J. John Straub

J. John Straub

When one chooses a profession that necessitates examining images in great detail to interpret their meaning, it is not surprising that photography might become one’s hobby. This came to pass with diagnostic and interventional radiologist Dr. John Straub. John received all his education in Iowa; finally receiving his MD degree from the University of Iowa in 1972. His medical internship brought him to Hartford Hospital followed by a three-year residency in diagnostic and interventional radiology at the same institution. Interventional radiology involves the use of imaging modalities such as fluoroscopy, CT and ultrasound to guide minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of diseases. In the last 15 years of practice, John’s primary focus was on treating patients with various types of cancer using these minor intrusive techniques. John was employed at Jefferson Radiology with his primary staff appointments being at Hartford Hospital and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. As a Connecticut transplant, this life-long “Iowa Hawkeye” has also become an avid New England sports fan.

John’s obstetrician father numbered photography among his hobbies, but John did not share his enthusiasm for this diversion when he was a teenager. One day when his father’s circa ’69 Nikon F developed a mechanical problem, John repaired it and ultimately the classic camera was given to him. He feels that radiology was not a large factor that led to his passion for photography, but there is an obvious skill set overlap in astutely examining images and interpreting them. John entered the world of digital photography by way of a Sony Cyber-shot, but continued with his love affair with Nikon equipment by acquiring digital models D60, D5300, D750 and up to his current D780. He ended up breaking the Sony and the first of two Nikons. Being more careful with the next two, John has been very pleased with what these cameras have allowed him to do in pursuit of capturing “that moment”.

When John was about to retire, he decided to tackle the challenges of digital photography by taking several courses taught by Frank Zaremba. He met John Kokinis in those classes who suggested that he might enjoy attending the Simsbury Camera Club with the goal of extending this skillset. Charmed by Judy Rabinowitz and exposure to the late Nathan Gutman’s practical wisdom, John became an enthusiastic SCC member. He has been impressed by the group’s high standards and their devotion to sharing knowledge. Among the most valuable lessons his fellow members taught him was an awareness of the quality of light at various times of day and weather, the importance of positioning as related to composition, and finally the use of simplicity combined with imagination (thought-processing) to “make a photo.”  His first involvement in the club’s political hierarchy was as the club’s refreshment czar. This unlikely steppingstone led to the club’s vice-presidency that was followed by a three-year term as president.

John enjoys photographing landscapes, waterfalls, sports, all sorts of wildlife, particularly ospreys. His latest passion involved him taking pictures of “Chicks on the Beach.” Before he gets in trouble, this deserves some explanation. He recently took a course under that suggestive name that teaches one how to photograph nesting oyster catchers, plovers and terns with their chicks in their natural environment. This required challenging shooting techniques in order to obtain images of shorebirds interacting with their young in soggy shoreside settings. John really enjoyed capturing the shorebird’s antics as they interacted with their adorable chicks. All this took place on a largely deserted beach wafted by salt-air breezes. 

John has been pleased by the changes that he has seen in the club, especially with the many talented new members. Also, how the club retained its strength during the pandemic using Zoom to keep the club together and by the imaginative intra-club programs such as the Peer Image Sharing.

Philosophizing, John noted that photography, while frequently challenging and at times disappointing, provides occasional moments of genuine excitement that are to be treasured. We all struggle with burdens in our everyday lives that can at times be back breakers. Particularly as we age, opportunities to generate pleasure form creativity wane. Immersing oneself in the pursuit of “that image” can yield a permanent reward for the soul, even if the result is flawed and the score is low. Therefore, keep shooting and sharing!