Critique Night – May 20

One benefit of being part of the Dubuque Camera Club is the chance to learn from others. The club meeting on Monday, May 20, 2019, will be a Critique Night. Members may submit 1-3 photos for constructive criticism from other club members. To participate, you must submit your photos in advance.

How to submit. Your images for Critique Night can be any subject you wish. They can be (but do not have to be) potential Reflections submissions. No need to follow N4C guidelines. Photoshopped images are fine. For the filename, use your member number (not your real name), along with the title of your photo.

Send your JPG photo(s) by email to Ken Kiss. Use “Critique Night submission” as the subject of your email. Please send in your images as early as possible before the meeting so there is time to put them in the club’s online gallery.

How to give a critique. The best critique is a balance of positive encouragement and constructive ideas for improvement. Use the language of photography: focus, composition, color, contrast, angle, shutter speed, choice of subject, etc.

It’s OK to ask the photographer questions. Remember, not everyone is at the same level of proficiency or experience. Not everyone owns (or can afford) the same equipment.

When in doubt, be kind! We want Critique Night to be a positive learning experience for everyone. Please use respectful communication and be a good listener. By giving specific suggestions, you will give the photographer a path to improvement.

Club members: Send in 1-3 photos for Critique Night on May 20, 2019.

Email them to Ken before the meeting using the guidelines above.

How to GET a critique. When your photo is being discussed, try to listen with an open mind without getting defensive. Some of what you hear will be personal opinion. Remember, the loudest voice isn’t always right. Sometimes the quieter people in the room have good advice too. Everybody’s got an opinion, so take what’s useful and leave the rest.

It’s OK to ask explain your photo, or to ask questions. Sometimes, being critiqued can feel awkward. Think of critique night as the chance to hear how the public responds to your work. When it’s over, you may or may not take action on everything that is said, and that’s OK. When it comes to your photography, you decide.

Critique Form (optional)

(Optional) Critique Form: During critique night, you can expect a lot of the feedback to be verbal, in the form of a discussion. Tentatively, we will also use a written feedback form. You may use this optional written critique form if you don’t feel comfortable speaking up in a group, or if you need time to shape a better response. At the end of the night, you may give this form to the photographer, if you think it would be helpful to him or her. Turning in the written forms is not required, however.

PhotoWhat I like/StrengthComment/Suggestion
...[Click here to download the printable form]

More resources. Here are a few other helpful resources for giving and receiving photo critiques:

Critique tip sheet
What is a critique?
Getting constructive feedback from other photographers is one of the benefits of Dubuque Camera Club membership.

April 15, 2019 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on April 15, 2019 was attended by 20 people. In addition to club members, we welcomed two guests, Lorna and Mike.

Top priority of the evening was judging the Digital Travel category of the N4C competition. There were 93 images from other clubs.

Greg Nauman, Kevin McTeague, and Andreas Exner volunteered their time as judges. The judging procedure was facilitated by Ron Tigges, Cara Pusateri, and Ken Kiss. Jennifer Tigges prepared the snacks (Thank you!).

Winning images will be posted in the winners’ galleries of the N4C website.

What is Travel Photography? Travel implies going to some place other than one’s customary environment, and travel photography suggests the photographic depiction of that new environment or the means used to get there. Be sure to state the name of the locale where the picture was made in the title of the digital image or print. If the location is in the U.S., list the state in the title; if foreign, list the country in the title. There is no definition of how far away that environment must be to qualify as travel or how different that new environment must be. However, the judges will generally award prizes to those photographs that depict more exotic and unfamiliar places, even though such places are home to someone. Good photographic technique and particularly the ability to convey the feeling and flavor of the place visited will help your photo be a winner. Try to emphasize the character that makes the place unique from other places. [Source: N4C rules]

Upcoming club events

  • Monday, May 6th @ 6:30 p.m. Club meeting. Send in your N4C submissions. We can submit double travel (DT). This will be your final opportunity to compete until next fall.
  • Monday, May 20th @ 6:30 p.m.Critique night. Club members only, email 1-3 JPGs to Ken Kiss, with Critique night submission as the subject of your email. Images must be received ASAP before the meeting. Click here for critique night guidelines.
  • Monday, June 3rd @ 6:00 p.m. Potluck Picnic. Open to club members and family members/significant others only. Plan to bring a dish to share. Watch your email for potluck details and an RSVP form. IMPORTANT: Reflections submissions are due before the picnic. Click here for Reflections guidelines.

Find more upcoming photography-related events on the Events Page.

April 1, 2019 club meeting

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on April Fool’s Day was attended by 17 people. No jokes were played. Instead, we enjoyed some compelling discussion, planned a few upcoming club activities, and looked at a bunch of interesting photos.

Much discussion happened regarding how to obtain prints for the club’s Reflections exhibit this fall, our 7th annual exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. Click here to read about Reflections guidelines.

Click here to read the guidelines for the club’s Reflections exhibit.

March winners

During the meeting, we looked at returns from last month’s N4C competition, as well as submissions to the April competition. The following club members were recognized during the N4C competition in March 2019:

  • Jaime Gordo-Perez — merit award
  • Cory Huntington — merit award, honorable mention
  • Ken Kiss — merit award, honorable mention
  • Kevin McTague — merit award, honorable mention
  • Becky Mather — 3rd place in Digital Travel
Congratulations to Dubuque Camera Club member Becky Mather for winning 3rd place in Digital Travel with her photo of “Canyonlands of Utah.”

Protecting your photos. During tonight’s meeting, General Bob handed out notices that were created by PPA to help photographers protect their intellectual property. Here is a link to a helpful Copyright FAQ on the PPA website. Because the federal government charges a fee to register individual images for copyright, the expense of copyrighting multiple photos quickly becomes an obstacle. PPA is trying to change policy and be an advocate for photographers. Here’s the copyright section of their website. [Note that some parts are accessible only to PPA members. See below for related information from Petapixel.]

Art opportunity. Ron showed some photos of the Radio Building that was recently purchased by art museum supporters, and talked about the Flash Happening art event that will be held inside the building during this year’s Dubuquefest (May 17-19, 2019). Artists are currently being lined up to create temporary installations. Afterwards, the building will be demolished. Contact Ron for more details.

Panorama competition. If you want to enter the N4C panorama print competition, you can bring your print to the next club meeting on Monday, April 15. They should be mounted on foam board (?). There are no size or subject limits. Aspect ratio must be greater than 2:1. Ron will make sure the prints reach the Wesley Woods min-con on May 3-5. (See the March 18 meeting notes for more info about this competition).

Brainstorming club activities. The club held a short brainstorming session to discuss next season’s activities. We definitely want to host more speakers/presentations. Those we had this year were interesting and worthwhile. A few names of potential future speakers were brought up. Club members were also enthusiastic about hosting photo shoots during the summer. We could have a night shoot (Milky Way, etc.). Potential locations were brought up. It could be a learning session for people who are not familiar with this type of photography. Probably, someone in the club would need to step up as organizer. Stay tuned for more details.

Photo Critique Night on May 20. The club decided that the second meeting in May will be a photo critique night. Members can submit 1-3 images and receive constructive feedback from others. It’s OK for these photos to be potential Reflections submissions. Photoshopped images are OK too, or anything else you might want feedback on.

General Bob offered to share helpful information about giving critiques. He is taking photography classes and has photo critique guidelines to share. Ken volunteered to put the photos in the club’s Smugmug gallery. Email images to him before the meeting, and make it clear that they are for Critique Night. More details will be discussed at the next couple of meetings, and a reminder will be emailed to members.

Next season’s judging dates

During the 2019-2020 N4C season, our club will judge the monthly competition three times. Judging will happen during our second meeting of the month (i.e. on the 3rd Monday). Submissions are due by or before the first meeting of the month (i.e. the 1st Monday).

Monthly MeetingAgenda
1st MondaySubmissions due/Submissions & Returns
3rd MondayJudging/Workshop/Presentation

Remember, on the months that we judge a category, our club cannot submit competition photos to that particular category. The following month, the club can submit double photos to that category. (Double means up to 16 photos in that category. The club usually submits 8 photos per category. Only one entry per photographer is allowed per category.)

Because May is the final competition of the N4C season, when we judge in May, double submissions are accepted the previous month, in April. (The N4C season runs from Sept. to May, so there are no entries in June.) Confused? Me too. You may want to look at the N4C rules.

Judging DateCategoryCan’t SubmitSubmit Double (16 per club)
September 16, 2019Nature (DN)No DN in Sept.Double in Oct.
February 17, 2020Pictorial (DP)No DP in Feb.Double in Jan.
May 18, 2020Travel (DT)No DT in MayDouble in April

Our club will judge Digital Travel at the meeting on Monday, April 15th @ 6:30 p.m.

Reflections guidelines

Photography by members of the Dubuque Camera Club will be on display this fall during the club’s 7th annual exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art in downtown Dubuque. The exhibit is scheduled to be on display from September 21 to November 10, 2019.

The club discussed details during the April 1 meeting. General Bob and Pamela are helping to organize the exhibit this year, and have been looking at printing options. One option is to have the images printed on metallic paper, then buying a bunch of identical frames, and holding a special summer meeting to frame and mat our own prints. This option would probably be the cheapest. However, it was vetoed during the meeting as being too complex to organize.

Instead, the club decided it would be simpler to have them printed on aluminum, like last year. It works better to send in one large order, as opposed to ordering individually. If we order all at once, nobody gets prints that lack vital hanging hardware, or are different than the rest (as unfortunately happened in the past).

Remember, exhibit details may change as we move forward. For that reason, it’s important to attend meetings and read your club emails. For the latest exhibit guidelines, see below:

Reflections theme. Use your creativity when responding to the theme. For instance, it’s OK to submit a portrait of somebody pondering a deep thought, because that is a “reflection.” Also think of mirrors, bodies of water, refraction, shadows, and windows at night. Think about what sort of image you would like to have hanging on your wall, because you will get the print back after the show ends.

Image dimensions. We will again be ordering 12-inch by 18-inch metal prints (optimal size in pixels: 3000×4500). Orientation can be either landscape or portrait. Submit JPGs only (use RGB). 200 dpi or greater. No watermarks. Remember, unlike N4C submissions, there are no strict upper limits on file size.

Filename. Use your member number in the filename, along with the title of the image. Do not put your name in the filename. We are doing it this way because the museum needs to curate the images anonymously.

Deadline. Reflections submissions are due before our potluck picnic on June 3rd. Submissions will be posted in the club’s Smugmug gallery. We are still working out how to process the submissions. Right now, if you have an image to submit, send them to Ron or Ken and make it clear in your email that it is for Reflections. Use“Reflections submission” in the message subject.

Inclusion. Participating in club exhibits is one of the perks of Dubuque Camera Club membership. The exhibit is limited to club members in good standing ONLY. There will not be a call for artists and it is not open to the public. To participate, your club dues need to be paid for the current season AND, ideally, you need to pay your dues punctually in September when the new N4C season starts.

Cost. We hope to have (at least) one print chosen by each member who wishes to be the exhibit. The cost of each print will probably be in the range of $50-70. Each participating photographer will need to decide how many prints they are willing to pay for, and whether they would be open to having multiple prints in the show. (Last year the club had a total of 20 prints in the show.) Tentatively, the club will give each participating club member a $20 subsidy toward the cost of one print only. Prints will need to be paid for in advance, with exact details to be sent out by email to participants.

Timeline. We will look at the submissions during our June 3rd picnic (Submissions are due by June 3). Sometime in June or July, the museum curator will choose which images to include in the show. After final selections are made, payment will be collected from participating club members, and then prints will be ordered as a group. Each participant will be asked for biographical information (or a brief artist’s statement) and will also need to sign an Incoming Loan Agreement for the museum.

Again, these details may change as we move forward. For that reason, if you would like to participate in this year’s DuMA exhibit, it’s important for you to attend meetings and read your club emails.

Reflections timeline (future dates are tentative/subject to change)
Jan/Feb: Discussion of exhibit theme ideas.
Feb 18: Club members vote in a poll. Reflections chosen as a theme.
March 4: Exhibit committee chosen: Robert Felderman, Pamela Brandt
April 1: Club decides to order 12×18-inch metal prints like last year. Various other details decided.
May 20: Reflections images may be (but don’t have to be) submitted for Critique Night.
June 3: All reflections submissions are due. Members can send initial images to be posted in an online gallery.
June/July ___? Art museum staff will make selections. Club members with image(s) in the show must send in final high res images. Payment will be required before prints are ordered. Any subsidy will be per photographer (NOT per print).
Aug. ___? The prints will be ordered as a group.
Sept. ___? Prints to be delivered to museum.
► Sept. 21, 2019: Exhibit opens.
Oct. 4? First Fridays reception / Fall Into Art gallery tour (tentative)
Nov 10, 2019: Exhibit closes. Club picks up prints from museum.
Dec. 2, 2019. Remaining prints may be picked up during the club’s holiday party.

March 18, 2019 meeting notes

About 45 people attended the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on March 18, 2019. What a nice crowd!

Dubuque Camera Club meeting on March 18, 2019. Histogram Magic presentation by Henry Mattheissen III. Photo by Amy Laskye.

Our speaker for the evening was Henry Matthiessen III, from Stoned Art Studio in rural Galena. He shared a few of his original photos during a three-part presentation:

  1. The Magic of the Histogram
  2. Black Rock Desert: A Photo Study of Nothing
  3. A Day in the Driftless Region

We learned helpful tips about stretching out the tonality of an image, and heard about the perils of photo expeditions to the desert! More than one person in the audience was spied taking notes (F/9, 1/125, ISO 100).

The storm chasers present were intrigued by Henry’s panoramic images of cloud formations. Not only does he bring out the dramatic range of an image by using his camera’s built-in histogram, he also emphasizes the sky by using a two-stop graduated neutral density filter. These techniques result in some nice pictures!

Thanks to Henry for sharing his photography expertise during tonight’s meeting!

N4C stuff

Panoramic Print Competition. The N4C will be judging panoramic prints during the upcoming spring mini-con in Indianola on May 3-5. If you would like to enter (one entry is allowed per person), contact Ron or Jennifer. They will be taking print entries to the event (prints must be of a size to fit in their vehicle).

N4C rules for Panorama Print Annual Contest:
1. A Panorama print is considered to be a photographic print with an aspect ratio greater than 2:1 with no square inch limitation.
2. Open contest, any subject, mode or process, color or Black & White, one entry per member.

Photo essays and Video essays will also be shown during the mini-con. Our club has never(?) entered either one of these annual competitions before, so if you want to be an innovator, please step up. These two categories are submitted digitally. Complete rules are in the February N4C bulletin. Deadline is March 31.

If you would like to go to the mini-con, you must mail your registration by April 17. Complete info is on the N4C website. Be sure to read the Feb. and March N4C bulletins on their website because they also contain pertinent info.

Member news & other stuff…

If you read 365ink magazine, you may have noticed they have begun to use a social media hashtag to gather image submissions for their regular photo page. If you have taken local event photos that you want to bring to their attention, when you post them to Facebook or Instagram, use the hashtag ‎#my365ink‬.

On the other hand, if you get a hankering to submit a photo to appear in the Telegraph-Herald (they run a lot of backyard bird photos), here is the link to Pix & Flix.

Club member Jesse Green has invested in a mirrorless camera and is starting to take pictures. The camera’s monitor is a pleasure to look at! In addition to showing off his new toy at the meeting, Jesse has posted several images to the club’s Facebook group.

Club member José Garcia is making an awesome leap in his photography career! Some of his photos will appear in an upcoming issue of Photography Masterclass magazine. On Instagram, he has been noticed five times (so far) by the official Canon USA Instagram account. This has led to an opportunity to be part of the new Canon USA Ambassador program. He will travel to other midwestern cities to lead workshops on portraits, astro-photography, landscapes, and off-camera flash portraits. Congratulations, José!

Online photo sharing (via Flickr) also led to an opportunity for club member Pamela Brandt. She was asked to contribute images to a commemorative book of photos and essays that will celebrate the first hundred years of Iowa State Parks, 1920-2020. The book will be available at the end of the year, with proceeds going to state parks projects.

We recently learned that Andreas Exner, who gave a presentation on Storytelling in Wildlife Photography a few weeks ago, was mentioned in the Feb. 2019 issue of the Belltower, the student newspaper at the University of Dubuque. The complete issue is here.

A photo from club member Debbie Denlinger appeared under “Write the Caption” in the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald on Sunday, March 31 (p. 21A). What a cute image, Debbie!

The April-May 2019 issue of Our Iowa magazine contains a photo by club member Robert Felderman. It is also up for an award. You can vote by sending an email to and letting them know that PHOTO NUMBER FOUR is your top choice!

“Taps at Sundown,” by Robert Felderman, in the April-May 2019 issue of Our Iowa magazine.

Do you have photography-related news or events to share here? Please let Pamela know! After all, “None of us is more than all of us”!

Upcoming meetings

  • April 1, 6:30 p.m. — Club meeting. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. No Travel submissions this month.
  • April 15, 6:30 p.m. — Club meeting. Our club will judge Digital Travel (DT). We will have refreshments! Please attend!
  • May 3-5 — N4C mini-con at Wesley Woods, Indianola, IA. More info here. Contact Ron or Jennifer if you want to submit panoramic prints.
  • May 6 — Club meeting. N4C submissions due. We can submit double DT.
  • May 20 — Club meeting. Presentation or workshop, TBD.
  • June 3rd, 6:00 p.m. — Annual picnic. Open to club members only. Last meeting of the regular N4C season. “Reflection” submissions are due.

FIND MORE INFORMATION about upcoming photography-related events on the EVENTS PAGE.