This year was my son, Jeremy’s, first year of college.  My dear friend, Jennifer, and I were discussing college as I prepared myself for sending Jeremy for his first year.  In our conversation, Jennifer described college as a time to “find your people”.  Jennifer and I have been friends since college.  She is “my people” from college.

Sometimes it is not so easy to

“find your people”.  I remember times when I was younger that my mother would always encourage me to join an organization.  She would tell me how wonderful organizations were and tried to get me to seek out organizations on more than one occasion.  The problem was, I had no idea what type of organization I should join.

Fast forward about twenty- five years.  There have been a few times in my life that I can reflect upon as life changing.  There was a weekend in October about seven years ago that I would consider life changing for a number of reasons.

That October weekend was my first weekend photo workshop away from home.  My mother gave me a gift of attending a photography workshop with Kevin Adams.

That weekend was magical for so many reasons!  It was the weekend I first had the opportunity to learn from one of my all time favorite teachers, got to meet amazing photographers, began friendships that I have enjoyed to this day, and learned about an organization called Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) for the first time.

CNPA is an organization of Nature Photographers in North and South Carolina.  It is run by amazing, caring, creative volunteers.   Members learn together, laugh together, photograph together, and support each other.

Regions have been created so members can meet with other members of their regions on a regular basis.  All members also have opportunities to get together for scheduled outings and an annual meeting that takes place each winter.

I have just returned from this year’s annual meeting.  Each year, a different location within the Carolinas is chosen for the meeting spot.  This year the meeting took place in Concord, NC.

When attending an annual meeting, members enjoy amazing presentations from gifted photographers, see and purchase the latest tools for creating images in the trade show, attend workshops, enjoy the gallery of the images selected by members in the Members Choice Photography Competition, socialize and network.

CNPA Pictures

I was so honored to receive an Honorable Mention for my close look at Eastatoe Falls.

https://themaryphotographer.smugmug.com/Galleries/Misc/Water/i-S6L6rSS/buy

A Close Look at Eastatoe

Whenever I leave an annual meeting, I find I leave with a renewed inspiration for photography.  I also feel a bit sad saying goodbye to the great friends I have made since becoming a member of CNPA.

I remember so well, that first weekend with Kevin Adams, that he referred to his “photography family”.  I thought it was so interesting that he used that term.

Since being a member of this wonderful organization and learning with and from such fabulous people, I now understand completely what he was talking about.  I do feel now like I, too, consider these friends my photography family.

I understand what my mother was trying to lead me to experience through an organization.

I am so thankful for all of the leaders and members of CNPA.  I am thrilled that later in life, I was able to “find my people”.

If you are a photographer, I hope you will come join us at the next CNPA meeting near you.  If you are not a photographer, I encourage you to find your people doing the thing that you love to do.

 

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