Yesterday, I regretfully closed my Nifty50 photography community.

It’s been an evolutionary progression. (Editor’s note: redundant, evolution is progression…)

Back in the winter of 2013, I took over a fledgling Meetup group called Maritime Fun Photography.

I renamed it to the Maritime Camera Club (MCC) and took it from 15 members to a high of more than 500 over the next three years, organizing training for beginner photographers and an intro to digital image processing, along with photography events and photowalks. By the end of three years, I found the group unwieldly and Meetup’s organizer’s dues expensive, especially when you factored in a less-than-favourable Canadian to US Dollar exchange rate.

So, in 2015, I cherry-picked the 50 members whom I thought were the most fun to work with and established an advanced Meetup photography group called Nifty50. Named after the ubiquitous 50mm lens, aka the nifty 50, and the fact that Meetup offered a discounted dues rate for groups of up to 50 members. Some members came and went, and we often had 10 people wanting to join.

Meetup started to re-invent its apps and website – a process still underway today – and, for me at least – it turned into a kludge. So, I took a WordPress course at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, and took Nifty50 out of Meetup. Nifty50 Unplugged?

The closure was the culmination of several factors… The WordPress site never quite gave me the functionality that Meetup originally had and rolling my own was almost as expensive as Meetup’s organizer dues. Sure, you can build a WordPress site with free themes and plugins but it costs to get the best tools. We lost some folks in the transition from Meetup and – quite frankly – participation levels were lower than I wanted.

So, yesterday, I pulled the plug.

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