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Thread: Camera Clubs

  1. #1

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    Camera Clubs

    My first post , and i would like to know if joining a club can be beneficial to a newbie, as there is one situated not a mile from me to which i could join, thanks.

  2. #2
    rob marshall

    Re: Camera Clubs

    It's interesting, isn't it, that they are usually called camera clubs and rarely photography clubs.

    Having been a member of several, I can say that I found them to be a complete waste of time. there is far too much in-fighting, positioning, self-interest, and envy. I have learnt far more from reading photography books, talking one to one with other photographers, googling things on the internet, attending one or two pro courses, and, of course being a member of the better photography forums, such as this one (had to get that in).

    However. If you want social contact, company, and something to do on Thursday evenings, then you might find it quite stimulating. It really does depend on the individual. Personally, I find them a waste of good rented hall space.

    On a similar theme, I can never understand why people want to go out in rambling groups in the countryside.

    Have you ever tried shooting pictures in a group? It just doesn't work. At all.

  3. #3
    herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Hi Derek,

    Most clubs are pretty friendly. It may take some time to get to know people but once you do you'll find everyone has loads of advice to give out. Photographers love talking about photos. It is also useful to hear comments during judging competitions and see the work of others. It can give you inspiration.

    The local club may allow you to drop in for a few sessions without joining. You should contact them to find out. That way you can see what the club is like.

    Plus you have already joined CiC. You'll find this is a big friendly club too.

    Alex

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: Camera Clubs

    Derek

    Another thing. You don't give your age, and I couldn't see it in your profile. You may well find that the average age of club members is around the 55years area. Nothing wrong with that (I'm 59), but if you are very young you might want to bear that in mind. I'm not being ageist (how can I be at my own age)

  5. #5

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    Graham Heron

    Re: Camera Clubs

    Hi Derek,
    I'm 48 and fit in okay with the older crowd, but there are few who are sub 40, so age and fitting in may be an issue.
    I also posted (another thread, ages ago) my own story. Summary. I'm fairly shy, but I threw myself into the deep end. I now make available old mag (over 1 month, so quite a few of them are still on the bookstore shelves) gets them out of the house (interesting pics and articles I scan for myself). I also offer post processing help, provide table top photography ops and show some of my books - all in the coffee hour.

    You get out what you put in. The more you get involved, the more you learn. Many people don't like to organise, so if you are willling to do that, then they'll love you. PLUS you get to know the better photographers who are then more willing to help you. They can often be reticent to get involved with new members as well as the other way around.

    Graham

    (Wasn't there a Chaucer (or some other old geezer like that) who told a story about a traveller asking a man on the outskirts of town -
    How are the people here?,
    Reply was 'How did you get on in your own village?,
    'People there were not so friendly.'
    'Well, the people here are much the same.'

    Second traveller, same story and question, BUT he replied
    'The people in my village were very friendly, and everyone liked each other.'
    'Well, the people here are much the same.'

  6. #6

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Camera Clubs

    Personally, they're not a good fit for me, for many of the reasons Rob mentioned. I think there's a lot of good information in them, but beyonds the basics, also a lot of MIS-information.

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    I belong to a camera club which doesn't have meetings but simply gets a group of photographers together for various outings. If it is a place that I desire to go, I join the outing. If I don't desire to go there, I don't join the group on that specific trip.

    Occasionally, the group finds out about photographic opportunities that are available but, which I have not learned about. That makes it worth while. I have enjoyed shooting with the group on a couple of occasions.

    As I said, there are no meetings, the entire group is conducted very much like this forum. We can post our efforts online or not post our images. It is totally up to us! Everything except the actual photo forays is conducted online...

    You don't have to take part in the group trip to post images. Anyone can post on any topic...

    They do have a Christmas party once a year but, Bah Humbug... I don't attend...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 3rd December 2011 at 10:43 PM.

  8. #8
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    I think it depends on the club. I tried the local one here (twice), and it was pointless. Actually what Rob said seems to concur with what I found.

    The formal meeting consumed much of the time (It appeared that the president liked the sound of his voice and liked conducting meetings ).

    Glenn

  9. #9

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    Re: Camera Clubs

    If you use Flickr to upload your images, you can always look in the groups section for your city. You might find something their, the group for my area will often set up date to meet up in the city. I haven't gone, but it looks like a fairly large group and its been around for a while.

    Just a thought.

  10. #10
    rob marshall

    Re: Camera Clubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    I think it depends on the club. I tried the local one here (twice), and it was pointless. Actually what Rob said seems to concur with what I found.
    LOL! I never realized it was a universal phenomena! I thought it was just a Brit thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    The formal meeting consumed much of the time (It appeared that the president liked the sound of his voice and liked conducting meetings ).
    I think that this applies to all small clubs (from photography to rambling). They are essentially comprised of what I call 'club people'. There is often fierce competition (but they never admit it) for positions within the club - Secretary, Chairman, Treasurer etc. Making tea at half-time seems quite important. Following procedure is also important - some meetings reminded me of business meetings in a corporate environment. Bridge and compact cameras might be frowned upon (but they would never actually say so). Lens talk can take up a lot of time, of course. But my main objection to them is the obsession with competitions, both in-club and inter-club. It's this over-zealous competitive spirit that for me, detracts from what should be a more nurturing and positive environment.

    I'm not just mouthing-off about this. As I said, I have been a member (and official!) of several, and I have thought a lot about this subject.

    One thing you might want to try (which I do) is when you are out and see someone with a DSLR is start talking to them. Give them your details/card, ask them to look at your site and ask for theirs. I've met some interesting people that way, and probably learnt a lot more.

    An interesting thread!

  11. #11
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Mr. Marshall - I think you nailed it:

    1) Club People indeed,

    2) Obsession with competitions,

    I think I already told the story: a number of people submitted photos on an easel for viewing; we viewed the photos and then broke into groups of six or so. A young lady who had just started photography had taken a fascinating image of overhead electric trolley wires at an intersection. It was all about the geometric patterns. All I heard was crap about DOF and exposure. Well of course the DOF was limited, she was a passenger in a car, noticed the patterns, and quickly took a shot while moving. " . . should have used a different focal length - blah, blah, blah." They missed the whole point.

    Two years later, I gave it another try. At the first meeting they said I had to pay the dues and register - so much for the tryout, and the attempt to lure more members.

    But perhaps it was just this club.

    Your comments about meeting other photographers while out shooting are valid. Two years ago, a fellow was shooting here at what we call our Inner Harbour - legislative buildings, sailboats, lots of tourists. He was doing multiple shots to stitch together. We talked for about an hour. He was a diplomat from Brazil posted in Vancouver and an ardent photographer (and very good). He's back in Brazil, and we exchange stuff from time to time.

    His site:

    http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com/p255037316

    Glenn
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 4th December 2011 at 06:33 AM.

  12. #12
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Just go visit the club a try it for yourself, we are all different, but you will only get out what you out in, good luck!

  13. #13

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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Well thanks for all the replies, will probably go along and see how it pans out, also just noticed my local college is running courses for digital beginners , as i am in my fifties it is going to be a shock going back to school .

  14. #14
    rob marshall

    Re: Camera Clubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek G View Post
    Well thanks for all the replies, will probably go along and see how it pans out, also just noticed my local college is running courses for digital beginners , as i am in my fifties it is going to be a shock going back to school .
    Let us know how you get on at the club. Doing a local course in photography may well be a very good way to learn/improve, and in the UK they are usually run by local eduction colleges etc, and can be very good value. I suppose the quality may vary, depending upon the teachers, but I think it's certainly worth a try. You will also meet others in a similar position to yourself, which might also be worthwile.

  15. #15
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek G View Post
    Well thanks for all the replies, will probably go along and see how it pans out, also just noticed my local college is running courses for digital beginners , as i am in my fifties it is going to be a shock going back to school .
    This would be the better strategy, meet a few of your classmates and one or two of them will have similar ideas to yours and there won't be any entanglements with the camera club mentality.

  16. #16

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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    But my main objection to them is the obsession with competitions, both in-club and inter-club. It's this over-zealous competitive spirit that for me, detracts from what should be a more nurturing and positive environment.
    I would agree that this is the main issue I have against camera/photo clubs. Having been involved in the activities committee last summer, I tried to introduce changes, some accepted, some not. The reasoning for keeping the number of comps was (to me) mainly to keep the more experienced, longer term members.
    Of course, the longer term members have stayed in the club because it gave THEM what THEY wanted (and no problem there). Those who wanted something different moved on and are no longer part of the club. So, the schedule is kind of self-fulfilling.

    The history of the club (AFAIK) is that the were a break away club from another cos of a reluctance for the original club to accept COLOUR prints (archaic or what). So www.torontodigitalphotoclub.com (not the original name either) seems to be a more progressive club, even if not as progressive as I would like.

    The membership has changed drastically over the last few years, with large numbers of new photographers (novices) joining. A few years ago, I believe that the membership was 30-50. Now it is 150-160. However, there is a large number of non-returns, a fact that I find disturbing. It tells me that the club is not providing what the newcomers want. (I'm not on the main committee so I don't know facts and figures accurately).

    So, let's put something more positive into this thread.
    What would you like to see provided ina camera/photo club?

    ME? 1. Change the meeting format, give at least 25% of meeting every week to novice material (such as how to get a particular effect in-camera, how to get an effect PP, positive critiquing of images (what's good, what's not so good and how to correct), what a competition image requires).
    2. When on a day trip, have some of the more experienced members helping out the novices. Doesn't have to be all day, just an hour of so max.
    3. What else - please make your own suggestions.

    Graham
    (change isn't always for the best, but no change is even worse in the long run)

  17. #17
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Beer, and lots of it

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    So, let's put something more positive into this thread.
    What would you like to see provided ina camera/photo club?

    ME? 1. Change the meeting format, give at least 25% of meeting every week to novice material (such as how to get a particular effect in-camera, how to get an effect PP, positive critiquing of images (what's good, what's not so good and how to correct), what a competition image requires).
    2. When on a day trip, have some of the more experienced members helping out the novices. Doesn't have to be all day, just an hour of so max.
    3. What else - please make your own suggestions.
    Great ideas Graham,

    3. If they're going to have regular challenges, make them secret votes by all members, not have a single nominated judge or panel, as if you're not 'on the same wavelength' as them, many are in for a disappointment.

    4. Organised model shoots (not necessarily without clothes), but unless you're in a group, few of us will have the guts to organise this - but then you have to allow 'fair access', which means a set time per shooter.

    From my own exceedingly dim, distant memories of my local education photography course, they were good at this, as there were fashion design students available as models and they had their clothes to wear.

    Cheers,

  19. #19
    rob marshall

    Re: Camera Clubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    From my own exceedingly dim, distant memories of my local education photography course, they were good at this, as there were fashion design students available as models and they had their clothes to wear.
    Yes, our local college does this. It's a great way to get free models with the right clothes and make-up. Often, they want the shots for their own portfolio. Trade!

  20. #20
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Clubs

    I joined a local club and the first question I was asked when I walked through the door was "what camera do you have?" to which I replied "Canon 40D" to which the person replied.... "no competition there then!". However, after the third week I entered a picture of a hologram of a wine glass breaking which took some effort to capture but l had nailed it, it looked stunning printed at A4 and mounted in black. The visiting judge loved it but a few of the members complained! "How can he win with a picture of a picture!". I never went back and will probably never attend a Camera club ever again - Snobs!!! CiC is so much better.

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