For about 4 years I worked in mineral exploration as a geological draughtsperson.
I was contracting to a company in Perth, Western Australia, who saw the light in sending someone out into the field with the reconnaissance team, who could plot the grids and interpolate the data as it came to hand.
Most projects ran for 3 months, where the accommodation was a tent and the annexe was my office.
My fondest memories are from a job that had us camping on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert in WA not far, metaphorically speaking, from Wolfe Creek meteorite crater.
We had a weekly chartered airplane come in with supplies to last for the following week onto which I would put copies of the latest geological plans so head office (3,000km /2000 miles away in Perth to the south west) could see what we had done and where we were at.
To do this, I utilized a sun-printing method to produce prints, that could be tubed up and sent – No fancy electric printing machines out there!
To create a sun-print, I’d lay the draughting film, with my pen and ink drawing of the project to date, over a light sensitive paper in a darkened tent –
This entailed pulling down all the flaps of the thick khaki canvas, when it was already 40 degrees outside. As I’m sure you can imagine, with no ventilation or free flowing air, the 40 degrees on the outside rose quickly on the inside!
Working as fast as possible, I’d strap the plan to a ply-board backing, tightening it with rope at the back to create an arching position (a bit like drawing a bow) to ensure a good close contact was made between the plan and the ‘printing’ paper.
Once in position, it was up with the canvas khaki flap, and out into the blinding light, with sweat rippling down my body, where I’d stand, facing the glaring sun with the board held aloft for a timed 2 minutes.
Back into the steaming black of the darkened tent, with all flaps firmly down I’d wipe a solution over the now exposed paper in order to ‘develop’ the image.
Here’s a photo of me, on the left, with Jim, Phil, Verne, Noel and John.
This was at the end of the project as we are about to pull out and hit the road home.
Have you ever had to be creative to suit the situation?