Our local camera club is a member in a regional association of camera clubs all over the upper Great Plains and one of the activities we are part of is judging a monthly digital image contest. It’s a way to see what other photographers are creating, calibrate ourselves on a scoring system similar to the one we use, and get a few people together to enjoy other people’s images.
We just finished going through our batch of 100+ images for our session and I have to admit there are quite a few gifted photographers in our region. Several very good landscape images, quite a few HDR versions, a few street photography images and some still life as well. Looking through the stack made me want to grab my camera and either start doing some new things or revisit techniques and compositions I’ve not played around with for a while.
I’m pretty sure most of the people involved in this regional group are, shall we say, mature photographers. At least that’s the impression I get from reading through the monthly newsletter and hearing about members’ years of experience. I don’t believe many are truly professional, though, by which I mean generating a significant portion of their income from photography. No, these are the gifted amateurs, those people with the time and desire to improve their craft and challenge their skills.
It’s one of the great things about photography – anyone believes they can be a part of it regardless of their level of skill and/or training. And they can. Cameras are so much of our life that using them is almost second nature – hold it to your eye and push the shutter. Sure, there are lots of bells and whistles on modern cameras that can intimidate people, but really the basics are the same as your first Instamatic. I think that’s why so many people gravitate to photography and to groups of photographers – it’s so easy to fit in and start learning.
If you haven’t found a group of photographers yet, look around and find one to join. It’s good to be around like minded people to remind you why photography is a part of your life.