January 15, 2018 Meeting Notes

The January 15, 2018 meeting was attended by 17 people, including two new people. Welcome!

The Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch is coming up this weekend, on Saturday, January 20 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Download the Eagle Watch brochure here. Our club will have a vendor table in the Grand River Center.  Members can bring framed prints to sell. [Please contact Jennifer in advance if you plan bring something.] We will also display a slide show of member-created nature photos and will have printed copies of our 2018 brochure available. If you’d like to volunteer to represent the club, just stop down.

DeWayne has resigned as club treasurer due to health reasons, so John Leicht has stepped forward to fill the position. Ron will work with John to ensure a smooth transition.

We reviewed the January N4C competition submissions. If you’d like to take a look, they are available on our voting website. Submission to the competition is one of the perks of club membership.

Flash workshop. For the main program of the evening, club president Ron Tigges gave a presentation about flash photography and speedlights. Club members Greg Nauman and David Smethers also contributed to this informative discussion. We learned about various accessories such as gels and soft boxes. Thank you, gentlemen, for this helpful workshop!

Upcoming Meetings

  • Sat. January 20, 2018 — Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch. Our club will have a vendor table.
  • Mon. February 5, 2018 – Returns/submissions.  N4C competition submissions are due by Sunday, Feb. 4 at midnight. Get your submissions turned in early so there is time to put them on the voting website. No Digital Altered Reality submissions this month, because our club will judge that category at the next meeting.
  • Mon. February 19, 2018 – Our club will judge the Digital Altered Reality category in the N4C competition. Judging is always an enjoyably visual event. Visit the N4C winner galleries to see the type of photos that excel in this category.
What is Altered Reality Photography?
The primary distinction for the Altered Reality category is that the maker intends (and the viewer easily recognizes) that the image is not a representation of reality. The Altered Reality image must have a photographic base of the maker’s own creation. Manipulation of the basic image or images can be done in camera and/or in computer. The makers of Altered Reality images should feel free to use a wide range of tools and resources, limited only by imagination.
— Learn more about the N4C competition guidelines.

January 2, 2018 Meeting Notes

Are you interested in joining the Dubuque Camera Club? Membership is open to anyone in the tri-state area with an interest in photography. You may complete the membership application and bring it to any club meeting.

Despite the cold weather, 16 people attended the post-processing workshop on January 2, 2018. We briefly reviewed the submissions in two categories: Digital Nature and Digital Black and White (Submissions to the other categories were not yet available).

Photographer and club member José García shared some of his Photoshop techniques on a portrait and a couple of landscape images. Some of us brought laptops, were given the image files, and tried to keep up. Jose uses Adobe Camera Raw, Raya Pro, and Nik, in addition to extensive manipulation in Photoshop.

“The key to editing is to make it natural,” he said. “We want to enhance the picture.” On portraits, he uses a variety of techniques, including masking, filters, blend modes, and the spot healing brush when needed.

“Black conceals; white reveals,” suggested Ron, about masking in Photoshop. When you’re editing an image, you have to start with a vision of what you want.

Then José combined two identical winter landscape photos. One shot was exposed for the highlights; the other for the dark tones. “It’s very important to align, because even when you are using a tripod, sometimes you can move a little bit.” He used channel masking to combine the two versions.

To shoot stunning landscapes like this, José uses a gradient filter over the camera lens. The darker color at the top of the filter makes a more dramatic sky. He also uses a polarizer to photograph reflections in water.

We have a number of excellent photographers in the club, so the audience commentary was also insighful.

For instance, General Bob pointed out that many of the tasks that were being demonstrated can be done more quickly in Lightroom.

Andreas said he prefers to work with Smart Objects in Photoshop: “When it is nondestructive, I can go back and change what I don’t like.” There have been improvements in the rendering engine, so it no longer will balloon the file size.

Ron pointed out that the Photoshop file export process has also improved: “They keep getting better and better at sampling the image and recreating data from nowhere.”

The consensus was that everybody needs to download the Nik Collection while it is still free. This software suite has just been purchased from Google by DxO.

The final recommendation of the evening’s workshop involves using RAW files. Several of the photographers in the room are fully convinced that this is important, particularly when your goal is to create beautiful prints. After all, file backups and storage have become less expensive. “If you use a compressed file, a JPG, there are many things you cannot do,” said Jose.

Thank you to José for sharing his image editing expertise!

Other news:

  • John Leicht has been appointed club treasurer. This is an important volunteer responsibility, especially with the convention coming up next year. Thank you for stepping forward!
  • Laurie Helling had a photo selected for publication in Images of 2017, a magazine which appeared in the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald on Thursday, January 4, 2018. Congratulations, Laurie!
  • A photo by Bob Felderman was selected as a third place winner in the Keep Iowa Beautiful photo contest. Here’s a news story about the contest results. Congratulations, General Bob!

Are you looking for a contest to enter? The National Audubon Society is accepting submissions for their annual photography contest. The quality of photography entered is very high. Here’s more information.

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Our next meeting will be on Monday, January 15 @6:30 p.m. The agenda will be a flash/Speedlight workshop.
  • Please visit our table at the Dubuque Bald Eagle watch on Saturday, January 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A few people have volunteered. Remember, club members have the option to bring prints to sell. Contact Ron or Jennifer in advance if you plan to do so. Visit the Dubuque Audubon Society website for more details about the day’s events.

Spring Planting in Dubuque County, Iowa. This photo by Gen. Bob Felderman was awarded third place in the 2017 Keep Iowa Beautiful photo contest.