July 25, 2011

New England Camera Club Conference - 2011

Each summer, one of the things I really look forward to is attending the NECCC conference held at the University Of Massachusetts campus in Amherst Mass. NECCC stands for the New England Camera Club Council. Every year the NECCC holds a three-day conference for people that are into photography. The council itself is a non-profit umbrella group of about 80 camera clubs in New England, which was established in 1937 and became so popular that it was officially incorporated in 1963. If you’re into photography, then this is the place to go. It is New England’s version of Photoshop World.

I had been into photography for many years but I had never even heard anything about the NECCC until I joined a local camera club (Stonybrook Camera Club). It was through my club members that I found out what the conference was all about and I instantly wanted to attend it myself. I have been to Photoshop World a few times and really enjoy learning just about anything to do with photography, camera’s etc.

I was very lucky because a few of the members of my club were also presenters and teachers at the conference (as well as being very gifted photographers themselves) Each year my club usually has about 20 or more members that attend the conference and its a lot of fun hanging out and talking shop all weekend.

For me, the conference is about 120 miles away from my home, so like most of the attendees we stay right at the campus in the same dorms used by the students during the school year. Very few students are on campus in the summer and for a minimal fee you can rent a room, with or without A/C. Some people choose to dine out during the weekend, but as an added convenience, the college opens one of the campus cafeterias for dining and offers various meal plans. I like this personally because I don’t have to drive anywhere and it gives me a chance to hang out with my club members and my fellow photographers.

Each year the conference offers classes and seminars on everything from printing and camera settings to subjects like flash photography and lighting. In addition to that, some of the big name equipment manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron, Nik Software, Wacom, Epson etc have booths set up with reps there to answer any of your questions and also have a nice selection of the “latest and greatest” for sale. Some of them even hold classes to help people get up to speed on their equipment. You can even borrow some new cameras or lenses for the weekend or test some of the latest printers.

Classes on the Conference Schedule are rated according to your skill level, B for Beginner, I for Intermediate and A for Advanced. Every year they also offer shooting set-ups with live models (usually college students or faculty) either in a photo studio type environment or at various places around the campus. They also have set-ups for shooting exotic animals or birds, so there is usually something for everyone.

This year as always, they had a few of the big names teaching you their tricks of the trade, teaching how they got to where they are and how they stay ahead of the pack in this highly competitive field. Some of speakers/ presenters for 2011 included Ken Sklute, one of the Canon Explorers of Light, doing a show on sports photography. Eddie Tapp, also sponsored by Canon and a 2006 Photoshop Hall of Famer, doing a seminar on his digital process and back-up system. Adobe proudly sponsored Jane Conner-Ziser, and she showed her own workflow using ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) and Lightroom with her own personal tips and techniques.

I really enjoy the special presentations by some world-class photographers. This year, one of the feature artists was Wendell Phillips of Canada. His show consisted of some of his images from the Olympic games and his recent documentary from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Another world-class photographer, Andre Galant, also from Canada, did a presentation on his own world travels and as an added bonus they also had Jack Reznicki back again this year to do two presentations, one called Copyrights and Copywrongs – Model Releases and other Legal Issues and another called Lighting and Visual Perception. The NECCC also features local professionals from the N.E. area doing various workshops and shows on how they succeed in the world of photography.

One of my personal local favorites is Sarah Musumeci. Sarah specializes in architectural and travel photography and photographs everything from Bed and Breakfasts in New England to major hotels and businesses in the New York and Boston areas. I like to mingle with the presenters and artists when I can and one of the people I met this year was Robert Harrington, a first time instructor at the conference and he taught a class on Off-Camera Flash and it was a big hit. All in all, the conference is a great time and is almost guaranteed to have something for everyone.

Usually the conference people do a special presentation on Saturday night in the main auditorium on campus, but this year the building was having some renovations during summer break so for their feature presentation, a popular local photo retailer, Hunts Photo and Video, sponsored a show with hot air balloons. On Saturday evening they had three balloons tethered next to a pond on campus and ‘fired them up” for an evening tethered glow. The following morning, very early, the balloons were scheduled to do a take off. Both viewings were a lot of fun and made for great photo opportunities.

This year, as always, the conference was a great time. The NECCC has a faithful following and is sure to be around for years to come. I’m sure that there are conferences similar to this all around the country and you owe it to yourself to go online and find one in your area.
Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography