Category Archives: General

Photography page, Antarctica images and a new development

I’ve been meaning for a very long time to upload some decent galleries of my photographs to this blog, for the reader’s general enjoyment.  You’ll have noted the occasional random image post in the past.  To this end, I’ve begun experimenting with a gallery plugin, accessed via the “Photography” page (above, or click the link).

So far, I’ve just uploaded a small selection of photographs from my last Antarctic trip, as expedition doctor for Cheeseman’s Ecology Safari’s voyage to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the MV Polar Star.  Have a look and let me know what you think of the interface.  There’s obviously more to come.

Finally, a new development: my photo’s have caught the eye of a local company called workART, who have an online artwork and framing business aimed at gettign good-quality prints to the public at affordable prices.  Watch this space – soon you’ll be able to order many (or any!) of my photographs as framed prints at low cost.

First 9/11… now 8/22?

Demonstrating (what counts for me as) great personal restraint, I have held back the obvious Lord of the Rings puns all day as we bid farewell to the two Athlone Cooling Towers… but I can’t help note the allegory to the more unfortunate US event fading rapidly into our combined histories.  Ours, of course, came as less of a surprise – but still somewhat unexpected.

The cooling towers have been a feature in my landscape for as long as I’ve lived in Cape Town: my whole life.  I still recall driving past them as a child every time we set off to Betty’s Bay for a weekend.  The coal power station was still operational then, and one could see the cascades of water through the air intake fins at the bottom of the tower: a living example of the principles of physics that I was foggily beginning to grasp at the beginning of the long process to creating light pour from handy switches around the house.  My father could explain the entire process all the way to Somerset West, and I was enthralled.

The Athlone Power Station shut down years ago, and since then the towers have gradually declined.  I once missed a chance to abseil from them during a rescue practice because of an ophthalmology tut I was too scared to bunk: what a waste 😉  The city council announcement that they had become structurally unsound and would be demolished didn’t come as much of a surprise, but it certainly jerked a few Capetownian tears.

Despite the girl and I both being badly post-call, neither of us was at all willing to miss something being blown up almost in our back garden.  I had done some reccie work on my trusty Dakar (LOTR reference coming:  it’s name is Hasufel) and selected a spot along the river just across the highway from the towers.  We arrived with dog in tow about 90 minutes early, picnic in hand, and selected a prime piece of river frontage replete with uninterrupted view for my cameras (HD video and DSLR).  As the time passed if became more and more festive, with people from all walks (and limps) of life filling the bank.  Everyone was delightfully polite and careful not to obstruct each other’s views; children played together and Kaptein earned much attention and praise.

With about 30 minutes before the 12h00 detonation time I settled in behind my tripod and did a full systems check: ready.  My watch had been zeroed to SA Standard Time before leaving home.  Occasionally we’d catch a waft of sound from the press tent on the golf-course across the river.  Time passed slowly but lazily, with a festival air.  At T-minus 5 minutes I decided to start my video camera rolling at T-3 just in case of an early detonation, and was shielding it from a short rain shower when we heard a sound drifting across the river…. “…. 3…. 2….. 1….”

AAAARGH!  Just over 4 minutes early!  Everyone scrabbled.  I hit record and yanked my SLR out of my jacket as the explosions zipped across the face of the tower and was shooting within seconds, but the more distant tower was already consumed in dust and smoke.  An unwelcome stranger charged in front of all of us, blocking the video camera, and earning a bout of curses from the petite aunty next to me…. then everyone was whooping and cheering and asking “Did you get it?”

Well, sorta.  Enjoy, the end of the Athlone Ladies.  Click on the images for an enlargement – the second in the series is a beaut to check out the bending and fault lines.

Damn the b@st@rds who hit the button early: I hear the Argus didn’t get a single good photo from their guys on scene and the E-TV reporter looked more shocked that the gulls perched on top when the bang went off 😉

The new view:

What my real job is like…

This is doing the rounds, and has us all in stitches (especially in the anaesthesia department, of course).  No orthopods were harmed in the making… but my head does hurt.  Click the image or link to play.

Anaesthesia vs Othopaedics

To be entirely fair, I thoroughly enjoy doping ortho cases, as I have an interest in regional blocks.  However, this conversation bears such striking resemblance to conversations that I’ve had with previous ortho’s that it can’t be allowed to go unknown 🙂  Each to his own, I suppose: when all you have is a hammer…

Huh? WildMedic?

…is pretty much what you have to be asking.  Well, there is method in the madness 😉

“WildMedic” is a username/avatar I concocted many years ago to express my twin loves of the wilderness and medicine, and the natural combination thereof – wilderness medicine.  By the time my mouse button returned to the raised position after clicking ‘confirm’ I realised the potential confusion – few patients want to think of their doctor as wild!  (Caring, considerate, learned, professional… all good… but wild?)  In the end, however, it stuck.  There _is_ something wild in my heart, but wild like a wolf running silent through a starlit snowy forest:  untamed but controlled, spirited but spiritual.

I began blogging when I journeyed to Antarctica as the expedition doctor and leader of the South African National Antarctic Expedition in 2007-2009, which you can read about in my AntarcticDoctor blog.  Writing brings me some pleasure, and the positive feedback has spurred me to continue, albeit in a sporadic fashion.  Hence, we arrive at this WildMedic blog.  Expect varied content – I write when the muse strikes and photograph when faced with inspiration – but please enjoy, comment when you desire, and click the little red button in the top right hand corner when you tire…  😉

AntarcticDoctor will continue later this year when I return to Antarctica for the summer, but I will make sure that the content is frequently cross-posted here, so set up an RSS feed or check back frequently.

Bergschrund