There are 2 forums that I read on a regular basis about photography. They are Photography on the Net and Fred Miranda both sites have some very good information and like any other forum where people are freely available to give their 2 cents, there is a bit of crap as well.  Photography on the net is a Canon dedicated board, and Fred Miranda is open to any brand of camera, the information available on both is similar and the Buy and Sell boards on both can be great places to pick up used gear.  I bought my Tokina 12-24 from someone off of Fred Miranda.  The contests that are run on both boards can be great tools to get the creative juices flowing and even if I do not submit an entry, I try and complete the assignment just as an exercise.