Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

September 20, 2004


Bill Pasek called the meeting to order around 7:05 p.m. He explained that Marie Bohndorf had informed him that our guest speaker tonight was not going to make it, so Marie will present a slide show tonight.

Marie said that for the October meeting, we will have two speakers, Randy Wisthoff, who will present the plan for the zoo, and Jim Braswell, who will show a slide program on Alaska. He just got back from photographing brown bears there.

Marie began her presentation. She said she did a workshop in May in Marion County, Kansas, with Gerald Weins and Jim Griggs of Great Plains Nature Photographers. It was on photographing wildflowers. In June, she also took lots of pictures in the Ozarks.

She started with the pictures from the wildflower workshop. Marie said they went out before first light and stayed out until last light. They took pictures around Marion Lake and went to Chase County Lake as well. They visited a big field of daisies, and she tried to take pictures of flowers that had insects on them. She shared images of evening primrose (or Missouri primrose), goat’s beard or false dandelion, and wild antelope weed, among others. They went to Maxwell Wildlife Refuge and took photos of buffalo. She saw calves that ranged from a week to two months old.

Gerald and Jim taught them to lie down and hold the lens against the grasses while shooting flowers. They set the f-stop to 5.6.

They found a waterfall at Chase County Lake, and Marie played around with various shutter speeds while shooting the water. She obtained some nice effects this way.

She shared pictures of Big Spring in Van Buren, Missouri. Millions of gallons of water come out of the spring every day. It is located off Highway 19 in south central Missouri.

She also saw Round Spring, near Imminence, and had prints of Blue Spring. She was told not to walk on the trail at Blue Spring because of rattlesnakes and black bears (though she didn’t see any)! She did not make it to Greer Spring yet, but plans to soon. According to Marie, Rocky Falls is really pretty.

Her presentation ended at 7:20 p.m.

Jim Rendina noted that the second week in October is supposed to be the best time for fall color in Missouri. The Glade Top Trail near Ava, Missouri, is supposed to be good for color.

Bill said we have no guests tonight.

Terry Fretz gave the treasurer’s report. Last month, we had $1,728.74 in our account. Terry deposited $170 in dues payments, so this month’s total is $1,898.74.

Several members still haven’t paid their dues yet. Bill said he would appreciate it if they would get their payments in so we can get a complete, updated list of members. If anyone is willing to call previous members to encourage them to come back to the club, that would be great!

Peggy Lawrey said the photo wall at Deja Zoo is doing pretty well. She asked that if you have a picture you want to hang on the wall, make sure you have something from which the picture can hang. She carries extra wire and can sometimes make a hanging loop for the picture, if the framed picture is lacking. The best thing is a wire that runs across the back of the picture. Jim said it would be best to use two screws to hold up each picture – that would be the most secure method.

The idea of requiring that all prints have a wire for hanging was discussed. Put the wire in the upper part of the frame using two eye screws.

Peggy said that we have lots of lion and elephant pictures in Deja Zoo right now. Only two of the pictures are of birds. She was asked if we have room for more pictures. She explained that she has about two pictures per person on the wall now, and she could probably put one or two more up.

Bill asked Jim for an update on the kiosk. Jim said he changed the pictures out three or four weeks ago, after the last meeting. It is displaying six 8x10s per side, about half of which are reptile shots. He put new mat frames up. Jim said if someone would volunteer to change it out next time, with fresh ideas on how to frame or mat the images, it would be helpful. The board is 30" wide by 34" tall and has two sides. The mechanics of changing it out are not hard. It is easier to do the mat work at home first. He said we really need new ideas on the mats.

Peggy suggested we might be able to add some humor with cut lines in the form of talking "clouds" on top of the image, such as what the animal is thinking. Jim said it would be possible to have a caption or title for each picture.

Wayne Hickox asked what would be the next area of emphasis for the kiosk, and Jim explained that was up to the club or to whoever volunteers.

Sarah O’Bryan stated that there was nothing significant coming up for the zoo right now. Boo at the Zoo and Run for the Rhinos will be in October. She suggested that she could find out some animals’ birthdays and we could take pictures of any birthday celebrations, but that takes timing. She will work on a list.

What about animals that you could see at the zoo in the winter? We will have reindeer for Christmas again, and the sea lions and orangutans will be featured during Jungle Bells.

Sarah told the group that next summer the zoo will probably have white tigers as the temporary exhibit. We will rearrange the Cats and More area and move the tamarins.

The discussion returned to the kiosk. Do we have any volunteers? Jim said he has been doing it for about a year and could use some fresh ideas. He described how to assemble the board. Linda Hanley said that several of the members could cut mats. If we had a couple of sets of mats, we could change out the board every month or so. Steve Brewer said that he has a big 50" commercial-grade mat cutter that could be used (and is for sale). Bill asked that club members give some thought to volunteering. He will help the first time or two.

Peggy noted that 8x10s look better on the kiosk than 5x7s, and Jim agreed. Marie noted that the zoo has put out some insects in containers nearby, and that has attracted a lot of attention. Jim noted that the kiosk does get noticed and said that we need more camera club brochures. Bill brought in all that we have left – about 500 – and gave them to Sarah. Kathy Hinkle said that if we need more brochures, she can get them printed for about 30 percent off at Kinko’s.

The Web site was discussed next. Bill said that Steve has been doing this on his own and is willing to let someone else take it over. Linda and Carla Farris had expressed interest. If they want to help, Steve can show them what to do.

Steve said that if someone gets them organized, he can post the pictures on the Web site. He uses Microsoft Front Page. Jim said he has a copy of Front Page. It was asked where the Web site is hosted. We have been using Earthlink, which is on the backbone of the Internet, so large images come up quickly. Steve’s been paying for it out of his own pocket since a year ago in June. Steve was encouraged to get reimbursed for what he has paid.

Steve said he needs new ideas for the Web site. The technical aspects of maintaining the site were discussed. We may want to set a regular time aside and have a couple of people update it. Steve said you can post updates from your computer if you have DSL or Roadrunner. All you need is a log-in name and password.

Monica Johnson said she and her husband Ron could help. Ron is a programmer for a living. He has used Front Page.

Monica asked whether our site could be hosted on the zoo’s Web site. This would be cheaper and would give us more credibility. Jim said the zoo would probably want editorial rights if we did that. Sarah said the zoo couldn’t host us on its site, but the zoo’s site is hosted by its phone and voice-mail company; she thinks it costs about $10 a month, and the camera club could probably be set up through the same company. Steve said we should probably go with the zoo’s hosting company, because we would save $10 to $11 a month.

The resources involved in maintaining the site were discussed. Most sites have a Web master or two to maintain the site, and they use a style guide. Wayne asked if we need a full-time person just to update the pictures. No, but we are relying on volunteers who have their livelihoods to focus on, so it is easy to get tied up doing real work. We probably need two to three volunteers, so we aren’t leaning too heavily on one person.

Wayne suggested that we form a committee of five to six people to look at the situation and propose some solutions. Jim and Steve could be involved and share their knowledge, and anyone else willing to volunteer could be included. Steve can teach us what we need to know.

Jim said what we have not had to date is a clear-cut policy on how long the images should stay online, how many images to accept from one person, how often to change out the images, and so on. We need some guidelines established.

There is a 200MB limit with Earthlink. We specified that images be 640x480. Each photo has to be manipulated. People have submitted images of various sizes.

We also need a way to track when images were posted. You could save each file with a date, as a way to keep track. There may be some archival software that we could obtain to help us organize and track images that we use on the Web site.

Sarah pointed out that the zoo has Front Page and Photoshop on its computers, which are on the network. The volunteers could meet here, and changes could be made faster because of the network.

Bill noted that we can’t solve all the issues tonight. We need the committee to discuss these issues and come back with proposals.

Peggy moved that we form a committee to set policy for the Web site, to decide how it will be run, when it will be updated, and so on.

Marie seconded the motion. Linda amended the motion to state that the committee would take over and run the Web site, with approval of the club.

Members of the committee would include Carla, Linda, Steve, Ron, and Monica. Shari Stanberry seconded the amended motion. The motion passed unanimously.

It was agreed that we should remove all pictures from people who no longer are members.

Club members generally agreed that while there are issues with maintaining the Web site, it still is the best thing the club has ever done!

It was recommended that we have a program during a future meeting to go over how to submit photos for the Web site.

Linda said the volunteers would get together at the end of the meeting to discuss when to meet as a committee for the first time.

Club members took a break at 8:15 p.m. to enjoy treats brought by Barbara Chase. We reconvened at about 8:30 p.m.

Sarah sent around copies of the scavenger hunt details. She e-mailed it out to members previously as well. She said she could use an updated e-mail list.

Some members have tried to take pictures for the scavenger hunt and said it was kind of difficult. It was decided that we should push the deadline for the hunt to November, especially since we already have two speakers lined up for the October meeting. Barb will send Sarah an updated e-mail list so she can resend the e-mail.

Marie informed the group that November 20 is the Great Plains Nature Photographers (GPNP) meeting. This time it will be held in Kansas City, at the Discovery Center. Michael Forsberg, who has photographed sandhill cranes, will be the speaker. The fee will be $15 to $20. There will be a field trip the next day to Squaw Creek.

Linda announced that her friend Bill Chapman took first place in an Outdoor Photography contest recently. Way to go!

Bill said it was time for Tech Talk. He said this part of the meeting has not gotten off the ground well. We need to have someone volunteer to address a subject every month. Carla suggested that we critique pictures that members bring in. Sarah said she could use information on nearly any photography subject, but most members are at a more advanced level, so she is afraid that information tailored to her needs would be redundant for others. The group agreed that such sessions would be refreshers and still useful for others.

Tom offered to help moderate the Tech Talks each month. He used to teach photography and would be willing to be a facilitator for the talks.

Kathy had a question. She said her brother e-mailed her some pictures of his new puppies, but they printed out very poorly. They were 72 dpi. It was explained that 72 dpi is a standard display size for the Internet but is not adequate for printing. This file size is used so that people cannot steal your work off the Web. The file size is not large enough to have all the information needed to print the image – the file won’t have all the data. It was suggested that Kathy’s brother e-mail the pictures in a larger size.

Sarah had a couple of suggestions for Tech Talk topics:

Bill said Jim gives a great demonstration on f-stops; perhaps we can get him to repeat that.

Wayne asked whether digital cameras have depth-of-field preview. Members responded that the good ones do, the digital SLRs such as Canon and Nikon.

Jim said he had mailed out three or four of the yellow zoo photo club name tags. Others still need them, so Jim passed around a sign-up sheet that he can work from to make up more tags.

Bill said he would e-mail the survey about the club to some members who missed the meeting last month. Bring your results to the next meeting. Marie asked for ideas on programs to have. Wayne said he would like programs on digital photography.

Jim said he had copies of the full instructions for matting pictures or scrapbooking using Photoshop, which he demonstrated at a recent meeting. He passed out copies for anyone interested. (It was written for Photoshop 7.0, so probably won’t work on Elements 2.)

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m. The next meeting is October 18 at 7 p.m.

-- Tracy Goodrich