Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

March 19, 2001


Dan Paulsen called the meeting to order around 7:10 p.m. He said we have lots of slides to see tonight, so he wanted to get the meeting started. He began by asking if there was any old business.

How many are going to Wolf Park, Indiana, for the photo shoot with wolves? About nine people responded that they were going.

Our Web site, www.zoophoto.org, is up and running, and available for viewing now. Someone asked where we send photos to be displayed. You can send your photos via e-mail to Webmaster@zoophoto.org. It was also asked how we would do captions for the photos. The minimum you need to include is your name and a title for the picture (if desired). On the Web site, the zoo collection is separate ("zoo gallery") from the individual photographer's sections. Each photographer can have a separate section showing his or her photos.

After the trip to Wolf Park, we could have a separate Wolf Park gallery online!

What about the size of the image? Brian and Denny explained that they use 640x480-pixel resolution. Each picture opens in a separate browser window, so that it loads easily.

Wayne Hickox asked that they explain in layman's terms how to get photos on the Web site. He said he shoots slides and doesn't have a scanner. The guys said that we could use their services to scan the images, but it has to be from a positive print. You can also put it on disk when you get it developed. Jim Redina said that you could take a bunch of images to Wolf Camera and have them put them on a CD for about $8. Wolf Camera will scan at high resolution.

You want your file size to be less than 1 megabyte (MB) or it will take too long to load. The format can be jpeg or bitmap or GIF. Denny and Brian have photo editors and can change the format if necessary.

Wayne also asked if we owe money for the Web site. Yes, there is a charge for the domain name of about $20/year. An electronic bill for this should have been forwarded already. There is also an annual charge of around $128 for the Web hosting service.

Dan called for any new business.

Marie Bohndorf has sign-up sheets for the Great Plains Nature Photographers (GNU) meeting coming up on April 28 in Wichita. Art Wolfe will be the speaker! It costs $10 to sign up.

Linda Hanley had some information on a photo seminar in Costa Rica. She brought a map and flyer on it. It will be from August 4 through 12. This is a full week of serious photography. Professional photographers will be with you, and there will be several short seminars. They will be going into an Indian reservation in small groups, spending one day on a river raft, one day in the canopy of the rain forest, etc. There is lots of walking involved. The accommodations are modest but nice. The land portion of the tour costs $1,775 per person. Linda is checking on airfare but thinks you can get it for about $750-900 on the Web.

Tonight's program was presented by Sheila Rohrer, a camera club member. She gave a slide show of her trip to Nepal in November/December of last year. She began the presentation with pictures of the very picturesque hotel in which they stayed in Kathmandu. She had pictures of people in typical garb for the region. Sheila noted that they were very spiritual people. There are many shrines all over Nepal, and they keep candles lit and bells ringing. Sheila found them to be beautiful people, very happy and spiritual.

They left Kathmandu and visited some nearby villages where the natives had just harvested rice. They don't export the rice - they don't have hardly enough for their own people. Each family has its own plot of ground. Each plot keeps getting smaller, as they have more children to share the land with. They work together to process the rice.

Many had a red dot on their foreheads - this represents the third eye of Buddhists. It enables them to receive enlightenment so they don't have to be reincarnated.

Sheila showed slides of a Hindu temple that is over 400 years old. It was in the center of town, and the life of the town took place around it. There were no cars, little electricity, and no running water. There was a bath in the square, and people would carry water home from there.

She shared some pictures of animal statues that serve as protectors and vehicles of the gods. One slide of a temple showed a Hindu monk inside, and a lady had come by to make an offering and have her food blessed.

The people there carry everything on their backs. They wear a band around their heads to balance the load and can carry quite heavy loads.
The average length of life there is 57 years. It was difficult to judge the age of people there.

Sheila's group trekked to another village; it was a four-hour hike. They found a schoolyard where the children were doing their morning exercises and taking roll call. The children wear uniforms to school. Education is pretty new over there, and you often see kids out in the fields instead of in school.

They took a Buddha Air plane to Pokhara. These planes are made in the U.S. and hold about 14 people. They are good planes.

She showed slides of her sherpa, who carried her luggage across the terrain they were traveling. One sherpa would carry the luggage for two people. The company gave each person a duffel bag to use, to help control the amount of luggage the sherpa had to carry. The group she was with had many hardy people in it - some from Yugoslavia, Holland, and other countries.

Sheila found the scenery breathtaking and gorgeous. The walking was very difficult - there were lots of cobblestone paths.

On their treks, they often saw rocks piled up in honor of the gods. They passed caravans of mules. The lead mule often wore a big plume. Sheila noted that the folks that worked for the travel company (sherpas, etc.) spoke pretty good English. Others did not. The average per-capita income there is $210 a year.

One man they met had been  one of the Nepalese soldiers recruited by the British. These regiments of soldiers served all over the world and were known for their bravery and ferocity. This man had served in the Falkan Islands and was a soldier for 20 years. He was 47 years old, spoke perfect English, and was highly intelligent.

Sheila explained that Nepal and Tibet are just across the Himalayas from each other. There are a lot of Tibetan refugees in Nepal, from when China invaded Tibet in the 1950s. She saw some second-generation women from Tibet selling Tibetan carpets. These are becoming the businesspeople of Nepal.

Sheila commented on the beautiful mountain scenery. She had a few slides from early in the morning of Fishtail Mountain at 23,000 feet. It is the most famous in the Annapurna range.

They stayed at a lodge high in the mountains. They ate lots of their meals outside. The lodge had hot running water and heat. It was cool in the morning and at night, and hot in the afternoon. There were lots of flowers.

They went rafting on the Seti River. The first day was easy, but the second was rougher. They passed a funeral along the river - everyone is cremated in Nepal. The body is not considered important. For example, they don't celebrate birthdays. They believe in reincarnation and want to come back as something better than before. If you have lead a good life, you might not have to come back. All life is sacred - you don't kill a fly, because it might be a relative.

The group she went with was via Overseas Adventure Travel or OATS. They help support the schools in Nepal.

We took a quick break in the middle of Sheila's presentation, from 8:20 to 8:45 p.m., enjoyed cookies provided by Marie, and looked at members' prints.

Sheila continued her travelogue after the break. She showed slides of her trip through Royal Chitwan National Park. Until 1960, no one went to Nepal. In the 1970s, Temple Tiger, a resort, was built. Before that, the area was a playground for the king and maharajas of Nepal and their wealthy guests.

She said that animals were kind of scarce in the park. She used 400 film because it was so dark. They rode elephants through the park, and the grass was sometimes taller than the elephant's eyes. They went out in the late afternoon and after dark. There were four people per elephant plus the mahout or elephant driver. Three people tended to each elephant; they grew up with them and had a lifelong relationship with them. You could also get around the park in a jeep. The rooms there were very nice. There were lots of guards and military. She saw crocodiles there. They visited an elephant camp, where the elephants live and learn to work with the mahouts. Sheila said they saw rhinos but no tigers, although they saw tiger paw prints. They were told there were three female tigers in the park (one with three cubs) and one male.

They also went to Bhaktapur. Kathmandu is very crowded, with cars, bikes, and rickshaws traveling very close. It is a big city like Tokyo or Hong Kong, and the air is not very good. Bhaktapur is nicer. It dates back to the 9th century and has wonderful architecture. At one time the king of Nepal lived there.

In Nepal, they have the largest difference in latitude of anywhere in the world. The highest point in the world is here, Mount Everest.

Sheila visited the Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath), the oldest Buddhist temple in Nepal. The people burned butter lamps, spun prayer wheels, and held rosary beads.

They saw a holy river and Hindu shrine that is considered a sacred place. People come there to bathe and perform cremations. Hindus believe in daily purification. Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world.

Sheila's very interesting presentation ended around 9:20 p.m. We then viewed members' slides. These included some by Chuck Tipton of elk and buffalo at Lake Jacomo and antelope outside of Denver. He also had slides of a number of zoo animals.

Jim acknowledged our two guests tonight, Alicia and Gloria.

Dan suggested that this summer we may have some workshops instead of slides, since it gets dark so late and is hard to get the room dark enough for slides. He said we could talk about this at the next meeting.

He also asked for road trip ideas. For example, we could go to Powell Gardens on some Saturday or Sunday. Bring your ideas to future meetings!

The meeting adjourned. The next meeting will be on April 16 at 7 p.m.

  * Tracy Goodrich