Film Photography
Nikon EM with Ilford HP5 Plus

Saturday, May 19, 2018

It's been a month and a half since I've been here. I honestly wrote a few posts, but then decided they weren't shareable for a few reasons, so this space remained empty.

If you read my last post, my April goals, then you know I was wanting to get two rolls of film developed. Guess what? I did it!

I have a wonderful Nikon EM from 1978 that I adore with all my heart. It had a broken piece on it, and it was causing the film to not advance, so I shot three or four rolls, hoping I had resolved the issue, only to find they were blank. After further research I discovered the piece was more vital than I initially thought, and I found a video (finally!) that helped me replace the piece. And then I kicked myself repeatedly for avoiding fixing it for so long.

I shot this roll just after fixing it last summer, and then forgot to develop it (I'll post the other roll soon). The end of summer and fall got really bad for me emotionally and I didn't hardly pick my camera up at all.

It is clear I need to work on shooting with film, but what is important here is that my camera is working!

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I almost didn't post all of these, because a lot of them are kind of awful, but that's okay. I captured fun moments, I experimented, and those things are important, too.

Also, I'm open to any suggestions and feedback on these photos and exposure. 

Goals
April 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

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It's April!

Duh.

As expected, March was busy. Marion and I had an eight-day trip to Colorado at the beginning of the month, which was great, and I will eventually talk about it and share some photos. The rest of our belongings from Colorado arrived in Alabama the day before we returned, courtesy of my parents (thanks for making that drive!). Unfortunately, Marion and I got sick the day before we came back, too. So it has been a little miserable because there is so much to do, and I have felt terrible, and Marion has felt terrible, and our space is a disaster. Add to that, I've been in a bit of a depressive phase, and fighting that hard. There's been a lot since we got back. And the clutter and mess, plus being too sick to do much...it's all piled on and left me so drained and, honestly, irritable.

We are feeling much better now, thankfully, and I am feeling better, so life can resume kind of normally, though I expect it will still be busy and messy around here for a bit.

I turn 30 at the end of this month. And I have so many thoughts on that...I'll save those for later. But this has me wanting to set goals this month!

Do my planner for the whole month.
I don't care how simple and basic it is. I don't care if I write in all the things I normally like to track. I just want to put some things down, actually write the date in, and make some notes. I miss doing my planner, but I never seem to make the proper time for it.

Complete one phase of the wall hanging. 
I am making a cool wall hanging, and I want to get one part of it done this month. Just one.
>>>> UPDATE: I finished one part, and have two other parts almost done. So it's coming along nicely!

Get my B&W film developed.
I have plans to get the materials to develop my own colour film, but I have two rolls of B&W that I need to have developed. I have no idea what is on one of them, but the other was a test roll to see if my Nikon EM is operating properly. I'd really like to know so I can shoot with it and know the photos are taking!

Set my camera out.
So, the iPhone 7 Plus has a wonderful camera. In fact, pretty much all the iPhones do. But I want to do more with my DSLR. I almost, almost, got my Canon back...but no. It's just me and my Nikon D80. And we need to shoot more everyday because I just love to.

Free up 5GB on my hard drive.
I have a photo issue on my computer. Some of my photos are duplicated, triplicated, even quadruplicated. Which means my hard drive is so full I literally cannot put any more photos on my computer. Which has been causing problems for posting some things here, and is partially why I haven't. 5GB isn't much, but it's something, and it's doable.
>>>> UPDATE: So I didn't fix any photos, but I freed up 9GB of space! At least it's enough to get some photos off my phone and camera. I'm still going to try to free up another 5GB from photos though, because it needs done so badly. 

Resume my exercise routine.
Can you believe I exercised every day for three weeks? I didn't do much, but I didn't need to. Then I went to Colorado, and I was still getting exercise daily, just less structured. Then I got really sick. But I am better now, so, it's time.

Empty six boxes.
This would have me about halfway done "moving in." Let me tell you my current problem--I have so many things in temporary spots, that I can't make room for the things that need to go in those spots permanently without just mess and clutter. So I boxed up almost everything in my room that didn't have a permanent place and set it outside my room. But I need to get to emptying and organising. Like, now.

Personal goals.
I have a few things I don't want to discuss here, but will eventually. I will keep up with them and update.

I feel those are very doable goals that aren't going to stress me out, that don't feel daunting. And that makes me happy. As I complete these goals, I'll come back to this post and edit, so check back if you're interested!

I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind, so many ramblings my mind has written and rewritten, and I really feel like I want to share more, which I know I have said before. I'm hoping this the month I resume my writing, because I feel my blog is about emotions and photos, and I am okay with that. But if there is anything you'd like to see here from me, please let me know! I would love to hear and consider other things.

Here's to an awesome April!

2018 Thus Far

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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Cheaha Mountain, Delta, Alabama | iPhone 7+

Tomorrow is March 1st.

It seems too soon. It has gone by too quickly. Yet this is where we are. This is the passage of time. Often bittersweet, often feeling too fleeting, but sometimes, sometimes, oh it drags...

I wrote a little on Facebook about my absence, and then I decided to write here as well. So here I am. Writing.

I've put a lot of time and effort into getting over things. Into healing, in many ways. Into listening to myself, relearning about myself, and becoming okay with myself. In two months' time, I feel like I've done remarkably well. But during that time were lots of writings I will probably never share, and do not need to be shared, and I just didn't feel like sharing anything about any of it here. But I'm feeling drawn back, wanting to share photos, the adventures Marion and I have, and other pieces of my life, perhaps.

I've said it before here, but I feel more like myself than I have in 15 years. I meant it last time, too. I keep feeling like I'm regaining little pieces that were lost and broken, and I keep feeling like this is it, and then another piece, and a little more me I feel.

I was going to set some goals for March, but there are some things going on and some transitions to make, and I think I'm going to just ride it out like I have January and February, because not having goals has actually been pretty amazing and I haven't felt that I haven't done as much as a result. Instead, it's been more freeing. But I think I'm reaching a point I would like to start adding goals back in. Just not in March. I am hoping I can spend a little more time here, but it could prove difficult.

I have continued to update Instagram, and will continue. My main account is @christendobbs, and I am hoping to change the name soon, because I don't like it being my name, but everything that feels right is either taken or so long. I also have another account that's more focused on managing my bipolar and how the healing process is going, and you can find that here @cedarwoodandaventurine. I almost didn't use that name because it was so long, but I love it anyways and it fits, so maybe I'll suck it up and have a long one for my main account as well. I'd love to have you there, Instagram is my favourite platform and I love interacting there.

Goodbye, February. You've been fun.

2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

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So...I would like you to know I did work on several posts, and photo editing, but I didn't finish anything. I had some struggles with depression, so I spent most of my time enjoying Marion, pretty much abandoning this space and Instagram, and now here I am, better...for now. I sometimes feel guilty that so many of my posts highlight depression, but that's what's going on in my life right now.

My last post was about goals, and I basically threw it all out the window, except for enjoying Christmas with Marion. There were so many crafts, teaching her how to wrap presents, cookies, ornament making (which we may or may not still need to paint, haha). I do plan to still work on the things I wrote about, they're all things I want to accomplish, but there's no point to rewriting it, and that's not entirely what this post is about anyways.

Since January 1st, I've been thinking of some resolutions. Shouldn't I be fixated on something? Wouldn't it help?

I didn't do anything for New Year's. I actually spent it exactly as I have the last few--alone with a sleeping baby, listening to music or watching Netflix, and crocheting. I didn't feel like I was leaving anything behind and looking to anything new. It was another day. Another midnight. I had the same problems, the same issues, the same hurts, fears. What was new?

I had intentionally chosen not to look at my 2017 resolutions, as I feared it would be painful and would add to the depression I was in and starting to pull out of. I did my planner (I admit I was way too excited about a Monday start to the year!), skipping the whole goals section, and I made a space for a resolution of sorts, and then I stared at it, blank, all week. I saw others' resolutions and words for the year as I scrolled through Instagram, and nothing resonated with me, nothing triggered in me. 2018, to me, was just a continuation of 2017 because so many things were still unresolved. But I continued to think on it and wonder what I wanted from this year.

This year is for healing and being okay.


I wrote it down and it felt right. It encompasses what I want. It doesn't deny the struggles I am still going through. It honours the fact that I left a bad situation for a better life for my daughter and I, and that it is going to take time to identify and eliminate the negative energies from that situation, the bad habits I developed in order to handle things, even though I didn't know I was doing it at the time. Healing isn't easy or quick, and I'm not sure it ever comes without uncovering a mass of things that you weren't even aware of, that you didn't even know about.

I'm going to take this year day by day, because it's going to be hard, because I know I will face more depression, but I don't know when, because sometimes setting a goal and being too depressed to accomplish it makes it all worse. So while I'll have light monthly goals, I'm going to be focusing more on my weekly goals and track those through my planner. I may join in with my friend Fenna and post them every Monday, but I'm not always fantastic about posting here regularly, and I'm okay with that for now.


Goals
December 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

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I've been really trying to give myself space and not be hard on myself about some things. I mentioned a few goals back in July, and I wanted to talk about those and a few others things I want to start doing.

I'm still working on the whole "all the cleaning in one day" thing. It is not yet successful for multiple reasons. I'll keep trying!

I haven't gotten anywhere to run, but my dad cleaned up the trails, and that opens some possibility. Part of the trails is definitely manageable with the stroller, and Marion loves it. It requires a lot of laps, but that's okay. Timing is an issue though and I can't always work it out around work and nap time, so I've largely given up on this for now. Instead, I've decided to focus on some indoor exercise. I haven't done the six days a week I've been trying to do, but four days a week really isn't bad. So I'm going to try to keep that up, and I'll add in some trails when I'm able.

We have had three whole adventures since my last post. We had a solo trip to Toccoa Falls in October, which I wrote about here, and we went to Talladega National Forest and Cheaha State Park with the family in November, and then we went to Spectre, or Jackson Lake Island, with my best friend, also in November (I'll post photos of those soon, I just haven't had time to go through them completely). I also have a trip planned for one day this week, which will be a solo trip. I enjoy going places with family and friends, but I think it's important for us to go just the two of us sometimes, too. I hope to get in a good balance of those.

I've been a little on the solitary side, even though I have family here and a couple of friends nearby. I think I was so depressed that being around people was a little too much. I am doing better now though, and I want to add in spending time with people more. I just took that day trip last weekend, which was ridiculously fun, and spent an evening at my sister's house last week, so I guess I'm already kind of working on that.

I had high hopes of doing photography for work over the summer, but then it didn't really pan out, so I just set it aside. But every time I get my camera out, I think about it again... So I'm revisiting this idea, but in a slightly different way, because I'll be bringing Marion along. So I want to, again, start building a bit of a portfolio and then figuring out how to find people. I'm admittedly kind of terrible at networking...and I don't really know a ton of people. So I need to work on that a little.

We'll be going to Denver in March for Marion to visit with her dad, and despite the circumstances, I'm so happy I'll be in Colorado again. I'm wanting to do some hikes, but I'm not sure yet how to accomplish this. So I need to start planning now so I can enjoy it, and maybe have a day or two to myself in the snow and in the mountains. I'm so excited I'm about to cry right now.

Mostly, for December, I want to enjoy Christmas. Marion was so fun with it last year (I think we literally survived the month on hot chocolate and marshmallows), and this year has been even moreso. And after the year we've had...we need this. So, all the Christmas cartoons, all the Christmas music, lights everywhere, every Christmas book I can find, hot chocolate like crazy, all the crafts, all the baking, and can we go to the merry-go-round every single day?

December is also where I usually start thinking about the next year. I don't make resolutions, per se, it's a more of what I want the year to look like. I don't even remember what I wrote last year, honestly. So much has happened. It's hard not to think back and get upset and want to curl into a ball for a while, or question everything. While the change has been hard, and sometimes it's hard to see, we're better now. And I want so badly to make 2018 the best year yet for us.

Who You Are

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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I think this is something most people, if not all, think about at times. So often I have wondered who I am, what I'm doing, what I want. Most of the time my answer was "I don't know" and the rest of the time I made something up and tried to convince myself it was true. Sometimes it was easier to believe a lie than to keep not knowing and keep searching, and sometimes I thought maybe I knew and just didn't like the answer and felt lost in how to change it. Could I even change it? I also thought I was supposed to have figured it all out between the ages of 18 and 20 or so, but the truth is I have struggled with this through a lot of my life, and my teenage years were much worse, and my early twenties were perhaps even worse than my teenage years.

I'm going to skip ahead to where things first seemed to be getting to where I am now (although really my whole life has). I found out I was pregnant with Marion when I was 26. For the first seven or eight months I felt even more lost than before, and a whole host of other feelings that led me to feeling that way, or intensified the feeling. In the last month or so, I felt a shift, and when Marion was born, things really started to change for me. I've always felt like that "mother's intuition" kicked in. I had long been told to "go with my gut," but I was so untrusting of myself that I never really did. In fact, a lot of the time I did the exact opposite. But now...this tiny life that had invaded and stolen my heart and completed part of my soul depended on it. How she survived, who she became, our relationship depended on it, and I started trusting it. And let me tell you, I met opposition everywhere. I was heavily disagreed with and in a lot of instances I had to fight to do what I knew was right. I often felt (and still do at times) a little stupid. I have no experience with kids, how can I know this is right? But I just know.

A little into my 28th year, I started feeling another shift. And I think a lot of things over the past two years had been leading to this, and now I can look back and see how I was making steps towards this, though at the time it was not apparent. Instead of just trusting I knew what was right for Marion, I started trusting I knew what was right for me, too. I stopped doubting everything I thought. I stopped lying to myself. That came with a lot of realisations that were hard and frightening.

With 29 came a ridiculous amount of change, and many more realisations that are hard and frightening. The past seven months has been filled with changing everything, loss, dealing with a past sexual abuse situation, dealing with and healing from other abuse, managing my bipolar on my own to a different degree, and trying to figure simply how to live. So much changed so fast, so much hit me all at once, most of the time it was too much to handle, and I wish I could have dealt with it little by little, and I really wish things could have at least stopped so I could deal with it, but some things in life are beyond our control, and sometimes that's hard to swallow, too.

Before I go on, I want to be clear. I can say with surety I do not feel the things I am about to say as a result of a manic phase. I know myself well enough to know when I'm manic and when I'm...me (and really, I can pull myself down from mania really quickly). But I also know myself and the bipolar cycles well enough to know I'm going to be depressed again, and I may not feel the way I feel now anymore. But I know I will be back here. I have accepted this is my life, I will cycle, but it is a cycle, and the good will come back around, and when it does, you take advantage of it, you enjoy it, you create a reminder for yourself, and then eventually when things are bad, you have so many reminders of when they were good, and then you know you'll be there again. You know it won't always be bad.

I woke up better and better Thursday, then Friday. And I felt the tingle of something special, I kind of felt something, but was unsure (even though my late Friday/early Saturday Instagram post mentions something of this). Then Saturday morning I woke up and knew. (This is how I do things, I wake up and suddenly from the moment my eyes open I am better.) I knew who I was. I knew exactly what I wanted. I felt capable of attaining it. I didn't see limits, I saw possibilities. I didn't see that the time it would take was too much, I just saw that I could do it. I felt worthy of it. I felt confident. I felt, in that moment, I had never known myself so well.

I ended up spending that day with my best friend (we'd had these plans for over a month), and I laughed more than I had in a while (even though Marion was a bit on the moody and not-listening side). I felt so...me. And it was the most incredible feeling, and it felt so alien, yet so familiar. And I feel like at 29, I finally know myself. Maybe that's naive, or maybe it's premature to say, but that's exactly how I feel, and as I mentioned before, I need these reminders so that when I'm unsure, I can remember when I knew, and maybe I can get right back on track.

I don't usually ask questions of my readers at the end, but I will today. When was it that you finally felt like you (if yet)? Like you knew who you were? Did you write about it? Leave me a link, because I'd love to read others' experiences!