A great number of things have happened over the past 10 days; I have been attempting to find time to write about them for about a week but more stuff keeps happening which prevents me doing so. Until now, so here's an account of the more interesting/important activities.
Firstly, I did some work for free.
During my job hunt I had been struggling to find appropriate jobs that would advance my career as a CAD draughtsperson, mainly due to not having an engineering degree which most jobs related to CAD seem to require. In an attempt to combat this I started researching businesses that concentrate solely in the use of CAD packages, the theory being that I wouldn't need a degree to get a job.
I discovered that there is such a company (ACAD Services Bureau) based in Yaxley, not far from me. At the time, their website had an advert for a trainee draughtsperson position which seemed promising. I rang and spoke to the MD who informed me that the position had actually been filled (the task of advert removal had been forgotten) but I should send my CV anyway.
Long story short, I arranged to do a couple of days work for free; I would learn about what is required in M&E Services CAD roles, and would be able to demonstrate my abilities and provide some extra assistance to the office.
This was a good experience, and I'm sure would be considered as a pretty proactive method of job searching. At the end of my first day (Thursday) though, I received a phone call. This leads me nicely to my second point...
I got a job.
Yup, apparently the interview I went to last Tuesday was successful and I was offered the position of Quality Assurance Officer.
Since then, I've been supplied with various bits of information for employees about the company, as well as a series of paperwork which I have duly completed and returned.
I start on Tuesday, September 1st.
And with the security of an income, and the need to travel to the place of work comes the ability to justify a specific purchase. So...
I have bought a new car.
I spent the last weekend an a very excited frenzy, perusing Autotrader for suitably priced vehicles that would provide a reliable form of transport.
After scouring various dealerships, and investigating potential opportunities I spotted the listing for a 57 reg, 1.8l Vauxhall Vectra, listed on a dealer's website for £1,000. I thought it sounded a bit too good to be true, but as the dealer had a number of other options in the same price range it would be worth a visit.
Upon arriving on the Sunday I quickly spotted the Vectra with a price board in the windscreen showing £1,895. Knew it was too good to be true. Still, there were many other cars on the lot which proved a suitable form of entertainment for a while, trying to figure out which would be worth a test drive.
None of them really jumped out at me, but a swift conversation in passing with the salesman regarding the original Vectra revealed that the car had been reduced in price due to not being sold for about a month. It was indeed for sale at £1,000, just a smidgen over cost price.
The car was of course, investigated, test driven, investigated further, discussed, price agreed, paid for, insured, and driven home.
I now own this.
As the former owner of a Seat Arosa, a Rover 220 (regrettably), and three VW Polos, the size of this car (and brand) is somewhat new to me. I have also never been the owner of a car with as much power (it's still not much). For me, it's a bit ridiculous, my parents refer to it as a rep car (understandably), but I quite like it, despite it being incredibly bland as far as cars go.
A full service at my trusted garage revealed a broken coil spring and an issue with how someone's fitted a spark plug, but after they were fixed it successfully passed an MOT. Incidentally, I took the photo at the top of this post whilst milling about in Peterborough, waiting for the service and MOT to be carried out.
I am of course expecting it to explode in the next few weeks; something has to go wrong for me soon, but until then I shall continue to experience the brighter sides of life, like the fact that...
I am in possession of test prints for some of my photographs.
I teased you in the last post with a picture of an envelope labelled "PHOTOGRAPHS. Please Do Not Bend." Here's an explanation.
Since returning from Australia I have been researching the possibilities of exhibiting some of my photographs. This begins with finding a suitable means of printing my images.
Being an incredibly picky person, I want my photographs to be printed in the highest quality possible. I would not be happy with buying a cheap printer and some bog standard photo paper; that wouldn't give me the results I wanted, so I have been researching two options:
Firstly, buying a professional quality printer. This would cost me about £700 initially and I would be able to print A3 sized images for a reasonable cost. However, at this stage in my 'photographic career', such an outlay would be excessive, and I cannot guarantee I'd be able to cover costs later down the line.
Secondly, and with much difficulty, I have been trying to find a photo lab who can help me get the best quality prints at a reasonable price. Ideally I wanted to be able to arrange time to go and speak with someone about the printing process; I am no expert in these matters, having no experience, but was aware of printer profiles, drivers, and things that I would need to learn before travelling down the road to printing.
As luck would have it, I ended up chatting to a very nice chap by the name of Chris Shaw, at a local photography exhibition (he was exhibiting his own work there). Chris recommended a company called ProAm Imaging, a photo lab based online who had detailed instructions about downloading, and installing their printer drivers and exporting images so that the print will match what is on screen.
When I returned home from the exhibition I found the ProAm website and began experimenting with the drivers and information supplied on their website. My initial exports seemed to have a difference in colour to my original files which caused some confusion that I could not find solutions for on the website. I discovered that ProAm are actually based in Bradford and found a phone number.
I gave them a ring and spoke to a very nice fellow about how the printer driver works and have learned the reasons why my images were looking different, as well as some ways of fixing the issues. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone to the guy as he helped me understand and troubleshoot the issues, the customer service I received from this small photo lab up North was second to none. At no point did I feel that I was being a nuisance, and the help I received was excellent.
And in addition to that, the chap offered me the chance to send a few files as they were and they'd print up and send me some 6"x4" test prints, completely free of charge.
Needless to say, I sent some files across, and have now received the prints.
Having looked at them, there are issues present. But now I know what I have to do to fix them. There is a module in my processing software of choice (Adobe Lightroom) to help figure out where printing issues may arise based on colour profiles and all sorts of complicated technical things that I am only just starting to understand. It seems, in very crude terms, that the range of colours I have used in my processing is not printable, so must be modified to suit the printer.
I am working on getting together a series of images that I will get printed at A3 size, initially for my own pleasure, but later for exhibition. It's all in the early stages, and I'm not rushing these things, but I am getting excited. I have more immediate things to contend with though, like...
I'm moving to Cambridge.
As a final piece of information, I will soon be moving to Cambridge (or there abouts). My job is in a town outside Cambridge to the South, and I have been given the opportunity to lodge at the residence of some very good friends.
This will make getting to work easier (A14 and M11 permitting) and give me the chance to save a bit of money to set myself up with a place of my own in the future, most likely a bit nearer still to my job.
I've not lived in Cambridge before, nor have a spent much time there, except for drinking and climbing (not at the same time though), so I'm looking forward to being able to explore a new area and take some good photos of the place.
And that's pretty much all my exciting pieces of news. Until I have some more to say, please enjoy this picture of a cow that I took whilst on a walk.