This is a cautionary tale — one where I was literally just one click away from getting my $1,450 Canon EOS-R Mirrorless body ripped off. Here’s what happened:

I wanted to buy the new Canon R6 Mirrorless body

It has all the stuff I want on it, (and yes, for goodness sake it has two card slots), and I’ve been waiting for what I hope will be the perfect camera for me, and well…it came in yesterday. Anyway, to get this body I decided to sell my beloved Canon EOS R mirrorless body I bought back in 2019, so I listed it for sale on eBay (as seen below).

I’ve sold a number of things over the years on eBay, and I don’t do the whole auction-thing — I only put stuff up with a “Buy It Now” choice. I take my own pics of the product (seen below and throughout), so it’s the actual one they’re getting, and I price it to move, and it usually does pretty quickly. I had a few low-ball offers, but then within a day or so, it sold at full price, and I could see the guy paid in full, but PayPal put a hold on the funds to make sure I actually sent the guy the camera body. Apparently, theft and scams for what PayPal referred to as “high-priced consumer electronics” is a fairly common thing.

Things start getting a bit sticky

I get a message from the buyer saying how excited he was to get the camera, and how he couldn’t believe they actually got it. He also told me the shipping address on the account was outdated, and now he lives in Delaware and could I ship it to where he lives now instead, and he gave me his new address. I’m like “Sure, no problem.”

I messaged back to the buyer that I would be shipping the camera body that day and I would send the FedEx tracking number shortly, and I went to create the shipping label.

Wait. What?

The buyer dropped me a note again, and said he noticed that PayPal had put a hold on the funds. I’m not used to this happening (neither was he), so I went “old school” and called PayPal on the phone to make sure it was OK to ship the camera body (I didn’t want to get scammed, and have the buyer pull back his payment after I shipped the camera, saying he never received it). They assured me it was OK to ship it, and that the payment would be released the buyer received the camera. So, as I’m writing back and forth the buyer, I wrote, “That’s going to the Delaware address, right?” He wrote back, “What Delaware address? I live in Tennessee.”

Well, as it turns out, the first messages I got weren’t actually from the real buyer. They were from someone posing as the buyer of my camera, using a different eBay account. He got the buyer’s name after seeing it on my Facebook page, because the actual buyer wrote there, “Hey, Scott. I just bought your EOS R” so this other guy posed as him, used his name, and son-of-a-gun I was one click away from shipping it to the scammer at tthat Delaware address. I would have lost my camera; the real buyer would get hosed because now he’s not getting a camera either, though eventually he would have his money released back to him by PayPal, but the bad guy in Delaware would have pulled a fast one and I’d be out $1,450. I was that close. One click from printing that label and shipping it.

A Rookie Mistake

I’ve been told (since) you never, ever ship to an address other than the address on their account (by the way — the guy in Delaware closed his fake account immediately after I told him I was shipping the camera that day).

I Dodged A Bullet!

The real buyer confirmed he got the camera and he’s loving it. I’m about two days away from having PayPal release the funds from the sale, and my new camera (along with a new 150-600mm Tamron lens) came in yesterday in a glorious B&H Photo shipping box, and man…I just got lucky. This story could have had a very sad ending.

I hope this story of near-disaster helps you if you’re selling any gear online, and at the very least makes you double-check and triple-check before you ship.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful, safe, non-ripped off weekend, and we’ll catch you next week. :)

-Scott

P.S. A big thanks to everybody who attended our Travel Photography Conference this week. It totally rocked, and the feedback has just been stellar!!! Such a great group of photographers, with lots of great questions and discussions, and laughs throughout. Also, a high-five to all our wonderful instructors and my production team here at KelbyOne who worked so hard to make this conference such a success. I’m indebted to you all. Can’t wait to share what’s next. :)

Creating Landscape Composites: Advanced Techniques with Bret Malley

Go beyond what your landscape images are, and imagine what they could be! Join Bret Malley in the follow-up to his Creating Landscape Composites class with a more advanced look at new features, cool effects, and fun techniques that allow you to unleash whatever you can imagine. From starting with a good foundation to incorporating a range of new elements to replacing the sky and making it all look like a coherent piece, Bret will pique your interest in playing with your landscape images in new and exciting ways using Photoshop.

In Case You Missed It: Creating Landscape Composites with Bret Malley

Anything you can imagine you can make happen with landscape composites! Join Bret Malley as he takes you on a journey of creativity while teaching you the techniques and concepts you’ll need to use to create eye catching composites of outdoor scenes. You’ll learn the importance of key blending modes, how to replace skies, multiple techniques for blending graphic elements into a scene, how to use selections and masks, tips for fine tuning your creations, and how to add atmosphere and final touches. This is a great way to learn powerful Photoshop techniques while breathing new life into your landscape photographs.

Hi all! Greetings from the land down under. Thanks to Scott and Brad for inviting me to share some of my work and background info with you. I hope you’re staying safe and well. It’s been terrible to see the devastating financial impact Covid had on areas of our industry. May the sun keep rising and world keep turning – and lets hope brighter days are ahead for not just photography, but the planet as a whole. 


IN THE BEGINNING

My lifelong love of animals began during my formative years in outback Australia where my father was a sheep shearer and wool valuer. As an only child, my constant companions were my dogs, guinea pigs, horses, rabbits and bottle-fed lambs. My family had a great regard for Australian wildlife and I often helped my mother rescue and care for a wide array of injured kangaroo joeys, birds and other creatures until they could be released back into their natural habitat.

At age 11 I moved with my family to the Pilbara, an area in northern Western Australia, and a place that was the ideal environment to grow up in. I spent much of my spare time there exploring the surrounding desert with my Rottweiler, Ally.

Driven by a desire to contribute to society, I joined the Western Australian Police Service at age 19 and served for 14 years as a police officer and crime analyst. In 2005 I was burnt out from the stresses of the job, and I transferred to the Australian Federal Government, where I worked for five years as a Senior Transport Security Inspector, auditing city and regional airports and airlines for their counter-terrorist security measures. I travelled a lot during this time, often doing up to 200 flights a year. And I hate flying, but that’s a whole other story!


THE FOCUS OF MY LENS 

Photography became a serious passion in 2006. On occasion I’d used a point-and-shoot camera and film camera until then, but when a friend showed me the scope of digital photography I was hooked. Never one to do things by halves, I spent every spare moment studying photographic literature, and practicing the craft on my own pets, those of friends and family, as well as farm animals and wildlife. I tried a few other genres such as landscapes and people, but animals enthralled me more than any other subject. Within a short period of time, I knew animals would be the focus of my lens.

(more…)

What a start to 2021! Most of the world is in some sort of lockdown, quarantine, or isolation, and travel is certainly not on the table for a little while. #TravelTuesday today is focussed on inspiration and I hope the ways I stay inspired are just as useful for you as they are for me. I’m Dave Williams, let’s do this.

1. Take a Walk

Getting exercise when we can’t really go anywhere is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Taking the camera with us helps to keep our pixel game strong, too. Even if we just have our smartphone, we have a camera. Setting ourselves the challenge of capturing a few moments from our daily exercise is a great way to force us to look for compositions and forces us to look at the world around us in a new light to get these images and to see things we wouldn’t otherwise pay attention to.

2. Learn Something New

Picking up a new skill in photography helps us to develop our skills in many ways. The key point, in my opinion, is that anything we learn will contain transferrable skills that we can take back to our usual genre, stimulating our mind, refreshing our creativity, and boosting our skillset. Photography books, blogs, and tutorials are a great way to do this.

3. Watch Videos

There are so many awesome YouTube channels focussed on photography where ideas and techniques are openly shared and discussed. Taking inspiration from others, and perhaps even living vicariously through the lives and experiences of others, is a great escape from the walls we find ourselves contained within.

4. Gear Overhaul

You can take this one however you want to. Whether a gear overhaul to you means buying new toys or simply refreshing what you already have, that’s up to you. If you want to get something new, take advantage of this time of limited shooting to put some work in and research new gear, read reviews, and make any investment as wise as possible. If new gear isn’t an option, take the time to properly clean and refresh everything, taking stock as well of what you have that you use the most or what you don’t use at all.

5. Remember Why You Started

Taking yourself back to the foundations of your photography journey and remembering why you do it, how exciting it is, how much it makes you smile, and how it unlocks the creativity within you is so fun. Reconnecting with the origins of your passion and bringing all that into the present, along with all the ups and downs experienced along the way (and all the selfies) is one of the most important ways to keep our minds engaged and our sanity in-check while we wait for life to resume.

Whatever you do with your photography, don’t lose sight of the end of this predicament and the moment we can pick up our normal lives and get back on track with the goals we perhaps set before the world went a bit weird!

Much love
Dave

I had to do this for a project I was working on recently, and it’s so simple (yet so effective) that I thought I’d share it in a quick two-minute video here today. It’s how to add a realistic drop shadow under your product in no time (so easy and quick). Check out the video below:

Hope you found that helpful. :)

Have a great Monday — stay healthy and happy, and check back tomorrow for “Travel Tuesdays with Dave.”

-Scott

The conference itself is Wednesday and Thursday of next week, but it kicks off a day early on Tuesday with a special pre-conference session I’m teaching called “What makes a great travel photo?” I’ve got such a great session put together for this pre-con — I can’t wait to share it with the folks who’ve signed up.

Give the trailer above a quick look (it’s only like 2 minutes or so), and then go sign up right now — it’s going to be an amazing few days with an incredible team of instructors from all over, and you’ll learn a ton (there are a number of sessions on Lightroom and Photoshop for travel photography, including a session I’m doing on “Travel Photography Special Effects.”

Here’s the link to sign up, and we’ll see you next week!

Have a great weekend, stay safe and healthy, and we’ll catch ya back here next week. :)

-Scott

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