I suppose the forum comes across as a clique because some people have been here a long time and find a lot of time to post on here. I on the other hand have been here a long time and have no time to post most of the time due to work, diy, other business interests, planning a US trip etc etc etc.
I have work on online sites and forums for over 20 years and sites that have a small dedicated group of users always look like a clique to the newbie and I don't think there is anyway to stop that. However this site has the lowest argument rate of any site I have ever belonged to and users do try their best to make newbies feel welcome.
As has been said more tips about how you got an image might be good, There was a tutorial section at one point where people could do a this is how I did it post and others could chip in with other ways of doing it, I must check if that is still here.
Mostly I think that winter is the quiet time for photography as the days are short and its too cold to go out for long or just too wet.
i'll see if I can pop in a bit more