This is my 2nd year in my local club. I enjoy it overall - the club has been around for 76 years, so is known in the local photographic community. The quality of presenters they get is very good - I'm quite surprised at the variety and quality of local photographers, everything from specialists in food photography to wedding photographers to travel/landscape/"calendar" photographers.

Using film I am in the minority, although I don't get much flak for it - most members I talk to consider it a valid choice, although I get the usual comments sometimes, in particular "Isn't it expensive?" coming from someone who spent $2,000+ on a digital camera, lenses, and Photoshop There are a few of us who shoot film (almost) exclusively, including a couple who shoot 4x5 or larger - they don't show their images much, but I'm trying to encourage them to change that

As with others' comments, competitions are quite subjective - in our club the monthly judging is done by an invited trio - a local pro, a local (usually) non-photographic artist, and a senior member of the club. They always begin by actually saying it's very subjective, so that's how I look at it. It has been interesting to see what others consider important or "good" in photography, and it usually boils down to the basics - eg, how the main subject is framed or highlighted, any distracting elements, everything that should be in focus is actually in focus.

The funny part is, the competitions often highlight the "rules" - eg, rule of thirds, focus, straight horizons, etc - but the pros who present on other nights tend to bend or break those rules an awful lot

And yes, there aren't too many people under 40 (which I am), but I'm OK with that - it's nice to meet people of all age groups with a common interest. There are a couple of other less formal groups in town as well, so I've started hanging out with one of them as well - also an effort to meet other local photographers.