One Second Every Day 2022

December 31, 2022

Michael Chalmers in front of a Gerhard Richter painting at the Tate Modern, December 2022

Last year on Boxing Day I made the snap decision to record one second every day for a year. It made me think of Noah Kalina at the time.

It’s amazing to see my year in this way. It makes me happy to remember all the things I got up to; my memory is terrible and I wish I’d done this before now. I also could have used completely different clips to show a very different year. I forgot to record a lot and had to fill in the gaps as best I could but I’m impressed how well it came together.

It’s surprising how such short clips can tell such a story and throw me back into the moment. Can you imagine having one of these for every year you’d been alive? Every year of your parents’ lives?

I use the free version of 1SE on iPhone (the limitations are perfect for my purposes but I would like to remove their branding), which makes this all simple and automatic. The only difficult part is remembering to film one second every day (at least), however you can paper the gaps with images and live photos.

Seeing them at the end of a year has rejuvenated my interest and I’ve been consciously making short videos, ready for next year’s compilation.


Alternatives to Adobe Bridge if it Keeps Crashing

January 10, 2021

Alternatives to Adobe Bridge - app icons

Update March 2021: I got Bridge working again and it’s still the best app for my uses, but I’ll keep this up in case it helps others.

I’ve used Adobe Bridge in my workflow for many years but I have been forced to switch. Despite trying different recent versions and trying various ‘fixes’, Bridge keeps crashing, one way or another. This has led me on a short search for alternatives to Adobe Bridge, so an invaluable part of my macOS workflow is not lost.

My main reasons for using bridge are:

  • Organising reference images and files
  • Rating and editing photoshoots as I scan and retouch
  • Exporting batches of images for web or other use (I’m sad to lose Dr Brown’s Services plugin – although I do still run it on a CS6 install on an older machine)

I switch between views and jump between image slideshows and thumbnails constantly. I also tend to dump images into my main Dropbox folder from any computer, then catalogue them every few days or weeks.

For post-production of photoshoots and assembling zines, this functionality has become a vital to my productivity.

After discovering several potential options, I decided to download trials for each and post my feedback. There are only two real contenders for my usage, although I also tried (and dismissed) Eagle, Pixave and Xee.

XnView MP

This is great and free.

Where it doesn’t work for me is with its favourites pane. I need to be able to drag folders to this pane, drag files onto favourites to move them and re-arrange the list of favourites. It seems insignificant, but after trialling XnView for a few hours, I found it untenable without these abilities.

ACDSee Photo Studio 7

I believe this is going to be the app I stick with, despite the $100 (when full-price) cost.

While ACDSee PS7 solves the favourites issues XnView has, it omits some (minor) features that I would have liked.

The first is more customisability when it comes to the browser / favourites, especially the ability to remove some of these or separate into tabs or similar.

The other thing is its lack of integration with Photoshop as I am accustomed to using Bridge and Photoshop hand-in-hand. It will only add fractions of a second and I’m not going to suggest these add up to anything significant, but I can’t stand impeding my workflow. Adding steps just feels clunky and wrong.

I’m going to keep both XnView MP and ACDSee PS7 installed, for now. I’ve raised my concerns with XnView and hope that they might change the favourites functionality, making it a top app for me (and fab for free software). Until then I will be using ACDSee as it’s the closest relation to my current system.

It’s a shame that I’ve had to look for alternatives to Adobe Bridge, because I was happy with it. I would have been delighted with minimal updates as it moved to CC, but it’s been unstable since and multiples crashes can derail me for hours.

Do you have any recommendations or tips for me for alternatives to Adobe Bridge that I may have overlooked?


William Basinski on Making The Disintegration Tapes

October 19, 2020

I added tape loops to my Project Ideas page and it was mainly down to my fascination with William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops.

While I’ve not yet got round to this one, I did manage to grab this short clip of Basinski discussing and demonstrating the his process. It comes from Other Music, an excellent documentary about the final days of NYC’s famous record store. I highly recommend it.

The Disintegration Loops were made in response to September 11th and are a beautiful and emotion reaction that I’ve listened to many times.

I wasn’t aware of William Basinski’s method of creating the loops, but I was pleasantly surprised at the technique and simplicity of the analogue process. It has parallels with my own way of working with analogue film processes.


How to fire a Pentax 67ii without film in the camera

July 1, 2019

Let’s get straight to it, here’s how to fire (release the shutter) on a Pentax 67ii without film, also known as dry-firing:

  1. Open the back cover of the camera, shut it, then cock the shutter advance twice*. The camera should now dry fire.
  2. If you want to fire the shutter with the back door open, hold down the multi-exposure lever while cocking the shutter once.

*If you try to advance further it should maybe go 1 ‘click’ forward then lock in place. This is a good indication it’s ready to fire.

Pentax 67ii with back open and instax pack where I needed to fire without film

I’ve wanted to do fire the 67ii without film in the past, learned how – and then forgotten the procedure – so I thought it might be good to document it here.

My reason for dry firing the Pentax 67ii recently is actually not ‘dry-firing’, I’ve been loading Instax as I mentioned in my last post.

So I hope this helps any Pentax 67ii users who want to fire their camera without any film. It’s useful for testing the shutter is working and the aperture and other things.

Also: a reminder to treat the winder with care, I spent £320 getting mine repaired recently.

Feel free to leave comments or questions below and I’ll be happy to help out.

And now some life updates…

I had a great time in Belfast for Becky’s cousin’s wedding but I didn’t really take pictures. I stayed up late on the converted school we stayed in, looking at the stars. In the pitch dark, silent, middle-of-nowhere and listened to lots of Radiohead in preparation for Anima.

If you’ve not yet watched it, I’d recommend the PT Anderson-directed ANIMA on Netflix.

Becky and I went to Clissold Park to drink gin and soak up the sun at the weekend. Hopefully we’ll get to do that more this summer and have a BBQ with some of the fab veg from the local shop, like we did last year.

We’re off to Edinburgh this weekend for another wedding – our loves Adrienne and Eoin – hopefully I’ll take some pictures this time!


Saturday July 28th 2018

July 28, 2018

My dad fishing for mackerel off the Burntisland pier a few weeks ago, with Inchkeith in the background. Canon T70 (which was his) and Portra 400 film.

I’ve been doing a lot of film scanning and retouching inside over the past couple of days and was delighted when the storm in London finally broke the thick, humid, stinking heat yesterday afternoon. I love the sun but could do with a night off.

The cheese and chive drop scone from Gail’s, with Strawberry and Wild Strawberry conserve and the best butter I could get.

I thought this would be a good place for a couple of recommendations, so here you are:

  • It’s Alive With Brad is a youtube cooking show from the American magazine bon appétite, mainly about fermented foods. It’s scientific, wholesome and just feels like hanging out with friends.
  • In The Dark is a crime podcast, along the same lines as another favourite of mine, Serial. I just finished the second season and it got better as it went along. I really enjoy listening to long-form non-fiction audio while I am working. I get a bit lost when it’s something longer – like a full audiobook – as I mentally tune out after a certain amount of time. I wish there were more podcasts like this and would love recommendations.
  • Books – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, contemporary fiction that I finished recently and would highly recommend (but don’t think I should give anything away). Now I’m reading the latest David Sedaris book of essays, Calypso, and finding each one powerful and fascinating. I didn’t know anything about these books before I started them, but both come under the theme of family.

There are a few things I aim to do now that the weather is tolerable and I’m looking forward to Autumn:

  • More cooking – and cooking for the weather/season. More visits to local produce suppliers instead of the more convenient supermarkets. BBQ on the roof terrace.
  • Speaking of which, I want to get back into some food and lifestyle photography – especially with film cameras. I think I’ve grown and developed aesthetically since I last did any.
  • Try my hand at watercolour painting using the set my mum gave me for Christmas.
  • Get back to running. Start slow.
  • More gardening, especially on the roof terrace. Swap out all the remaining plastic pots for real ceramics.

Do you have any plans for the rest of the year?