Our Blogs Are Thought Playgrounds

As 35hunter has evolved and the archives have grown, I’ve naturally found myself giving thought to the whole nature of blogging, why I continue, and what I gain from it.

A large part is to meet and converse with others who also enjoy photography-based beauty hunting, like you.

Another significant aspect of having a blog is as a place to think out loud, to give my thoughts a little space and freedom to grow and become more cohesive.

In our minds, a thousand thoughts a second seem to compete to be heard, trying to peek their nose above the surface of the vast ocean of our subconscious.

But when you start writing thoughts down, somehow it attracts other thoughts that are connected – even if initially the link between them seems tenuous, perhaps even invisible.

A blog is an excellent platform for this kind of thinking out loud.

Often, I’ll start a post expecting it to head in one direction, and it will instead veer off at a tangent.

I then have two options.

Follow the tangent and see where it leads, then re-title the blog post accordingly at the end, and cull any text that doesn’t fit.

Or, cut the tangential text from the post, and paste it into a new draft, with a working title, save for a later date, and return to writing the original post.

Usually I take the former approach, letting my thoughts naturally unfurl.

So perhaps calling a blog a platform for this kind of thinking out loud is too formal a description, and a far better one would be playground.


A playground is not usually somewhere to go alone, but to gather with others who also enjoy playing, in this case with thoughts and ideas.

Also, it’s a long held belief of mine – based on personal experience – that if you regularly capture your ideas – however slight or offbeat they sometimes seem – they take on a life of their own.

By writing your ideas down, it’s as if they have permission to start evolving by their own steam.

Plus, by recording that initial idea in written form (which for me is virtually always as a new blog post draft, hence why I currently have 150 and counting!), it helps me remember it better, and part of my brain can go to work on considering where and how it might unravel next.

Again, the capturing of the idea, giving it a place in the playground to play, is crucial.

Then once a post is published, it’s like throwing open the playground gates and inviting you in to play too, sharing your own interpretations and viewpoints and experiences.

And on that note, how about you? How do you see blogs (including your own, if you have one)?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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22 thoughts on “Our Blogs Are Thought Playgrounds”

  1. Excellent. I enjoy the blog community. Much easier than trying to start a local camera club and the setting up photo walks!

  2. Nowadays world is oversaturated by thinking, thoughts and information. Thoughts might be very powerful – in positive or in negative ways. Todays world is based on emphasis of mind and thinking. As you mentioned (and it is so) – one thought brings another thought. I would warn here, because I don’t think thinking brings well being. And this is not my invention or descovery. It is just opposite – lack of thinking, meditative state of mind, often brings calming and awareness.

    So I would not say this activity brings goodness. It might have oposit effect on authors.

    1. I absolutely agree we can overthink things! I’m a major culprit here.

      This is one reason a blog helps me, it gives me an outlet to then give ideas more form and direction. Otherwise there’s too much swirling around in my head.

      In addition though, I do try to meditate and learning (or attempting to learn) to find ways to detach from thinking and just sit and be is hugely valuable also.

      We can’s stop thinking, so it’s very useful to be able to sit beside our thoughts sometimes and let them flow by, rather than try to grab on to every one and follow it to where it’s heading.

  3. I think blogs are the only real refuge on the Internet from the scrum and melee that is social media. Out here in the blogosphere, we can put our thoughts out there for real with far less fear of being crushed in criticism driven by a mob mentality. Our comments section is entirely within our control, after all; we can choose who gets to participate there. In this way, we curate our own communities to be as pleasant as we want them to be.

    1. Yep, refugee, don’t know. It is another form of socializing on the Internet.
      So, you say on Social media you should be afraid of critisism and not on the blog?
      Isn’t it closing yourself into the bubble that doesn’t admit other opinions?

      1. We all certainly need to resist putting ourselves in bubbles that avoid other opinions. But I also like to avoid the level of nastiness that can happen in general social media. It’s a hard line to walk sometimes.

      2. Most of my posts I ask for other people’s opinions as it’s a way to learn and connect with others.

        Fortunately I can’t recall any real nastiness on either my blog or yours Jim.

    2. I think that’s a good way of putting it Jim, “refuge … from the scrum and melee that is social media…”

      I think we set the tone on our blogs too, and hopefully most follow in their courtesy and generosity.

      I also think it’s important that blogs have their own separate site, URL, design etc. It makes them feel like you’ve stepped inside someone’s home almost, whereas talking to people on social media feels like you’re in a bar or somewhere, that’s owned by someone else.

      Generally, I think most people would behave with more respect and thought if they’re in someone else’s home, rather than just somewhere commercial that’s someone else’s, or that feels like a public street.

      I really feel this is a huge difference with blogs, that we make them our own homes, with all the good things we associate with that.

  4. I enjoy reading others thoughts and seeing photos of other lands and landscapes that differ from my own. I live in the boondocks and my interactions with people who are different from me are limited, this is the attraction to blogs for me. I also enjoy reading the comments. I used to enjoy Reddit as well, but in the last few years the tone has become much more nasty with a lot of seemingly random downvoting of people’s comments that others don’t agree with. I also enjoyed Flickr when it was more social, some of the groups on FB. As Jim says, now it’s pretty much just blogs. On another note Dan, can you direct me the post where you talked about re-setting your Flickr page? I couldn’t find it.

    1. Jon, my location is nowhere as rural as you, but in person I’m not particularly social, and I “talk” online far more, especially around the kind of topics I most enjoy, as featured here 35hunter and related blogs.

      Never got into Reddit, or understood what it was for.

      I agree about Flickr, as you might recall I essentially used it as a kind of camera/lens review blog for a few years before I started 35hunter. Met some cool people and learned loads in the groups, especially when I was shooting film and knew little about it.

      Groups like the M42 one were massively educational in what lenses were the ones to seek out, which cameras you could use them on, how to adapt them, and more.

      I use Google all the time to search for stuff on 35hunter, I just type 35hunter then the search topic, eg –

      35hunter flickr

      And it always finds what I want! Usually it finds the tag URL, then I click on that and scroll through the matching posts.

      Here’s the article I think you mean –


      (and here’s all the flickr tagged posts – https://35hunter.blog/tag/flickr/)

      1. I found it rather rejuvenating! And I didn’t want to delete everything and start again. I used the Organise tool to view all photos then I think just did select all along the bottom row of thumbnails, dragged the whole lot into the main edit area, then change privacy to private. Took a while (I had about 4500 I think at the time), but after some churning away it worked, and my public photostream was temporarily completely empty and like brand new again!

      2. Do you still enjoy any meaningful or sustained camaraderie and fellowship over at Flickr, Dan? I was part of a fairly tight-knit, smaller community on there from 2004 to 2011 and then another separate stint for a couple years after that until it got to a point where it felt like I just needed a change (i was very excited at the time about having relatively more ownership of my online experience through the blogosphere) and besides that a lot of people I knew were getting siphoned off to the confines of Facebook (which I never had any desire to be part of despite regular, well-meaning overtures from friends and family). I’ve been interested to see what happens (if anything) to Flickr in the next few years. I’ve used SmugMug for the past decade and I perked up a little when I heard the same company acquired Flickr.

      3. Well, the short answer is no!

        I don’t really put any time into Flickr now, aside from responding if someone comments on a photo of mine, which isn’t often.

        Mostly I use it as a convenient way to back up my photos, organise them and easily display them in blog posts here.

        The tools in Flickr I find very useful, like tags, search, albums, the different sizes of image, and so on.

        It would be great if the community aspect could be rebuilt, because as I said the core platform and tools on Flickr are excellent, I’ve found.

  5. Interesting to read your thoughts on your blogging life, Dan. My colouring blog is very different from any I’ve ever had before, in that I try to keep the content specific. Because of that, I’ve often found it frustrating in that its focus is so narrow. My reasons for blogging per se are for the community aspect of it. I gave up blogging completely for a few years for a few reasons but missed it a lot so returned. This one’s something I’d wanted to do for years but never really had the nerve to start til a couple of years ago.

    I’m not the most sociable person, offline, have always been a loner and so this is kinda where I ‘mix’ with people. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter, so haven’t really anywhere else online. And – I’ve met a few people offline, over the years, that I’ve originally known online, via blogs. Some are now good friends, albeit very distant as we live in different countries.

    Apropos nasty comments that Jim Grey mentioned, I don’t allow those on my blog. To help with that, I have a comment policy. I’m aware not everyone reads it (and now I’ve put it in my ‘other pages’ – to tidy up the menu – maybe some people can’t even find it!) but it’s there should I need to point out to anyone why they’re out of order.

    1. Val I’m often in two minds about the niche aspect of a blog. I do try to relate everything back to photography, and mine isn’t a blog where I’ll just talk about whatever I’m thinking about at the time, whatever the topic.

      These kind of blogs can work I think, but essentially the blogger themselves becomes the niche. Which is great if they’re interesting/entertaining/funny/informative/etc enough, but doesn’t work when the content is decidedly average and most of the thoughts they probably could have kept to themselves!

      I like the niche approach, it keeps me focused and on track, and helps stimulate ideas. My creativity enjoys a few limitations far more than completely carte blanche freedom!

      I notice a couple of places on your blog where you say “pleasant comments welcome” which I really liked, and sets the tone and expectation.

  6. Thanks for the post Dan, I really resonate with your description as a playground. One of the most frustrating things for me over the last few years was that I had so many philosophical thoughts colliding in my mind but felt that I had no audience within my circle of friends. Having the blog has already put me in touch with others who resonate and provide insight, but also feels very much like a release valve. As you noted, writing out my initial ideas has generated more and more, but it feels freeing and cleansing to be able to let them out in the world. Sharing our ideas is sharing ourselves, and it is deeply personal. To find others who appreciate what you have to say and may even be inspired is rewarding in a way I haven’t found elsewhere recently.

    1. This ties in with something I’ve been thinking about lately, and I have a post in draft about. Essentially about online we can find and form our own tribe, there are few geographical or other boundaries.

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