Archive for October, 2007


Isn’t Halloween Over?

October 31, 2007

Someone actually asked me that today as I walked across campus in costume. Well, no, it’s not over. It’s today. Today is Halloween. Not some other day.

Which brings me to the shocking discussion I had at lunch today with two of my friends. (Well I thought they were my friends, but that was before the aforementioned shocking discussion.) “In my city,” I said, “we have trick or treating on Halloween, and it extends into the dark of night.” They, however, felt that this was too dangerous. Where they lived, trick-or-treat was held on the weekend, regardless of when the 31st fell, and was conducted in broad daylight. It’s safer, they said. I said they were a bunch of sissies bent on sucking the joy out of a great holiday.

Anyway, I did go trick-or-treating on Halloween. In the dark. With a six-year-old and a ninja. Nobody got hurt and it was lots of fun.

Speaking of Halloween and coworkers, I can’t get this song out of my head.


Tags in WordPress

October 31, 2007

Finally! I upgraded to WordPress 2.3.1 and now I have a field in the compose window for comma separated metadata tags!


Gary Fong Customer Support: Lightsphere

October 30, 2007

If you do any flash photography you’ve probably heard of Gary Fong and his amazingly popular Lightsphere line of products. For the uninitiated, it’s a big plastic cone you fit onto the business end of your external flash unit and it disperses the light in a pleasing way, making for better photographs. Or so they say. I’ll let you know when mine arrives.

But this isn’t a blog entry about Lightsphere. It’s about customer service. Bad customer service.

You see, the product page on the Lightsphere at the Gary Fong store has some information about which flash units it fits onto. Mine isn’t listed. it does have some advice on how to measure your flash unit to see if it will work, but, not having my flash handy I seized upon a link that said “if you don’t see your flash listed here, email us.”

So I did. I asked if the Lightsphere worked on the Sigma EF-500 flash unit. I got back this:

Scott – check here:

Which is of course the same information I’d already seen. So I replied:

Yeah, I saw that. But it also said “it can be used on hundreds of flashes… if you do not see yours listed, please email me!” My flash isn’t listed.

Which got me:

Yes – since you flash is not listed, you will have to measure it and determine which LS will be the best fit

Finally, I sent this:

You really should take off the “email me” link on the product page. It’s obviously no more help than the page itself.

Incidentally, I didn’t try to measure my flash. I did some creative googling and found that other photographers have used a Lightsphere in their EF-500, but that it was a tight fit. I guess I’ll risk it for $40 and see how it goes. I hope the product is better than the email support.

Update: It gets better! Customer “Service” sent this:

Scott – I gave you directions — including a drawing!

At this point I figure I need to spell it out more clearly:

Yes, I am aware. But I didn’t have my flash or a measuring tape handy when I was perusing the site, thinking of making a purchase. I just assumed that “It works on hundreds of flashes…if you do not see yours listed, please email me!” meant that you might be prepared to answer such a question via email. See where I’m coming from? If you are simply going to refer such questioners to the table on the very page which prompts us to email you, fine; but in that case you should not be inviting us to email with these questions in the first place.

I’m not trying to be a jerk about it. I have in fact ordered myself a Lightsphere, having learned from another web site that it fits – albeit rather tightly – on my flash. But there is a disconnect between what your web site says and what your customer service department is prepared to actually do. One of them should change to avoid people wasting their time in a frustrating circle of pointless emails.

Christ, what is it that these guys do not understand here? If you have a web site that lists compatibility with other products, even if it includes instructions on how to measure unlisted products for compatibility, that’s great. Very helpful. But if that very same page also says “email me!” if you don’t see your other product listed, you should actually be prepared to tell people something other than simply referring them to the same instructions they saw in the first place.


Feldstein Photography Dot Com

October 23, 2007

You know I’ve been doing photography work. You know I said I needed to get a web site for it. So after several minutes of grueling work spanning the last few days, it is with great pleasure and enormous something-or-other that I unveil to you…

First, a design choice: I hate web pages that wiggle. If I see another photographer, auto manufacturer or pop music group’s web site whose index page is one enormous flash animation I’m going to projectile vomit all over the intertubes. So that’s out. Other than that? Brief, tasteful and to the point. How’d I do?

Please tell your southeastern Wisconsin friends and neighbors about me.


Who is this incredible young man?

October 19, 2007


Originally uploaded by scottfeldstein.

Just yesterday he looked more like this.


Photo Biz

October 17, 2007

I got another photo job today – another wedding. Last minute gig. Next Saturday. It was another colleague from work, so I gave him the fabulous deal I gave the previous person at work who hired me.

It really made me feel vindicated for spending that $550 on the new lens that I’ll be picking up tomorrow. You gotta spend money to make money. Or something like that. But how much had I spent? And how much had I made?

Turns out I’d spent quite a bit. But I was pleased to see, after crunching some numbers, that my photo gigs of the last few months had nearly paid for everything I’d spent on gear over the last two years. Another $300 and I’d be in the black. Until I buy another camera body.

And that’s what I’m going to do – as soon as I land another big wedding I’ll buy myself a new Nikon D80 or D200 or D300.

You gotta spend money to make money.


And now for something we hope you’ll really like

October 17, 2007

So I’m standing in the back yard last night chatting with my neighbor when – wham! – I see a flying squirrel.

Shut up! It really was a flying squirrel!

I was standing there talking when I saw something swoop out of the sky and land smack on the trunk of a tree fifteen feet away. Then it scurried up the trunk and disappeared into the canopy.

“Holy shit,” I said. “That was a flying squirrel!” It was way too big to be a bat, I observed. It was twice as large as any bat i’ve ever seen. It prompted me to go inside and google flying squirrels. Do we even have such creatures here in Wisconsin? Turns out we do. They’re nocturnal, which is why people don’t usually see them.