I've been down in Corvallis, Oregon this weekend for the fifth anniversary meeting of the Nature Photographers of the Pacific Northwest. The traffic and rain driving down was horrible, but the meeting itself was good as always. It seemed like an appropriate occasion to write a few brief thoughts about camera clubs.
The Nature Photographers of the Pacific Northwest (NPPNW) meets only twice a year, rotating meeting sites throughout the northwest. They meet on college campuses and find industry sponsors such as Epson, Nikon or Canon to keep the cost of attending quite reasonable. Past guest speakers have included George Lepp, Art Wolfe and other well known professionals. This meeting featured Michael Frye from the Ansel Adams Gallery and a large exhibit from HP. Not bad for ten buck per person.
I've written before about the Photography Committee of the Seattle Mountaineers. They meet much more frequently, having monthly potlucks here in Seattle and field trips locally and regionally most weekends. I had to miss a Mountaineers retreat this weekend in fact since I couldn't be in two places at the same time. The Mountaineers Photo Committee is similar to NPPNW in that they focus on nature photography, but different in many other aspects of their operation.
Regardless, both provide opportunities to network with other photographers and to keep involved in photographic activities. And that's the real value of camera clubs. If there's one in your area, whether that be in the Northwest or around the world, I'd urge you to consider joining.