Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

February 21, 2005

Our guest speaker was George Denniston, State Park Photographer with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

He worked from 1997 to 2001 for the Missouri Division of Tourism, and the last two years for the Department of Natural Resources-State Park Division. He is currently doing special project work for both departments. He does work for several Missouri wineries and Convention & Visitor's Bureau's throughout the state. He is the official photographer for the Missouri Fair's & Festivals Association.

He still does work for clients in Texas since the early 90's. This includes the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas, which is one of the finest private zoo's in the country.

His published works include State Travel Guides and Brochures, winery marketing pieces and web sites as well as the KC Home and Garden Magazine.

George said that he takes more scenic landscapes than animals. He predominately uses slide film, but is very slowly moving toward digital with his new Minolta. Within two years he will phase out of film.

He got started young; living on the East Coast and then in Texas, where there was great scenery .

Velvia is his favorite film, and he uses a polarizing filter quite a bit. On occasion he will use an enhancing filter. (A no graduated split neutral lens.) He uses Canons with Fuji film. He prefers to shoot sunrises in Missouri because of the haze problems later in the day. Also he just likes morning better.

He uses the preview button to open the lens so he can see what is in focus.

Even though 35 mm film is the most accessible and the quickest to use, it does have its limitations. It is not as good as a larger format film when images are enlarged beyond 8 x 10.

Developers can lighten or darken a print, but they do average metering, so some don't come out as good as they should.

In digital cameras, the sensor is like an area of film; a small sensor will not have as good a quality, even with higher megapixels, than larger ones.

He said you should get the flash off the camera to avoid red eye and to get better lighting. You can almost always use your old flash equipment with a new digital camera, even though you will be told that you can't. The flash you already have is probably the same as the one they will try to sell you. There is always an adapter that will probably work.

He said he usually uses a tripod unless he is taking shots at a fair or a festival. "If you care about the picture, use a tripod." It doesn't need to be the heaviest one made, but it should be sturdy enough for the equipment you have. It can be weighed down with a camera bag.

"Remember the camera takes the picture; you make the photograph." A good picture is one that you like.

Digital cameras have an advantage that you can take the photo and then see if you like it. Zoom in on the screen and look at the details. Then you can try again right away if you don't like the first one.

A gray card can be used with either film or digital cameras; they are both set for 18% gray. George uses his spot meter more than he uses the card. He also uses an 81b filter and a polarizer.

Every film has different reactions, and film that gives acceptable results should be chosen for each different circumstance. Pick a film and stay with it. He said that you should make the best photograph you can when you are shooting, and don't rely on computer editing to make a good photograph.

Terry Fretz passed around a roster for us to correct if necessary.

Jim passed out a Primer on Photoshop 7 that he had put together. It is very professional looking and has a lot of information. He went over some of the main points in photo editing with us.

Linda Hanley, who had just returned from Mexico, had great shots of Monarch Butterflies. They cluster on the trees so thick that they look like the trees are in bloom.

Kathy Hinkle has photos in the Traveling Exhibit at the Kansas City Museum.

Peggy Lawry said she has pictures that belong to people who are no longer members and she doesn't know how to get in touch with them. Barbara Chase said she could help her out if she would send her the names.

A new digital projector was discussed. Jim Rendina said it would cost $1000 to $1500 to get a good one. We have a little money that could be spent on one. The question was brought up about just using the one the Zoo has available, and it was decided that it is not quite sophisticated enough to give us really good images.

Dan Paulsen reminded us that several years ago we had rented a room in a Plaza Hotel from which to shoot pictures. Are we interested in doing that again?

Marie reminded us about how we used to bring zoo animals in to our meeting so we could photograph them. She wanted to know if we were interested in doing that again. The response was positive, so she said she would set it up. We will have to meet at the Zoo Ops building so it will be easier to move the animals to where we are. This is scheduled for the March meeting.

Peggy Lawry said the way De Ja Zoo gift shop is arranged; the photo wall is blocked off from the public. She wondered if it is worth it to have the photos there at all if people can't see them. It was suggested that we just keep the matted photos there, and remove the framed ones.

We had an e-mail from Max telling us about the animals that will be featured on the Cat Walk this summer:

White Bengal tiger

Francois langur Tufted Deer

Wreathed hornbill Red panda

Bali mynah Orangutan

Binturong Demoiselle crane

There will be a Digital Photo Solutions Seminar and Trade Show on March 20th. Free tickets can be obtained from the Canon website. It will be at the Marriot on Metcalf.

A Camera Club Trade Show will be held at the Trade Center on March 13th. You can buy sell and trade there.

There will be an Otter Show at Burr Oak Woods on March 13th. Reservations are required, as there will be a limited amount of seating.

Marie brought refreshments tonight. Meeting was adjourned at 9 PM.

Barbara Chase