I would suggest you go to welcome areas or sandboxes to meet some interesting folks and perhaps learn a little about building and scripting. When I started SL I would up in Cordova and basically just went from sandbox to sandbox ever since. I met 3 of the best people in the world in sandboxes. You could also. Now, you do have to watch out for griefers at times but usually that doesn't last if you don't feed into the BS they bring. I believe that's why they made the block and mute button! Other then that, I think you'll really like them.
By the way, I see you're into photography and that's awesome. You should message me in world sometime and we can hang out. I love both SL & RL photography and I'm a graphic artist. We could definitely learn from each other.