More Squirrels

I am playing with a new camera and trying to figure out its limits, my limits, and how to get the most from it. It is going to take a while.

The newly released Canon PowerShot SX700 HS is lovely. Holding a shot still while zoomed in x30 is tricky but possible; although probably better left to a tripod when the shots are critical.

Below are a few photos and a short film of squirrels foraging in our local park. Most of the shots are taken at maximum zoom.

Red squirrel on a tree

Red squirrel on a tree

Red squirrel on a tree

Red squirrel on a tree

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Hybrid Video from Canon IXUS 265 HS

My new camera, (a Canon IXUS 265 HS) has a hybrid video mode, which I really like. This mode records a few seconds of video every time you take a photo. At the end of each day, you have a movie digest of all the photos you’ve taken and their video clips.

As you might imagine, the video clips on their own are not always great. Some sections are out of focus, some move around a lot as you zoom in or try to frame the photo. And sometimes, the final photo isn’t great, but the video clip captures the moment the photo missed. Somehow, this combination of video and photo works, even if neither are great on their own.

Here is a video of the zoo in the Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or using the hybrid mode on the camera. I added the titles and music in iMovie.

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My New Camera: Canon IXUS 265 HS

I have a new camera. It has taken me a long time to get around to buying a new one, and I settled on the Canon IXUS 265 HS.

I’ve been considering replacing my little point-and-shoot  (a Nikon Coolpix S3100) for a while, but I had trouble justifying it. There was nothing wrong with the Nikon. It worked; it was a small, easy-to-use camera that I carried in my handbag; I got photos I liked from it. Most of the photos you see my previous posts were taken with it, and it’s what I used in my recent filming experiments. But it also had its foibles, which were becoming increasingly irritating. Photos with the zoom (5x) were almost never clear, and the autofocus could take a while, meaning the moment had often passed before I could take the photo.

Choosing a New Camera

I had already decided that when I replaced my camera, I wanted one of the Canon IXUS range. Everyone we know with a Canon point-and-shoot likes their camera. Graham has been particularly happy with his PowerShot.

Once I had decided to buy a new camera, choosing one wasn’t difficult. I initially looked at the Canon IXUS 150, but it didn’t have full HD video, which I wanted. So, I went with the Canon IXUS 265 HS. It also has the advantage of larger zoom.

Tulip macro

Tulip

First Impressions

I’ve had the Canon for about a week and half, and so far, I love it. It feels responsive, and fast to take photos (no more missed moments waiting for the autofocus), and the photos look clean.

It has 12x zoom, which I appreciated at the zoo last weekend. And unlike my previous camera, the zoomed in shots are still clear.

Giraffe zoomed out

Giraffe (zoomed out)

Giraffe 12x zoom

Giraffe (12x zoom)

I think my favourite feature is the hybrid mode. It takes a few seconds of video with each photo, and creates a movie for you at the end of the day. I’m looking forward to trying it out at parties and events; I imagine it will be great for really capturing the moment.

The only problem I’ve had is with the WiFi photo transfer. Setting it up on my iPod Touch was easy, but setting it up on my laptop was impossibly complicated.

After hesitating for so long about buying a new camera, I couldn’t be happier with it.

Pelicans 12x zoom

Pelicans (12x zoom)

Amazon links on this page help support running The Work Life.

Exporting Contacts to CSV

An AppleScript to export name and e-mail addresses from Contacts.app on Mac OS X to a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file. The created CSV file is suitable for importing into numerous other tools and services.

I wrote this script for Mac OS X 10.9, Mavericks, but it should work without too many changes on most recent versions of Mac OS X.

To use this AppleScript:

  1. Launch AppleScript Editor from Applications > Utilities
  2. Copy and paste the code below into a new document
  3. Run the script
  4. On completion a contacts.csv will appear on your desktop
-- Save comma separated values (CSV) file to desktop
set exportPath to (path to desktop as string) & "contacts.csv"

set contactsCSV to "" -- variable to collect rows of addresses
set quoteString to "\"" -- constant to ease concatenation

tell application "Contacts"

	-- Repeat with every person in your Contacts
	repeat with x from 1 to the count of people
		set thePerson to person x
		set theirName to the name of thePerson

		-- A person may have multiple e-mails addresses, add one row for each
		repeat with anEmail in the email of thePerson
			set contactsCSV to contactsCSV & quoteString & theirName & quoteString & "," & quoteString & (value of anEmail) & quoteString & "
"
		end repeat
	end repeat

end tell

-- Write the CSV contents to a file
set exportFile to open for access file exportPath with write permission
set eof of exportFile to 0
write contactsCSV to exportFile starting at eof
close access exportFile