How Kind, Kindle

Amazon Kindle are on board. Yes, this photo-novel e-book…

…is available at last. Alternatively you can read the serialised version on this site. Only here it’s called…

But which ever version you choose, you will have chosen well. Me? I’d go for the Kindle version.

Photography: Aint Nothing in a Megapixel or Two

If you’ve been a regular reader of mine for any length of time, you’ve probably sussed that I rather like handy little compact cameras. Whenever I pass a charity shop or some such, I have great difficulty refraining from stopping by and running an eye over their camera collection; and even more avoiding a dip into my wallet. Most of those I find are quite old – digital cameras having been with us for a relatively short while, but evolving almost as quickly as the creatures in the film ‘Evolution’. As a result of this, the cameras that I haven’t been successful in rejecting seem to fall into two categories. The older cameras are mostly 5 megapixel models; the newer, 12 megapixels. Of course I have others, some of which I actually bought new, and I’ll include a few of them here too. Well, over Christmas, the house was bedecked with festive lights that looked pretty, but gave out (what could only be described as) some piss-poor light – especially for photography. Cue one of my comparison shoots.

Standing in the exact same spot at the top of the stairs, I snapped the same nighttime window with a plethora of cameras. Those cameras being the ones with both memory cards and live batteries inside them or cameras that weren’t in the glovebox of my car or the attic ‘studio’. Here are the results…

5 megapixel models…

Vaguely interestingly the Kodak takes a considerably darker picture. And the Fujifilm A500 and the Sony P10 are barely distinguishable. But, in my mind, the last shot – the later (but still 5 megapixel) Sony W15 – is a clear winner. So even cameras with the same number of pixels vary considerably. And adding or subtracting a few don’t make an ocean of difference either. Next up are 4 megapixel and a 6 megapixel varieties from Olympus, and an 8 megapixel Hitachi…

Well you can see that 2 megapixels do make a slight difference in performance; but what the heck happened with the Hitachi? Very warm and spectacular, but hardly accurate.

So then it’s on to the 12 megapixels. I use the Fujifilm (the one that takes most of the Earplug Adventures shots) as the base shot. Again the Kodak is darker…

But the most honest was the Nikon. So it just goes to show that you really don’t need to fret about how many million pixels a camera boasts: it’s more about other stuff – like lenses and software. And just to emphasise this, here’s the same shot with a 20 megapixel Canon…

Most important of all though, is the dope behind the camera. A smart one will know how to work all the knobs and buttons to take a better picture. Sadly that dope wouldn’t be me.

 

The Den Gets an Up-Grade

I may have mentioned, one or twice, the awful demands made upon me when my fabulous (if incredibly shabby) ‘studio’ was closed and earmarked for demolition – and how I have suffered horribly ever since, confined, as I am to my tiny attic studio. Well fabulous news: I’ve had an up-grade. The studio is as tiny as ever; but look – I’ve installed a computer…

So now I won’t have to lay my laptop on it’s back in the kitchen anymore when I want to create scenes like this…

Now if I can just install some arc lights, a huge dormer window, lag the roof, and install a toilet, all will be well.

 

Twelve Years On. Can My First Serious Book Inspire Me For a Second Time?

The best-selling book in my chequered portfolio is this one…

It took a long time before I felt ready to write its sequel…

But since the latter book has become my second-best selling book, wouldn’t it seem logical to write another? To create a trilogy? Here’s a snippet from the 2014 partial re-write. Maybe re-reading the first will inspire a third.

At that point Candice seemed to shrug off the tom-boy image that everyone knew. It was uncanny. It was as if I was seeing her for the first time. I could imagine her in tight revealing clothes – out clubbing on a Saturday night. A ‘babe’. A boy-magnet. The transformation was utterly astounding.

‘How the hell does she do that?’

“Quid pro quo is a payment,” she purred her explanation, “given, or taken, in equal measure to the service, or item, or person, supplied.”

To his credit Hawley was quick on the uptake. “You mean a life for a life? Something like that?”

“I can see why they put you in charge of this outfit.” She smiled.

On cue Lee spoke up: “We took one of your lot: you take one of ours.”

‘Is Lee in on something, or is he, as usual, playing it by ear? Winging it?’

Hawley had a moments’ trouble dragging his attention from Candice, who formerly  no one could describe as being particularly attractive; perhaps ‘average’ might come close – if one such word could describe anybody; but who now seemed subtly altered. She was dirty, cut, bruised, and dazed, but now a hitherto submerged vivacity shone through it all. But Hawley succeeded.

“But I’ve got you all already: What’s to deal about? Anyway, Wayne’s not one of my lot.”

Lee had obviously seen the change in Candice also. He indicated her. To Hawley he said, “What’s to deal? You got eyes, aint ya?

Hawley was tempted, but I could see his resolution was going to win. So did Candice. With a startling display of ambidextrousness she whipped the two stolen hand grenades from her pockets, and flicked out the safety pins. Teenagers scattered in every direction – except Hawley. Candice had him in a bear hug – a hand grenade pressed against each shoulder.

He eyed Steve. “You should’a frisked her, ya useless wassack!”

“Quid pro quo.” She whispered to Hawley.

I lurched forward. This was exactly what I feared she’d do. I cried out, “Candice: No!”

Lee caught me by the midriff, and dragged me back.

“Candice, yes.” She replied.

Katherine then called out, “But you don’t have to give yourself up to these louts: There must be another way…”

But, pressed close to Hawley, Candice was shaking her head. “My friends I’m almost twenty. How long do I have? Haven’t any of you noticed that I can be a little crazy at times? I’m running a temperature already.”

‘No: this must be some kind of ruse!’

I saw Hawley flinch. “You…you’re…sick?” He stammered. Then controlling himself he added, “This quid pro quo stuff sucks. This isn’t a deal: it’s sodding charity!”

Candice allowed herself a smile. “And they said wit was a lost art. Now let’s think this through, shall we? You could threaten to have one of my friends shot…”

“I could threaten to have all your friends shot!” He interrupted her.

She was not fazed. “No doubt, but judging by the behaviour of your friends, these two little items in my hands are the real deal. I’m sick; therefore I’m dying. The thought of an abrupt and spectacular ending isn’t that abhorrent to me. You, on the other hand, are only – what – eighteen? You have your whole life ahead of you: Two years anyway.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

An impasse. Ooh…

This book is available as a paperback and e-book at Lulu.com (see sidebar) and as an e-book only at all major outlets, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Googlebooks etc (also on sidebar). It’s not a comedy, but it is entertaining.