberin'" with lights. Improvement on my work... Yes completely.
You have always been a big LUMIPro advocate; What are some of your favorite classic LUMIPro
features and why?
Wheelerwood Oppewall: Well I can’t say one thing is my favorite feature since everything ties in with
each other. I like the fact that I can completely light up a sim or bring the light down to a soft glow as if
one candle is in the room. My primary use for the LUMIPro is a pose controller, correcting skin tones
and setting the eyes. I tend to light the models in my shots very flat since I find SL shadows to be pretty
much garbage and I get much better results with shadows in editing. Yet if I need to do some type of
shadows for effect I will use the projector to do this. I can do this with the Gobos that are already a part
of the LUMIPro projector, attaching a projector to my own avatar, or placing a prim shape between
the projector and the model and using is as a light cutter to get the shadows that I am I might be looking
With the release of the new Beta, there is a lot of talk about the new features people
would like to see, what are some things you would like to see in the new release?
Wheelerwood Oppewall:I have had a chance to “test” the Beta version and I will be talking to Stefan in
the near future and toss out my thoughts on it. Features I would like to see in upcoming version are
many. I would like to see numerical read out on what your settings are for the intensity, radius and fall
off. The Beta Version now within the new interface has sliders that you can control the level with. Along
with these sliders I feel controls that would allow you to move the level up or down in “one” and/or
“five” units at a time for more accurate light adjustments would be very helpful, especially when working
in a laggy sim. Lock controls on the hud for the Projector instead of clicking the actual projector to lock
the unit would be very handy. Personally when I start the edit process I open the image in Adobe
Camera Raw to check balances, etc. When I shoot in my studio I rez a color balance card and take a
photo of the subject for color balance and levels on location shoot well don’t happen. I would so love if
LUMIPro had a feature that would Rez a color level card with RGB, CMYK, along with gray scale
near the modelfor this exposure/color test shot. A built in digital color meter would be a nice feature as
What would be your advice to people out there who might be thinking about getting
Wheelerwood Oppewall: Study photographers who’s work you admire. Don’t steal from them. Study
how light and shadows interact with each other. There is an art side and of course there is a tech side of
shooting with in Second Life. Just like in Real Life you have to have your settings correct on your
camera. Know your editing software as much as you can, it frees up the creative process when your in
post-production. Photo composition is the foundation of your photograph. A weak composed photo...
well is a weak photo, so learn as much as you can about photo composition. I strongly believe that in
Second Life the model does the work on the grid and I do mine in post-production. Models spend
hours and a great deal of lindens on their art form. They are not just some one standing on a pose ball
while you snap pictures. Treat them with respect. Most importantly take lots of bad pictures the more
you take the better you are going to get.
And Of course last but not least...
For all the Non-Owners out there reading this; would you recommend LUMIPro and
Wheelerwood Oppewall: Yes, because it works
Well there you have it! This was another interview I had a fabulous time doing! I can not wait to chat
with more of you. Don’t forget to check out Wheeler’s links I included below. Until next time... Happy
Check out more of Wheeler’s photography here: Wheeler's Flickr
And of course don’t forget your LUMIPro links...