I just got back from the NANPA Summit in San Diego last night. It was a grueling drive out there and back punctuated by some exceptional scenery along the way. I was a member of NANPA years ago but never did anything with the group. Nothing, nada, zero, zip. Last year I decided to join again and attend the meeting in San Diego. I posted various things on Facebook about the meeting and the experience but nothing that really explained what the experience really felt like. Was it expensive? Yes and no. I found it hard to justify many years ago when I first joined, not financially but time wise. I was working full time, had limited vacation and was going to Tanzania with my time off. NANPA and the summit seemed out of reach.
Now with sufficient time, the funds are somewhat limited. First, let me say that this was a superb experience. Although I felt like I was on the outside, there were many there with us that I spoke to who felt the same way. Attending a meeting of a group doesn't necessarily get you "involved". I really liked what I saw and heard at the summit. Will I go again? A lot depends on what happens over the next two years, as the summit is held every-other-year. If I have the funds, yes, I will go. Will I have the funds? Who knows?? Being retired does have some serious drawbacks on the financial side but not on the time side! I have had some questions about the "value" and "justification" for the cost to attend versus using the money to purchase more equipment. I have no way of answering that for anyone. I will say that after listening to Dewitt Jones' program the first night, that I am probably encumbered with too much equipment. There are times I might need to upgrade to get better processing speed but I literally have too much to carry with me on most trips. We all go through lulls in creativity. There are times I wonder what the heck am I doing with all this stuff and spending my money on cameras, lenses, tripods and trips. Then I snap out of it and keep on creating. I reached one of those lulls where I felt brain dead when it came to photography. Half way to San Diego I was wondering "Why a I doing this?" Two hours of sitting and listening to Dewitt answered that question for me; I love to create, I feel at home in the natural world and I need an artistic outlet.
I know the expense of attending this meeting was fairly high but I also know the expense of sitting at home and always wondering, "Should I have gone?" As for involvement? I have committed to run a NANPA Meet-up Group in the Great Plains. The group will meet once a month to do photo outings, dinner, lunch, a photo walk, etc. What else? It depends on what the group wants to do together. I also committed to one other part of the "team" that I will work into later this year after Tanzania.
Who were the speakers?
These were the Keynote Speakers! In addition, there were numerous sessions put on by both photographers and equipment suppliers. I was able to attend seven of these and found them to be mostly brilliant and VERY informative. The topics were varied from video production to book manufacturing. Krysta Schlyer, Suzi Esterhas, Ellen Anon, Kathy Adams Clark, Ron Rosentstock, Jennifer Wu and many others! I also bought a couple of books, one form Suzi Esterhas and one from Frans Lanting:
How do you decide whether it is worth it or not? I have no idea. For me, I needed this spark of creativity and to be around so many exceptional people AND photographers at one time is simply amazing. The exhibit hall was filled almost wall to wall with:
My wife made me give her my credit card before I could go in! Not on the list was Canon and Nikon. Loved to see the new 11-24L lens from Canon as well as the 5Ds.
Will I go back? Hard to say but I sure want to if for no other reason than to get inspired again.