Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

January 20, 2003  

Dan Paulsen called the meeting to order around 7:10 p.m.

 Tonight we had a visitor at the meeting, Michelle Riley.  Welcome, Michelle!

 We discussed old business first.  A question was raised as to whether club members would get a free membership to Friends of the Zoo (FOTZ).  We don’t have an answer on that issue yet.

 Steve Brewer asked about switching to Earthlink as our Web hosting provider instead of the current company.  A discussion of this topic ensued.  Jim Rendina said we need to engage Malinda Welte on this because she has the passwords, etc.  We have a couple of people who are willing to work on the Web page.  We have actually gotten members from the Web site, so it’s important that we maintain it.  Apparently the only way to reach the Web hosting company is via e-mail.  How long is our contract with that company?  It should be up soon.  Linda Hanley said she knows someone local who might be able to host our Web site.  Currently we pay $120 or thereabouts annually to a company in Florida.  If we change providers, we can set up new passwords.  Steve said he would check out whether we can capture the stuff on our Web site and use it on a new site – he thinks we can.  We need to go with a provider who is primary on the backbone and who won’t disappear.  A provider that has redundancy is desirable.  It should cost about $20 a month, Steve thought.  Steve volunteered to contact Malinda, get the information we need, and check into a new Web hosting provider.  Linda moved and Marie Bohndorf seconded that we go ahead with this plan.  The motion passed with no opposition.

Jim said we need to ensure we don’t have too many old photos on the site.  Some members submitted photos two or three years ago and haven’t submitted any more.  We need to discuss how many images per member and how old they can be.  Old photos can go in the member’s personal gallery.  We may also want to make some design changes.  We would like to shoot for having spring and fall walk-throughs to fill the site with images.

Steve will update us on what he finds out at the next meeting.

Dan asked if there was any new business.

Stuart Riley changed his e-mail address again.  It is MRPhoto@kc.rr.com.

Dan said he got an e-mail from John Seals, the Northland Camera Club president.  John wanted to know if we were interested in forming an organization of all the photo clubs in the KC area.  We could have one or two meetings a year and publicize our different groups by doing some shows and sales.  Dan thought it was a pretty good idea and wanted to open it up for discussion.  We would need to designate two representatives from our club plus two alternates.  The group agreed this would be a good thing to try.  Bill Pasek moved and Linda seconded that we join in.  The motion passed.

Tracy Goodrich asked when we might get a new roster.  Apparently Libby McCord has been contacted about this but we don’t know for sure when one will be available.

Stuart displayed a brochure from a nature photographer named Ralph Paonessa.  Stu said he is quite good and his company is called Nature Photography Tours, if anyone is interested.

Tracy said she would be out of the country for the February meeting and asked if someone else could take the minutes.  Barbara graciously agreed.  (NOTE:  Thanks, Barbara!)

Dan said our guest speaker for tonight is Marla Cravens.  Marla started by explaining that she is in a photography club that meets the first Monday of every month at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.  They have 25 to 30 members and are not strictly nature-oriented.  Others are welcome to come to a meeting!

Marla had a slide show to present on her photography.  She showed some slides of birds such as the African finch, taken in the aviary at the Kansas City Zoo.  Marla noted that the aviaries are some of the easiest places to take photos.  The picture of the heron was taken at the Omaha Zoo in the tropical building.

Marla said she uses almost all natural light and she takes mostly nature shots.  Her first photographic trip was to New Zealand for two weeks.  She said the light was wonderful there.  It’s soft with very little pollution, so there is no haze.  Many of her shots are from the rainforest.  She was there in November, which is early spring.  It is a temperate climate and has beaches and mountains.  There is lots of moisture, and the rainforests are so full of everything that you have to organize the clutter and compose carefully.  All shots were from South Island, an area she recommends.

In her shots of the water, she uses a polarizer.  She likes Velvia for the color.  She took some shots in both a horizontal and a vertical format; it makes you think in different ways.

She showed a very interesting macro shot of a rivulet and sand.  She also had a creative close-up of a stained-glass window in a restaurant.

She said many people go to Kaikoura, on the northwest side of the island, to swim with dolphins.

Marla moved on to photos from the southwestern US.  She showed a slide of the cemetery near where the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was shot.  You can find places with no phone lines and with wonderful clouds.  She had images of Zion, Brice, and Newspaper Rock, Utah, which is south of Arches National Park.  She got some images in a fenced-off area with petroglyphs.

In Arches National Park, she took pictures of Mesa Arch, with the sun underneath; Delicate Arch; Navaho Arch; and Balanced Rock.  Sometimes the scene had a bluish-purple cast and you needed a warming filter.

She also visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Though there are fewer people there, it is more limited in terms of photography.  There was a foot of sand to walk through on the one trail down, and quite a bit of haze in the sky, so she tried to eliminate the sky in her pictures.

Marla said her husband went to Las Vegas during March Madness, and she went to Death Valley to take pictures.  At Dante’s View, you are 5,000 feet above the valley, looking out over the salt plain.  Clouds over Death Valley are rare.  It is a lot of work to get dune shots; going in the dead of winter is the best chance for conditions to be right.

She doesn’t do lots of city shots, but she shared a night shot of Vegas taken from her window.  She tries to take some pictures of neon.  They have an outdoor neon museum there, and it is very expensive to restore neon.

Next Marla talked about a workshop she took in Santa Fe.  They went to Los Luceros, which is where the Spanish governors lived in the 1500-1600s.  You paid a fee and got to shoot for a day.  She found Velvia to be a bit contrasty.  She used natural light for the interior shots.  They were very nice.

Marla showed a slide from Colorado where she was “being a copycat” – she took a picture of a barn through a barn window, which she had seen done before on a postcard.  She found it challenging to square it up just right.

Trailridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is great for flowers that grow on the tundra.  Even with the wind, the flowers are so low and small – a quarter to an eighth of an inch across – so they don’t move much.  They bloom for a week or two and then something else comes up.

The Oregon coast in the Northwest is another favorite of hers.  To shoot in the redwood forest, you need a good overcast day so there is not much contrast, especially if you are shooting with Velvia.

She showed images of Proxy Falls, where she said you need mosquito repellant.  She also shared photos from Olympic Park west of Seattle, and Crater Lake.

Next up were shots of Cameron Lake with canoes in Waterton Park.  She also had a nice shot of yellow slickers and boots in a row in Toffino, on Vancouver Island northwest of Seattle.

Marla said her lens of choice is usually a 28-80mm zoom.  She also has a 75-300mm, but doesn’t use it much when doing landscapes.

Regarding taking horizontal versus vertical shots, Marla said that if you want to send your pictures to magazines, you might want to do both.  Which the magazine prefers depends on its layout.  Often they need vertical, but sometimes horizontal will work.

She showed some slides from Nova Scotia next.  You can take a ferry from Bar Harbor, Maine, or fly from Halifax.  In the town of Lunenberg on the south shore she saw colorful docks.  When she was there, a folk art festival was going on, so she found a visit to the local cemetery was a good option.  All the buildings on the Lunenberg dock are painted red, because the fishermen could see the color red best when they were on the way home.

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia, has lots of fishing shacks that are fun to shoot.

She next showed some slides that included close-ups, such as of the Konza prairie – glazed dew with a weighted wheat stalk, a tulip, and a peony with dew.  Some were shot at Powell Gardens as well.  The camera club she belongs to has assignments, such as patterns in nature, that encourage you to go out and shoot.

Marla touched on her people shots as well.  She took some pictures of a friend during her pregnancy.  The friend was a little uncomfortable but the images came out quite nicely.  She also had an engaging shot of some little girls at their ballet class.  In Santa Fe, she shot pictures of three different people who posed nude in an abandoned adobe.  One was a poet and bookmaker, another was a rock star with tattoos who wanted a shot for her CD, and the third was a petite Spanish lady who was a bit sad and doing it for the money.  They made for very interesting subjects.

Marla discussed her image of the RLDS temple.  It was cloudy that day and she got a nice shot of the spiral.  She hasn’t been able to replicate this shot since.  The black dots in the image are the ceiling lights going up the spiral.

She showed a slide of an abandoned, rusted car, in which the metallic colors pop.  She showed how she won a year-end competition with her monochromatic image of the headlight of a PT cruiser.

She then shared a slide of yard art that she took for fun.  This guy lived at 103rd and Nall and had lots of this type of art in his yard.  He kept adding to it and had four to five cars on his lot.  He passed away recently.

Photoshop can fix a lot of blemishes in your images.  She does watercolors of some of her pictures, and uses Photoshop sometimes to bump up the color.

Her camera club meets the first Monday of every month except for September (or from September through June?) at Shawnee Mission Hospital in the cafeteria at 7 p.m.

After Marla’s enjoyable presentation, Dan said he would show a few slides that Stuart brought in.  Stuart said these were all taken at the Kansas City Zoo.  They included the marsh area, a hippo, the koribustard, a lion, a cheetah, a cardinal in a thicket, the kite, and elephants frolicking.  Stuart said it was late in the afternoon and the animals were pretty laid back, except the warthogs were active.  Nice shots, Stu!

The meeting adjourned around 9 p.m.  The next meeting is on February 17 at 7 p.m. and will be on landscape photography.