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Challenge Interview Series #19 Bushboy – Brian Dodd

Welcome to Always Write. I am your hostess, Marsha Ingrao, creator and editor of my blog, where I hang out with my blogging friends. It took a long time to realize how much more enjoyable blogging could be when I participated in photo and writing challenges. Cee Neuner keeps a list of all the challenges, so bloggers can find the right challenges that fit the kinds of writing and photography they enjoy the most.

Over the years I developed a great respect for those who hosted those challenges and I wanted to find out why and how they did it. That’s when I developed this series of interviews.

Every host has a special niche and I learn so much from them and get to know them better during and after the interview process. I hope you enjoy getting to know my friend Brian better, too.

Please make Brian feel right at home here by leaving them lots of comments and following the links to visit their blogs. Now let’s learn a little about his backstory.

Welcome, Brian

You are pretty famous online as bushboy’s.blog, which you don’t capitalize because it’s not your name. You’ve been involved in photo and writing challenges for quite a while. I started blogging in 2012 and I think we started about the same time.

I see your photos in lots of challenges. You contribute to many of Cee Neuner’s challenges and Becky B’s Squares and several others that we will learn about later in the interview. Today we will find out more about the challenges that you host and how you avoid the burnout that many bloggers feel especially at this time of year.

NOTE: In July 2018, CalmKate interviewed Brian. Some of Brian’s quotes came from his excellent interview with her. I embellished with quotes from a Zoom interview Brian gave Cee Neuner and me on December 22, 2021.

Before we learn about your challenges, though, tell us a little about yourself.

Yes, I started in 2012 and you’re right about not using capitals.

I have included lots of links about me from my blog, so I guess you’ll just have to have click and have a read to find out more about this bushboy. A lot of bloggers and people just call me BB, even my besties granddaughter from when she could first talk.

I live in the foothills of the Gibraltar Ranges in New South Wales, Australia. My home is in a forest, so I am surrounded by trees, plants and nature. One of my passions is Landcare. I am on the executive of Clarence Landcare and was Chair for over ten years. Now I am Vice-Chair and very much involved with the day-to-day activities. Brian’s post about his involvement with Landcare.

I really enjoy getting into the garden and growing plants and flowers as it brings nature close. I love our natural environment and nature.

Some photos are taken from my verandahs, looking out of the kitchen window or through the glass door of my office while sitting at my desk. I posted this picture through my kitchen window in response to Ludwig’s Monday Window.

Getting into my shed where I can repair, refurbish or rebuild wooden stuff using second-hand timber is a great way to relax. Occasionally I make new items for gifts from recycled timber.

I really enjoy being on the computer to find out so much information, some stuff that I didn’t need to know but just for fun, as I am a research addict. Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 Ultimate is the photo program I use to play with my photos. 

Cooking is a favourite pastime so there are a couple of my recipes on my blog. I posted one of my Pumpkin recipes in 2012 “Roast Pumpkin” which had 4 likes and 7 comments. Fast forward to October 2020 I reblogged Roast Pumpkin for a challenge, Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge: White Thumb, and had 42 likes and 45 comments.


You just illustrated one of my main points about participating in challenges, Brian. It sounds like one important way you measure the success of your blog is through the numbers of likes and comments you get.

When, where and why did you start blogging?

My first blog was a My Space page which only had a couple of things, rubbish really. I commenced with WordPress in 2012, my first blog was about me https://bushboy.blog/2012/03/12/the-start-again/ The next few blogs had more of me, some travelling and then the photos started. My first followers were good people from my Twitter site who encouraged me to start a blog.

I also had been writing a tale so I thought I would put that on my blog also https://bushboy.blog/2012/08/24/the-seeker-part-one/ there are now 9 parts to The Seeker, which has been left undone for quite a while. Part 1 was published on an Irish web page and used as the story in a writer’s club. 

Talk to us about the challenges you host?

Rag Tag Daily Prompt

First of all, I’m part of the Rag Tag Daily Prompt group. There are eight of us to do the daily challenge. I share Thursdays with a blogger, Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind. I get my words from songs, words I hear or see in magazines. Then I just post it on the Rag Tag WordPress Website and I usually get 20-30 responses depending on the word.

Do you create a post for everyone’s prompt and answer all the responses?

No, we each respond to our own post. We have a private Facebook page. To find out if a word has already been used, we use the WordPress post search function. It gets pretty hectic for me at the end of the month when my other challenges come out at the same time.

Please

Change of Seasons

The Change of Seasons challenge I do with Ju-Lyn. It was hosted by Sue who gave it up when she got ill. There are not as many people responding as when Sue hosted. Changing Seasons is a wrap up and usually I include about 40 photos – the best of what I’ve taken that month. It takes a while to decide which photos to use and which to leave out because some days I might go out and take 150 pictures. Sometimes I include a song, too, but I haven’t been doing that as much recently. I have hundreds of CDs, and I’ll hear one, and if it fits. I’ll include it in the post. I don’t participate in any music challenges. They haven’t been too popular.

Last on the Card

#Last on the Card is one of my challenges that I started myself a couple of years ago, which is becoming a popular challenge. I was looking at my photos and the last photo on my camera was rubbish. I wondered if other people took rubbish photos so that’s why I started the challenge. I just think it’s funny. I think it makes people seem more human if they share their photos even if they are rubbish. I don’t use my phone that much but some of the people were posting pictures from their cameras and their phones. So, I started doing that, too.

This doesn’t look rubbish to me, Brian!

The rules are simple:
1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for the last day of the month.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to this post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo”

February 202 post had 260 views and was my all-time most successful post in terms of numbers of views.

From my Canon PowerShot A1200

What is your purpose in hosting the challenge? How does it help other bloggers?

Sharing ideas with others makes you want to get better at what you are doing but most of all have fun. Comments and conversations from people all around the world are an enjoyable aspect of hosting and participating in blogging challenges.

How did you attract people to participate? / How do people usually find out about your challenge?

I haven’t any methods really. Participating in challenges perhaps has led to an increase in followers. So, I get out among other blogs and post comments on their page. If I am in a photo challenge, I will also look at the host’s comment page to see what others have posted and sometimes make my own comment. Using tags can also help.

How much time does it take to create a challenge? 

I look at things early morning from what has been posted overnight and late at night I tend to “chat” to the rest of the world who are just waking up. The time zone does make things difficult at times. Sometimes I do my posts in the middle of the day when the rest of the world is not blogging. I don’t watch much tv. It doesn’t take as much time as it used to because I set my camera to take square pictures, so I don’t have to mess with them too much if I do Becky’s Squares. I find I take a lot more square pictures.

Brian’s Blogging Friends

Which specific bloggers do you admire and want to give a shout-out to?

A lot of the bloggers I started out with aren’t blogging anymore. Of course, Cee helped me a lot, and Becky B and her wonderful Square Photo Challenge. They are a constant support and inspiration. I like Jez’s challenge, Water Water Everywhere. I’ve started focusing on reflections in the water.

Cee’s Black and White Challenge – Animals Wild or Farm
Going Up
Jez’s Water Water Everywhere #107 Bushboy’s post

In February 2017 Yvette Prior found my blog while looking for a chook photo. She started me being involved in photo challenges for all of this year. Some I didn’t participate in as the number of photo challenges is overwhelming. There are some that I did because the feedback and comments were inspiring and encouraged me to get my photos out there.

Another blogger, Dahlia encouraged me to do more photo challenges too. So now my blog is all about photo challenges, my photos about my world and the occasional poem.

LEAFAGE

There is a blog challenge I look forward to every month, Paula’s Pick a Word photo challenge. This gives me a chance to discover words and find a photo to match the word.

I enjoy Cee’s Photo Challenges too as her topics are a mixture of many different themes. Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge gives me a chance to showcase my photos to a larger audience of Cee’s followers.

With the black and white challenges, I drew inspiration from a number of people. Robert from Germany https://robert20359.wordpress.com/ showed me that black can be used so wonderfully as did https://simoneteffect.wordpress.com/ who gave me inspiration for black and white.

The other challenges I nearly always do are:

  • Wordless Wednesday,
  • Silent Sunday (this year I used church photos mainly),
  • Macro Monday as I do like getting in close and
  • Monday Portrait (one of Becky’s ideas)

All of these are unhosted and just fun. Not belonging to anyone they are easy to organise and schedule in advance

I also often post in:

  • Sunday Stills
  • Hammad’s Weekend Skies
  • Jude’s Life in Colour

It is impossible to name everyone who has been so lovely in their comments, following my blog and encouraging me, inspiring me and generally being wonderful people who have turned into distant friends from all over the world. My love and encouragement back to you.

Concluding Thoughts about Avoiding Burnout

  • Get up early and chat and visit other blogs.
  • Write posts when the rest of the world is sleeping.
  • Play music while you blog.
  • If you partner like I do with the Rag-Tag group – don’t try to answer all the comments on your partner’s blogs. Each person does their own.
  • Don’t try to create a post for all your partners’ challenges.
  • Schedule your challenges and month-long challenges like Becky’s ahead of time.
  • Take square photos so you don’t have to edit them.
  • Don’t watch too much TV. LOL

Thank you, bushboy, Brian Dodd

I truly enjoyed our interview.

Now It’s Your Turn

Bushboy has become well known in blogging circles due to his involvement in challenges. Please leave him a comment here and maybe one or two on his blog. Share the love! Thanks again for stopping by. Happy New Year.

115 replies »

  1. Hi again, at first I was going to tell you that you needed to change the spelling of Su’s name – but then clicked the link and realized it was the wrong Sue- (but nice to meet that blogger)
    Anyhow, here is the link to Su Leslie’s blog – https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/about/

    and it was coincidental to see her name come up again today because I also mentioned Su in my post today as I reflected on 2021 (she was diagnosed with cancer in 2021 and had to pull back from blogging)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marsha, another well done interview – and I learned some new things about BB.
    I am s happy to have connected with him with his hook photo – my dog Cody passed away and I was making a post that shared about our grief – and Brian was so kind to let e use his high quality, professional photo. That started a friendship that I value so much.

    reading his interview reminded me that some bloggers do come and go (natural cycle) and then seeing the challenges he mentioned – along with tips for preventing burnout – let’s us see a little bit behind the busboy curtain to see how he makes the magical posts unfold.

    As I read about his location (Gibraltar Ranges in New South Wales, Australia)- I remembered when the fires were roaring near his place and feel as if so many of us around the globe were going through that with him – whew – prayed for him too.

    I am now going to check out the link to CalmKate’s interview – and wishing you Both a great day

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy New Year Marsha and what a wonderful interview! I’d missed this in the end of last year’s rush and am so glad I found it. Brian lives in a beautiful part of the world and I love all his wildlife and flower photography and enjoy the music he shares too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dang, Marsha, I had to scroll for hours to get to the comment window 😉 Well done talking with Brian! Brian, you are an amazing photographer and I feel honored to be part of your photo challenges every week! Really a wonderful interview and for some reason, I didn’t know you hosted the Last one on the Card challenge. I will have to look into that! Happy New Year to you both, although you are both ahead of me. Cheers to a fun and creative 2022!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love these interviews,. You really help us to get to know our favourite bloggers in a more rounded way. This one with Brain was fun and illuminating, and illustrated how so many bloggers are members of a real and supportive community.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I enjoyed reading the interview and learning a little more about Brian. His photos are amazing and I have been exposed to so many interesting creatures from the southern hemisphere, always learning something new from him!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Life of Brian is funny. 🙂 But I also remember the terrible fire, that was horrible. Thank you for featuring him. I always love doing his Last on the Card challenge and seeing what other people’s last photos were.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s always so interesting to read about other bloggers’ inspirations and motivations. I see bushboy around quite a lot as we do some of the same challenges (Sunday Stills and some of Cee’s) but I can’t bring myself to do his ‘last on the card’ challenge as I always have to fiddle with my photos before posting!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nice interview Brian and Marsha
    I have to agree with a few others I love the kangaroos from the window
    Challenges are such fun but I don’t seem to take as many photos as you Brian!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Very well done Marsha and Brian … I had no idea there were so many challenges as I tend to participate in the poetry challenges on d’Verse. Brian has again provided a startling range of awesome nature pics ,,, except for the VW 🙂

    Kudos to you both!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. As Jo said, Brian is the consummate blogger. His blogs are among those I never ignore (I only ignore blogs when I’m away or am overloaded with other things) and his photographs are wonderful. It’s great to have a proper background for him, i.e. in his forest and now I understand why so much wildlife is all around him. I live in an area where if I see a squirrel or a rabbit I get quite excited, so what I’d do in his case is probably behave like a Dervish. His love of the land and the animals comes through in his photos and it’s nice to know that this is backed up with serious work in Landcare. Hats off to you, Brian, and thanks for looking after part of our world on our behalf. Nice to get to know you better.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. What a great interview, Marsha, … and great person to get to blog-know better, Brian, BB, bushboy.
    Whether behind a camera or hovering over a keyboard, creativity can feel solitary. Yet, the community of challenge bloggers is so welcoming and inspiring. Thank you all for the sense of community.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Donna, for your kind comment. Brian is such a photo and writing challenge icon. It was a pleasure for me to get to know him better. Interviewing bloggers is one of my joys. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This was a great interview. Brian is super nice and his photography is amazing. I used to host challenge blogs, so I know the amount of time and work involved. But he and Cee (the two I am most familiar with) make it look so effortless. This interview has definitely inspired me to get more active here on WP again.

    Also, I have to say Brian’s front yard is a dream (and with awesome neighbors, too lol!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Dahlia, thank you for your kind words. You have obviously been a great influence in Brian’s life. I hope you do get back into it. I understand letting it slip. I tried a self-hosted blog for about four years, and let this blog go, but this blog is my joy because I connect with others through challenges and build community. For me, it’s hard to do that in other ways.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Brian was referring to a different Dahlia (she just goes by “Dahlia” and I go by Dahlia Ramone). But don’t worry, even I did a quick double-take on that for a second. 😅 I haven’t know Brian that long or that well, but I am glad he’s had such influencial people in his life, it’s so important to have that support and encouragement in the writing/blogging world.

        I allowed work and other things to consume my life the past couple of years, and I’m trying to break that cycle. I’m going to try spending more time writing and participating in more challenges. Time management, though, has never been my strong suit lol

        Liked by 2 people

        • Time management is so hard. There are tons of challenges and I want to do them all but we all have to pick and choose. Sorry for the mistaken identity, though. I’m glad you responded. It’s so good to get to know you. What is your work, by the way?

          Like

          • Oh, no worries. I’m sure mistaken identity happens all the time, there are so many people out there. I came across someone on FB with my real first and last name, living in a different state. I was like WTH? lol!

            I work for a busy family-law firm, and since Covid started a couple years ago, we became understaffed when someone quit and we didn’t want a parade of temps coming through. I ended up doing the work of three people. Things calmed down a little, but I’ve still been working ten to eleven hour days on average. I finally decided that’s got to stop, mentally I need to get myself back to me.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Wow! My best friend is an attorney. Her assistant worked for several attorneys and I know she worked her tail off but Jean couldn’t have functioned without her! Take care of yourself and set boundaries. Blogging can do the same thing if you let it. It’s addictive! Nonetheless, I look forward to getting better acquainted!

            Like

  14. Wonderful interview! I am always amazed by the challenges that are hosted, and the amount of time it takes to respond and look at what people have posted.
    And ours, a friendship born of blogging.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Reblogged this on bushboys world and commented:

    This was fun to do thanks Marsha.
    It was hard not to be able to include and thank all of you lovely people, who comment and send love, in the interview. I value the friendships made through blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I tend to think of Brian as the consummate blogger. He’s up for all the challenges and is both prolific and rapid in his responses. Having looked at The Seeker I wonder why he doesn’t devote more time to ‘serious’ writing, but that’s for Brian to answer. I do know he loves the chat and relationships you develop on a blog, whereas writing is a solitary occupation. Many thanks for the interview, Marsha.Wishing you a healthy, happy ’22!

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is so lovely Jo. I am glad you took time to read The Seeker Part 1. One day I’ll do more I hope. You are one person I am sorry I didn’t mention as we are great mates now. 🤗💕

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear, dear Jo, Thank you for that comment. Writing is solitary, and very time consuming. It’s a great experience even if it never goes very far. We learn so much through our writing. I haven’t read The Seeker yet, but I will do that soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Oh this was a marvelous interview and post. You two did a spectacular job. I feel like I know Brian so much better now. He is a real cool person. 😀 😀
    PS Thanks for letting me listen in on your interview

    Liked by 3 people

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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