July 15, 2014

New England Camera Club Conference - 2014

Well I just got back from the 69th  New England Camera Club Conference (NECCC) held on the U Mass campus in Amherst, Mass.  Like always, it was a much needed break from my daily grind and time for me to spark up my creative juices again. 

Each year the NECCC holds a three day event filled with classes, seminars and photo opts, designed for anyone who’s interested in photography.

The conference actually started out as a photo and prints competition awards ceremony for New England camera club competitions in 1949 and has morphed into a three day event, which is one of the largest photo conferences of it's kind in the entire country. They NECCC also offers a few pre-conference seminars held the day before the main event. Obviously the weekend can be costly and is sponsored in part by companies like Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Tamron and Hunts Photo & Video, just to name a few. These vendors have setup a special ‘vendors section’ in the main concourse that is open throughout the weekend to help you find just about any equipment you might be looking for. There are even special areas where you can borrow lenses or gear or you can test printers for free! Nice huh? 

For me, the conference is a great time to hook-up with other photographers and my camera club friends. It helps me keep up to date with what’s going on in the photo world and get some fresh ideas from some of the best photographers and biggest names in the industry. Who better to learn from right? The NECCC’s planning board has the weekends activities split into different categories and skill levels and they send out speakers notes and schedules when you register to help you plan out your weekend schedule accordingly beforehand.

On the first day of the conference (Friday) they offer two time slots in the afternoon, a dinner break, and then two or three special one-time only speaker presentations that evening.

The second day is very full, with four time slots during the day with a break for meals, along with photo opts like model shoots and studio setups in different location on campus throughout the day. Then on Saturday night, they hold the annual NECCC’s awards ceremony along with the special keynote presentation, usually held in the college’s huge Fine Arts auditorium. 

This year the NECCC was lucky enough to get Sam Abel (sponsored by Canon) as their special keynote speaker. Sam has had a fantastic career spanning forty years and holds the honor of being one of only thirty-five people world-wide to be chosen to be one of the Canon Explorers of Light. In addition to being an Explorer of Light, Sam was also a contract and staff photography for National Geographic for thirty years. His presentation was captivating and he definitely got two thumbs up from everyone that attended. Then on Sunday morning, the third and final day, they offer two more time slots in the morning. 

If there are any downsides to the conference it is the fact that they offer way too many choices and you really have to schedule your time accordingly.  For me, I start out weeks beforehand planning out my weekend. During the conference, at meal time or between classes, I’ll hook up with my friends and find out what they’ve seen and quite often I’ll fine-tune my schedule to fit in a particular class that they thought was worth catching or some that I’d be better off skipping. Of course you never get a chance to see everything, but they have tons of choices designed for all skill levels. If you’re into photography, you’ll definitely have a great time.

Over the course of the weekend this year I actually had a chance to attend eight seminars, two presentations (Friday and Saturday night) and fit in several shooting opts. The weekend flies by and is a lot of information crammed in over a short period, but I’m already looking forward to the 70th Annual NECCC next year!

Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography