3rd Photo Challenge

Club members and tri-state area photographers are encouraged to participate in our weekly photo challenge. Share your response to our Facebook group or simply use these ideas to inspire your photography. For the week of Jan. 27-Feb 2, 2019, take a photo that makes the viewer feel warm inside.

January 21, 2019 — Meeting Notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on January 21, 2019, was attended by 15 people. We welcomed two first-time attendees, Beth, who is interested in portrait photography, and Debbie, who claims to be a hobbyist.

I wasn’t sure what that word meant so I checked the dictionary. A “hobby” is when somebody pursues an activity or interest for pleasure or relaxation and not as a job. Probably quite a few of us in the club could identify with that.

Yet many club members have also exhibited or sold prints. Several of us have taken senior pictures or have even photographed weddings. A few have operated photo studios. To tell you the truth, I’m not really clear where the boundary is, between amateur hobbyists and everybody else.

Intense creativity and talent comes out of both amateur and  professional photographers. In fact, people have been quibbling for a long time over the difference between them.

One of the most popular nature photo contests in the country, the Audubon Photography Awards, nails down the difference with an exact number. According to their 2019 rules, if you earn over $5,000 per calendar year with your photography, you are a professional. If you earn $4,999.99 or less, you are an amateur. (This is Audubon’s definition — the IRS is an entirely different bird).

Some of us have a ways to go before being eligible to compete as a professional. But speaking as a photographer that is still learning, who knows what the future may hold…? Maybe we should think of this difference between amateur hobbyist and professional as reflecting a spectrum of skills and experience. After all, continuing to learn helps to keep photography fun.

One of the advantages of being part of the Dubuque Camera Club is that it gives more technically skilled and experienced photographers the opportunity to share with other enthusiasts. (Shhhh, don’t tell them, but every teacher knows that teaching a subject is the best way to learn it thoroughly yourself.)

During the flash photography workshop at tonight’s meeting, Andreas Exner set up his tripod and gear, and discussed how he uses flash with a long lens in the field. Club president Ron Tigges tagteamed Greg Nauman to demonstrate magnetic diffusers and various other gadgetry for light modification. Much discussion ensued between attendees about technique, gear, and the secrets of taking excellent pictures by manipulating the lighting.

Thanks to everyone who contributed or attended tonight’s photography workshop!

Upcoming schedule


♦ Next meeting: Monday, February 4, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. General Bob Felderman will give an outbrief on this year’s national PPA convention, ImagingUSA.
We will also go over submissions and returns. N4C competition submissions are due before the meeting. No Black & White submissions, because we will be judging that category at the following meeting.

♦ Monday, February 18. Our club will judge the Digital Black and White category of the N4C competition. Three volunteer judges will be dragged to the front of the room, kicking and screaming (joking!). Those who attend with more convincing alibis will be able to look at the photos from the safety of the audience (and make it home before their bedtime!… only partially joking!).

♦ Saturday, February 23, @ 1:30 p.m. Bereavement Photography Training at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque (6th floor conference room). In this two-hour training session, sponsored by the Iowa chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation, you can learn how to help grieving families. Volunteer photographers must be able to come to the hospital within two hours of an infant death or pregnancy loss. RSVP on their Facebook event. Be aware that this opportunity is not suitable for everyone.

♦ Sunday, February 24 @ 1:00 p.m. Dubuque Camera Club member Andreas Exner will repeat his presentation on Storytelling in Wildlife Photography.  In case that rare person in a million is tired of looking at his awesome pictures (yeah, right!), Andreas has promised to replace a few with different pictures that are similarly awesome. If you missed this presentation last year, here’s your chance! Location: E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center, Mines of Spain. Free and open to the public.


Enjoy a presentation by Andreas Exner on Sunday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m.

Monday, March 4 @ 6:30 p.m. Club meeting. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. We can submit double black and white.

♦ Other learning opportunities.   UW-Platteville Continuing Education has some interesting photography classes coming up. Photography classes are listed on their website under enrichment. There is a charge for tuition and some classes are held at other locations. Click here to learn more.

♦ Just announced:  Monday, March 18 @ 6:30 p.m. “The Magic of the Histogram”.  Henry Matthiessen III from Stoned Art Studio in northwest Illinois will take you on a visual journey to Black Rock Desert. He will also share original images taken here in the Driftless Area, along with tips and techniques that you can apply to your own photography. Free and open to the public.

2nd Photo Challenge of the New Year

Are you participating in the Dubuque Camera Club’s weekly photo challenge? It is open to club members and other tri-state area photographers. You can share your response to our Facebook group or simply use these ideas to inspire your photography. For the week of Jan. 20-26, 2019, take and share a photo of any subject in Black and White. New challenges are posted weekly on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.

2019 Bald Eagle Watch

The Dubuque Camera Club display at the 2019 Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch.

Despite a big snowstorm the night before, many people came to the 2019 Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Grand River Convention Center in the Port of Dubuque. The event was sponsored by the Dubuque Audubon Society.

The Dubuque Camera Club had a table in the vendor area during the Eagle Watch. A slide show displayed past submissions to the N4C Digital Nature category. Easels held a variety of other prints by club members. Printed copies of our brochure were available. Club officers Ron Tigges, John Leicht, and Ken Kiss promoted the club to attendees. Several other club members dropped by to chat.

Birds, mammals, natural landscapes, and river scenes are favorite subjects of local photographers, so it makes a lot of sense to rub elbows with the area’s nature and conservation organizations. As residents of the beautiful Driftless Area, which offers a lot of photography possibilities, it’s important to build awareness so that future photographers can also enjoy the natural places. Thanks to everyone who came down to this event!

Wild Bird Photography

On Thursday, January 10, 2019, three members of the Dubuque Camera Club gave a presentation about Wild Bird Photography during a meeting of the Dubuque Audubon Society. The meeting was attended by about 40 people. Joe Tollari, president of the local chapter of the Audubon Society, gave some opening remarks about the evening’s presentation. He also encouraged people to attend the Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch this weekend. Three photographers from the club shared their bird photographs. The first photographer, Ken Kiss, gave biographical information for all three presenters:

Ken KissOwls, Woodpeckers, and Local Birds. Ken played a few owl calls and shared his original photos taken at Mines of Spain, Linwood, Mud Lake and in a few local backyards. Birds pictured included the Great Horned Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Long-eared Owl, Barred Owl,  Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Bobolink, Kestral, Woodcock, and many more.

Kevin McTagueBirds of Southern Texas. Kevin shared a collection of his original bird photography from the Rio Grande Valley. He captured the photos during a stay at Santa Clara Ranch in the southern tip of Texas (near McAllen). Birds included the Long-billed Thrasher, Green Jay, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Painted Bunting, Verdin, Pyrrhuluxia, Road Runner, Black Vulture, and the Crested Caracara

Ron TiggesThe Dance of the Hummingbird.  Ron shared the visual results of a day spent at a private residence near White Pine Hollow doing flash photography of hummingbirds.  Since their wings move so rapidly, unless these birds are perched it is hard to get clear photos. A shutter speed of 1/15000 would be mathematically appropriate; however, the setting is impossible with an ordinary camera. Ron set up an external flash on a tripod near the nectar feeders, using infrared AF assist, shooting past sundown to get some great images of these active little birds.

Thanks, gentlemen, for another terrific photography presentation!

The Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch will be held at the Grand River Center in the Port of Dubuque on Saturday, January 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Dubuque Camera Club along with many area nature organizations will have informational tables. Whether or not you  are a club member, please stop by to chat! This is a free, family event. Live bird/raptor presentations will be held throughout the day. Click here for a schedule.