Monday, October 24, 2011

Phishing for gems from the spam folder

Now and then a legitimate email gets misdirected to my email's spam folder.  Most of the time it's all crap that I don't want to waste even a fraction of a second glancing over, but I've had some annoyingly close calls with stuff getting stuck there so it's worth scanning once a week.  Again, mostly crap.

The following emails are not crap.  They're better than crap.  They're phishing scams that, were I in a position to waste hours of my life, I would really love to respond to and lead these guys on with elaborate falsehoods of my own.  One of my many talents is inventing realistic sounding names of companies.  Hell, with a couple hours and a few bucks, the properly motivated reverse-prankster could create websites, alternate email identities, and give real physical addresses (to real abandoned properties) to these asshats that are hoping to catch the two people alive that haven't seen the 60 Minutes special on these scams.

I'm not that motivated, but here are a few nice messages I've gotten in the last month or so.  Feel free to respond, but if any money changes hands, I'll need a 15% finders fee.  My barrister in Lagos will collect the appropriate information from you.

The Trusty Trustee
Partner 72 Avenue Ouaga
Burkina Faso

Good Day ,

This is a personal email directed to you and I request that it be treated as such.
I am Barrister Paparazy, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney/sole executor to the late Dr. George , hereinafter referred to as’ my client' who worked as an independent oil magnate in my country and who died in a car crash with his immediate family on the 4th of Oct,1998. Since the death of my client in Oct, 1998, I have written several letters to the embassy with intent to locate any of his extended relatives whom shall be claimants/beneficiaries of his abandoned personal estate and all such efforts have been to no avail.

Moreover, I have received official letters in the last few weeks suggesting a likely proceeding for confiscation of his abandoned personal assets in line with existing laws by the bank in which my client deposited the sum of 18.5 Million United States Dollars.

On this note I decided to search for a credible person and finding that you bear a similar last name, I was urged to contact you, that I may, with your consent, present you to the "trustee" bank as my late client's surviving family member so as to enable you put up a claim to the bank in that capacity as a next of kin of my client.

I find this possible for the fuller reasons that you bear a similar last name with my client making it a lot easier for you to put up a claim in that capacity. I propose that 50% of the net sum will accrue to you at the conclusion of this deal in so far as I do not incur further expenses.

Therefore, to facilitate the immediate transfer of this fund, you need, first to contact me via email signifying your interest and as soon as I obtain your confidence, I will immediately appraise you with the complete details as well as fax you the documents, with which you are to proceed and i shall direct on how to put up an application to the bank.

However, you will have to assent to an express agreement which I will forward to you in order to bind us in this transaction.

Upon the receipt of your reply, I will send you by fax or E-mail the next step to take. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this proposal is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any fears as the required arrangements have been made for the completion of this transfer. Like I said, I require only a solemn confidentiality on this.

Best regards,
Barr.Paparazy Esq.
The Lucky Lottery Winner 
Name: Barrister.Renny Harlings
1.Full Name:
2.Full Address:
For Your Wonderful Work With The UN
You are to contact Dr Jacek Slotala of Bank Zachodni via his e-mail
address: jacekslotala@LIVE.COM with the below information for the
claim of your United Nations Compensation Bank Draft of $550,000.00
Full Names (Surname First).......
Current Address...................
Occupation ......................
Telephone #..............

Contact him immediately with the requested information above for your
International Bank Draft of $550,000.00 USD.
Benjamin Jon for Gen Ban Ki Moon
Secretary General (UNITED NATIONS)
The Unordered Package
This is a post notification,

Your parcel has arrived at the post office on October 7.
Our Driver was unable to deliver the parcel to your address.
Please print out the invoice copy attached and collect the package at our office.

Thank you,
FedEx Customer Services.

Guess what happens when you click on the attachment.  My money says that it's not an invoice...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Four weekends, four cities

Have you ever had one of those periods where you've been traveling almost every week and you feel like you left a little of your mind in every place you've been?  My last four weekends have been spent in Charlotte, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Columbus.  I'm looking forward to a low key weekend before what is sure to be another great Halloween in New Orleans.  After that, a few days in Florida to shoot a wedding, followed by a very busy November.  

Stuff from the last month that's still floating around in the old brain...  
I'm still processing info from After Dark Charlotte

Results of a visit to the Tabasco plant.

Band playing directly in front of the wall of the room where we slept in Lafayette.  
This car rear ended me. 
Engagement shoot on the OSU campus. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rediscovering the lost art of play

A week ago I had the extreme pleasure of going to After Dark Education in Charlotte.  Expensive trip, sure, but as I've spent the last week just trying to sort out all the things that I saw, it should prove to be money well spent.  After Dark is a collection of about 35 different photographers that come together to teach everything from studio basics to advanced business topics.  Over three days, you get to pick what you want to learn and who you want to see to get the most out of the experience.  It's all about getting up close with the mentors to talk, ask, and play.  This isn't your typical corporate conference, unless you work in an industry that keeps going strong until 3am every day.  There were a few big points that I picked up on while I was there.

"I'm right, they're wrong."  There's the saying that there's more than one way to skin a cat.  My three days in Charlotte burned that into my mind.  From 1:30 to 3:15 I'd hear one teacher say to do something one way.  From 3:30 to 4:45 I'd hear another person say to do it a completely different way.  For the students looking for a black and white "this is how you do it," their heads were probably spinning.  There are a ton of variations you can throw into the way you photograph things.  If anything that should be encouraging.  All it means is that you need to experiment and do what works for you.  The whole point is that you need to know exactly why doing things certain ways will get certain results.  

Why these people are "professionals."  Everybody has a camera now.  There are 250 million pictures uploaded to Facebook every day.  It's easy to think that since we have the tool, we're right up there with the big guys.  I'll tell you as somebody who has read countless books and taken huge numbers of pictures, that the difference between "I have a shiny new camera" and "I'm a professional" is bigger than you'd imagine.  I saw more than one teacher at After Dark look at a subject and estimate the proper aperture/iso/shutter settings within 1/3rd of a stop.  There's a big difference between creating an image in your head and using tools to bring it to life and using tools to just hack away at something.

"Go play"  I've used this phrase before and I love that it was used at After Dark.  Think about "play" as a child might.  It's that sense of uninhibited creativity that we're after.  Do things that you've never done, go places you've never gone, imagine, create.  Grab lights, a model, a piece of rental equipment, and go to the roof, or to the parking lot, or to a peddle boat.  The corporate world spent four years squeezing the sense of "play" out of me, so it was amazing to rediscover that feeling.  The great thing about "play" as an adult is that now I can infuse things like discipline and technical knowledge into the game to push things further and learn more from the experience.

The world is full of exciting possibilities.

Go play!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Fatty Photographs

My trip through the small town south yielded enough images that I got one on the cover.  It's not National Geographic, but it's still something of a milestone knowing that the first thing people will see on newsstands is your work in nice glossy print.  This is a first step, a confidence booster that says "hey, that wasn't so bad, let's do more."  It's also nice knowing that some of the little shops I took the pictures in sell this magazine, so they'll get to talk about their features and show off to their customers.

This week I'll be heading back out to Lafayette for a couple of nights.  There's a party I'm photographing and then I'll be out looking for trouble and/or non-trouble related interesting things to take pictures of.  Charlotte last weekend, Lafayette this weekend, Ohio next weekend.  Look for more photo-awesomeness soon.