Hot off the Presses: Strobist OCF Magnets

With apologies to the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, the Oregon Country Fair, the Ohio Football Club and the Olympic Credit Fund (among many others) the Strobist "OCF" magnets are now available.

The OCF stands for Off Camera Flash. Yeah, it's a little Dan Brown-ish. But we thought a rather fitting three-letter airport code thingie, all things considered.

They are not for sale -- but there are several ways in which you can score one for free. Deets inside.

The Plan

Earlier this summer, I was looking for a way to have a little fun with part of my budget. Long story short, I dropped a thousand bucks on just over 75 pounds worth of Euro-style "oval" magnets.

Main reasoning being, "Why not?"

Being long on impulse and short on detailed follow-through, the hard part would now be to figure out how to get them out to people.

Sweatshop Ben and Emily, Inc., serving as order fulfillment?

Nope. We can't even get them to clean their rooms.

SASE's coming to the house for the next year from all over the globe?

Um, nope.

So I thought it much easier (and way more fun) to just give them away. I divided the lot into five sections and we are scattering them to the winds.

How to Get One

[UPDATE: Getting reports that MPEX are out, as of 10/5/09.]

There are three ways to score one, and all are free. (And only one way requires a purchase of any kind.)

The easiest way -- and the way in which you have the best chance -- is to make any purchase from Midwest Photo Exchange. (While supplies last -- and I would not wait too long on this option.)

They have been an incredible supporter of the site and all that goes on here, so I wanted to say thanks to the people who support them.

MPEX has even created several new products specifically for the readers of this site. So the path of least magnetic resistance goes to those of you who are supporting them -- and, by extension, the site itself. And thanks, by the way.

While supplies last (and they got a pile of them) type in OCF as a promotional code at checkout on any purchase. Check your list of items to make sure it took. It should be cryptically obvious.

Another Way

The second easiest way to get one for free is a cakewalk, if you happen to attend 2009 Photo Plus Expo this October in New York. They will be available -- but not visible -- in at least three booths. There will be a code word involved, 'cause we don't want these going to just anybody with a fridge or a car to accessorize, right?

More on that later, when we get closer to Photo Plus.

The Most Challenging Way

I (as well as a certain number of people on my behalf) am simply going to start leaving them in publicly accessible locations. Obviously, the Baltimore-Washington corridor is gonna get some love because that is home base for me. But I travel a fair bit too. In fact, I have two trips planned within the next two weeks, and I will be leaving a trail of litter magnets as I go.

There are people helping from around the country and the globe, too. So the magnets could show up literally anywhere. How will you know when a magnet has been placed somewhere in your area?

That's easy. I'll tweet it on Twitter -- specific location and all. And if whoever finds it first sends me an "@strobist" tweet, I also will let people know that it has been found. So if you want to get OCF updates make sure to follow @Strobist on Twitter.

It is free and easy, and there are a whole bunch of cool photog-types there worth following. More on that later.

My goal here is to really spread these things around the world and see what happens. I have some ideas, and this will be an ongoing project with some cool surprises.

Score Some Bragging Rights

If you happen to get your hands on an OCF, here's a little fun contest. Place it in the most impressive spot you can think of, and photograph it there.

We'll see who can come up with the best OCF mag location photo. (This could get fun...)

One Last Thing

There are exactly 1,000 magnets (assuming we do not repeat it) to be dispersed about the entire planet. Which means that there is a pretty small chance you will ever see another one on someone else's car.

If you ever see one, please don't be a jerk and steal it. Seriously, that would be so counter to the whole thing.

But just to let them know you could have easily stolen it, turn it upside down. You keep the good karma and they get a little creeped out.

This should be lots of fun, depending on where we can get the magnets dispersed to. And for those of you who choose to support the site's sponsors as a way of getting yours, many thanks. You make this whole thing happen.


New to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Got a question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist
Have a passport? Join me in Hanoi: X-Peditions Location Workshops