When we moved to Bristol we didn’t really know anyone here, I had a mysterious as-yet undiagnosed illness that was sapping all my energy (and a fair wedge of my confidence) and we were leaving the comfort zone of our university town, with its familiar faces and watering holes. I like to think we’re friendly types but it took us a while to make friends and we had rather a lot of “just the two of us” time. One thing that helped us both continue to enjoy each other’s company without getting bored and meet new people was joining Flickr.

We had been toying with digital photography for a little while already but wanted to move on to a digital SLR and improve our skills. The examples, experience and advice on Flickr were immensely valuable but the big step was when we joined the Bristol Flickr Group (affectionately known as the BFG) and, after a few months of conversing with increasingly familiar avatars, braved a real-life meet-up. And I do mean “braved” because it was a little scary, but what we found was a wonderfully friendly group, with a range of different ages, careers and backgrounds and a slightly higher than average tendency to geekery, which suited us down to the ground.

We have made some great friends through the BFG and improved our photography skills immeasurably. The biggest step, I think, has been our rediscovery of film. Obviously, we grew up with film cameras and our parents had SLRs, but neither of us had owned a film SLR before. Thanks to charity shops, eBay and friends/family we now (mostly Tim) have several, plus a heap of film stored in the fridge. I have stepped into this world very tentatively, but this week I got my first black and white film processed and I am so so pleased with the results.

There’s more on my Flickr photostream.