Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

September 17, 2001

Dan Paulsen called the meeting to order around 7:05 p.m. He asked if there was any old business to discuss.

No issues were raised, so Dan informed us that Denny and Brian, our Webmasters, are no longer with the club but will maintain the Web site until we find someone else to take it over. They are just too busy to keep up with it.

Will the sister-in-law’s company still host our Web site? Dan said he didn’t think that would be a problem.

Jim Rendina offered to take over the Web site if Denny and Brian will show him how. Jim said Malinda Welte would be an ideal person, but she may be too busy with her baby. Maybe Jim and Malinda (if willing) and a third person could take it over. Jim said he would contact Malinda and see what they could work out.

Dan asked if anyone was showing his or her work anywhere. Wayne Hickox has an exhibit at the West Wyandotte branch of the Kansas City, Kansas, library. (The opening for his show has already passed.) The display will run through September 28.

Chris Nederman said she has some pictures out at Common Grounds coffee shop in Olathe this month. The coffee shop is at Park and Cherry near the courthouse. If others are interested in displaying work there, they can contact Cindy at (913) 254-9993 (Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.). She charges a 10 percent commission on anything you sell there.

Chris also explained that Lisa Zingsheim is once again in charge of the Deja Zoo gift shop, and she has re-instituted the 10 percent fee for work on the wall that we sell. This is an old policy, and Chris said the one time she tried to follow it by sending in a check for a print sold, they sent it back.

Lisa is also saying we need to sign a release stating that they are not responsible for any losses. This is because Jackie submitted a photo that disappeared. Sheila Rohrer also thought she had one taken, but it turns out it was in the back office. It had fallen and the glass broke, but there was no name on it so the Deja Zoo folks didn’t know whom to inform. Chris has it now to give to Sheila.

In other business, Jim said it is time again to recruit new members. We haven’t had a concerted effort in this regard for awhile. We have lost a few members lately – Charles Tipton stopped coming, and Brian and Denny are leaving. Jim suggested that everyone try to bring a guest once or twice for the next few meetings. Wayne clarified that we have 16 single memberships and one family membership, based on who has paid dues this year.

We could try to recruit members through our Web site. Also, Chris pointed out that we put flyers in the gift shop to promote the club. She offered to print some more up and/or e-mail the file to others. It was decided she would e-mail the file to anyone who asked for it. She will also add our Web address to the flyer.

The topic of election of new officers was raised. How have we done this in the past? We usually appointed a nominating committee. It was noted that all officers were in attendance except the Vice President. Does anyone not want to serve for another year? Wayne tried to decline, but we wouldn’t let him. ;-) Carole made a motion that the current officers stay in place for another year. Chris seconded it. The motion passed.

Cable channel 12 news tonight pointed out that three lion cubs were born at the zoo, so this has been announced to the public now. The cubs are apparently doing okay! Lady the elephant had not had her baby but was still doing well as of 5:30 p.m. tonight, per a message on the chalkboard. (NOTE: It has since been learned that the baby has died.)

At this point, the meeting was turned over to Linda Hanley, our presenter for the evening. Linda said that this time last year, she was returning from China. She spent 20 days in August on tour with Overseas Adventure Travel. There were 15 people in her group, so it was a small group and they could move around well. 

Her presentation began with several images – the flag of China, the Great Wall, the crowded streets of Beijing, the opulence of a hotel, the old district, the Forbidden City (with a McDonalds on every other corner).

They started their sightseeing in Tienaman Square. It was very lively and crowded with both tourists and locals. It is the largest square in the world. The travel company had a local guide in each city to show them the sites.

There is a portrait of Chairman Mao at the entrance to the Forbidden City. The emperor’s palace contains over 9,000 rooms. They hurried through the city; there was not a lot of time for pictures. The more intricate and detailed the architecture on the buildings, the more important the buildings were

At the Great Wall, they took the steeper path with fewer people. Some areas have been rebuilt; others are in disrepair. It was built in 221 B.C.

Linda said the Ming tombs were still in quite good shape. These date back to the Ming dynasty. They also stopped at a factory where cloisonné is made. The working conditions were questionable (dark workrooms, no safety glasses), though the artwork was beautiful. Some pieces were very large.

Most cars on the streets are taxis. There are few private cars. Bicycles are still a major means of transportation.

In the Hutong district, they wandered the back alleys and peeked into courtyards. They saw people playing mahjong. Pressed coal was being delivered for cooking and heating purposes. The country is gray and under a haze due to the coal. Three-wheeled bicycles are used to move things. Most of the quaint areas have been knocked down for high-rises.

The group visited a boarding school for kindergartners. The children live there and have sleeping quarters there. It was a private school.

They also visited a private home. Most homes have a courtyard. They have modern items in their homes, but on a smaller scale than in the west.

The group then went to the Summer Palace, which was built by an empress around 1888. She wanted a private retreat, so absconded with funds from the Royal Navy to build a pleasure park and palace.

They boarded a train to Shenyang. The compartments were nice, and box lunches were served. They were given hot water thermoses in order to reconstitute their dinners.

The hotel they stayed in had a Japanese flavor. Tai Chi classes were taught in the mornings.

They took a very pretty drive through the city. A city wall encloses the older part of the city. They saw ballroom dancing in the morning in an open plaza. They were also shown crafts – tie-dyed silk scarves, hand-tied silk rugs, lacquer work, etc. They also went to a theater, had a dumpling dinner, and watched Tang dancers. Linda’s favorite was the ribbon dancers.

The group went to the countryside next. They saw mule-drawn vehicles and motorized rickshaws. They went to a museum that had ruins from a civilization from 6,000 years ago – it reminded Linda of Mesa Verde. For lunch, they watched noodles being made into soup.

They next went to the museum housing Xian’s terra cotta warriors. Locals digging a well made this discovery in 1974. They found over 6,000 life-size figures, no two with the same facial features. Also found were horses and chariots. The armies were thought to be created in 221 B.C. by China’s first emperor. They were created to guard his tomb. It is thought that the area of the tomb was raided about four years after the emperor’s burial. The clay statues originally held real weapons in their hands, but most of these were taken. Legends had been written about these warriors, but no one knew where they were until they were stumbled upon. 

The emperor’s tomb has not been excavated yet. It is believed that there are precious gems in the ceiling. The tomb may be booby-trapped with crossbows. Those who knew where the tomb was are believed to have been sealed in the tomb, to protect its secrecy. There are rumors that it was ransacked in the first 20 years. The excavators don’t want to open the tomb until they have the money and means to ensure better preservation of the artifacts.

Next they went to Chengdu and saw a textile factory. Both wooden and modern looms were on display. Work conditions were not good. At the market, they saw flowers, bonsai, and birds for sale. Most live in small apartments, so large pets are not popular. Linda’s group went to the Panda Sanctuary, but they were working on the juvenile panda facility so she couldn’t get great pictures. It was so dark that she was pushing her film to 800 with a 400mm lens.

They went on to Lhasa, Tibet. Buddhist prayer flags could be seen on most buildings. It was the rainy season and people were harvesting barley and wheat. A farmer brought yaks down from the high country to sell. Most work there is done by hand. They visited a home and found that reflective panels are used to aid in heating food and water. At that altitude, you can boil water in minutes. The people love color, and there is always a Buddhist shrine in the house somewhere.

Modern Chinese buildings were quite a contrast to the simple Buddhist architecture. The group visited a plaza where people were prostrating themselves as they worshiped.

They saw a cultural show with dancers and singing. The typical Tibetan service is a low table with seats around it.

The group went to a monastery while there. It was very old and is being rebuilt. When the Chinese took over in the 1950s, they destroyed many monasteries, but have found that tourists like them, so they are letting the Tibetans rebuild some of them.

The group saw Potala Palace, which has over 1,000 rooms. It is used for both religious and political purposes, plus includes living quarters.

The group flew back to Chengdu, then went to Chongqing, the “most polluted city in the world”. They took a boat down the Yangtze River. There were many types of watercraft on the river – hydrofoils, fishing boats, and barges. They saw the site of the Three Gorges Dam, which is in progress and will be the largest dam in the world. It is being built for both hydroelectric and flood control purposes. It is being built on a fault, however.

The group flew to Hong Kong, a city of skyscrapers. There was lots of traffic, and signs were everywhere. It rains most of the time in Hong Kong. They visited a private apartment in a building for senior citizens. They visited with an 88-year-old lady who lives with her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons. The market is right outside her door.

Linda’s very enlightening presentation ended around 8:30 p.m. No treats were provided tonight. Dan asked if there was any more old or new business.

Chris asked about the topic of recruiting more members. If we promote a field trip and advertise it, would it draw members? This was discussed. The Katy Trail runs from Clinton, Missouri, to almost St. Louis and might be a neat trip. Fall colors should be good soon. Rocheport, past Boonville, is very pretty.

Jim pointed out that while trips are fine, if you’re going to have a photography club, you need to devote more time to the subject of photography. He believes we’ve lost some great photographers because we don’t spend enough time on that. We don’t do enough in the way of an exchange of ideas.

Chris said that she agreed and that she was here to learn from others. She would like to spend time covering filters, technical tips, infrared, etc.

Several members agreed. Everyone also agreed that Marie has put together good programs for the group. We just need to spend more time on the technical aspects. It would be best to show slides and actually critique them as a group. We do get off track from this in the summer time because the room doesn’t get dark enough.

Tracy Goodrich pointed out that she learns best by doing, so getting out on “field trips” is helpful too, whether local or farther away.

Jim said the digital photography club he’s been to has spent about an hour and a half on an exchange of ideas at each meeting. (Jim said he’d pass club information on to anyone interested.)

Dan suggested we spend a half-hour of every meeting on some technical topic. Jim said this would be good, or we could have one month’s meeting be more of a slide show like tonight, and the next month be a time to share ideas and technical tips. Several people have been judges at the Great Plains Nature Photography meetings; they could share what they know about judging – what to look for and what to judge on.

At the next meeting, just for fun, Jim offered to bring a quiz on technical aspects of photography. This will give us a clue as to areas to concentrate on. The group discussed this. For example, composition is an area that we haven’t covered. Others suggested that it doesn’t have to be a quiz, or at least we don’t have to share our “grades” on the quiz with others! ;-) Jim could prepare 20 questions and we could just go over the answers as a group.

The Web site changes were discussed again. Wayne suggested that we make sure we’ll be able to renew our Web site hosting agreement next year for the same price. Dan said he would check on this. Also we should check to make sure we can still use the material that Denny and Brian designed for us on our Web site.

Linda said her friend, Bill Chapman, had published his book called Face of Tibet and was originally planning to be here late in October, before the terrorist attacks occurred. By next weekend, she’ll know if and when he will be here.

It was decided that at the October meeting, Jim would bring a quiz, and Dan would put together a brief presentation on the rules of composition.

The next meeting is October 15 at 7 p.m.

                             -- Tracy Goodrich