Jim Mallard Photography | Blog


April 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

It's been several years since I've had a dog in my life. My 16 year old Siamese cat has been my sole companion of late (and frankly, he doesn't mind one bit). Recently I brought home this adorable baby girl! Her name is Maya and she's a Vizsla. In this photo she was just 8 weeks; now she's 3 1/2 months old and 25 pounds of pure awesome puppy love!

My Vizsla puppy MayaMaya!

I've come to realize not many people recognize Vizslas. They think she's a coon hound (she does have big floppy ears), a Ridgeback (she is similar in color but without the obvious ridge), a Weimaraner or any number of other breeds. Truth is, Vizslas have a lot in common with both Ridgebacks and Weims. I used to have a Ridgeback and I can attest to the similarities. They all have similar builds; Vizslas are the smallest at about 60#, followed by Ridgebacks, then Weims. Vizslas are from Hungary and Weims are from Germany (but Ridgebacks are from Africa). Weims have fully-docked tails, Vizslas just have the tip docked and Ridgebacks have a full tail. They are all fiercely loyal, extremely intelligent, high-energy hunting dogs. But I have to say of all the dogs I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, none come close to this one. I loved my Ridgeback with all my heart and was devastated to leave her with my now ex-wife, but this puppy. This. Puppy. She is something else. She looks at me sometimes and I can see she is thinking. The first time it happened it took me by surprise. I've never had it happen before with any dog. I don't know, maybe others have experienced this, but I hadn't. She's done it a few times now. It's a deep look straight into my eyes with an intense level of concentration. It's surreal and immensely positive-feeling at the same time. She is special and captured my heart from the second I first picked her up in my arms.

Aside from being the awesome puppy she is, I have a new photo subject at my disposal! It's a cruel joke though because it's nearly impossible to capture her sitting still. This puppy photo was easy because she was only active for 10-15 minutes at a time before sleeping for an hour. That didn't last long. So although this photo was taken with my 6D, I tend to photograph her with my Sony A6000 instead because it has a much higher frame rate (11fps). Combine that with a ridiculously high shutter speed and some fast prime lenses and I am nearly guaranteed some good, tack-sharp action shots. Until now my subjects have largely been motionless; having a vivacious little puppy running around has been a great learning experience. Kudos to pet photographers - I don't know how you do it on a regular basis!

Finally, a perfect photo!

December 14, 2014

Sometimes the best images are spontaneous, and the results can be spectacular. Recently, I was helping a friend shoot a wedding. We were in the front yard shooting the groom and groomsmen on a nice rustic porch. While they were setting up, I turned around to see a woman walking her little girl toward us. I'm not much a kid person but this little girl was SO cute! I raised my camera, framed the shot and took it. One shot and I turned back around to continue shooting the guys. When I reviewed my images later, I was so impressed with that one image of the little girl - it is perfect! No cropping, no sharpening, no rotating, nothing technical to fix. All I did was enhance the fall colors that were already there in the leaves. I love the composition and the subject, and it all came together because I turned around in just that moment. A second earlier or later and I would have missed it. Sometimes that's just how life unfolds!

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens

October 16, 2014

I recently added to my lens lineup the world's sharpest 50mm AF lens, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens. This is a beauty in build quality as well as image quality and overall performance. It is very fast glass, meaning I can shoot better in low light conditions. I am elated to have this very high-quality lens so I can deliver the best possible images for my clients.

New Lens - Great for Me and You!

August 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I am so excited! I just got my newest portrait lens today. It's a Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD. This is the perfect complement to my Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 Di VC USD. Together, these (and their OEM counterparts) are considered the top of the line for portrait lenses. I did a lot of research before this purchase, primarily because of the expense. 

Once again, I found Tony Northrup's videos to be immensely helpful, especially this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P80BpSQIIto I can't wait to capture some beautiful images with this awesome lens! 

For Photographers - How to Automate Facebook Page Posts Using Google Calendar and IFTTT

May 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Have you ever wanted to schedule posts on your Facebook page? Maybe you're going to be out of town next week but you want to keep your content fresh on your Facebook page, or maybe you have some photos you want to share one at a time. You might have some specials that you want to promote several times over the course of a month. Or maybe you want to share other content on your page but you want to spread the love! Here is a simple but effective approach to accomplishing these tasks (and more...the possibilities are endless!). You can schedule posts when it's convenient for you, and they will be sent to your Facebook page whenever you want! I've personally tested this approach for 3-4 months and it has worked flawlessly.

First, to clarify, we're talking about a Facebook Page, not your personal Facebook Timeline. If you aren't sure of the difference (or which you are using), read more here. You can use a Timeline instead, you just need to activate the appropriate channel in IFTTT (more below on that).

Second, once you take a few minutes to set up the calendar and set up the IFTTT recipe using the steps below, you won't have to make any further settings changes. To use this technique once these are set up, all you have to do is go to the calendar and add an "event".

Prerequisites - What you'll need

  • A Google account (free; you just need the calendar app. If you already have a Gmail account you already have the calendar app. You don't have to use Gmail to use Google Calendar, though most people do.
  • An account at IFTTT (free)

Setting it up - Google Calendar

First, create a new calendar in Google calendar:

Call it your business name to keep it simple.

Second, create a new "event" in this calendar. This "event" will be the post that appears on your Facebook Page.

  • The event title I used below is #fbpagepost but you can use anything you want (just remember that it must be the same for every post you want to be sent to Facebook). And it should be something unique that is not likely to appear elsewhere in your calendar. The hashtag isn't required, but it helps make it unique. You could use #automaticpost or New Post to Facebook, etc. This text is what IFTTT uses to determine what items to pull from your calendar and post.
  • Set the date and time you want you post to appear. IFTTT will post it within 15 minutes of your scheduled time.
  • Choose the correct calendar! If you try this technique and it fails, this is the first thing to check. It's very easy to choose the wrong calendar and if you do, it won't work!
  • Whatever you enter in the description is what will appear as the page post. If you include a link here, then there will be a link in the post as well. Unfortunately you cannot embed images directly into the description field.
  • You do not need to set any reminders for this "event".
  • When you're done, click Save

Setting it up - IFTTT (If This Then That)

Go to your IFTTT account and activate the Google Calendar and Facebook Page Channels from the Channels option at the top of the page.

Next, Create a new recipe. Click "This" and choose the Google Calendar channel:

Choose the Event from Search Starts trigger option. This tells IFTTT to perform a search and send the search results to your Facebook Page.

For the keyword or phrase, enter  #fbpagepost or whatever text you used for your event titles and click Create Trigger. This is the text IFTTT will search for in your Calendar so it knows what you want posted to Facebook.

Click on That and choose the Facebook Pages channel.

For Action, choose Create a status message:

Don't enter anything into the "status message" box. We are going to pull this content dynamically from the Google Calendar event. 

Click the "+" sign and choose Description from the list. Click Add Ingredient. This tells IFTTT to post the content from the event's description field to your Facebook page (It's the "Hi everyone, just 4 days left to get your 20% summer discount!" text from the above example). 

Click Create Action to finish the recipe. You can also add a description so when you're logged into IFTTT you know what this recipe does.

This is the finished product. Every 15 minutes, IFTTT will run this recipe by searching the specified calendar for "events" that have a title matching your keyword or phrase. When it finds one, it will send it to the specified Facebook Page as a new status message. Pretty cool, huh?

This is a really easy way to automate Facebook page posts. Once it's set up, all you have to do is go into your calendar and create an event (make sure to choose the correct calendar if you have more than one, and be sure to use the same text for the title, e.g. #fbpagepost).

I also encourage you to check out all the other cool things you can do with IFTTT - there are many recipes that are applicable to photographers. For example, you can use this one to share inspirational images or blog posts to your Facebook page:

This recipe uses search results from an RSS feed to create new status messages on your Facebook page.

Good luck and have fun!

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