30 March 2008

Pleasant surprise

As a photographer wannabe, one is always looking for the occasional sale. So all the more delightful when it comes unexpected.

I've spent this week-end at a trade fair called Villmarksmessen, catering for all kinds of outdoor activities. Biofoto had a stand to man. Those of us who volunteered, got the opportunity to decorate the stand with our own pics. Just for show.

We've rallied some new members, had a great time, those few of us who rose to the task. Many people came by our stand to look at the pics, and being a junior in the scrambled company, I noted with some satisfaction that my pics got a fair amount of attention. Which eventually resulted in a sale, an enlargement of the below pic.

Camera: Pentax 645
Lens: 645A-45/2.8
Film: Kodak E100VS
Exposure: ca. 2 minutes at f/3.5

27 March 2008

A Snowfall To Save The Season

This winter has been exceptionally mild around here.

All the snow we've got have come at temperatures just below freezing and with no proper crystals. Just mashed up needles or grains of puff.

The Snowfall To Save The Season came last Monday. -5°C and nice, elaborate crystals. So here's a sample of this year's catch.

The optical setup was a Pentax 645-A* 300/4 with 645-FA 75/2.8 reversed, a #1 extension tube and 645-K adapter, mounted on a K10D and fastened to a stationary homemade rig.

23 March 2008

Sporty service

I had a business trip to London on Wednesday before Easter. Today I realised I still had British pounds in my wallet. The moment of realisation came while trying to pay for lunch at Lilloseter, a so-called Sports Cafeteria. The forests around Oslo have a number of these cafés, and they offer "refreshments to the weary traveller". At horrendous prices, of course, but that's a different story.

Today I stood there, my tray full of lunch, and no valid cash.

The lady behind the counter smiled and handed me the receipt. "You're not the first one in that situation. Just pay the next time you come by, that's OK."

Bless 'em!

14 March 2008

Curiosity killed the cat

Yesterday I almost fell for a vanity scam. So here's the warning to other vane people. :-)

A week ago I got a mail from something called the "Madison Who's Who" register. Apparently I had been recognised by my peers as worthy of inclusion into this register, but had to report my interest by following the logon link. I did, and was presented with a page to submit personal details. While I could feel my neck hairs stand on end, curiosity got the better of me and I submitted my name and telephone number. The website was quite professionally made, though, and so far there was no indication of rip-off intentions.

Yesterday I got a phone call from USA. Alledgedly from NYC, from Madison Who's Who. A young guy with good telemarketing skills talked directly to my vane side, used whatever he had scraped together of info on me from the profile and used it to affirm with me the impression of them knowing I was a valuable professional within my field. Since I try to keep my paid job well apart from my photography, I shall not explain why he has a point even beyond my personal vanity (how's that for rhetorical ego boosting, eh?). Trust me that it could have been legitimate for a particular field of expertise. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was not quite right. The slickness factor was just those notches too high for my liking. There was a lot of verbal social grooming, like "what do you consider your most essential talent in your profession", "what would you say is the main reason why you have reached your level of expertise", etc.

Then, after a 15 minutes conversation (wonder how much that cost from USA to Norway), he got to the more salient points. He was selling extended memberships. His voice fell into reciting mode, speaking monotonely and very fast, listing options I had. By subtle intonations he toned down the one important fact; every alternative came with a "small fee to be paid up front".

Ha! The guy thought he had me warm and lulled into confidence. I said I was confused by the alternatives and had him repeat it. Still "confused", I asked for the info in an email. Unfortunately, he told me, the company had not equipped its call-center with computers because then they would "listen to internet radio all day". Yeah right.

I figured this was interesting enough to do further investigation, so I told him I couldn't make any decision right away. He is to call me back on Monday. Meanwhile, I've found plenty of references to this being a archetypical "vanity scam". Here are
some of the links:
Exposing the Who's who racket (AOL video) - This video is of a phone conversation almost identical to mine.
Leoni's blog on RedBubble
Try a Google search for "madison who's who scam" for a bucketload of links.

So, the main question is now. What to do when they call on Monday? Play them? Trash them? Or just dismiss them without ado?