The Man Behind the Projector
Jim Patrina has been a Simsbury Camera Club mainstay for many years. His major contribution has been being the man behind the projector collecting, organizing and recording the thousands of images that were sent to him each year to be presented to the judges and then shown at club meetings. The monthly competitions are the lifeblood of the club where all members receive feedback on their photographic efforts. Jim has also been a stalwart attender at committee meetings that review the image for outside competition and end of the year awards.
Jim joined the Simsbury Camera Club in 2005. He had some technical savvy so Bruce Metzger, one of the club’s persuasive recruiters, asked him to administer the transition of moving the club from film to digital images with Bruce as his capable standby. Jim did a remarkable job and became the digital chair for our club. As most of members came to realize, Jim had to face an arduous learning curve as to how to deal with the many issues of quality of the projection, lighting conditions in the meeting room and several annoying projector problems. As we all became familiar with the myriad of problems associated with moving to a new process, the club has quickly adapted and improved in its management of the rapidly changing digital environment. Our club is entirely digitally based and all competitions are through digital projection. Our print competition had disappeared because it was not attracting enough participants.
Jim’s first camera was a 35mm Kodak that he received from his father in the 1960s. All settings were done manually on this basic camera, but it was a great learning tool. He had to understand what f stops were all about as well as shutter speeds, ISO, and other photographic complexities. Like most of us, using the family’s upstairs bathroom to develop his own monochrome photos and a neighbor’s enlarger for printing, Jim discarded a lot of bad pictures. Jim became a Sony user once he converted to a digital format. Currently he uses a Sony A55 with a Tamron 18-270mm lens and a Tamron 200-500 zoom lens
While still a high school student, Jim became interested in photography. As a young man he worked at Westover Market, the current location of Kane’s Market on Hopmeadow Street. Jim worked at Alstom/GE as a scheduler for almost 20 years, scheduling work at the engineering and building of power plants across the world. Most memorable one was building two- five story power plants in Indonesia, putting them on a ship, and sailed them to Hawaii then thru the Panama Canal to Astoria NY for installation. He went to New York to watch them come up the East river and photographed them on the end part of their journey.
Jim worked as a contractor at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford as a Senior Lead Scheduler where he scheduled new machines to make engine parts for both commercial & military engines at different manufacturing facilities across the Pratt & Whitney Company. His job also entailed the scheduling for capacity planning for the commercial & military engine parts. This new adventure for Pratt is in the process of developing the schedules and the tracking methods with several departments along with progress reporting to the project teams and management. The latter job began in February 2018 and projected to end in August 2019
Jim, a veteran traveler, has visited such picturesque places as the Canadian Rockies, Romania, Portugal and Puerto Rico to name but a few. His constant companion for these trips abroad has always been his now more sophisticated digital camera. Jim is always looking forward to expanding his list of memorable destinations.
While new members have joined our club and many great photographers have gone, Jim is proud of the club’s contribution to the town of Simsbury through its learning arm, the library series open to the public and the many lectures on all aspects of photography. We have dispersed many tips on equipment, how to take better shots, how to edit one’s work and tips on post-‐processing tips. He can justly take credit on being an important leader in how the club has morphed into an important local asset, a learning club for the entire Farmington Valley.
Jim Patrina is grateful to the many members of the club who expanded his knowledge in a field that he thoroughly enjoys. For many years Jim was at every judging session and learned a lot about photography from hearing all the judge’s comments. Listening to other people’s opinions and critiques has been invaluable, even though like all of us we may disagree with some of the observations. The comments are always a good learning tool because everyone believes that their entries are worthy of recognition, and criticism of their images is sometimes not easy to hear. Still, getting someone else’s point of view of one’s photographs is what it is all about. The goal is to learn from the comments that will make one’s images better. Attending the monthly judging sessions is very worthwhile if one has the time. One may agree or disagree with the comments, but it is important to realize it is just an opinion that hopefully is expressed in a constructive manner. If you disagree, it is not something to get upset over but a comment or two that will help you with your photography. In summary, Jim’s sage advice is: “Learn from others while in the club. Listen to the judging comments and take what you can use from them and save the other comments for later when they could come in handy.”