Earlier this year I mentioned sorting through photos and that it got me thinking about film photography. Having been enchanted by the magic of film from a young age it’s always been something that I’d like to return to one day.

I’d always thought if I used film again that I’d buy a vintage large format camera. I think this was partly because I’d bought a DSLR at the point where digital was pulling ahead from film in terms of resolution and I was mentally stuck on the idea that film was going to have to be able to compete with digital (no doubt digital large format is way beyond film by now).

Anyway, the other sort of camera I’ve fancied using is a rangefinder. And so my thinking got around to vintage film rangefinders. And I found there’s a whole bunch available to buy. At a very good price too.

I’ve ended up with a Canon Canonet QL19 GIII. It’s just a little older than I am. Built like a tank. Very simple to use. All manual. And I’m not bothering with a battery for the light meter as this requires a bit of a fiddle to adapt it for modern batteries, by all accounts. I have an incident light meter anyway, so I can just take a reading as I go.

The main idea is to have fun. Rediscover my love for photography. The physical nature of film and it’s capacity to capture an image has something special about it that, for me, digital lacks.

The temperature has finally dropped to something that is more typical of mid-October. And so we had our first fire of the autumn this evening.

I was thinking this morning that I’d rather expected to have seen Redwings by now, and was going to post to that effect. Only when I took the dog out for her morning exercise flock after flock flew over, traveling east to west. So instead, I’m posting this

Is this weekend the last vestige of summer? Amazing weather.

Had our winter’s supply of logs delivered this week. Enjoying barrowing and stacking them. Always feels good when they are stacked up in the shed, ready to be used.

I've not posted on my blog for over a month. Kind of lost my nerve. And the longer I leave it, the harder it's become to post again.

I have been on the verge of abandoning the blog altogether. Questioning what the point of it is. Why don't I just keep my journal? What benefit is there to putting my thoughts out there on the web?

When I started this blog it was partly about seeking connection and community. This may or may not be a good motivation. I was inspired partly by coming across Micro.blog. While I like the ethos behind Micro.blog, I'm not sure I'm quite the right fit for it, but that's for another day.

I don't know if it's possible to write a blog without seeking some sort of validation, even if it's just a tiny element of why you do it. I struggle with this. I would like to be able to say that I really don't care if no one ever reads my blog, but I don't think could.

Another factor in publishing to the web is that maybe someone will come across my posts about my mental health issues. It really helps me when I find the posts of others who have similar issues. Feeling isolated and alone is a real problem when dealing with these things and just knowing that someone else knows what it's like, even if they never know you have read their posts, or that you are going through the same sort of things, it's a comfort, a connection and a sense of community and belonging.

With all of this churning around in my mind over the last few weeks it was quite the the thing to see a post from Colin Walker pop up in my feed on this very topic. Much of what he writes rings true for me, right now.

It's a difficult choice — knowing when to persist and when to walk away. Sometimes walking away is the only thing you can do, you need to allow yourself the space to recover and regroup. I've written in the past about the need to do so for fear of having everything crash down around you.

A few sentences later:

As time passes, a sense of guilt wells up inside you. You know that you should be posting but, for whatever reason, can't bring yourself to do so.

Yup, what he said.

My own particular angle is that there is always a tension in anything I do. Between my desire to do the thing, and my desire to not do the thing because of a lack of self belief and having to look that lack of self belief in the eye. One cancels the other out and so often the default is that the thing doesn't get done.

Colin's post is in reference to a post from Nicky, who is wrestling with similar issues, the first time I've come across his blog.

A post from Bix which also popped up in my feed, talks about both Colin's and Nicky's posts, among others.:

All of these things are interconnected, even if barely any part of it is in direct response to any other part of it. Even when not talking about blogging, specifically, all of these people are talking about the same things.

In a very real way, even if none of them ever see the others’ posts, they’re also talking to each other.

These posts all speak to me in various ways. And give me the courage to carry on blogging.

I often don’t feel like writing on the blog. That’s not to say I don’t want to. In fact, I really want to and really want to feel like writing.

Life frequently goes past in a blur, which is partly why finding the energy to write can be hard.

Having just written a post I realise(why has it taken this long?) that writing forces me to stop and think and reflect.

When I don’t have time to reflect it bothers me. Can really get me down. If I don’t have time to process what happens in the blurred part of life I feel disconnected. So as a note to self, even though making myself write can sometimes seem like it requires more energy and focus than I have in a given moment, it is worth the effort as it forces me into that zone where I can reflect and process.

Just listened to Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation. Having enjoyed the film a while ago, knowing it differed plot wise from the book wasn’t a problem, as can sometimes be the case.

I am really impressed with this book. It’s a fever dream and letting it wash over me rather than trying to fully understand it seemed the best way to experience it. In that respect it reminded me a little of JG Ballard’s The Drowning World, or rather what I’ve read of it. I was ill at the time and running a high temperature. I had to stop reading it as it all got a bit surreal, having genuine fever dreams that involved the plot of the book. I’ve always meant to go back and read it again but never quite got around to it.

What I really like about Annihilation is nothing is ever fully explained. The sense of mystery, oppression and things being just beyond human comprehension remains throughout. I think it admirable that VanderMeer doesn’t succumb to the temptation to explain everything. So often a story can build that enjoyable sense of mystery, fear of the unknown, only for the reveal to be a bit of a let down. That doesn’t happen here. I came away with a real sense of having seen the world through the protagonist’s eyes and as she becomes absorbed into it, I experienced it as she did.

This is a book I will return to and, obviously, I’m going to have to get hold of the other two in the trilogy.

Despite doing the puppy thing before, I had forgotten that when they hit the ‘teenage’ phase the ability to self-regulate goes completely out the window.

A brave decision from Stuart Broad to retire on a high. I’m sure if he carried on he’d still be as successful for some time to come. But there is something sad about watching a sportsperson’s ability slowly wane.

I shall miss seeing him as part of the England team. What a career.

Does it take less effort to consume knowledge and ideas than create your own?

If I stop to think about it, to consider how often I pick my phone up to look something up rather than put down my own thoughts, I would say yes.

It feels rewarding to find the answer to a question. But I do wonder to what extent I substitute creative thought with collecting knowledge.