Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes
March 15, 2004

Bill Pasek called the meeting to order around 7:05 p.m.  He explained that Marie Bohndorf would not be here tonight due to some health issues.  Fellow club member Linda Hanley will be the guest speaker tonight.

Linda said she would be showing us half of her slides from her Fiji trip, since she was asked to make the slide show about 15 minutes long.  She was in Fiji on Thanksgiving Day and stayed for two weeks.

 The view from the hotel room showed the beautiful island country.  They spent the first day exploring the Valley of the Sleeping Giant, which was at the foot of a mountain.  There were many orchard farms there. 

Some of the grounds at the places they stayed were manicured, while others were more natural.  It rains there every day, and this is on the dry side of the island.  She showed images of a bromeliad of some type and bougainvillea.  The cane trucks are a common sight this time of year, as they are harvesting the sugar cane.  Fiji is much like Hawaii was 50 years ago, with sugar a big crop.  Some farm with tractors, while others use animals.

 Linda had an image of a Hindu temple.  She said the population is one-half Fijian and one-half Indian descent.  The Indians were brought there to work the fields, and most now are second-generation.

 Linda’s group was there for dive excursions off a 120-foot boat.  She showed pictures of the captain, the nice lounge on board, and booby birds flying off the bow.  Between dives, the crew entertained them by playing guitars.

 They dived from an inflatable with a rigid bottom.  They saw many soft corals; fish, including puffer fish; sea fans; and Christmas tree worms.  They dove 60 to 80 feet down.  She used a Nikonos 5 with both Kodak and Fuji film.

 They were diving in the same area in which the IMAX film “Coral Reef Adventure” was filmed.

 Some of the first dive shots she shared were from an area called Mellow Yellow because of the abundance of yellow soft corals.  They saw anemone fish, nudibranch, and so on.

 Sometimes they would put down a frozen bait ball and have a snapper feed.  Sharks would cruise around to see what was going on.  The divers would settle down on the rocks and watch.

 Next, she showed images from the Cabbage Coral area.  These are very large, heavy corals that depend on a strong current to pick up enough nutrients to feed them.

 They saw all shapes and sizes of anemone fish, which Linda loves, plus corals in all colors, huge sea fans, and tuna.

 They would be underwater for about 45 minutes to an hour. 

Fiji is known for its kava.  They pound the roots of the kava plant, which is in the pepper family.  They soak it in water and make a drink from it.  Linda said it kind of makes your mouth numb if you drink much of it.  You must take the first cup of it to be polite and drink it down.  They like to sing, so they bring out song books and instruments, and everyone sings.  Her group also ate well on the trip.

 On another dive, they went to a site called Kansas because the large expanse of coral looks like a waving wheat field.  A huge cave there is covered with coral and usually filled with fish.  The current can be very strong in places.  She shared images of a moray eel about a foot in front of the camera, a basket star at night, a nudibranch or sea slug (a shell-less snail), a crinoid or feather star, a lion fish with very poisonous spines, four- to six-foot-long tuna, and pipe fish.

 The colors are so amazing.  She showed an image of two types of coral with a dividing line between them.  This represents a battle zone where they each put out a poison to hold the other one back as they fight for available space and nutrients.

 Linda was asked how many people were on the trip.  She said 12 divers were in the group.  Some were shooting digital, some video, and some still, so there was a good variety.

 Linda’s interesting presentation concluded around 7:35 p.m.  The business portion of the meeting then was conducted.

 Sarah O’Bryan noted that the group had been asking about a photo shoot of the new baby rhino.  She explained that two media groups had come out recently and scared the baby badly, so the zoo now wants to limit how many people can take pictures of her.  Only two photographers can go in with her at a time.  Perhaps we can set up a rotation, so that two get to shoot the rhino, then another group can take pictures of the lorikeets, then the reptiles, etc.  Bill suggested that we draw names of anyone that wants to be considered.  We would need to set up a Saturday appointment for the shoot, and both photographers would need to go on the same day.  Five or so members put their names in the hat, and Peggy Lawrey and Ann Moss won.  Congratulations and bring back some good pictures of the baby!

 Sarah said she has about half a dozen yard signs in her car for anyone who wants them to help promote the bond issue for the zoo that is coming up for a vote on April 6.  The zoo staff cannot really promote it, so she is hoping that some camera club members who live in Kansas City, Missouri, can take some signs.

 Sarah explained that the zoo is not linking to the camera club Web site yet but will be by the end of the week.

 She brought in some zoo event calendars to share with the group.  Saturday is the Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser at College and I-69.  You can show up and bowl; registration is at 6:30 p.m.  Dan Paulsen asked about the silent auction that is part of the fundraiser; he was willing to make a donation but never got an e-mail telling him more about it.

 Sarah brought up an issue for discussion regarding the location of the club meetings.  We can now use the Deramus building conference room for our meetings if we want.  The room has a screen where we can project our slides.  After some discussion, the group agreed it would like to meet there starting next month.  We will put signs up and Sarah will be there to direct us to the room next month.

 The club members were reminded that ten percent of any photo sale in Deja Zoo is to go to Friends of the Zoo.  If the person buying your image writes you a check, you can then write your own check or pay cash back to FOTZ.  Give it to Gretchen in the gift shop or give or mail it to Sarah.  Make your check out to FOTZ.

Sarah said there is an onsite event this Saturday, since Africa is opening back up for the season.

 If you want to support the zoo in the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade, be at 29th and Main at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to ride on the float.

 Steve Brewer gave us an update on our Web site.  The baby rhino picture on the home page is actually the previous baby, since we don’t have a new photo yet.

 Steve was asked about the member galleries and when they would be updated.  Steve said he would take care of this soon.  He will try to have it updated by the next meeting.

 A new member list of e-mail addresses was handed out.

 Peggy talked about the pictures on display at Deja Zoo.  She is going to take them all down soon and at least put them up in a different order, to vary the display a little.  It is looking good, since a lot of the junk in front of the pictures was moved recently.  The season is picking up, so there will be a lot more traffic in Deja Zoo soon.

 Bill asked if anyone had anything to buy-sell-trade.  Steve still has some rolls of film to sell.  He has print film for $2.50 a roll. 

Jim Rendina said he had one piece of old business.  He apologized that he hasn’t changed out the photo board at Deramus recently; his wife has been ill.  Jim said he has enough new prints to change out the board.  Bill offered to help him.  The new board will run for a couple of months, through the end of May.  Memorial Day is the opening of the traveling reptile exhibit.  Will that exhibit be a suitable subject for the display board?  Do we want to have one side of the board for reptiles and the other side for something else?  Can we get close enough to get good shots, or behind-the-scenes shots of the reptiles?  We don’t have to decide this tonight.  Given the limited time the reptiles are here, it might help if we had a list of the reptiles that will be on display early, so we could see if we already have some existing photos to use.  Sarah said she would e-mail a list.

 Do we want to do mixed animals on one side of the board, or something else, like the lorikeets?  Sarah explained that the lorikeet exhibit opens on Mother’s Day.  We just broke ground on the exhibit this week.  KCP&L is sponsoring it, and there will be a preview night for them.  After that and before the opening, the camera club could come out and take pictures.  The lorikeet exhibit will include three scheduled feedings a day, and visitors will be able to feed them.

 The club took a short break at around 8:15 p.m. to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day cookies brought by Carol Mitchell.

 After the break, the club discussed photo trips.  Dan said he brought about 20 handouts about Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.  He would like to go there May 22, and others from the club could go too if there is interest.  He has been there before and said it was a neat place.  It is just past Strong City, about 16 miles west of Emporia.  It takes a little over an hour to get there, so it makes a nice day trip.  The Web site tells more about it.  There is a three-story barn there, an old schoolhouse, a chicken coop, some walking paths, and so on.  Dan was asked what the fee is to go there.  He said he thought there is a bus ride you can take out three or four miles on the prairie and back that costs about $3.  He believes May 22 will be a good time to photograph wildflowers.  If enough people are interested, we could car pool; meet at the Great Mall in Olathe and leave cars there.

 If you want to stay overnight, he recommends a neat bed and breakfast that is located down 50 highway – Overcliff Ranch.

 At the next meeting, we will ask for a commitment from those who want to go.  We can share phone numbers in case we have to cancel due to weather.

 Jim talked about another trip possibly in late April or early May.  He mentioned three places that are close by:  Wallace State Park near St. Joseph, Lewis and Clark State Park, and Knob Noster State Park.  These areas are well-known for wildflowers in late April through mid-May.  Any of them would be ideal to visit, and we could combine this with a picnic.

 There also are a couple of places farther out, like Johnson’s Shut-Ins or Ha Ha Tonka, but those would probably be weekend trips.  Ha Ha Tonka is about a three-hour drive down and back.  A couple of other neat places near Johnson’s Shut-Ins are Elephant Rocks and Montauk.

 For a close place, the Blue River Glade was mentioned.

 May to June are probably the best times to shoot pictures on the prairie.

 In Pat Whalen’s book on wild places in the state, he mentions Jerry Smith farm at 137th and Holmes, but some members have had trouble figuring out how to get there.

 The group decided that, given the proposal of a trip on May 22, a second trip before that would not be enough notice, plus the Great Plains Nature Photographers meeting is in April, so we will table this idea for now.

 It was suggested that we put something on our Web site about places to go and when would be the best times to go – sort of a calendar of locations and dates.

 A behind-the-scenes walk-through at the zoo also was discussed.  Sarah agreed to pick a date and e-mail Marie with details.  The group discussed a walk-through at the end of April, on the weekend after the next meeting.  Sarah agreed and said she would e-mail Marie.

 Bill said that Marie was scheduled to do the Tech Talk portion of the meeting tonight, but since she is not feeling well, she will plan to give the talk next month.

 Instead, Bill said he would like to talk briefly about red eye.  Dogs and cats have more reflective lenses, so how do you minimize red eye when taking their pictures?  The group discussed several ways – change the angle, get the flash up above the head of the subject, or use a preflash, which doesn’t always work well.  Peggy said that Siamese cats are the worst to shoot.  She likes to shoot in the afternoon when there is lots of sun and she can get by without flash.  You can use a bracket to get the flash up, and bounce the flash up and down.  Finally, you can fix red eye in PhotoShop.

 Bill asked that everyone bring pictures next time to share.  Can we get a projector that works with a computer?  Sarah agreed to bring it.

 The meeting ended with slides shot by Wayne Hickox.  Wayne explained that he likes to take a series of shots and study the behavior of animals and birds.  These slides were taken at Port Aransas, Texas, and are of a mature brown pelican.  The pelican had a fish in its pouch.  It had to turn it so the fish was going down head-first.  Wayne said that pelicans can spot a fish in the water 20 yards away!

 After Wayne’s entertaining slide show, the meeting adjourned.  The next meeting is April 19 at 7 p.m.

                             -- Tracy Goodrich