Rob Sternschein

Rob’s interest in photography began early in life when he was given a developing kit at 8 years old, to go with his Kodak Brownie camera. The kit contained three developing chemicals and the trays to mix them. Without an enlarger the prints were very small, but he says it was fun to do. At 13 Rob was given an 8mm movie camera, with which he took a lot of movies, mostly of family and friends. He still has the camera, movies, and the projector – along with the Brownie! Old companions can be hard to give up. 

Rob was given a point and shoot camera as a college graduation gift from his future wife, Norma Jean.  “I toured Europe for five weeks after college and took 43 rolls of slides at 36 shots per roll [1,548 images]. I used slides because print film was expensive to develop.”  Like all of us then, he next had to wait to see how his photos turned out.  “Kids today will never know what it’s like to take a ton of pictures – and have to wait a week to find out they were useless.”  How things have changed:  probably more images taken with no wait time involved.  Plus, the ability to see what didn’t work and fix it with the next shot.

His European tour after college included England, France, Spain, Monaco, Italy, Austria, and Germany.  Rob’s father had asked him to visit the small town in Germany, where he lived as a teen, to see if he could locate anyone who knew the family back then.  Rob had his doubts, since several decades and WWII had come between.  However… at his very first stop, at the bank in Neustadt to cash a traveler’s check, a teller recognized his last name and called over the bank President – who was the brother of friends of Rob’s family!  He was introduced to a number of people and taken to his grandparents’ old house where he got to see (and photograph) the inside, including his father’s old room.  “It was an amazing and wonderful experience!”

Rob’s next camera was a Yashica TL Electro X SLR. The engineer VP he worked with, who was a camera buff himself, purchased for Rob a Vivitar 85 to 205 telephoto lens when he was on a business trip to Taiwan.  This gave Rob lots of shooting flexibility at a significant cost savings.

Rob started his career as an engineer, earned his master’s degree, and went into manufacturing management. He managed operations that built large products such as locomotives and jet engines, and small items such as handguns and printed circuit boards. Like most of us, Rob says since he retired he just can’t figure out how he had time to work. After Rob’s retirement, he and his wife had the good fortune to go on a number of cruises.  These included Canada, Alaska, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean (for a destination Bar Mitzvah!), and Australia and New Zealand right before COVID lockdown. “The sights were breathtaking, and all captured by my camera.”

Presently Rob shoots with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i.  He explains that he “lost” some of his lenses to his granddaughter, who also uses a Canon. During Rob’s last cruise he decided not to take the SLR and used a simple Canon point and shoot. He says it worked great for the record shots he took.

Rob recalls going to several SCC meetings and seeing how interesting they were and how much could be learned from other members.  He then decided to join the club, which was in 2000 when David Royce was President, and he’s been with the club ever since.  Although he doesn’t submit to the monthly competitions, he says the learning experience and camaraderie the club offers can’t be beat.  “The ability to see what photographers do gives me great satisfaction.”  Rob says the knowledge acquired from the club members has been exceptional. “During the competition presentations, it’s amazing to see the talent and creativity of the photographers.”  He appreciates that every year the club has moved forward to introduce new ideas and have members and guest speakers give presentations that advance the knowledge and thoughts of the members.  

Rob has been the SCC treasurer since 2015 and tracks all membership information for the club.  He coordinates with the club’s Google Group host, Frank Zaremba, to have all new members invited to join our online group.  Rob plays a key role in assuring that there is money for outside speakers as well as new equipment and other club expenses, and provides monthly financial reports to the board of directors. 

Rob is an avid water skier and snow skier, volunteers for a variety of organizations, and is now taking piano lessons, a lifelong desire.

About his overall experience with SCC, Rob says “I find the members of the club have a common thread: they are willing to share their knowledge with anyone who asks. There is no holding back. If they can teach you something, it’s their pleasure; they’re happy to do so. This makes the club incredibly unique and I’m proud to be a member.”