Random Photos and Thoughts. Adventures in life as a Amateur Photographer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Soap Box Time or How I Lost a Little of My Mind.

Drafted in May of 2009.

If you take the time to read this, Maybe you'll understand just why it took so long to write and publish. Do I think I am being petty or shallow? No. But then maybe I an just too close to the subject.

I haven't written in a while. I would say I have had too many irons in the fire, or too busy juggling things, but that not entirely true.

This really has been a burr under my saddle for a while. This blog entry has been half written a few times and discarded each time or put on a back burner.

I have to lay a little foundation, so you can understand my gripe.

At the end of October last year, the company for which I work, eliminated my assignment. This allowed me to make a seniority move onto a different job. (It is called bumping) So after careful consideration, I went on job which started work about 13 hours earlier in the day. I used to start at 7:00pm, and now start at 6:00am.

This is the 1st time in about 10 years I've had evenings off.

A chance at something more of a social life.

Now I can add one more little item to the mix of my life.

A year ago April I bought a new Digital Camera, retiring my 35mm Nikon F2S2 camera. After nearly nine months of taking pictures and exploring digital photography on line groups, I decided to look into a local photography group. I thought I had found a good, viable, friendly local group.

I asked what I considered some sensible questions:
  • How many active members do you have?
  • What sorts of activities do you have during the year.
  • How experienced are your members?
  • Do you have guest speakers or presentation work shops classes.
  • What sort of community involvement do you have.
  • Do you have a written set of bylaws?
  • If you collect dues or donations is the club a registered none profit club with a tax number?

I found a small group which appeared on the surface to be ideal. The active membership claimed by the club officers was 25-30 members. They claimed to have a good mix of experienced users to beginners. They had monthly photo themed contests. The husband and wife team appeared to have it all together. The meetings seem to relaxed, informal. The initial meeting we attended had several good handouts which would be good for user from Novice to Advanced. Most clubs have some very nice information on line. Their handout were pretty standard information stuff.

So we filled out the application and my wife and I joined. She is novice photographer, with an art background. I am a amateur veteran film photographer with 30+ years of experience. in 35 and larger formats. For example: I once made glass plates with a painted on emulsion, and used a lens off a enlarger to make a 4 x6 negative.

Now on to what went wrong.

  • The membership was over stated, in the 4 monthly meetings we attended I saw only three or four other people. Two guest showed up and never came back.
  • The husband and wife team were ill prepared for the meetings and seemed to be in the habit of leaving materials at home.
  • Their promises to e-mail material always seem to fall short of the mark.
  • Even the results of the monthly photo contests never made it to the next meeting.
  • One month the theme was to be "Photojournalism" and a handout was supposed to be made available to explain just exactly what the theme would encompassed. The handout, at the meeting was left at home and would be e-mailed out as a PDF file. The week before the monthly competition wasto be over, the file was once again requested. This time no one even bothered to return any calls or answer e-mail. Then later it came out the file was non-existant.
Then the real slap in the face came.

Our local county fair came, I picked out three of what I felt was my better photos would fit the categories for the local fair. This is the 1st time in over 36 years I entered anything in the local fair. The fair entries went in and were judged.

I was mildly surprised. The categories I entered had some fairly number numbers of participants. One category had over 100 photos. I took a second place in one category and third in another. One of the Club Members took a best of show for a photo. Surprising she seldom had any entries in the club competitions and her participation was during meetings always seems minimal and very cliquish.

The Club web page did well they congratulated the member for the winning Best of Show. She deserved it with an excellent digit photo. the entire show was over 2000 photos. The club web page even congradulated the Club President for getting an award for a painting she did. The Club president husband, got acknowlegement for taking a third place.

What about my Second and Third place awards, you ask?

Completely and absolutely ignored by my so called "Club".

The part the had me confused: the photos were done well enough one of the shows Judges blogged about the photos, and they appeared in his newspaper column as well.

So after 5 months, I decided not to waste our time and effort with a club which really consisted of a husband and wife team, and three other people. Five if you counted myself and my wife.

Enough Venting I finally got it out of my system.

Move on, Bob to the point of this entry.

So the question for today:

Is joining a local photo club worth the time and effort?

My answer is: Yes!

Luckily there are several local clubs, and I think I will attend a few of their meetings.

Will I be so quick to join?
Maybe not.

The old saying: once burned, twice shy,
would be wise to consider.

While I was stewing about this article, I have been busy taking pictures and hope to resume Semi-regular blog entries again.

Coming soon: a blog entry on how to make Panoramic shots.
When: I don't know. and Who's on First?