A thousand words and more
Photography club enhances hobby for many at Fox RunBy Meghan Streit
Jack Kerby has been interested in photography for many years. He spent his career as an engineer for Chrysler and traveled frequently for work.
“I was sent on many assignments around the world and wanted to take pictures of sites I visited, like the Taj Mahal and the [German] castle that Disney replicated [at its Disneyland theme park],” Jack says.
New focus for amateur photographer
Over the years, Jack dabbled in photography and took a few classes with a nature photography expert. Last year, Jack moved from Troy, Mich., to Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., where he now takes advantage of an opportunity to learn more about photography and hone his skills.
A few months ago, Jack approached Fox Run’s Community Outreach Coordinator Matt Humphrey about starting a photography club. With Humphrey’s assistance, Jack spread the word to his neighbors.
“We thought maybe there were other people who would want to learn how to take better pictures,” Jack says.
He was right. Several neighbors joined the club right away, and interest continues to grow. The club has been gathering on a monthly basis, and to keep things interesting each meeting has a different focus.
Fun with photos
At one meeting, the Fox Run photography club went on an outing to a local company that stores parade floats. The floats had just been decorated for the Thanksgiving Day parade, so the group had a chance to practice shooting the large, colorful floats.
In the early spring, Jack says the photography club was practicing their craft close to home by snapping pictures all over Fox Run’s spacious grounds and inside its several sunny buildings. At an upcoming meeting, members will share their prints with one another and compare techniques.
“It’s a lovely campus, and people can get great pictures,” Jack says. “I just think there are so many neat things to take pictures of, so I like to keep a camera with me wherever I go.”
The club also provides opportunities for members to learn practical photography skills that they can start using right away. At one meeting, a Fox Run staff member gave the club a crash course in using digital cameras and downloading photos to a computer. At another meeting, one member arranged for a friend who is a professional wedding and children’s photographer to talk to the group about how to take better pictures of people.
“We’re trying to mix it up so residents can just come and have a good time,” Jack says. “We’re not looking for professional photographers; we want to make it fun for people to take photos.”
Novices and pros side by side
Jack says the club welcomes people of all skill levels, from novice shutterbugs to accomplished photographers who have sold their work.
With so many vibrant and interesting people living at Fox Run, the club has already attracted several people with unique backgrounds in photography, Jack says. For example, resident Len Stein, who still works full time as an optometrist, has a collection of old cameras that he plans to display in glass cases outside of Fox Run’s art studio. And photography club member Phil Comfort spent a number of years repairing cameras.
“Phil is very helpful in answering questions about the equipment,” Jack says.
Accomplished photographer shares tips
Perhaps the most experienced photographer in the group is resident Lois Christeller. Since she was a teenager, Lois has been practicing nature photography. She even had her own dark room in high school. As an adult, Lois owned a carpeting store but always kept up with her photography hobby.
“It added a great deal of joy to my life,” Lois says of her photography.
Lois is a long-time member of the Photographic Guild of Detroit, an organization for photography enthusiasts who enter competitions and provide constructive critiques of one another’s work.
Lois has enjoyed being a member of the guild and has entered numerous photographs into competitions. However, she’s not as comfortable driving at night as she once was, so she’s had to limit her involvement. Thanks to Fox Run’s new photography club, Lois is able to continue pursuing her hobby from the comfort of her own home.
“It allows me to keep my hand in photography,” Lois says.
Each year during the holiday season and again in the spring, Fox Run hosts an arts and crafts fair, where residents can display and sell their wares. Lois says she typically sells her photos at the fair.
Lois switched from traditional film to digital photography in 2001. She currently shoots with a Canon digital camera. After many decades of snapping pictures, Lois is an excellent resource for the other members of Fox Run’s photography club. In April, Lois presented a workshop on photographic composition for the group.
Nestled on several acres of wooded land that is home to all sorts of wildlife, Fox Run provides plenty of inspiration for nature photographers.
“We have Indian runner ducks in the pond here, and they are fun to photograph,” Lois says. “I also take pictures of the plants and the flowers.”