My Spare Time

I was asked to show a bit more about what I do in my spare time down here.  I did a little bit of everything this weekend, so it’s a representative cross-section of how I spent my after-work hours down here.


This weekend, most importantly, I was ‘VLZ Davis’.  That’s our designated station callsign, and has thus become the unofficial term for the duty of being on watch 24/7 for a week at a time.  This duty is shared by myself, my comms counterpart, and the station leader.  Each of us is on call for the same week as we are rostered on the fire/search-and-rescue (SAR) team.

We had one party out in the field over the weekend, so part of that duty is also to do the nightly ‘sked’ (our slang term for the nightly scheduled situation report, or ‘sitrep’).  Furthermore, anyone travelling on sea ice must radio in every hour for safety reasons, so there’s a fair bit of radio traffic on the weekend.


Sometimes I make contraptions.  One of my recent contraptions is a simple box with four different coloured light-emitting diodes (LEDs) given to me by a fellow expeditioner (thanks PJ!).  The purpose of this device is for us to play around with long exposure photography.  Naturally, the first thing I did was turns the lights off in a section of the Living Quarters (LQ) that wasn’t being used.




As you can see, I had a bit of fun with the LEDs.  I spent about an hour perfecting the settings in the camera to get the results I was after.  These were more or less the only shots to turn out.


After a successful session of skylarking, the only sensible thing to do was sit down and be social.  Most nights you can find a small group of people (3-6) having a quiet beer or playing a game of darts.  We have a darts ladder that gets a bit of a shake-up from time to time, though the results can be skewed by people rushing if a good movie is about to start.


This morning saw me sitting at my desk for a few hours.  Aside from browsing the internet for information, there are two activities that take up a lot of my time on the computer.  First of all, I am studying a Certificate IV in Permaculture.


This is the board above my desk.  On the far right is the list of assignment sheets I need to hand in, along with their due date, for my permaculture course.  It’s something I’ve been interested in for some time, and it seemed the perfect thing to study down here.  Not only do I have the time to do study each week, it will also be a great skill which I can use to help family and friends (as well as myself, of course).


Secondly, photo post-processing takes up a lot of time.  In a previous blog post I showed you how I go from a photo on the camera to an image that I’m happy to share with the world.  Due to a new piece of software I’ve recently started using, I also spent some time going back through older photos to see if any can be further enhanced.  In this case, the perspective correction and ‘PRIME’ noise reduction in DxO Optics Pro let me really bring the detail out of this otherwise underexposed photo from a few weeks ago.

So that’s how I spend my time.  I put a lot of time into both photography and study, I drink a beer and chat with the people on station, and I spend a lot of time skylarking and lollygagging.  I also play computer games, read books (especially when I’m in the middle of a good trilogy), and sometimes I even make it to the gym or a yoga session.


2 Comments on “My Spare Time

  1. Purty lights!

    I’ve been contemplating a Cert IV in permaculture myself, tossing up between that and a Masters (Masters currently winning), so I’d be interested to hear what you think of it.

    Thanks for a great entry. Has that beard of yours gained sentience yet?

  2. I think the course is useful and I’m glad I’m doing it, but I wanted a bit of structure and a qualification. I think, given your background and experience, you’d do just as well to by a book or two that are design-related and then grow your knowledge from the internet, collaboration and experience.

    The beard hasn’t gained sentience yet, otherwise it’d surely be even more recalcitrant.

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