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March 2010

March 4, 2010 - TJ Korst - Koteka Quest: Trekking the Baliem Valley

Nestled in the highlands of New Guinea, the Baliem valley in Papua, Indonesia, remains relatively remote to this day. This valley is accessible only by air from Jayapura or a lengthy trek on foot.

But as remote as it is, the valley is entering the 21st century. A couple internet cafes can be found in Wamena, the main town in the valley. If 20 years ago these townspeople were naked, as word has it, today they are clad much like you and me.

Outside of Wamena, change is afoot, too. Newly constructed row houses, which could pass for beach front cabins in the US, stand incongruously next to the conventional honai. And although older men still wear the koteka, or penis sheath, the days of this traditional item are surely numbered.

This evening's digital slide presentation, Koteka Quest – Trekking the Baliem Valley, takes us on a 10 day trek through the region of the Dani tribe, seeking out the vestiges of the koteka.

Join us for an entertaining evening and experience the magic of the Baliem valley.

TJ Korst, teacher, photographer and native of Los Angeles, travelled to Indonesia in 2008.

Photo of Yeskiel, the koteka salesman, presents his wares.
Yeskiel, the koteka salesman, presents his wares.

March 11, 2010 - Neil Mandt - Last Stop For Paul

Photo of Neil Mandt Neil Mandt will premiere his new television series Last Stop For Paul.

Neil Mandt began his professional television career in Detroit where he got his first job as the entertainment reported for the NBC affiliate WDIV TV-4 at the age of 20. From Detroit Neil moved to Los Angeles to continue working as a freelance reporter and began his film career when he wrote, directed, produced and co-starred in 1996's acclaimed "Hijacking Hollywood." Neil followed that film with two other well received films "Arthur's Quest" and "Million Dollar Kid." In 2000 he won an Emmy Award for his work as a producer for NBC at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Following the Olympics Neil and his brother Michael formed Mandt Bros Productions and began creating television shows. They began with two hit shows, "Beg Barrow & Deal" and "Jim Rome is Burning" for ESPN. Then in 2004 the Mandt Bros produced a pilot for The Travel Channel entitled "Travel Stories." After completing the pilot Neil came up with the idea to turn the series concept into a feature length movie and "Last Stop for Paul" was born. It was the beginning of a three year journey to bring "Last Stop for Paul" to the silver screen.


March 18, 2010 - LADIES' NIGHT - Dr. Craig B. Smith

Stairsteps to the Gods: Building the Great Pyramid at Giza

Book Cover Title: How The Great Pyramid was Built by Craig B. Smith Dr. Craig B. Smith will present an illustrated lecture on how the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt was designed and constructed over 4,500 years ago. This incredible monument—the tallest man-made structure in the world until it was finally eclipsed by the Washington monument in 1885 - was built by ancient Egyptians without the use of iron tools, pulleys, or the wheel. It is the last survivor of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World," further testimony to the skills of its ancient builders.

Its base alone covers nearly 14 acres and it stands 480 feet high—more than a 40-story building. The huge site is level with a precision of plus or minus a fraction of an inch. The four sides of the pyramid are oriented to the cardinal directions of east-west, north-south with an error that is less than one minute of angle. It is constructed of over 2 million hand-hewn blocks of limestone, some weighing as much as 15 tons. Its internal chambers have roof support beams made of granite and weighing as much as 50 tons. These massive beams were fabricated at a granite quarry near Aswan and brought by boat over 500 miles down the Nile River. Smith will describe these and other features of this historic structure, including the three security systems that were designed to protect the body of the pharaoh, and how they were breached by grave robbers in ancient times - as well as discuss the age-old questions of how many workers were required and how long did it take to complete the construction.

Smith became interested in the pyramid over 20 years ago during a visit to Egypt. He subsequently made four trips to Egypt, making measurements and collecting data on all of the large pyramids including those that served as prototypes for the Great Pyramid. While Smith was able to secure the permission of Dr. Zahi Hawass, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization for his work, his trips to remote desert sites often had their moments of adventure. He will discuss how the logistical problems that arose were surmounted. Smith was president of Holmes and Narver, the company that provides operations and management support to the Multinational Force and Observers, the military force assigned to peacekeeping duties on the Israeli-Egyptian border in the Sinai desert.

Smith has been a featured speaker at a number of events in Europe and the United States, including standing room only crowds at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., The Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. He has also lectured at Stanford University, UCLA, California State Colleges at Northridge, San Louis Obispo, and San Jose, University of New Mexico, Florida A&M, and Lafayette University, where he was honored to present the Judith Resnick Memorial Lecture. He has been a featured keynote speaker for professional societies including the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Construction Management Association of America, the Project Management Institute, and Primavera Corporation. He has appeared on television in four documentaries, the Arts and Entertainment Channel, "The Great Builders of Egypt," PBS "Lost Cities of the Pyramids," the National Geographic Society "Naked Science-Pyramids," series, and also the History Channel's "Engineering and Empire."

source: Shane Berry

Photo of Dr. Craig B. Smith at the Queens Pyramid
Dr. Craig B. Smith at the Queens Pyramid

Photo of Dr. Craig B. Smith standing on the Great Pyramid
Dr. Craig B. Smith standing on the Great Pyramid

March 25, 2010 - Dr. Steve Bein, Shane Berry and Rick Flores

Adventure Photography - Your Yak is in my Photo!

Adventurers travel to the four corners of the earth in all types of conditions, weather, elevations and political situations. Most adventurers like to photograph and document their travels and discoveries. Adventure photographers have special needs. Join three members of the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles - Dr. Steve Bein, Shane Berry and Rick Flores. and share some of their photography secrets. These avid photographers have photographed on all seven continents of the world, beneath the seas, in the air and up close. Hopefully, you will pick up a few ideas that will help you in your next adventure. This presentation will be a general talk for all levels of photographers. Handouts and photography articles will be available at the talk.

It is a constant trade-off between weight versus convenience and cost versus results. What gear do I take? How do you get by with a minimum of gear? When do you use polarizing filters, warming filters and graduated neutral density filters for those amazing landscape shots? How do you improvise a tripod when none is available - (think of an Indian with a backpack)? What are some photographing tips for mountains, deserts, oceans and local inhabitants? These are some of the topics that will be covered.

Shane Berry will give a short discussion on High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR is the hot button for landscape photography that produces images that can be of National Geographic quality. Software programs such as Photomatix makes HDR easy for every photographer. Photography examples and articles on HDR will be at the club. Getting great digital B+W images using Nik's Silver Efex Pro will be also be discussed.

Dr. Steve Bein will share some of his Cuban shots with the new point and shoot camera. The fact that outstanding results can be had with modest investments in photo gear is important, but it is important to realize that the photographer is responsible for the results and that makes the difference of just ordinary images versus great images. Dr. Steve Bein will also talk about composition, lighting, capturing the moment of people and wildlife, depth of field, care in not vibrating the camera when the shutter is pressed, the value of supports such as tripods, bean bags, shutter speed for sharpness, etc.

Rick Flores will talk about Adventure Macro Photography that is up close, personal and rewarding.

Photo of Dr. Stve Bein in Mongolia with Golden Eagle
Dr. Stve Bein in Mongolia with Golden Eagle

Photo of Shane Berry in Morocco
Shane Berry in Morocco

Photo of Rick Flores in Mammoth Cave
Rick Flores in Mammoth Cave

Photo of Rick Flores: Falsa Kiva Canyonlands NP
Rick Flores - Falsa Kiva Canyonlands NP

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