Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

November 19, 2001

Dan Paulsen called the meeting to order at about 7:15 p.m.

Dan asked if there was any old business.

Marie Bohndorf said several people want to go to the Cedar Cove Feline Conservancy. It is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It is on K-68 highway in Louisburg. It has lions, tigers, bobcats, and more. Marie said we need to pick a day to go visit. An exercise area for the animals there has bars that look pretty wide apart to accommodate a camera. If we get a group together to go, it will be no charge for us, though they do take donations. Business spreads by word of mouth. It was decided that on Sunday, December 2, at 1 p.m., we would meet there. (Take highway 69 to Louisburg. Go into Louisburg and past one or two stop signs. The sanctuary is two to three miles out of town. You will see a huge sign for it on the south side of the road.)

WildLights was discussed briefly. Has anyone heard if they want us to take pictures of kids with Santa this year? No one has been asked about this. Apparently we aren’t needed this year. Lots of parents brought their cameras last year.

Dan explained to the group that Mark Mayfield has been an honorary member for a couple of years, but he is moving back to San Antonio at the end of the year. We are sad to lose him and his great help, advice, and pictures. Mark was at the meeting and said that he is going to be selling printing, and if that doesn’t work out, he will start his own business again.

Linda Hanley’s friend Bill Chapman wants to come back to Kansas City in late February or early March to give a seminar. There’s a good chance it will be at Johnson County Community College. Linda said she would e-mail everyone with details. Linda will not be at the January meeting – she is taking a trip to New Zealand at that time.

Wayne Hickox gave the treasurer’s report. We have 22 paid single memberships and 1 family membership. Funds come to $1,155.96. Our newest member is Tammy Coville. Welcome, Tammy!

We had some visitors at the meeting – Margie Roberts, a zoo docent, and some friends, Jan and Robert Fisher, who said they travel a lot and like animals. The group welcomed our visitors.

The program tonight was given by Gary Gingrich, a camera club member. He has been a commercial photographer for the last 15 years and is a graduate of the Ohio Institute of Photography. He said he’s been in Kansas City since 1989. For tonight’s program, he brought a little bit of everything he’s done. He is open for criticism and welcomes feedback. Gary brought samples of both his commercial work, including tabletop, fashion, and architectural, and some animal shots.

Gary explained that his Web site is being reconstructed. You can see his work at http://gingrichphotography.bizland.com/ gingrichphotography. Tonight he has a mix of small/medium/large format shots and in some cases is using slide duplicates.

Gary started the slide program with a piece he uses in his personal portfolio of an hourglass with some interesting lighting effects. He was trying to achieve a look that would not be dated and something that represented time and space. This was done with multiple exposures in 4x5 format – on an old 1980s model Omega 45D with a Rodenstock 210mm using f22.

He was asked about bracketing and said that he does bracket a lot.

His images included a gumball machine, an array of CDs having a reflective quality, a Budweiser bar shot, a display of Cole-Haan shoes, and some food prep shots of a pressure cooker that he worked on with a couple of food stylists. On the beer shot, he said the main light was bouncing off a white card behind the beer glass, to pop out the amber color of the beer.

Much of the time he uses a background that consists of a painter’s canvas sprayed with about 20 cans of black spray paint. This provides a good, versatile background that he uses for many things.

In the early ‘90s, he had Fleming Foods as a client. This company sold food to grocery stores, mostly independent groceries like IGA and Piggly Wiggly. He took design shots of stores. Neon signs in the store made the shots difficult, as he had to balance these with available light. They were usually about 2 stops over available light. He exposed with a light meter for the neon lights and used on-camera flash plus a separate slaved flash.

Gary moved on to some of his architectural shots. He has done lots of interiors and exteriors. The exteriors are more dramatic. He shared some twilight and nighttime shots. He showed some slides of an office park taken at night, a dramatic showpiece with water and colored lights. This was taken using split exposures, with four stops between highlight and detail. He took the sky and silhouette of the building exposing for the sky, then waited 45 minutes or an hour until the lights came up, and metered on the water and lights. He kept the f-stop the same and adjusted the exposure via time. He didn’t change focal distance or image size. The effect was a dramatic, colorful shot.

He shared a shot of a diner in Cincinnati. This was a night shot using a long exposure time. He shot it at around f22 to get the best depth of field. He spot-metered on the wall where it was close to neutral gray. He used a four-minute exposure. People were actually moving through the scene and, due to the long exposure time, you can’t even tell. He used Ektachrome and had it processed as C-41, then had it printed for red tones. He also had some slides of downtown Cincinnati and inside shots of Union Station in St. Louis.

Gary shared some fashion shots he has taken. In the mid-‘90s, he took some pictures for a talent scout in California who was looking for new models. He was asked if it was typical in fashion photography to have a little tilt to the image. Gary explained that this was just his style.

In terms of film, he shoots a lot of Ektachrome, VPS, and VHC. He said film changes ever few years, and what he shoots depends a lot on what is on sale at IPAS!

Gary has done lots of rock-and-roll work, shooting pictures at concerts. These are all done with 35mm because of the speed needed. He explained that photographers are usually allowed in the pit for the first two to three songs only. After that the stars get sweaty and don’t want their pictures taken! He has used Ektachrome 400 pushed 2 stops. He said you have to shoot in the 1200 to 1600 range because of the light. He shoots eight to ten rolls of 36-exposure film in about six or seven minutes, and hopes he gets a few he likes. The light changes fast.

He has used a 75-300mm zoom lens often at concerts. Gary said he had two Minoltas that were stolen in 1995, and he replaced those with a Canon EOS Elan. It was cheaper than a Nikon and the autofocus is quicker and better. He felt he got more for his money, though with fewer bells and whistles.

He did a lot of work in Branson in 1995-1996. He showed slides of Glen Campbell (playing bagpipes!) and Barbara Mandrell, among others. He has shot both prints and slides at these shows, but slides, of course, are not as forgiving. He has found that Fuji 800 and 1600 color negative film is pretty good. It has a tight grain. He also noted that digital has come very far in the last few years.

Gary likes photographing graphic lines in the environment. He pointed out that rules are made to be broken. For example, he showed some slides that had lens flare, which you typically don’t want in your picture, but he found them interesting in these shots.

After a short break with treats, Mark Mayfield shared some slides he had taken recently as a parting gesture, included some from a week or so ago at the Kansas City Zoo. There were shots of one of our gorillas, a lilac-breasted roller, a red panda, the golden pheasant, and one of the lionesses. He also was out a month or so earlier and saw what might be a foxhole in the ground. He set up his tripod and used a 400mm lens, laid out a blanket, and waited. He was rewarded with a chance to photograph two fox cubs. These were taken with natural light and Fuji Sensia film. This was a couple of blocks from where he lives, between Lowell and College. In addition, he went to Bennett Springs and got a great underwater shot of a rainbow trout using his Nikonus 5. He put the camera on a metal pole and into the water. You can actually see the scales on the trout. He should be able to sell this shot to Parks and Wildlife magazine. Mark also shared some pictures of a bobcat at Deana Rose Park in Olathe, a gecko with its tongue sticking out, and a wolf spider covered with babies. He ended with slides of the San Antonio River Walk (Mark explained this is why he wants to go home; it’s a lot of fun there!) and the Alamo.

We thanked both Gary and Mark for their great slides with a couple of rounds of applause. We were unable to see Gary’s second set of slides – his animal shots – due to time limitations, so we invited him to come back at a future time to finish his presentation.

The meeting adjourned at about 8:55 p.m. There will not be a December meeting. Happy Holidays! The next meeting will be on January 21 at 7 p.m.

                            -- Tracy Goodrich