Photography: In Praise of Tiny Compacts

When I go a wandering, with only one subject on my mind – that being photo-snapping – I take (at least) one hefty camera along for the ride. Usually my Sony DSC-HX400V. But I have a few others that I give an outing from time to time – which often includes compacts of various brands and ability. But if I’m just doing ‘other stuff’ – like shopping or walking the dogs – I pop a small compact in my top pocket. They vary in size from heavy and chunky (thinking Sony W15) – to others such as the one hiding here behind this credit card-sized travel card…

Sometimes they aren’t always totally wonderful. Some really need perfect photographic conditions to produce an acceptable result. Those, when my patience is exhausted, I tend to move on to charity shops. Others just hang in there because of (for example) their comparatively long zoom lenses. But some are just darned good – no matter what. And often it is the tiniest cameras in my collection that give the most pleasing results. In particular I refer to this little beaut, which I bought in a charity shop…

It is a 12 megapixel Canon Ixus 100is. Here is the result of a test shot taken just outside my front door…

Its a tricky shot for such a tiny camera. It demands that it handle extremes of light and shade, colour, and texture. And I think it did a good job. I have (supposedly) better cameras that wouldn’t produce this quality of photo. But, I was surprised to discover, I have (supposedly again) inferior cameras that make a pretty good fist of the task too. Look at this…

Not too shabby either, huh? This is the culprit…

Its a mid-2000s 7 megapixel Olympus FE230, which is maybe a couple of millimetres larger than my much-admired Canon – which means its SMALL. But the pictures it takes refute any ideas that small, aging cameras are a waste of a photo-snappers time. To prove this assertion of mine, check out this…

As good as the Canon?

Maybe. But can it (or many other cameras) equal this Canon shot?

Probably not. So now its time to dig out another mini-compact. My bright pink Canon Ixus 130…

Let’s see how this little 14 megapixel bugger makes out!

Liberation! Vol Two – Too!

Hot on the metaphorical tail of the Liberation! Volume One re-write comes…

Yes, the 17th Child-Friendly Photo-Novel has been made near perfect and has been re-published for all to marvel at. What, before, was merely fabulous, is now…um…even better. Yes, buy the e-book at your favourite e-book seller at the first opportunity. Don’t wait until pay day: put yourself in debt straight away. You know it makes sense. Here’s a montage to make you salivate – metaphysically anyway…

Liberation Liberated From Mediocrity

Hot on the heels of…

…comes the fabulously wonderful re-write of this e-book…

…which lifts the product out of the realms of mediocrity, and catapaults it into the artistic stratosphere – which, in laymans terms, means that its a bit better than the original, and well worth a look. I like it anyway. Here’s a montage…

Fridge Nearly Empty Cooking – With Your Chef, Tooty Nolan!

The kids say: “What’s for dinner?” – to which you reply: “Dunno – I’ll take a look in the fridge.” Then, as the near-empty shelves stare back at you, you add: “No worries: dinner will be ready in forty-five minutes. I think you’re gonna like it.”

Yes – it’s tail-end of the week cooking time, when any self-respecting Dad finds himself challenged to conjure up something decent from the remains of last week’s shopping. Step up Tooty Nolan: Wonder Chef…

So what did he have to work with this time around? Take a look…

Well there are some frozen peas – always a good standby: some floppy carrots that have been diced conservatively: some equally limp onions that have received the same treatment: some slightly freezer-burnt chicken breast fillets that have been smeared with a paste that comprise garlic puree, chopped parsley, black pepper, and rapeseed oil. Of course this alone is not sufficient to feed four fully-grown adults. So Tooty fetched the rice cooker from the bottom of the cupboard and placed, within it’s steep-sided cauldron, four cups of rice and the requisite amount of water…

Then, in a moment of inspired timing, he switched the cooker on…

…which coincided almost exactly with him placing the chicken breasts into a pre-heated oven set to 190 degrees C…

Then, after making an inevitable visit to the toilet – and washing his hands thoroughly – he poured a small quantity of olive oil into a frying pan; heated it for thirty seconds; then added the carrot…

Naturally he wanted to avoid burning the carrot, so he decided not to wander off to feed the wild birds or watch television or up-date his computer’s drivers: instead he stood over his great work and stirred the contents of the frying pan. A couple of minutes later he added the onion…

…which he also stirred, whilst watching the rice cooker going ‘blub-blub-blub’…

Aware that the chicken would take 25 minutes to cook, Tooty waited until 12 minutes before delivery time to add some boiling water and a chicken stock cube to the veggies…

Also aware that in cooking – like comedy – timing is everything, Tooty stirred the simmering mess for another five minutes before adding the slowly-thawing peas…

…at which point the rice cooker went ‘ding’ and shifted into WARM mode. At almost the same moment Tooty extracted the bubbling chicken from the oven and checked that it looked fabulous…

He also checked that it was cooked throughout – which of course it was…

He then returned it to the oven, whilst microwaving the plates for 90 seconds…

Then the lid came off the rice cooker…

…a small tumbler of white wine was filled pleasantly…

A bed of rice was gently laid across each plate, followed by the vegetable mix, and finally the chicken…

…which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a great chef to knock something tasty up for your family: just someone who can read a clock and possesses the confidence to handle a wooden spoon like they know what they’re doing!

Where’s Chef Tooty?

Every day millions of fans write in and complain that they haven’t seen a cooking blog here in yonks and yonks. “Has Tooty hung up his ladle?” They ask. Well that is a fair question, because there hasn’t been a cooking blog here in…er…yonks and yonks. You see this is the result of Tooty trying to wear too many hats. He’s so busy doing so many things that (at his age) he’s becoming forgetful. He finds that he is usually half-way through a meal before he remembers that he’s supposed to be taking pictures. So, just to assure all those who enjoy the cookery bits on HamsterBritain dot com, here is an especially taken snap of a genius at work. Yes, he is still cooking…

Master Chef at work

And, other than his feet, he can still fit inside the edges of a photograph too!

Stepladder Steps Up

It has taken a while, but finally the re-write of this e-book…

…is complete. Not only that, but it has been re-published too. So, if (on the unlikely off-chance) you were considering buying an e-copy of the 14th child-friendly photonovel in the Junior Earplug Adventures series – well carry on; because now it’s much nicer than it was before – with improved quality in the photo department, and some grammatically better and more entertaining script: which just goes to show the fallacy in that famous old axiom: clearly you can polish a turd after all! Here’s a montage…

…and a tiny (cut and pasted) extract…

Product Placement – Again?

Well, obviously, no one took the slightest notice of my suggestion that they advertise on this blog. Well, I mean, why should they? It was only a joke, after all. But, more seriously, my readership has been steadily falling for yonks and yonks. I thought that, maybe, things would improve when Covid 19 placed everyone indoors and bored them stupid; but sadly I was wrong. My stats continue to disappoint. And now that WordPress seem to have it in their heads that I want the Premium Plan and are asking for real money from me, I’m considering walking away from good old HamsterBritain dot com. But before I do, I thought I might have some more fun with product placement. In this case it is a product that I actually use. And here it is…

When Magnuss Earplug and Hair-Trigger Provost find their energy reserves sapped by endless heroic acts – made in the preservation of the sanctity and liberty of The Museum of Future Technology…

…they whip out a tube of Berocca from inside their novelty sporrans; tear off the…er…tear-off bit , and up-end the contents upon their tongues. A short while later…

…they’re feeling perky as heck and ready to go kick some ass.

Berocca: makes you go-go-go when you feel totally shit! 

Photography: How Mauve is Mauve?

From my experience, there are certain colours that digital cameras seem to struggle with. The worst is yellow in bright sunlight. Particularly when shooting shiny flowers. Of the 50+ cameras that I currently keep in the bottom of my wardrobe, only three or four of them can cope at all. Most just flare out. The other problem colour is mauve/purple. I have a Primula in the back garden that not one of my cameras can capture accurately. But that’s another story. We don’t want to talk abject failure here on HamsterBritainDotCom, do we? No, we don’t. I also have a pleasant mauve plant, the name of which eludes me, which comes up every year in a terracotta pot on the patio. And it was to this plant I went when I decided upon¬† another of my famous comparison tests. Here are the guilty subjects this time…

A 4.0 megapixel Kyocera Finecam 410R. A 9.3 megapixel Ricoh CX2. and a 12 megapixel Kodak EasyShare M550. None of them are even remotely new, but I have been known to snap some quite nice pictures with all three – but never before at the same time. Here are the results of the Mauve Test…

The least mauve camera here is the Kyocera. The medium mauve, you might assume would be the 9.3 mg Ricoh. But you would be wrong. Not unusually it’s the Kodak that lets us down with a half-way-decent effort. And the winner – displaying a picture with remarkable similarity to the actual shade of mauve as seen with these aging eyes, was the Ricoh. And here’s the complete picture in all its glory…

RICOH CX2: Good camera!

In conclusion, it seems that if you want a vibrant, true-to-life shot get a Ricoh. If it’s quick snaps whilst on holiday, the Kodak will do just fine. And if you insist on an ancient Kyocera, do as I do. Just keep it as a curiosity, and maybe bring it out for a walk around the garden once in a while.