I travelled to Kansas City, MO to cover the American Academy of Chefs (AAC) annual convention. The convention moves to a different city every year and Kansas city was the host chapter this year. This is the fifth year I covered the AAC Convention. Covering the AAC events gives me the opportunity to visit cities that are not on my list of places to see. I always enjoy visiting new places.
Kansas City, MO is a medium size city with the population spread out over a large geographical area. I arrived on a Saturday morning and the first thing I noticed was that for a city the downtown area did not have a lot of pedestrian or street traffic. I was prepared for a large increase in traffic on Monday but traffic only increased slightly. The host hotel for the AAC events was the Marriot Downtown. I was staying at the Crowne Plaza a block down the street. Two of the AAC events I would be covering were off site from the Marriot so since I had a few hours to kill before I could check in to my hotel room I drove from the Crowne Plaza to each location and back to get familiar with the routes. Even with a few wrong turns it took less time than I estimated to reach my destinations. Once back at the hotel I parked the car and went out exploring on foot.
I got plenty of exercise walking around the streets of Kansas City while there. The landscape of Kansas City is a series of rolling hills. No matter which way I walked to and from the hotel there were hills. I walked either uphill or downhill wherever I went. A nice find one block from the hotel was Consentino’s Market. Consentino’s reminded me of a mini Wegman’s with a huge buffet of hot and cold items along with a great selection of bakery items. This became my go to spot for drinks and snacks. The warm Chocolate Croissants were my favorite.
Once I got checked into the hotel I went back out for a drive to explore more of the area. A cool area I discovered was the West Bottoms district. This part of the city is one of the oldest parts of the city. I loved all the preserved early 20th century brick industrial buildings and the nearby rail yard. I could do portrait sessions here every day and never run out great shooting locations. This would be a great place to do loft conversions of the old buildings. I learned later that the low elevation made the area susceptible to flooding from the nearby Kansas and Missouri rivers.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all work. Sunday I had two AAC events to cover and one event on Monday to cover. I brought along my big monitor this year so that I could all the post processing and editing done on site before the end of the convention. Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday were spent in my room working on the images. Tuesday afternoon I began to notice a large presence of uniformed and plain clothes police in and around the hotel.
When the police closed down the streets around my hotel and started setting up an X-ray scanner inside the entrance of the hotel I knew something big was going on. The massive security was all in preparation for President Obama to spend the night at the hotel. It was pretty amazing to see how much security a presidential visit requires.
I woke up Wednesday morning planning to do some sightseeing and photograph some of the fountains but changed my mind when I looked outside saw the overcast weather. With a rain in the forecast I decided to photograph President Obama’s motorcade then get on the highway to start heading back east. I met some nice local people while waiting for the motorcade. We waited over for the motorcade which blew by us in less than a minute.
Kansas City, MO
By Michael Kocher | Published
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