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Camera Club Keeps On Clicking

Companionable, creative outlet for over 50 years
The Manhasset Great Neck Camera Club has been around since 1951, and has been meeting at the Manhasset Public Library since 2011. The club is a welcoming group of photographers of all skill levels. They meet on the second and fourth Monday of every month. The first meeting is a competition evening, where photos are critiqued by an expert. The second meeting is a presentation evening; usually a guest speaker gives a lecture about their photography. Guests are welcome. The Club is part of the Photographic Federation of Long Island (PFLI), a voluntary non-profit organization of camera clubs from Nassau and Suffolk counties and the five boroughs of New York City.
For Michael Chaplan, the club’s defacto communications and PR person, his interest in photography grew out of his love of treasure hunting. He needed to be able to document his finds. “My photography background started when I began writing articles about my treasure hunting expedition in New York City. And I would include photographs of the different places that I went to, things that I found, and I have a metal detector and in these magazines that became the voice of New York City treasure hunting, so to say, and I wrote a book called The Urban Treasure Hunter. It’s about treasure hunting in New York. My background is in anthropology and public health, both academic and doing archaeology and whatever. I’m sort of an adventurous person. I enjoy learning about photography. I’m not a photographer like the other folks in the club. They’re artists. Photography to me, it’s an adjunct to my writing. And when I’m writing, I usually take photos of whatever I’m doing.”
Some members stated that the club serves as more than an artistic outlet. For them, the meetings are an opportunity to meet like-minded, creative people who help them learn and push them to be better photographers. “Well, when I retired, I mean, I worked long hours. Now I read, I play mahjong, canasta, I like movies, I like TV. But I needed something to really give me a purpose, and photography is really fabulous… It’s fun to me, and it gives me a purpose. I didn’t know what it’s like to be creative. I met a lot of friends of the club… we have a lot in common, all in the same age group and have the same hobby,” said Ronny Hachadoorian, the club’s co-president.
Lyda Zissimatos, the other co-president, echoed this sentiment. “Once I retired from the New York City public school system, I knew I was going to have a lot of time on my hands and wanted to make sure that I kept engaged. I was happy hobbyist. I bought a digital camera, and it sat in the box for an entire year because I was terrified to open it up and I had no idea how to use it. I did see a flyer at the Manhasset library about the photographic club of Manhasset and Great Neck, so I decided to check it out. When I got there, I met a group of wonderful, intelligent, vivacious people who took me by the hand and started showing me slowly how to use the camera. I enjoy learning from my co-members as well as the judges who come to critique our work. I have absolutely loved it.”-
Lifelong photography enthusiast Haig Hachadoorian serves as the club’s vice president. After dabbling in photography as a child, he put his hobby aside for career and family. With the dawn of digital photography, however, his interest resumed. “I picked up my first camera when I was like eight or nine years old; my parents encouraged me. And I had a dark room down in the basement of the house we lived in when I was like 10 years old. So I’ve been a photographer for a while. And I pursued it even in my teens and that kind of thing. I was in the Coast Guard and got married, and always took pictures; my passion for photography was there but you know, raising a family with a couple of kids and that kind of thing kind of put it on the back burner. Then as I got older I had more time. Back in 2000 or so I joined the camera club and pursued photography much more seriously.
With digital you get instant feedback; you take a picture you look at it, and you see that you did something wrong and you make an adjustment. And you get to learn very quickly what adjustments to make. When I was shooting film, I would get some really great shots. But it got developed and I couldn’t remember what the settings were two weeks later. So digital gave me such a boost up because of the instant feedback that you’ve got in terms of learning. So it helped me improve my photography.”
The Manhasset Great Neck Camera Club will hold a meeting on Monday, April 15, at 6:30 P.M. This meeting will feature a “Program Evening” where master photographer Ron Wyatt will provide an instructive, slide illustrated lecture entitled: “How To Capture Stunning Images”. Wyatt has worked as a cameraman for MSNBC, Comcast, Comcast Sports, News 12, and Court TV. A “Meet and Greet” takes place between 6-6:30 P.M.
The club is always open to new members. They are a welcoming group of photographers in an active club and can assist all classes and skill levels of digital photographers, from iPhone, point and shoot, beginners through advanced. Visit their web site, which has a wealth of photography information. For further information, please email [email protected]

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