Friday, July 29, 2011

20,000 miles and a new baby.....

One would think by the lack of blog communication in the past two months that Mark had retired to a tropical island and was serving as a cocktail waiter in some tiki hut.  Well I am here to set the record straight as that could be the farthest from the truth.  In reality, since we last updated, Mark has covered over 20,000 miles and I had a baby.  Or more specifically my husband and I welcomed our second child (a little boy) in mid June. So between all of that Mark and I have been a bit hard to pin down, but not to worry folks; Mark has still been capturing some AMAZING imagery and of course clocking tons adventures that I am about to share with you.  

The first and very notable stop in Mark’s journey was Brighton, England for the Airmed Congress 2011.  Mark was not only an attendee, official photographer, but an exhibitor and speaker as well at the May 24-26 event. Scheduled to speak the last day of the lectures, Mark (in typical Mark Mennie form and fashion) waited until the night before to prepare for his 30 minute commitment.  Speaking about the important but un-considered aspects of photographing patient care, Mark certainly was preaching to the choir about patient confidentiality.  Mark also touched on the future of Smartphones that attach an address to any image you take as an added issue in actually breaking the US patient privacy rules (known as HIPAA introduced in 2003) by identifying a patients local. To only further enhance his presentation, Mark showed imagery and gave a few of his heartfelt stories. He concluded with an old story of a terminal young patient he rode with as he flew from a children's hospital, back to his home. There was not a dry eye in the house! Perhaps we'll post that Quicktime movie sometime.

A big thank you to the Airmed 2011 Coordinator Jill Playle, (of Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance) who worked with EHAC (European Helicopter Air-ambulance Commission) to grant Mark space for 18 framed prints in the Scientific Poster display area. They were all well received, which gave Mark some real pep to his step.
A true family reunion of sorts, Mark loved reconnecting with all the usual suspects as well as getting to know some new faces and welcoming them into the US and Canadian Airmed "family". Mark particularly enjoyed meeting a young Austrian Flight Nurse who has her Doctorate in Psychology.  She was there highlighting her research into the unique emotional connection to rapid transport/rescue that patients and their families experience during a crisis.  This is a tangent that Mark also witnesses when photographing former patients.  Not only a great new connection for Mark, but she even won an award for her scientific poster presentation. Check out her presentation among other images from the entire week in review at

From there Mark headed to San Diego via a direct flight on British Airways (nice flight- but 2.5 hrs in SAN customs is just d.u.m.b.- ugh)  to the 2011 International Society of Aviation Photographers Conference or ISAP. As Mark has enlightened me on, ISAPs  60+ attendees can really be put into about three and a half categories: 1) The Aviation guys- pro pilots that have an avid interest in Photography- (Can name You every model of aircraft ever made- and can afford expensive gear),  2) The Pros- Camera guys who shoot aviation and other stuff for a living. (Can't always quote the exact aircraft specs like the pilots do in the previous category- their cameras are used- but know they appreciate light), and finally 3) The out of the box guys like Mark-  who shoot Medical EMS related stuff that involves helicopters, medicine and safety...(Whose camera is a bit banged up or can't name a fixed winged aircraft) and 3A) a really unique visitor to ISAP from India, Thakur Dalip Singh, whose traditional attire may have confused the Americans, but his work is great and Mark has yet one more connection to India. Check out his website:

At the conclusion of ISAP, Mark stayed in San Diego to work with a new airmed client. Unfortunately he was only able to accompany them on a couple of missions, but someday he'll get that mission to Catalina Island, which is the most South Western US Helicopter accessed hospital/clinic, he hopes one day.  From there Mark then headed back to Calgary, and immediately headed to the Heydlauff Branding in Wildhorse AB.  He was finally able to catch up to David Heydlauff, whom he had not seen since the departures level at the airport in Dubai back in December. Much more on that adventure later as it is just too good to condense in this already lengthy blog entry.

After the branding was over, Mark flew back to San Diego for a couple of days before then heading to St. Louis to shoot another air med program for a week. All the while dodging a few MO thunderstorms along the way.  Concluding his work in St. Louis, Mark then headed east to Maine to shoot yet another air med project, which started in Lewiston, and then a week later- (after a drive up to Ottawa to take in Mark’s Auntie Evelyn's 80th Birthday...and see all the "Cousins"...zoom zoom) ended at a base in Bangor. On the last day, Mark did a mission to Calais ME, which oddly enough is furthest most east Hospital in the US. Mark wrapped up the East Coast leg of his trip by traveling from Bangor to Portland and then jumped on a jet to Atlanta (delayed of course in ATL for 2hrs- what's new about that...ugh) and finally arriving San Diego. A trip so lengthy and complicated for that matter a full US map is required.  Please see below as I have pretty much confused myself…

Once he arrived in San Diego, Mark took in dear friends Sandy and Kevin’s wedding (Boo's Foster Mom...) and will be heading back to Calgary to start the 2012 Outriders Cheerleader Calendar in the next few days.  Stay tuned for more details and more frequent blogs.  Right now this extensive recap (and probably the fact I have been up all night with a newborn) has made me exhausted.

Until then…..


20,000 miles in 2 months, summary of Mark's worldwide jaunts.

Panoramic view of Airmed Conference 2011

Mark's exhibition at Airmed

Airmed 2011

Airmed 2011

Airmed 2011

ISAP 2011

ISAP 2011

ISAP 2011

ISAP 2011
Thakur Dalip Singh at ISAP 2011

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