The Flint Lensmen Camera Club arrived on time for their photo shoot at the Detroit Model Railroad Club in Holly. The photography enthusiasts laughed, talked and sipped coffee while they unpacked their gear. Tripods were pulled from loosely-filled duffel bags and moved into position, lighting apparatus were attached, and lenses were chosen for the best photos of the new model railroad setup. Once ready, the camera club members quickly began clicking away. Moving over and under, left and right, high and low, for the best light and vantage point of the miniature railroad cars as they sat in diorama or moved around the track. They worked tirelessly, always with an eye for the beauty inherent in all things. They worked for the joy of the shot and with hope that the end result would be more than a photo – they worked to create art.
Since 1946, the Flint Lensmen Camera Club (FLCC) has been working behind the scenes at nearly every major event in Greater Flint. Through photography, they have documented the world as it was when Flint was riding high to its low points and current resurgence. They have photographed the area’s parks, wildlife, cities and people through rain or shine. They’ve covered the Crim Road Race for the Crim Foundation, the Special Olympics, high school events, dance recitals and more. The FLCC is a city institution and they are looking to share their combined knowledge of the craft with others who have the desire to capture beauty through photography. “We are open to anyone who wants to share their work or learn,” says current President Rohn Smith. “We all offer constructive criticism, tips and tricks. It’s basically a free class each month from September to May.”
“We show our work and talk about it. We are always trying to get better.”
Rohn Smith, FLCC President
The FLCC meets monthly on the first and third Thursdays at Faith Lutheran Church at 12534 Holly Rd., in Grand Blanc. Annual dues are $20. “You do not need to be a paying member to attend meetings,” adds Smith. “All are welcome.” The first meeting of the month is generally dedicated to a specific lesson subject. For example, the most recent January meeting (Jan. 4) is dedicated to “Macro” photography while the first meeting in February will focus on the use of A.I. in photography. Club members are proficient in a bevy of photography topics including several brands of software, camera models and drone photography, to name a few.
Each month’s second meeting revolves around constructive critique and viewing of the group’s photos in that month’s scheduled category. The December 2023 category was “Trains’’ and each member presented their best work featuring the subject. “We all lend a critical eye and give each person a helpful critique,” says member Mark Corcoran. “We show our work and talk about it,” says Smith. “We are always trying to get better.” Some upcoming second meeting subjects include: Holiday Lights (Jan.), Frozen (Feb.) and Still Life (Mar.). For an entire schedule of upcoming FLCC meetings, visit the Flint Lensmen Camera Club Facebook page. Their favorite photos are posted on social media after each meeting.
In addition to weekly educational meetings, the club enjoys 7-8 annual outings, both in and out of the county. They often travel to other states and events having recently visited Hunter’s Run Equestrian Center in Metamora, and Kensington Metro Park.
With an eye toward beauty and art, the FLCC strives to document the world one snapshot at a time. Won’t you join them? Those interested are encouraged to email president Rohn Smith at email@example.com or meet the club at Faith Lutheran Church in Grand Blanc from 6:30 to 8pm on the first and third Thursdays of the month between September and May. Visit their Facebook page for more info.
Tips from the FLCC
Acclimate your gear to the cold temperature. Leave your camera or lenses in their cases and put them in the car a few hours before using so they adjust slowly to avoid fogging.
Keep equipment dry. During heavy snow or rain, use a camera raincoat, either store bought or homemade (often, a plastic grocery bag may work). Leave the lens cap on when walking but don’t forget to take it off before the shot!
Wear the right gloves. It can be hard to operate the camera with mittens or typical gloves. Instead, find yourself some fingerless gloves with pull-over mitten covers that can be flipped back when you need to take a photo.
Use warm batteries. Cold weather can affect battery life and camera function. Keep spare batteries close to your body to keep them warm. Do not put batteries too close to a heat source such as a fire or heater; body heat will do. (Consider bringing a portable charger, if possible.)
Let someone else know. If going out to shoot alone, make sure someone knows where you are going and how long you expect to be gone. Take warm blankets, clothes and hand-warmers with you. Make sure your phone is completely charged before leaving.