Posted by: digibirder | August 15, 2010

Photos at last!

I’ve had quite a hectic few weeks, what with getting used to the new job. I am still in training, with one more week to go, but I think I will be on some mixed shifts after next week, despite being told we would be on the 9.00-5.30 shifts for a little longer. I will find out this coming week, so all will be confirmed and I can get on with planning other stuff in my life. The job seems to be growing on me, but we’ll see how it goes once training is over and I’m in the firing line of irate customers. I passed the technical test on Friday, so that was a relief, but I still feel that the training has not really equipped us for being on the front line. I suppose most of it comes by actually doing the job, but while working on some customer service tickets during our second week, I noticed that some agents were not dealing with certain queries very well. All of my intake group found that with some further investigation, the ticket could either be closed or escalated to the correct team to resolve, but they were ‘putting on hold’ far too often, which gives them 0.5 points to their efficiency target and they reach their monthly target quicker. I can see that I may want to work more slowly in order to get problems solved, but this may affect my being able to achieve my targets. Again, this is one aspect that I will need to think about, should I decide to stay. I think the major problem is that they’ve taken on too many staff and there are more newish people there than long-standing staff members. Seems there’s not enough chiefs and too many indians! No wonder they get customers complaining, when they’ve not had their issue dealt with in a professional manner. And some of the grammar and spelling I’ve seen…!

The craft fair last week was again a dismal failure. A lot more people around, but they weren’t spending much money. I sold five greeting cards, and that was to one customer. At the previous fair I was one of three photographers with a stand; this time there were four of us, which is a pretty high ratio from about 15/16 stalls. I have one more fair booked with this organiser, in September, but I have worked out that I may be working (assuming I’m on the 6-day shift pattern). Rather than book a day off I am thinking of asking the organiser if I can move to the next fair in November, which falls on my day off. This date might be better, being nearer to Christmas, but the one last week should have been more successful, as there was a huge steam rally on in the town over the same weekend, which should have brought in more passers-by. Next year I might try some of the larger country and agricultural shows. Having said that, I am thinking of putting the photo biz on hold till I get more into the job – perhaps starting up again next year. This will give me more time to get my act together and get more practice. Before getting the job, it was a bit of a priority that I get started earning some money, even though I was relatively inexperienced, but it’s not as crucial now that I have a full-time income. I will, of course, continue to plan and research and take photos to add to my portfolio.

As it happens, since starting my new job I’ve had three enquiries for photo shoots via my website. I had one recently for a modelling portfolio, but I think that is way out of my expertise. I backed out of the 50th anniversary party as I really do not feel too confident about that scenario, and I am probably working anyway. I may have a word with a guy at the camera club who has a photo business and see I can get some advice from him. He gives tutorials at the club now and again, so I’m sure he’ll be open to helping. I may even ask him to do the jobs and then go along as a second shooter or assistant. We’ll see how it all goes over the next few weeks.

Anyway, we did manage to get out on a couple of trips. The week before the craft fair we were going to go to the coast, but instead decided to go to North Yorkshire and visit Barnard Castle – somewhere we’ve never been before.

The Market Cross on the main street

The castle walls

After a wander round the town and a bite of lunch, we then decided to explore further afield and headed over to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. First stop was a tearoom where we had a cream tea, then we wandered along the high street and looked in a few shops. We then drove up to the Wensleydale Creamery to get some cheese before setting off for home.

Hawes village

This weekend we drove out to the Peak District and had a walk around Hathersage. Arriving later than we would have liked, the first stop was a local café for lunch, which turned out more expensive than we would have liked, but it was very nice. We then drove up to the Surprise View car park and did the rather steep climb to Mother Cap. I went here on the workshop with Doug Chinnery a few months ago, when I had to be there for 5.30am for a sunrise that never happened due to a misty rain hanging in the valley. This time there was more rain as we got to the top, so I didn’t bother with any photos, but by the time we got back to the car it had eased off and there were patches of blue sky appearing. We decided to take a walk in the other direction, but we were a little tired by then, so I took a few photos of the heather-covered landscape and then we wandered back to the car and home for a refreshing cup of tea.

Looking up to Mother Cap (centre)

Today we’ve had a relaxing day at home, even though the weather has been quite good. I was going to take some macro shots in the garden, but there is a bit of a breeze. I have lots of notes to type up from the training, which I want to get sorted before I finish my training and start on the phones. But I thought I’d get the blog updated first so that I don’t get too far behind.

The big news is that Keith reached 60 years old earlier this month, so we went out for a nice celebratory meal when I finished work that day, and his sister, her husband and their son came over for a visit last Sunday to bring a special present. I bought Keith a new camera for his birthday – a Panasonic FZ38 – which he is still getting to grips with at the moment. It’s a nice little camera. He has officially signed off from the Job Centre now, both as a result of me getting a job, and for the fact that he is now eligible to draw his work pension, which will also prevent any further claims. We were discussing replacing my PC with a Macintosh, but I decided I would prefer a new Canon lens instead – either the EF 24-105mm f4 L IS or the EF 70-200mm f4 L IS. Both are good for portraiture and landscapes. Looking forward to that.



  1. looks very attractive. don’t tell your colleagues about your blog if you’re going to talk work!

  2. Ooops don’t know how I missed this post! Many happies to the old man for earlier in the month 😉 I like the Hawes village pic in particular.

    (and ditto what Pete has said)

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