I have had a couple of conversations recently about what being in the camera club has meant to them. That got me to thinking about my growth as a photographer, and as a person, since joining.
In 2005 when I got my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel, as a birthday surprise, I was thrilled. Now I could take "real" photos! I had found the camera club and a photo contest site (DP Challenge), and this new camera would let me fit right in. (Of course, I now know any camera would have been fine.)
For my first entry on DP Challenge, I took around 200 photos of my birdbath. I was figuring out how to operate my camera, and there was a lot to learn. I got an image I was happy with and entered. Once the judging started, I was afraid to look at my score, but was pleased to see that I was averaging about 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
I joined the camera club in January, 2006. By the third quarter I decided to enter a club competition. Again, I was scared as the judges' comments and scores were read. I don't remember my score, but I got some good feedback.
My first winning entries in club were in 2008. Back then, you could enter a color photo and a black & white photo. I entered these two photos in January, and won with both of them. Of course, that success was not repeated, but it was exciting when it happened.
The photo on the left was taken during a field trip to the Gillioz Theater. The photo on the right was taken on a walk along the Jordan Creek Greenway Trail.
There are many things that led to this improvement: field trips, club workshops, club presentations, asking questions at meetings, and continuing to take pictures. When I couldn't think of anything to shoot, DP Challenge gave me ideas. The camera club gave me the knowledge I needed to get better results.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the camera club is that I have met many wonderful people and made some good friends. I came for the love of photography, but my life has been enriched in ways I never imagined.
Some of my more recent entries can be seen on this blog post.