About Chris Hunt

http://www.chrishunt.com

Chris Hunt is a fashion and advertising photographer, based in New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Originally from California, he has spent the last 15 years living and working in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Moscow and across the United States. Beginning his career as a photojournalist, Chris then moved into fashion photography after working as a model agent for several years in L.A. He has recently broadened his portfolio into film, directing TV commercials for fashion and lifestyle brands. Chris balances outstanding creative talent with an impressive level of technical expertise, delivering impeccable professionalism and work of the highest quality with a relaxed and friendly attitude. On the rare moments he is not in his studio, Chris can be found pedaling his road bike through Italy, SCUBA diving in the South Pacific or riding a motocross bike in the mountains of California. His advertising clients include Google, TELCEL, Mitsubishi Automobiles, Pond's, Samsung, GNC, Chevrolet, Knorr and Garnier. He also works for fashion and beauty clients such as BCBG Max Azria, Herve Leger, Forever 21, bebe, ALDO, Nine West, Macy's, GAP, Banana Republic, Wet Seal, Arden B., Jockey International, Avon, Liverpool, Skechers, Fox Girls, Billabong, Stila Cosmetics and C&A. His work has been published in international magazines including VOGUE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Interview, Maxim, Surface, Men's Health, Nylon and InStyle. High profile clients include sports stars Maria Sharapova and Wayne Gretzky and rappers Ludacris, Ice Cube and 50 Cent.

Posts by Chris Hunt:

Obituary: Wally McNamee, Veteran Washington Photographer

Obituary: Wally McNamee, Veteran Washington Photographer

Photojournalist Wallace “Wally” McNamee, whose career at The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine spanned more than 40 years, died November 17 in Virginia, the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) has reported. McNamee was 85. The cause of his death was not given.

In addition to covering major news events including the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, McNamee covered presidential administrations from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton. He was named Photographer of the Year four times by the White House News Photographers Association, which also awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

McNamee began his journalism career in 1950 as a copy boy at The Washington Post. During the Korean War, he joined the Marines and trained as a combat photographer. After serving in Japan and Korea, he returned to The Washington Post in 1955, working again as a copy boy before joining the photo staff in 1956.

In 1968, he left the Post to join Newsweek magazine, for which he covered Washington politics, as well as the Olympic Games from 1976 through 1996. McNamee photographed celebrities including Willie Nelson, Elizabeth Taylor and Mick Jagger, according to the WHNPA. He was also part of a Newsweek team that won a National Magazine Award for a story about Vietnam veterans a decade after the war, called “Charlie Company: What Vietnam Did to Us.”

In addition to his various awards from WHNPA, McNamee won the National Press Photographers Association’s Joseph Sprague Memorial Award in 2005. His archive of more than 300,000 images is at the University of Texas.

McNamee’s survivors include his son, Win McNamee, who is the chief photographer for news at Getty Images.

 

The post Obituary: Wally McNamee, Veteran Washington Photographer appeared first on PDNPulse.


Source: PDN Pulse

Obituary: Wally McNamee, Veteran Washington Photographer

Meet Breelayne, The Designer With a Fresh Take on Eco-Friendly Fashion

Meet Breelayne, The Designer With a Fresh Take on Eco-Friendly Fashion
Breelayne, the designer of her eponymous fashion label, houses her profoundly beautiful designs in a brightly lit studio in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The airiness breathes life and energy into her sustainable and eco-friendly designs, which seek to empower women through the way they dress. As it stands, the fashion industry is a high octane fueled machine that continues to leave a colossal carbon footprint by pumping out clothes through inefficient production processes that waste energy…

Keep on reading: Meet Breelayne, The Designer With a Fresh Take on Eco-Friendly Fashion
Source: V Magazine

Meet Breelayne, The Designer With a Fresh Take on Eco-Friendly Fashion

DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

Last month, we reported that DxOMark had reviewed the Pentax 645Z back in 2015 and given it a highest-ever score of 101 before pausing its medium format camera reviews prior to publishing any. That Pentax 645Z review is finally out, and DxOMark still has glowing things to say about the camera.

DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.

“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”

The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.

“While the 645Z beats the Nikon sensor in our tests, the Nikon comes closer than you might expect, given the size difference,” DxOMark says. “If Sony made a medium-format sensor with the same design as the D850, it would beat the sensors in both the Pentax 645Z and the Hasselblad X1D-50c.”

If you’d like a medium format camera that has the look and feel of a 35mm DSLR and fantastic image quality, the Pentax 645Z is one option you may want to take a look at these days. It costs just $5,500 new now, which is a significant discount from its original retail price of over $8,500.


Source: PetaPixel

DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

The Photographer Behind Windows XP ‘Bliss’ Shot 3 New Wallpapers

The Photographer Behind Windows XP ‘Bliss’ Shot 3 New Wallpapers

Bliss, the photo used as the default wallpaper on Windows XP, is considered to be the most-viewed photo in the history of the world. The photographer behind that iconic photo has just published three new photo wallpapers, this time for smartphones.

Charles O’Rear captured his famous photo in 1996 in Sonoma County, California, using a medium format camera while on his way to visit his girlfriend. The photo was sent to Corbis before Microsoft purchased the photo rights in 2000, the year before Windows XP was launched.

Now, 21 years later after Bliss was shot, the airline Lufthansa recently recruited O’Rear to shoot “the next generation of wallpapers.” The project is titled New Angles of America.

“I am turning seventy-six and realize how much the Microsoft Bliss photograph has meant to my life,” O’Rear says. “As the photographer of the most viewed photo in history, I have enjoyed every minute of the fame.

“Likewise, I am thrilled to create for Lufthansa a sequel to the ‘Bliss’ photo on smartphones so that my views of other beautiful places can continue to be enjoyed by millions of people. After all, smartphones have become the primary place for the world to see new and interesting photography. And, I’m glad to be part of it.”

Here are the three new photos O’Rear captured while visiting famous landscapes in the United States:

Maroon Bells (Colorado)

Peek-A-Boo Slot (Utah)

White Pocket (Arizona)

Here’s a short video about this project that shows O’Rear shooting the Bliss sequels:

You can download high-resolution versions of these photos on the New Angles of America website.


Source: PetaPixel

The Photographer Behind Windows XP ‘Bliss’ Shot 3 New Wallpapers

Man Finds DJI Customer Data Exposed, Gets Threat and Rejects $30K Bounty

Man Finds DJI Customer Data Exposed, Gets Threat and Rejects K Bounty

Security researcher Kevin Finisterre recently found a flaw that exposed private customer data of the Chinese drone company DJI to the public. After reporting the bug to DJI’s bug bounty program, Finisterre received pushback and a legal threat. So instead of collecting his $30,000 bounty, Finisterre is now going public with his findings (and experience).

Ars Technica reports that DJI developers had left private keys for the company’s web domains and cloud storage accounts within source code hosted on GitHub.

Using the keys, Finisterre discovered that he was able to access private data uploaded by DJI customers — not just flight logs and aerial photos, but also government IDs, drivers licenses, and passports. What’s more, some of the flight logs appeared to have been sent from government and military domains (as a side note, the US Army ended its use of DJI drones earlier this year due to “cyber vulnerabilities.”

A redacted screenshot of one of the Chinese government IDs discovered by Finisterre.

After reporting the vulnerability to DJI, Finisterre was initially informed that his report qualified for the top bounty of $30,000. He then engaged in a lengthy conversation with a DJI employee who both confirmed the existence of the exposed data and showed a striking lack of cybersecurity know-how.

“This was the first in a long line of education on basic security concepts, and bug bounty practices,” Finisterre says. “Over 130 emails were exchanged back and forth at one point in one thread. At one point days later DJI even offered to hire me directly to consult with them on their security.”

As he continued his conversations with DJI, however, Finisterre soon found that DJI wasn’t readily agreeing that its servers were part of the scope of the new bounty program. Finisterre was also turned off by DJI’s refusal to provide him with protection against legal action.

What’s more, DJI itself sent a threat of charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), accusing Finisterre of “unauthorized access and transmission of information.”

Still, Finisterre went ahead and negotiated a “final offer” from DJI for the contract in the bug bounty program. After consulting with lawyers, however, Finisterre concluded that the terms were horrible.

“[N]o less than 4 lawyers told me in various ways that the agreement was not only extremely risky, but was likely crafted in bad faith to silence anyone that signed it,” Finisterre writes. “I went through various iterations to get the letter corrected. It was ultimately going to cost me several thousand dollars for a lawyer that I was confident could cover all angles to put my concerns to bed and make the agreement sign-able.”

So instead of collecting his lucrative $30,000 bounty, staying silent, and risking future legal action, Finisterre decided to gather all of his findings into an 18-page PDF he just published, titled “Why I walked away from $30,000 of DJI bounty money.

After the report was published, DJI called Finisterre a “hacker” in a statement to Ars Technica:

DJI is investigating the reported unauthorized access of one of DJI’s servers containing personal information submitted by our users. As part of its commitment to customers’ data security, DJI engaged an independent cyber security firm to investigate this report and the impact of any unauthorized access to that data. Today, a hacker who obtained some of this data posted online his confidential communications with DJI employees about his attempts to claim a “bug bounty” from the DJI Security Response Center.

DJI implemented its Security Response Center to encourage independent security researchers to responsibly report potential vulnerabilities. DJI asks researchers to follow standard terms for bug bounty programs, which are designed to protect confidential data and allow time for analysis and resolution of a vulnerability before it is publicly disclosed. The hacker in question refused to agree to these terms, despite DJI’s continued attempts to negotiate with him, and threatened DJI if his terms were not met.

Finisterre says that DJI has since given him “cold blooded silence” after his last messages expressing disappointment and offense over DJI’s bug bounty program.


Source: PetaPixel

Man Finds DJI Customer Data Exposed, Gets Threat and Rejects K Bounty

Instagram growth service called Liked Lab

Instagram is the Best Promotion for Photographers

I’ve been a photographer for almost 20 years now, and have tried just about every form of promotion to get my work in front of potential clients. We are talking printed mailers, ads in sourcebooks, email lists and campaigns… even just personal letters and phone calls. But lately, one of the cheapest things you can do… an Instagram profile… seems to be outperforming just about every other type of promotion at our disposal.

When I first started, every professional photographer at least did the printed mailers once or twice a year, and a combination of various sourcebook advertising.  It was the go to standard, and if you had a photography rep it was mandatory.

The printed mailers could be very simple, for instance a basic post card sent out to 500 hundred potential clients that would cost you in the neighborhood of $2,000.  Generally it was recommended to do that 6 times a year.  And generally 99.9% of those mailers ended up in the potential client’s trash. 

Or they could be extremely ambitions (and expensive)… entire 40 page magazines of a single photographer’s work, or giant gallery quality prints. This was a once a year promo at the most and I saw photographers spend over $30,000 on just one mailing!  It’s a huge investment not just in money but also the time to put it together. But I suppose if that photographer got one big advertising job from it, well then it was totally worth it. 

But if you didn’t think it through, it could be a disaster.  Like the photographer that sent out a stainless steel saw blade with his logo and contact information printed on it, buried underneath sawdust inside a raw wood box…  a nice presentation and it fit his construction product advertising niche.  Sounded like a great idea…. until art directors all around the country dug their hand into the sawdust only to rip open the tips of their fingers on the extremely sharp saw blade!   

Sourcebooks were another expensive but ubiquitous option.  Every fashion photographer advertised in LeBook, from the most established and successful to the brand new and ambitious. For a young photographer it felt almost prestigious to be in it…. even though you were paying a hefty fee for the privilege at around $5,000 for a two page spread.  And if you weren’t Meisel or ripped by the biggest agencies you could pretty much be guaranteed that they would bury you in the very back of the book.

Later in my career the next big thing was email promos.  It’s from around $150 to $450 a month for an email list service like Agency Access depending on which client lists you sign up for and how many emails you send.  One of the nice things about the service is that you can see who clicked through your emails… but the numbers were abysmal and have only been getting worse and worse through the years.  If you sent 1,000 emails and 10 people clicked through to your website that was considered a success!  But we all know how much we love getting spam and I guess art director’s are no different..

I put a profile on Instagram around 2012 and really didn’t do much with it… some behind the scenes photos, lots of vacation pics.. I didn’t really know what it was all about so I didn’t pay too much attention to it.  It seemed like it was more a social place to share with your friends and I just didn’t want to put any time into it… I was busy shooting, and retouching and doing all the other things photographers have to devote their limited time to.

But then things changed… it started to become an important outlet for discovery, and the whole influencer thing took off… nothing has been the same since.

I saw that clients more and more were talking about Instagram constantly… how they discovered new models, or photographers, talent of every kind… even locations, and props… everything! 

About this time I removed the vacation snapshots, all the superfluous crap that had migrated there over the years, and just concentrated on displaying my latest fashion work. 

Quickly my profile went from a couple thousand followers to 10,000. And then I got a booking directly from a client that found me through Instagram… a 3 day catalog on a beach in Mexico!

I wanted more jobs like that so I started to invest more time and effort into Instagram.  I tried a couple apps that allowed you to more easily search and follow people that had an interest in photography, and my following grew a bit more.  I researched other techniques to grow my following, and it grew even more.

But when I signed up for a social media growth service, things really caught on fire.  It wasn’t buying fake followers or likes, and it wasn’t magic or some super secret sauce.  It was just hiring someone that really knew how Instagram worked, how to research the right audience, and then could make my account active 24 hours a day.

My following went from 15,000 to 80,000 in less than a year!  And more importantly, I was getting regular bookings from clients that never heard of me until they saw my work on Instagram.  Those jobs took me all around the world… Moscow, London, Armenia.  And all from a $100 a month investment..

The service I recommend is called Liked Lab.  They have a great promotional and research system, and they are more involved in the process than any other service I have seen… they provide me with analytics so I know the best days and times to post, and what kind of posts work best, what are the strongest hashtags to use.  They even give me advice on the look of my profile.  It’s been a big help, saved me time, and really helped my career. 

Instagram growth service called Liked Lab

chris hunt studio recommends social media growth service called Liked Lab

So at the beginning of 2017 I wanted to try an experiment… I stopped all other forms of promotion and only used Liked Lab for Instagram.  No emails, no sourcebooks or printed promos.  What happened? I didn’t see any drop off in activity.  In fact, just the opposite. Not only was I getting more work from client’s noticing me on Instagram, now my following and engagement on Instagram was getting so strong that I was getting offers to promote products as an influencer. Ok, that’s not something I am interested in now, I am still busy shooting. But it’s definitely something I can think about for the future or as a side hustle. 

So what does it mean?  I think the entire photography industry is changing, and the old ways of getting noticed don’t work anymore. You don’t need to spend $5,000 on a sourcebook ad, or $400 a month on emails, or $12,000 on printed promos. I haven’t cracked open a sourcebook in years, all the spam emails I get go automatically to the trash.  I think the best thing you can do as a photographer now is just shoot as often as possible, get your work in every magazine or website you can, and then promote promote promote on social media.

What do you think?  I’m still experimenting with the best promotion methods so I want to hear what works for you!

Ep. 230: Fujifilm v. Polaroid – and more

Ep. 230: Fujifilm v. Polaroid – and more

Episode 230 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
Download MP3 –  Subscribe via iTunesGoogle Playemail or RSS!

Featured: Sony Alpha Collective member, Francisco Hernandez

In This Episode

If you subscribe to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast in iTunes, please take a moment to rate and review us and help us move up in the rankings so others interested in photography may find us.

Show Opener:
Sony Alpha Collective member, Francisco Hernandez opens the show. Thanks Francisco!

Sponsors:
– Get FreshBooks cloud accounting FREE for 30 DAYS by entering PetaPixel in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section at FreshBooks.com/PetaPixel  More at LensShark.com/deals.

Stories:
Fujifilm and Polaroid spar. (#)

A photographer makes a very public error in judgment. (#)

Kodak loses and seems intent on Kodak’ing itself again. (#)

St. Louis affirms the rights of photojournalists. (#)

Hasselblad’s new rental service is announced. (#)

Sony’s software for dealing with shifting pixels. (#)

Outtake

My other podcast with Brian Matiash, the No Name Photo Show.

Connect With Us

Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.

We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!

You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”


Source: PetaPixel

Ep. 230: Fujifilm v. Polaroid – and more

The Story of a Scammer on Facebook Who Conned Me (and Many Others)

The Story of a Scammer on Facebook Who Conned Me (and Many Others)

Scams involving cameras are rampant these days. After almost losing a Nikon D850 to a scam on eBay, I recently also discovered a massive camera scam that involved 10 people. Here’s the story.

On 10/02/2017, a person named Megan A. listed a used camera for sale on a Facebook ‘Buy and Sell’ group. The camera, a Sony A5100 with a 16-50mm lens ($500 new), was described as being in pristine condition and barely used. Her ad was answered by a Facebook user named Kassidy Nadile. The potential buyer didn’t haggle on the asking price, and after some discussions via Facebook messenger, the camera was sold to Kassidy, and safely paid for through PayPal.

As Megan was getting ready to ship out the camera, the buyer asked if the camera could be shipped to an address other than the one on her PayPal profile.

“My PayPal address is my mom’s house when I used to live with her but I want to surprise her instead of the mailman lol,” Kassidy wrote in a Facebook message. But Megan, not aware that mailing the item to an address not on the buyer’s PayPal profile would disqualify her seller’s protection, agreed to ship it to the requested address.

“Please don’t forget. Make it look like it was bought from the store” the buyer, Kassidy, later wrote while requesting actual photos of the shipping label.

But following the successful shipment and delivery of the package, the first sign of trouble appeared. Megan was notified by PayPal that a case for an ‘item not received’ or what is known as an INR dispute was opened with PayPal. The buyer had filed a claim with PayPal stating that the parcel containing the camera was never received.

After an initial ruling on the case in favor of the buyer, and despite an appeal of the case by Megan, where evidence of the delivery was submitted to PayPal, the case was closed. On Oct. 21st, Megan was forced to refund the money to the buyer.

This was to be the end of Megan’s case. But was it?…

On the evening of Tuesday, 10/24/2017, I responded to an ad for a camera for sale in a Facebook group by the name of ‘Sony Buy and Sell’. The item was a used Sony A5100 with 16-50mm lens selling for just $200. My son had just dropped and broken his Canon point and shoot, and I figured this would be a nice upgrade. The ad was posted by a Facebook user named Kassidy Nadile. This was in fact, the same Kassidy Nadile who never received Megan’s camera.

The ad later disappeared, and I didn’t think of it much until the following morning when I received a reply from Kassidy via Facebook Messenger with photos of the camera. After reviewing the photos she sent – including one with the camera next to a poster with her name – I replied and asked for a PayPal invoice to be sent to my PayPal account.

Usually, I would do some research to make sure everything looks legit. But at the time, I was outdoors, on my phone, and at a quick glance, nothing really raised any suspicions. And after all, I was going to Pay with a PayPal invoice, so what could go wrong. She said the PayPal request would come from her mother’s account. Soon after I received a request from a PayPal Account under the name of Victoria Nadile, and the invoice was promptly paid.

I asked that the camera be mailed to my verified name and address on file with PayPal.

On the same day, the following USPS tracking number was added to the PayPal transaction.

Tracking #: 9505515854387298059275

The product was Priority Mail 1-day and shipped from Ridgefield, NJ on 10/25. The above tracking number showed as delivered on 10/26, but nothing was actually delivered to my address. On Saturday 10/28, for unknown reasons, a different tracking number was provided via Facebook messenger.

Tracking #: 9500114448427300060608

The product was First Class Package Service shipped from Scarsdale, NY on 10/27. This tracking number showed as delivered on Monday 10/30.

After both tracking numbers showed as delivered and I found that nothing actually had been delivered to my address, I contacted USPS to inquire where those packages were delivered. While USPS does not release shipping address information on their website or on the phone — other than the city, state and ZIP — They were able to confirm that it was not sent to my home address. (The verified address on file with PayPal).

At this point, I suspected that it was a scam. A scam that usually consists of mailing a letter or empty parcel to a random address in the same ZIP code, and using the fact that minimal address information is released by USPS to their advantage. I was aware of other cases where scammers utilize this USPS delivery confirmation as proof that an item was shipped and delivered. Including a case that was recently covered by PetaPixel.

I immediately posted on the Facebook group, asking if anyone had an issue with a member named Kassidy Nadile, who posted a Sony A5100 for sale the prior week.

Minutes later I received a response that the name Kassidy Nadile was mentioned in a warning post in a different group relating to a purchase from a group member. “Warning: Do not sell to Kassidy Nadile. She’s a scammer and dishonest person” Wrote Megan A. on Oct. 29. But unfortunately, her post came a bit too late for myself and other’s to heed the warning.

When I contacted Megan to get more info on her case, she was surprised to hear that the camera she had sold to Kassidy Nadile — which was reported as never received — had been offered for sale by Kassidy in a different Facebook group.

After forwarding the photos of the camera I received from Kassidy to Megan, she immediately confirmed it as being the exact camera she had sold.

“I recognize the lens filter and the little bag that it’s in because it’s from a flea market, Megan wrote to me in our Facebook correspondence. This is also when Megan shared with me all the details of her case (which I shared earlier in this article).

It didn’t take long for my Facebook post to get some more attention. I got a reply from someone who claimed that he was sold the same Sony A5100 camera by Kassidy Nadile. The case was identical to mine. He paid with PayPal, received two shipping tracking numbers and, like me, never got anything delivered.

Within the next few hours and the days that followed, six more people came forward with similar stories of being scammed by Kassidy. I advised them all to open an INR (item not received) dispute with PayPal immediately. In total, we now had 10 people who were scammed by the same person.

After collecting information from the other victims, I noticed that the scammer used a different PayPal account in each transaction. Every one of us paid for the camera to a different PayPal account. Presumably, so that multiple INR cases are not opened against the same account. They were all AOL email addresses, but most of them had slightly different email address variants of the name.

I was puzzled by the fact that one person can own at least 12 different PayPal accounts that I was were aware of, yet this was not detected and flagged by PayPal.

To my disappointment, a day after submitting my INR dispute I received an email from PayPal stating that they had ruled in favor of the seller: “We’ve completed our review and unfortunately are not able to decide the case in your favor”

But as my case closed, my inner sleuth kicked in. It was time to do some detective work. I began by contacting USPS to get documentation on the tracking numbers that were provided to me by Kassidy Nadile.

After not receiving an email reply, I visited my local post office in an attempt to get more information as to where those parcels were delivered in my ZIP code. The USPS clerk was extremely helpful and provided me with not only the actual delivery address but also the weight of the parcels. Both weighed a mere few ounces – not even close to the weight of the Sony camera it supposedly carried.

Leaving the U.S. Post Office with this new information, I took off in the direction of those two delivery addresses. The first stop turned out to be a CVS pharmacy. I was not surprised. As when I researched the USPS delivery confirmation scam, I did come across others who claimed that their packages were shipped to a local pharmacy or to some other large retailer in their ZIP code.

After briefly explaining to the store manager what had transpired within the past few days, he went to look for the mail and recovered the following envelope.

The tracking number matched the one that was provided to me. It was astonishing that this USPS letter-sized envelope, containing nothing but an empty gift card inside, is what was reported to PayPal as the parcel with which the camera was mailed to me.

I thanked the manager for his assistance and continued on to the second address that was provided to me by USPS. I arrived at what looked like an attached three-family dwelling.

While looking to ring Apt. #B to inquire about any parcel that was received in the past few days, I noticed a re-used Amazon box leaning against the brick wall. After matching the tracking number on the box with the one that was provided to me by the scammer via Facebook messenger, I picked up the box. It must have been sitting there for a few days, as it was not addressed to the name of any of the residents. The box was still closed, and I recovered it for evidence.

(Note: none of the boxes were addressed to me. A classic example of the ‘USPS shipping confirmation scam’.)

Now that I was armed with some newly-found evidence, I knew I had a case to open an appeal. But at this point, this was no longer about myself. We were now a larger group, all victims of a merciless scammer. I had to represent a case that would include all of us.

I began by compiling all the information I received from the other victims, including the individual case numbers and the PayPal accounts involved. After several hours writing up most of what you have read in this article, I submitted my case to PayPal and asked for my case to be escalated.

My case was finally overturned and ruled in my favor.

However, it took me a few more days to convince PayPal security to treat all of our cases as one and to use my hard evidence in the other cases involved – since all of our cases were intertwined.

Currently, most victims have gotten their funds returned, but some cases are still open. One of the open cases is Megan’s, which PayPal refuses to refund despite all the evidence we submitted, as she did not qualify for seller’s protection due to mailing the camera to an address not on the PayPal profile.

As much as I wanted this case to end, other victims of the same Facebook profile continued to come forward. I was recently made aware of a group of people who were scammed in a children’s toys Facebook group. The list included an army veteran who told me how she was scammed by Kassidy when she purchased a toy she was going to gift her child for Christmas.

Finally, on 11/05 I received a notification from Facebook that the Facebook profile for Kassidy Nadile has been removed for violating community standards.

While this Facebook profile may be gone, I have no doubt that as long as PayPal and USPS do not fix some of the issues enabling scammers to pull off an elaborate scam of this scale, this same scammer will be back with a new profile to continue scamming other people.

When I searched online for the term ‘USPS shipping confirmation scam’, I discovered that this scam has been going on for years, with companies like eBay, Amazon, and PayPal not doing enough to prevent its customers from being victimized by this scam.

There is a possible solution that I would like to suggest. eBay and PayPal are currently offering an integrated order-fulfillment system that lets sellers purchase a shipping label and provide tracking to the buyer. I propose that in order for a seller to qualify for seller’s protection, the shipping must be purchased via the integrated shipping system. For those using their own shipping system, a record of the shipping address or a photo of the shipping label must be retained by the seller to qualify for protection.

Logically, if the current policy voids the seller’s protection when an item is shipped to an address that is not PayPal verified, PayPal should require the seller to provide proof of the address where the item was shipped to.

The current system where PayPal burdens a buyer to provide hard evidence that an item was not received, combined with the fact that USPS does not share the actual shipping address in its tracking, is what enables the scammers to pull off this scam in the first place.

Finally, if Facebook wants to be a serious contender in the buying and selling of goods via its marketplace, a more secure system must be put in place to protect both buyers and sellers. Facebook needs to integrate a secure payment system like PayPal (or upgrade the security of its own payment system) and add an order-fulfillment and shipping option similar to what eBay and PayPal currently offer — albeit with more secure policies, similar to what I have mentioned above.

While searching on Facebook I came across this post, which we can assume was another attempt to scam people, or perhaps a way of unloading the funds that were scammed from others since a bank transfer or check would leave a trail.

This case is now being submitted to the USPS inspector’s office for further investigation into this widespread mail fraud.


About the author: Eli Wohl is a hobbyist photographer and real estate appraiser in New York City who often shoots street photography in the Jewish Hasidic neighborhood he resides in. He also combines his real estate career and love of photography by shooting architectural, real estate, and interiors for his clients. Eli’s tips have also led to a number of articles on PetaPixel. You can find more of his work on Instagram.


Source: PetaPixel

The Story of a Scammer on Facebook Who Conned Me (and Many Others)

Testing Sony’s New Pixel Shift Feature in the a7R III

Testing Sony’s New Pixel Shift Feature in the a7R III

The new Sony a7R III has a new function called Pixel Shift. This function basically increases the resolution of your images by 4 times. In short: the camera takes 4 photos and shifts the sensor 1 pixel in between. By combining these images later (the camera itself doesn’t do this) you get an image that has 4 times the resolution of a normal raw image (4 x 42 megapixel).

This does NOT mean your file is suddenly 168 Megapixels. The files you get are still 42 megapixels but they contain way more detail, especially noticeable when you zoom in 100%.

So how exactly does this work? By shifting the sensor by 1 pixel in every direction the sensor captures the full RGB data for every pixel. This is explained in this Sony video:

Advantages of this function are the removal of aliasing and moire, increased color accuracy, and most of all a great increase in sharpness. Of course, I had to test this myself. For testing purposes, I took a still scene with some detailed objects in it.

Test scene with a painting and some objects that contain small details.

Testing

I set up the Pixel Shift function on the C3 button of the camera so I could quickly turn it on/off. This could be useful in the field when I quickly want to activate the function. Upon pressing the button you can select the interval you want the pictures to be taken. This is by default set to 1 second, and you can’t set this lower, only longer. You would want a longer interval if you were working with flashes and need to wait for it to recharge, for example.

After you activate Pixel Shift, it’s a matter of pressing the shutter button and waiting for the camera to finish. All the shots are taken in Silent mode with the electronic shutter, which makes sure there are no vibrations — it is very crucial that there is no movement because the shift is only 1 pixel. It’s recommended that you use a remote or turn on the timer in camera before using this function. Because the camera is using the silent shutter, certain functions are not available. For example, you can’t go lower than 100 ISO and bracketing is unavailable (which is obvious).

When the camera is done you end up with 4 photos. Note that these are 4 uncompressed raw files, even if you set up your camera to shoot compressed raws.

Here’s a video of me shooting a still scene with the Pixel Shift function:

To combine the 4 images, use Sony’s new Imaging Edge Software that can be downloaded here.

Open the Viewer software, select your images, right click and choose Create and Adjust Px, Shift Multi Shoot, and Composite Image. The software now combines the 4 images and creates a new file with the .ARQ extension. You can now export or edit this final file.

So how does the final file look? The detail increase when zoomed in is great. It really ‘pops’ and it has this 3D look. You can very easily notice the resolution increase. Here are 2 crop comparisons:

Without pixel shift. Less detail.
Pixel Shift result. Check the painting textures very closely and they look ‘more 3D’.

Here’s another crop comparison:

No pixel shift.
Pixel shift result.

If you’re having trouble seeing the difference (there’s some sharpness applied on the images on this site), you can download the full-res photos here. I also included the full resolution JPEGS from both the shift result and without pixel shift. Note that no editing was done, not even lens correction profiles have been applied.

I also tried pixel shift with a cityscape and I have the following observations: it works as expected, and detail in the bricks is insane — way sharper than without pixel shift. However, there are downsides. I’m not sure how the Sony Imaging Edge software stacks the 4 shots together, but it does NOT work well with moving parts in between images. I tried combining several sequences of 4 images and they each came out with artifacts on moving parts.

An ancient gate close to my house which is perfect for trying the Pixel Shift function on. The bricks on this one create moire on some sensors. The bricks are super detailed and sharp with the pixel shifting function. However, the moving parts like water and clouds (these are also long exposures, short exposures are even worse) get artifacts when combining the images. Here’s an example of the artifacts:

You can see weird things going on in the clouds.

I am very interested in the technical side of this as I want to know the algorithm that the software uses to combine the 4 images. I thought it would be a similar algorithm as the stacking functions in Photoshop (median and mean on smart objects) but this was totally not the case. I tried stacking the images with multiple stacking techniques and they each came out worse than the original. This is probably because of the slight pixel shift that works differently here. The Imaging Edge software is using a different algorithm.

I could still use this technique to get sharper results in certain parts of the image and blend them together with other images. This is a bit of a hassle though and I would only use it in some situations. My advice would be to not use the pixel shift function when you have moving parts in your image for now.

TL;DR

  • The Pixel Shift function creates higher resolution images with better sharpness, color accuracy and less moire.
  • The camera takes 4 shots with a minimum of 1-second interval. Therefore it can be tricky to shoot a scene with moving subjects. It is meant to use for still scenes.
  • The camera shoots 4 uncompressed raws, even if you set up your camera to shoot in compressed raw.
  • You have to manually combine the files with the Sony Imaging Edge software. The camera doesn’t do this automatically for you.
  • The final file you get Is still 42 Megapixel. It’s not a file with more Megapixels (some people think that).

Conclusion

So in short: this function is not a gimmick, it really works. Will I use it as a landscape photographer? I will definitely try. I love to shoot images with as much detail as possible. In reality, I will often not be able to use this function because of moving subjects. However, as I am blending images lots of times I can definitely see this function being integrated into my photography.

Think of very fine stones on buildings, churches, mostly ancient structures. I would sometimes see slight moire when shooting these. Shooting with Pixel Shift completely eliminates the moire. Also, I could blend a pixel shift image with ‘normal’ images to overcome the moving scene issues. There are definitely possible situations in which I will use this technique.

It’s also super fast to activate, and if you have your camera on your tripod waiting for a sunset, why not shoot a pixel shift image while you’re waiting?


About the author: Albert Dros is a 31-year-old award-winning Dutch photographer. His work has been published by some of the world’s biggest media channels, including TIME, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and National Geographic. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram. This article was also published here.


Source: PetaPixel

Testing Sony’s New Pixel Shift Feature in the a7R III

Photographer Projects Portraits Onto Pieces of Trash in Los Angeles

Photographer Projects Portraits Onto Pieces of Trash in Los Angeles

Photographer Philippe Echaroux wants to spread an important message about the problem of trash littered on streets. His new photo project After the Dream is a creative series designed to raise awareness about this issue.

Echaroux visited Los Angeles and started by capturing portraits of random people he met on the streets.

Next, Echaroux collected pieces of trash scattered around the streets and combined them into larger trash surfaces. He then projected the portraits he captured onto the trash in front of popular landmarks.

Here’s a 3-minute behind-the-scenes video showing how the project was done:

The project goes beyond just these photos, however. Echaroux has set up a website where young people can submit photos of similar artworks they have created using trash.

You can find more of Philippe Echaroux’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram. A previous project of his involved projecting faces of indigenous people onto trees in the Amazon rainforest.


Source: PetaPixel

Photographer Projects Portraits Onto Pieces of Trash in Los Angeles