2014 in review & goals for 2015

It took a cliched layed out photo of my equipment and sitting down to make a showreel to make me realise how little I have done this year. I have only used one of those six cameras and out of those eight lenses I have used three, that’s rather sad.
So I sat down to make a new showreel…

That’s it. The only things I can put in my showreel this year.
Last year (2013 project) I did a project every month, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. This pushed me to make twelve projects in a variety of forms. Some did really well and were screened across Europe, others took 5mins and nobody looked at them.

Without this forced creativity in 2014 I struggled to actually make anything without the persuasion and help from some friends. In 2015 I need to find a sensible middle ground, a few fun projects across a mixture of art forms and a bit of free time to develop these rather than one a month. Perhaps a sort of manifesto for 2015 may be in order.
Looking back at what I said at the end of 2013 I looked at what I planned for the year ahead.

my plan for next year is to focus on a few short films/docs over 2014.”2013 in review

I didn’t focus on any short films/docs in 2014.
This year I did however entertain millions of kids with games, music videos and competitions. Those are what have taken over my year. Often people do a job they hate so that they can make short films/art projects in their spare time. I do a job I love which gives me great satisfaction and allows me to organise locations, create filming schedules, find contributors, sort crew, edit video and even shoot interviews. Its great, 2014 enabled me to realise what a great job I have. Even though that is the case I still want to make things that can’t fit into work. So these are my three goals for 2015.

Three goals for 2015
Make a short film and submit to festivals
Exhibit photography
Collaborate on an art project

Here is hoping I can achieve these three, I think its easily achievable. I shall no doubt be back here next year at this time, I hope I can just put a big tick beside those three. See you this time next year.

Carbonated coffee: Two week batch

I opened the second bottle of my cold brew carbonation experiment that I naturally carbonated with sugar and champagne yeast. (The details can be seen here). The second week of fermenting had made the bottle worryingly hard so decided to open it up over the sink.

carbonated coffee

With a cautious twist the fizz began, but surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I expected. A quick pour and a great head on it. It is incredibly refreshing, very strange to drink and slightly confusing. I rather like cold coffee but I dont think my brain is ready to cope with the added sensation of the fizz. Perhaps in a warm climate this would work, the success of brands such as Coffer shows that. This was all an experiment to begin with and not so sure it has worked out. May need to do a new batch and test it out on a few people. Anyone willing to risk it volunteer?

2014 in photographs – The year I quit photography

It has been an “interesting” year, but that’s for another post. This one is all about photography or the lack there of.
I have written tens of thousands of words on photography theory, exhibited in Northern Ireland and Scotland, taken tens of thousands of photographs and own over a dozen cameras. Am I a photographer, nope.
This year I have shyyed away from taking my camera out or even analysing photos, solely focusing on “aye, that looks alright”. Just snapping as the mood takes it, it is only a slight movement of the hand and a press and I have captured a beautiful moment on my commute or maybe just a note someone wrote that I am too lazy to write down or maybe the opening times of a shop I am outside.
The wonder of the camera phone means nearly everyone is a ‘photographer’ and everything will be photographed. This reminds me of the Robert Frank quote from Susan Sontag’s On Photography “You can photograph anything now”.
The work of people like Kevin Russ who have achieved fame through solely that process of taking their phone out to take snaps as they travel is something that always confuses me.

Naturally carbonated cold brew experiment

I have been home brewing for about four years. In 2015 I plan to move to all grain and do a bit of experimenting. Having obtained about half a dozen one gallon demijohns I plan to do small brewing experiments. The first of the year is going to be a naturally carbonated cold brew.

Using the delightful dear green beans I have made up a batch. Working on the one cup of ground beans to three cups of water.

Now we play the waiting game. I will then add sugar and dry champagne to this cold brew.
After about 10 hours chilling I took the cold brew out and let it get to room temperature. I wanted to experiment with two different fermenting times so split the 500ml of cold brew into a 300 and a 200 batch.
Adding the room temperature cold brew into a brown 700ml bottle, one teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of dry champagne yeast. I then left these in a warm place for a few days.
5 days later 
I kept squeezing the bottles to check if they were carbonating and becoming pressurized over the 5 days and was getting concerned as couldn’t feel much different. After 5 days they started to get very hard so decided to open one up.
Upon pouring there was a reasonable amount of fizz but bordering on a slightly flat soda.
Stuck in some ice and gave it a sup, to be honest it wasn’t what I expected. A fizzy cold coffee is a lot of not normal. I think the other bottle with a little longer may turn our better. Its really a strange one but was surprised how well the champagne yeast worked. Its picked for its neutrality so had no effect on the coffee taste.
Will update when I open the other bottle in a few days. When I make a new batch to experiment with I think I will put some more sugar and a bit more yeast in.

Knight of Cups Trailer

Straight off the bat, I’m a Malick fan. I got Tree of Life, I even enjoyed To the Wonder. However this, I really ain’t sure. It’s got to a stage where it’s a parade of a pastiche. The eagle eyed of you will have noticed the first two images are from To The Wonder. 
It feels like a formulaic process of knowing what has been done before and recreating it with a very lose and slightly different plot and some great* actors.
In the same way all the greats have a style that can be replicated but of course never perfected. This however looks like a replication of a Malick film. 
At the end of the day it’s just a trailer, for all we know big Terry may have a totally different film ready and all of this is on the floor.
We shall wait and see.

Moving from WordPress to Blogger: Image size issues step by step guide

If you are like me and constantly change your blogging platform on a whim you will no doubt have images of varying sizes.
When moving from Blogger to WordPress you can run a plugin that automatically re-sizes all the images, when moving the other way between WordPress to Blogger there are not the same plugins.
Instead you have to add the custom CSS. How on earth do you do that ey? Well here is a step by step guide.

First of all open up your blog overview. Then on the left hand side menu select Template

Once Template is selected the above screen should appear, select Customize.

On the left hand side select Advanced, then scroll down to the bottom of the Advanced section and you should see Add CSS. This is where you add your code.

Below is the code I have used. This makes the max width an image in a post can be 600px and then the height will automatically change to fit the 600px width dimensions. You can change this to suit your template.

.post-body img { max-width:600px; height:auto; }

Hope this of help to anyone else with image re-sizing issues on blogger.