Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes
May 17, 2004

Bill Pasek called the meeting to order around 7 p.m.

 We have about $1,468.70 in the treasury.

 Bill introduced guests who were attending the meeting tonight.  Guests are welcome to come to a few meetings to see how they like the club before deciding whether to join.

 The new reptile exhibit will be open from Friday, May 28, through Labor Day.  Jim Rendina raised the issue of the kiosk and the need to get some reptile pictures on it to promote the new exhibit.  Sarah O’Bryan said we could take pictures of the exhibit the Friday before it opens (the official opening is on Saturday, May 29, but it actually will be open on Friday, the 28th, as well).  Jim said he would need pictures by the first week of June.  The zoo no longer has a graphic artist, so he will have to do some of the display work ourselves.

 Some of the reptiles are behind glass in the exhibit.  The club members discussed how best to take pictures in these conditions.  If you shoot through glass, you can put your lens up to the glass to avoid glare.

 It was questioned whether we could use pictures of similar reptiles that we already have, but Jim said this was not a good idea.  We need to be careful and make sure the images are the right ones, the right size, and so on, or zoo guests will question the pictures.

 If you get any pictures of the reptiles that we can use, call Jim and let him know, so we can make arrangements to get them printed and displayed on the kiosk.

 Steve Brewer said he did not have an update on the Web site.  He will be tied up for the next couple of weeks.  He is aware of the need to update the personal galleries, but just hasn’t gotten to it yet.

 Sarah threw out a few dates for walk-through tours of the zoo for the summer.  The dates she proposed were June 26, July 24, and August 7.  If these dates are not good, she has a few back-up dates lined up.  How often do we want walk-throughs, once a month?

 The group discussed this.  How have we done it in the past – one in the spring and one in the fall?  When we tried doing monthly tours, it didn’t seem to go well . . . but we could do one a month in the summer at least.  The best time to go is in the morning, 9 a.m. or earlier.  There is not much to show behind the scenes in the summer; most of the animals are out.  Sarah proposed that we would do tours in the 8:30 to 11 a.m. time frame.  We could have the first hour to hour and a half with a keeper for the area and then the rest of the time on our own shooting pictures.

 The group decided that we would go with all three dates that Sarah suggested.  This will be good because two of the three will be right after our monthly meeting, so we can remind everyone.  We need a commitment of at least five people in order to make it worthwhile, so we will get commitments at the meetings beforehand.  We will cancel if we don’t get enough interest for a certain date. 

The plan will be to meet around 8:15 a.m. in the Zoo Ops assembly room (where we used to hold our meetings) on the morning of the walk-through.  Sarah will announce the areas we will tour at the next meeting.

 Bill asked Peggy Lawrey how the photo display in Deja Zoo was going.  Peggy said we apparently haven’t sold any photos lately.  She took over some matted prints recently, and Steve brought some more to the meeting tonight.  She has one older framed picture from Malinda Welte, who is no longer a club member.  Bill said he will try to contact Malinda to give her back the picture.  Bill asked if Peggy needed more prints.  She said since none have sold, the wall is still full, but she likes to have some on hand in case something sells.

 Our speaker for tonight canceled at the last minute, so we won’t have a presentation tonight. 

We did not have a volunteer for Tech Talk at the last meeting, so Bill brought a few things to discuss. 

He brought up the subject of camera mounts for a tripod.  He put an extra mount on his large lens that he can use with a small tripod for extra stability.  He thought that was pretty neat!

 Also, he was in San Antonio and Corpus Christi last weekend and was taking some nature pictures, but they didn’t turn out well.  He has a feature on his camera called “limit” that seemed to be causing him problems.  Does anyone know what this is?

 It was explained that this is a way to limit where the camera focuses, as in how far away.  For example, you can set it to focus on something farther away so you can focus past a fence.  Or it can help you keep from slipping off the subject and focusing to infinity instead.  It will focus on whatever you set it to.

 Next, Bill asked about shooting pictures of flowers on a windy day.  What tricks and tips do people have?  Some suggestions were to anchor the flower using a bent coat hanger or to use flash and a fast shutter speed.  Marie Bohndorf said she went to a photography workshop recently on shooting flowers taught by Jim Griggs and was taught to connect clamps to a tripod that you can use to hook on to a flower from two sides.

 Jim suggested using an alligator clip to hold the flower still.  Bill said he thought shooting early in the morning might eliminate a lot of the wind.  You also can block some of the wind with your camera bag.  Or you could shoot with the movement and get some unique motion shots.

 Marie said they showed them in the workshop how to lie down and photograph flowers through the grass.  You use a narrow depth of field and focus on the flower.  She got some nice shots that way. 

Do you have to have a macro lens to shoot flowers?  No, Dan Paulsen said he has used a 300mm lens and stood back away from the flowers and gotten good shots.

 Jim said he sometimes uses a small mirror to get some good cross-lighting on a flower.

 Linda Hanley pointed out that when photographing a prairie, you don’t have to shoot close-ups on individual flowers – you also could shoot rafts of flowers, or incorporate the sky if it is dramatic or if you are using a graduated neutral density filter or a polarizer. 

Dan said he likes to shoot as wide open as he can, with a narrow depth of field.  The shutter speed needs to be at least as fast as or faster than the film ASA you are using.  In other words, you need to shoot at 1/100th for 100 ASA film, or 1/300th or 1/500th for 300 ASA film.  Otherwise you can get camera shake.

 It is nice to blur the background, or focus on one flower with the others blurred.  Also make sure the subject is not in the center of the image, for more interest. 

What types of film do people like?  Sensia 100 and Elite Chrome 100 Extra Color were mentioned, as well as Velvia 50, of course.  Velvia 100 is said to be very similar to Provia.

 Finally, Dan brought an article from the Kansas City Star about photography and how to make lasting impressions with your images.  It was discussing travel photos and gave the following tips: 

·         Use good light.

·         Have an uncluttered background.

·         Use strong composition.  What does this mean?  An image that grabs you, or one that uses golden light from early morning or late afternoon.

·         Get closer, closer, and even closer!

·         Shoot candids.

 Jim said he got a very interesting e-mail from someone in Germany who collects pictures of Indian elephants.  He was congratulating us on our Web site and said he thought it was great what we were doing.  He also said if we are ever traveling to his area, to stop and see him!

Our next meeting, on June 21, is during the opening of Cats at Starlight.  Will it be a problem for us to get to the Deramus building?  Sarah said we would have to come in through Gregory or the other side of the mall drive on Meyer, park in the Rhino lot, and come in through the office doors.  You can just tell the attendants that you are going to a camera club meeting at the zoo when you drive in.

 We have a rock hyrax baby on exhibit and a bat-eared fox baby.  We also have two new sea lions that should be out by the end of June or first of July (after the 30-day quarantine).  One is two years old, and the other is a lot younger.  One is adapting better than the other.

 Carol said at Savanahland, the bat-eared fox mom ate the babies, so she wanted to know if we were keeping an eye on it.  Sarah assured her that the zoo has encountered those types of problems before, so we watch for that when we have animal babies born at the zoo.

 We are not getting a zoo diary any more because the curator who was doing that, Roger Clawitter, is gone.  Sarah said the zoo staff has talked about starting it up again but no one has time yet. 

The lorikeet exhibit is open now, and it is pretty neat.  You can even feed them, but you may get pooped on!

 Bill asked if anyone had anything to Buy-Sell-Trade.  Peggy brought in two scanners – a flatbed one and a film one.

 Steve has gotten rid of all of his film.  He does have some old Nikon lenses (from 28-35mm to zoom lenses), so if anyone still shoots an old Nikon and is interested, let him know.

 The group took a short break at 7:50 p.m. to enjoy treats brought by Dan.  Sarah announced that a pop machine has been installed near the loading dock if anyone is interested.

 At 8:10 p.m., we reconvened.  We discussed the upcoming trip to Tallgrass Prairie.  Dan said it is still on.  For those interested, be at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe at 6:45 a.m. to carpool.  Dan will be there waiting in front of the motel.  It is about a two to two-and-a-half hour drive to get there from the west edge of town.

 The meeting concluded with slides by members.  Shari Stanberry presented a very interesting slide show of a robin nest built on a hanging basket on her deck.  She had a front-row seat to birds raising their young and found it fascinating!  She also had a few slides of a turtle in the African exhibit and a snake with a fish in its mouth.

 The meeting concluded at 8:30 p.m. except for those who wanted to learn how to sharpen images in Photoshop.  Carla Farris and Jim gave a five- or ten-minute presentation on that topic for those who stayed behind.

 The next meeting is June 21 at 7 p.m.

                             -- Tracy Goodrich