Palmer Station Winter 1996

The Palmer team on midwinters 1996
Above...a photo uncovered in 2013 which turns out to be the true winterover
photo! Here's the larger file size I originally received.

[I've lightened this version too much, mainly to make the faces easier to identify]

Below, the color photo marked up with the names, thanks to Dave Vella!
1996 MW
(missing: Dr. Robert Branche...when the photo was taken he hadn't arrived
yet, and Betty Carlisle had just left to be able to get to Pole for the winter)

So what's the story? Back in 1996 the photo reproduction technology wasn't quite as advanced as it was today, and, well, I'll let Dave Vella explain things:

As you know, Palmer has, or had at the time, a pretty well equipped darkroom. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to print color photo's because of the potential for evil chemicals to go down the drain and into the sea. We were restricted to color slides and black and white prints. Well, for some reason that year, a black and white print was deemed unacceptable to the crew. Of course a color photo would have to be entrusted to someone to have printed back in the states and brought back down to be put up later after we were all gone. I tried to convince everyone that this would not be a good idea and that it would be to our advantage to print the photo at Palmer and get it up on the wall before we all left. I even brought up the troubles we had with the Winter 1994 photo, which I wrote you about previously, but to no avail.
. . .
So where did the photo, mislabeled as the winter 96 crew come from? After spending nearly a year on the ice, from May 1995 to March 1996, I left Palmer for my mandatory few months off. I returned in June of 1996. Upon my return, the photo purported to be the Winter '96 crew was posted on the door of the station managers office. It's a very nice picture, it has many of my friends in it, but it was taken in April or May, during the summer season. How did it end up on the wall labeled as the winter of '96 crew? I can only speculate, but I imagine someone noticed a gap in the timeline and put up a photo from around then just to fill the hole. Some of the folks I remember wintering with that year were Frank and Josie Ball, John Booth, Commander, Mary Lennox, Al O'Kelly, Amna Saeed, Thomas Galles, Cheech and Carol, Janet Phillips and Juan. There were a bunch more but I don't remember everyones names, and of course my dinner lists have all disappeared as well.

Dave sent me that...ulp...back in 2007. At that point we had no clue what might have happened to the color photo. But in 2013 I set out to uncover things, starting with a not-completely-successful effort to identify the folks in the black and white photo--the one that had been hanging in the stairwell (see below). Janet Phillips, Dave Vella, Glenn Grant, and Brent Jones helped with that project. And then...amazingly, the photo (which you see above) turned up.

Identifying the folks turned out to be another issue. We (well, Dave, Glenn, and Janet) came up with most of the names, but a couple of the initial guesses turned out to be incorrect--verified by the people we'd named incorrectly...people who'd been on station only briefly.

After setting things aside for a bit, I continued the efforts in 2014, and Johan Booth was able to identify the last unknown persons. They are Diana Laird and Michael Kuiper, with Art DeVries's group...Michael told Johan that they celebrated their (coincidental) birthday on 5 July while on the Polar Duke on their way south; they were only on station for a few weeks. That dates the color photo to late July or early August (there were others on station from that cruise who are not in the photo).

It was amazing hearing from some of the other people I asked (mostly unsuccessfully) for help. In addition to the folks mentioned above, these included Frank Ball and Teri McLain. Johan heard back from cmdr....

the 1996 photo on the wall

The rest of the story...the color photo was taken to Palmer in documented by this April 2014 photo from Craig Bell. As for the photo that was hanging in the stairwell since 1996...

hanging around

Above is the photo (cropped and edited a bit) that had been hanging in the GWR was taken in April or May before some of these folks departed. The folks are gathered around the recreation hut in the backyard...the trivia here is that the structure was constructed during the 1990 winter by carpenter Thumper Porter...Thumper wintered at Pole with Janet Phillips in 1994.

Left to right (so far):
Top row: David Doyle, Teri McLain, Kevin Bliss, ?, John Riddle, Tara Riddle
Next row: Al O'Kelly, Jeff Peterson, Juan Reyes (at far right)
Next row: ?, Brent Jones, ?, Rob Robbins
Next row: Brian Brooks, Josie & Frank Ball, Sharman Jones, ?, Robert Branche, ?. ?. Mary Lenox
Next row: Steve Rupp, Larry Mjolsness (just above/behind Steve), Cmdr (Mark Melcon), Carol Gould,
  Sharon Lewis, Treva Coe, Michael Hancock
Bottom: Janet Phillips, Glen Reppert, Ken (Cheech) Navarro

Below is the full version with its distinctive tinting, on that fancy brass plaque...

fall colors

(full size unedited photo) (2.3mb) thanks to Glenn Grant