Personally, I find too many group activities overwhelming. Too many people. Too much stimulus. Too much to distract from the focus of the group. Certainly, lots can be learned from seeing what others do, but too much can also be lost in the mix. I am a definite introvert, and while I like people, I prefer them in small doses . . . unless its a despotic situation, and I am the despot!
Anyway, one thing rather nice about the internet is the fact you can belong to some kind of group activity, but not be overwhelmed with others. I like a number of flickr groups for this reason – photographers with similar interests, occasional comments, groups with a focal theme and good postings. These are groups I can check in with, and check out of, and no one gets hurt feelings.
One I am finding particularly enjoyable is “Our Daily Challenge, 2” – the second group formed as an offshoot of the first. Highly original and creative photos emerge from a daily challenge. Themes for the day have included Distorted, Runs or Running, Hidden, and so on. What the photographer does can be staged, spontaneous, an impetus and go out and shoot something familiar but with a different skew. This puts a creative push behind photography.
Today’s theme is Distorted. I could putz with software and create special effects, I could destroy something and have a distorted item to snap. Instead, I have a zoom lens that creeps. It moves along and can be rather frustrating. But this is what made my theme for Distorted – the blur from the creep. So I simply moved the lens in-and-out, using a small f/stop to have a longer exposure. I was very, very pleased with the results. (No, I am not the first person in the world to do this.) The pleasure lies in the pattern repetition, somewhat recognizable in some of the pictures, and hinted at in others: Fugue.