October 7, 2019 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on October 7, 2019 was attended by 20 people. We welcomed one visitor, a guest of club member Becky Mather.

By the way, Becky has two really awesome prints in the Reflections exhibit:

Photography by the Dubuque Camera Club is on display at the Dubuque Museum of Art through November 10, 2019.

REFLECTIONS. This is the club’s 7th consecutive exhibit, and we just heard the news that we have been invited back next year! We are getting positive reviews for the show, and the brochures are going so fast they have become valuable souvenirs! You can see all 25 images from the Dubuque Camera Club in the upstairs balcony anytime the Dubuque Museum of Art is open, from now until November 10, 2019. Good work, photographers!

At tonight’s meeting Jennifer and Ron gave us a post-convention debriefing on Finding Your Light. Jennifer is now an N4C board member. The 2019 N4C convention was hosted by the Des Moines Camera Club and was held in Des Moines in September.

Everybody recognizes the Dubuque Camera Club at N4C meetings because we did such an awesome job hosting the Blufftops & Vision conventions in 2018. Yay, us!!! Quite a few photos taken at Blufftops were on display in this year’s print competition.

Highlights from this year’s Finding Your Light convention included a macro workshop from the keynote photographer, Don Komarechka, and a buffalo-oriented photo excursion to the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo by N4C board member Jennifer Tigges

The N4C board meetings were as contentious as usual, said our club reps. The next clash of grey-haired, camera-carrying titans will take place at Wesley Woods, near Pella. Any club member can attend the N4C mini-con on April 24-26, 2020. Registration info will be sent out by the N4C beforehand. The location is in a wooded area with on-location dorms so attending this mini-con is not too expensive.

Two new clubs just joined the N4C, bringing the membership up to 39(?). A new photojournalism story category — with five images and up to 30 words per image — will be judged at the 2020 spring mini-con. Entries should follow the journalism guidelines in terms of using minimal editing. A video contest will also be premiered at the mini-con. Details have not been posted yet, but we’ll pass them on when we know something.

Here are the future locations for upcoming N4C annual conventions:

  • 2020 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota (a six hour drive west of Dubuque). Hosted by the Sioux Falls Camera Club. The waterfall over the Big Sioux River is a noteworthy site to photograph. The Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club will co-organize, making it a two Sioux convention.
  • 2021 – Duluth, Minnesota (about six hours north of here). Duluth is located on Lake Superior. A noteworthy site to photograph is the Aerial Lift Bridge.
  • 2022 – Wichita, Kansas (about 9 hours on the road if you plan to go).
  • 2023 – DUBUQUE, Iowa!!! (tentative) Like, seriously!?!? We suspect Ron volunteered us again because he thinks Jenn will potentially be recovered from Blufftops by then. So get ready!

Our club earned three end-of-the-year awards at the 2019 N4C convention:

  • David Smethers, Honorable Mention, Digital Journalism, “Rock climber scales sheer cliff face to summit rim of Grand Canyon”
  • Jose Garcia, Second Place, Digital Black and White, “Smoke”
  • Dubuque Camera Club, Honorable Mention, Digital Newsletter, written by Pamela Brandt

This summer at the 2019 N4C mini-con, our club also took home a panoramic print award:

  • Ronald Tigges, 3rd Place, Panorama Print, “Christmas in July”

Congratulations, photographers!

Member news…

Henry Matthiessen III was in attendance at tonight’s club meeting. He just completed his Thought from the Road journey to the American southwest. He jugged several Nikon cameras and camped on the mesa, among other fun times. The trip resulted in over 3000 still photos.

In addition, Dean Wellman took 2 terabytes of video, and is crafting a documentary about the Thoughts from the Road experience. Here’s the project’s playlist on Youtube. Possibly we will see the duo at the next Julien FilmFest…? Remember, you can visit Henry in his new gallery on the Central Ave. curve.

Novice club member Sam Fenstermacher bravely took off his cowboy hat to stampede the room toward his recent “Transitions” project on Instagram. He documented his move from Texas to the tri-states with 100 days of smartphone photography. Here is a link.

Club member Jose Garcia continues to build world fame with his digital talents. More of his photos were featured on the Canon USA Instagram page. Rumor is, he will be leading another workshop for PhotoPro in Cedar Rapids. Details were not yet available.

Another new club member, Lorna Costello, will have artwork on display in the Creative Adventure Lab gallery during the Fall Into Art gallery tour on November 1st from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Remember, the Dubuque Museum of Art is also a stop on Fall Into Art, so be sure to make time to see the club’s Reflections exhibit!

Photography and videography by Ron and Jennifer Tigges is featured in an exhibit in the Clarke atrium building.

Photography and videography that was originally created by Ron and Jennifer Tigges (aka Digital Dubuque) is currently featured at the Quigley Gallery in the atrium building at Clarke. Ron took thousands of photos of the Voices Productions’ downtown mural project, and a number of them have been printed for this exhibit.

At the next meeting…

The next meeting of the Dubuque Camera Club will be on Monday, October 21, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. We are planning to do a light painting activity. Depending on the weather, we will also go outside for a night photoshoot. Bring tripod and gear.

TIPS: You may want to practice long exposure photography before the meeting. If you are willing to hold the lights, be sure to wear dark clothing. Dress warmly for going outside and wear your hiking shoes. You may want to bring a flashlight, and possibly binoculars (for looking at the moon/stars). More details will be emailed to club members. 

See the links below for a couple of light painting tutorials:

Reflections: opening reception

Enjoy the photography of the Dubuque Camera Club through November 10, 2019

An opening reception for the Reflections exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art was held on Friday, September 27, 2019. This was a joint reception with another exhibit. It was well attended, with many Dubuque Camera Club members and supporters present.

DuMA staff did a nice job of featuring our part of the gallery, with a mini-lecture by curator Stacy Peterson, and a few words from club president Ron Tigges. The exhibit brochures were hot commodities, and we could not find a spare one anywhere! Click here for the brochure.

The Reflections exhibit features the photography of 20 members of the Dubuque Camera Club. You can see it any time the museum is open. For more information, visit the Dubuque Museum of Art website at dbqart.org Reflections will be on display upstairs in the balcony gallery through November 10, 2019.

Reflections exhibit opening reception at the Dubuque Museum of Art

Sept. 16, 2019 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on Monday, September 16, 2019 was attended by 23 people. Many of the people present were world travelers, including the youngest photographer in the group: Sara, age 6. She has traveled on at least two continents as an assistant to a professional photographer (Dad). She was a very good girl at the meeting. Here she is, looking patient and pretty…

The meeting’s agenda was to judge 108 pictures in the Digital Nature category of the monthly N4C competition. Because it takes a while to consider all these images, and we wanted to get done before the cows came home, we needed to get started right away.

For that reason, preliminary discussion was limited to a quick reminder about the upcoming Reflections exhibition. Remember, our Reflections photography exhibit opens at the Dubuque Museum of Art on Sept. 21, with an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 27th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Be there!

Becoming a new club member

Club treasurer John Leicht arrived fashionably late, to the great relief of a half dozen people eagerly willing to pay their dues for the 2019/20 season. Paying the club dues of only $20 per year qualifies you to participate in club exhibits and activities, sell gear on our Facebook group, and submit to the N4C competition, such as we judged tonight.

While the judges were being assembled (i.e., were lassoed cowboy style and yanked up front yelling their strong objections with spurs dug into the carpet), there was an extended discussion in the back row about how long, exactly, it takes to get a member number once a new member pays his or her dues for the first time.

Apparently, this is how it works: John gives the completed membership form to Cara, who passes that paper to some mysterious N4C liaison, who passes it on to a couple more volunteer bureaucrats, and then it slowly circles back around to us, like a squadron of migrating pelicans coasting gracefully over a vintage carshow while the gearheads scramble to protect their chrome.

Judging Digital Nature

There were indeed several good pictures of pelicans in this assortment of nature photos, both the brown pelican and the American White Pelican that we see around the Mississippi River. Not to mention photos of other birds, mammals, landscapes, bees and flowers, a couple of adorable foxes, and one beady-eyed mink that just about made Cara fall off her chair because for a moment she wondered if the critter who was after her chickens yesterday got in the building somehow.

No, the photos we saw tonight were not just from our club. When we judge, we are actually looking at submissions from about three dozen N4C affiliated clubs. This season (which runs from Sept. 2019 through June 2020), our club is scheduled to judge a total of three times. We’ll judge Digital Pictorial in February and Digital Travel next May. Here’s a map of where the N4C clubs are located:

Serving as judges for Digital Nature tonight were John Leicht, Robert Felderman, and Greg Nauman. Facilitators were club president Ronald Tigges, and N4C reps Cara Pusateri and Ken Kiss.

All of the evening’s judging was informed by a wealth of photography knowledge and careful evaluation. Insightful comments accompanied each photo, such as Greg’s remark: “I just can’t figure out what the h*ll it is.”

At least one audience member who appeared to be obliviously scrolling on a smartphone, was actually downloading the new N4C competition rules multiple times in order to search for guidance. Any kind of guidance.

For one thing, nature photos should not show the “hand of man.” Our gut instinct also tells us that people who edit nature photos in post-processing should not leave behind clumsy and obvious debris from deleted objects. Adjustments to nature photos should look natural.

As Ron said: “It looks like people are jacking with their nature. Don’t do that!”

If a photo is obviously tinkered with, yet entered in a category that forbids such tinkering, it should probably have not been submitted by that club. But our club is a bunch of soft-hearted softies. So our judges used a 2-2-2 scoring for questionable photos. (P.S. If you are reading this and you belong to another N4C club, and your club’s photos came back with all twos, you might want to read the rules.)

Digital Nature Rules


Nature Photography is the recording of our natural world by some photographic means. Included are all branches of nature except Archeology and Anthropology.
1. No photograph is worth distress or injury to any wild creature.
2. Nature photographs may be either black & white or color.
3. The hand of man shall not be present in any nature entry except where wild animals have adapted to the built environment (e.g., fence posts and other man-made objects freely adapted for use by wild creatures).
4. Banding or tagging on nature subjects is acceptable. Photographs at bird feeders are not acceptable if any part of a man-made feeder is shown in the photograph.
5. Photographs taken in zoos, animal farms, or game farms are acceptable if the hand of man is not visible.
6. Cultivated plants, domestic animals, and pets are not acceptable.
7. Adjustments must look natural. The use of HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image is acceptable, provided the resulting image is natural in appearance.
— Source: N4C contest rules

For club members that want to do well in future competition, here are the qualities that catch the eye of our judges:

  • Subject is in sharp focus
  • Colors are well-saturated
  • Good lighting
  • Cropped perfectly (for a 16:9 screen)
  • Good use of any negative space
  • Interesting use of texture
  • Depth of field was considered
  • Doesn’t look fake. (Manipulation is not obvious).
  • Tells an appealing story that makes the viewer wonder.
Visit the Winners Gallery on the N4C website to see the Nature winners from Sept 2019.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Current Dubuque Camera Club members (you must have a member number) are encouraged to submit to the next N4C competition. Each club member may send in up to one image per category. Submissions are due by or before our next meeting on Monday, October 7th. Specific instructions will be in the email that goes out to club members.

Sept. 3, 2019 — Meeting notes

The first Dubuque Camera Club meeting of the 2019/2020 season was attended by 21 people. The meeting was held on a Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday.

Two brave guests who were not intimidated last season, Debbie and Lorna, came back to see us again, and even, rumor has it, paid their dues. I predict that the next step on their life journey will be figuring out how to resize images to 1920 pixels and 750KB. Sam, another fearless individual, came all the way from Texas to attend our meeting. That is quite a commute!

Ellie, one of our most seasoned club members, regaled us with the tale of how she was issued her member number (#11) during horse-and-buggy days. In those pioneering days, the club used slides for competition. Even harder to fathom, the PSA had not yet become too high-brow for ordinary mortals. Today in the N4C, some competition photos that make the Best of the Best at the end of the year are sent onward to PSA competition.

At tonight’s meeting, club president Ron Tigges gave a refresher tutorial on the intricacies of club business. We meet twice a month (typically on Monday evenings) in a season that runs from September to May. Annual dues of only $20 qualify you to participate in club activities and exhibits, as well as submit to N4C competition. Club treasurer John Leicht is in charge of collecting dues. If you have not yet paid your current dues, bring them to the next meeting!

REFLECTIONS. The club’s Reflections exhibit will open on Sept. 21 at the Dubuque Museum of Art. This is our 7th consecutive annual photography exhibition at DuMA. This year the club was able to offer a financial subsidy for prints, thanks to proceeds from the 2018 Blufftops & Visions convention.

Twenty club members have a photo in the show, which will be located upstairs in the balcony gallery. An opening reception for Reflections will be held on Friday, September 27 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. (Admission charged; exhibiting artists get in free). The exhibit will be on display through Nov. 10, 2019.

N4C COMPETITION. A few fearless club members sent in N4C competition submissions before the meeting, so we looked at those. A few minor changes in rules and category descriptions are now in effect. [Click here for the latest N4C contest rules].

Remember, competition submissions are always due before the first meeting of each month. They are posted to the club’s online gallery. The club has a voting process for winnowing down entries (vote for five per category, using your member number in the comments).

When a category is not yet full (i.e. less than 8 images have been submitted by the meeting — or 16 when we get double submissions because we judged), it’s first-come-first-served. N4C reps Cara Pusateri and Ken Kiss make the final call about which submissions go in. Details about submitting to N4C competition are in the club emails to that go out to members.

MORE N4C STUFF. Finding Your Light is the theme for this year’s N4C convention in Des Moines on Sept. 19-22, 2019. Our club is sending a couple of delegates, to rock the digital boat and keep the fogies alert. Odds are, we will probably hear a report about all the juicy N4C news and convention presenters from Ron and Jennifer as part of our October 7 club meeting.

MISC CLUB GOSSIP. General Bob was in attendance, betwixt his world travels and renaissance man art experiments. He led the distracting topic of the evening, which revolved around feeding alka-seltzer to seagulls (supposedly, they explode). We plan to fact-check this urban myth on the local stray cats [only partially joking]. Check back here for gory updates.

Speaking of myths and memories, our adventuresome friends, Henry Matthiessen and Dean Wellman, are on the cusp of their photo-journey to the American southwest. Thoughts from the Road will happen from Sept. 16 through Oct. 1, 2019. See their GoFundMe page for details or find Thoughts from the Road on Facebook. They may not realize it yet, but they have taken a blood oath to present their work at an upcoming Dubuque Camera Club meeting. Details TBA.

Another dream too good to be true was the oft-repeated news story that we Iowans would be able to see and photograph the northern lights (aka the Aurora Borealis) on Labor Day. Club member Andreas Exner drove in search of this fantasy, making it all the way to Pilot Knob, Iowa. However, it still wasn’t far enough from the light pollution to get a good picture of the northern lights. He took this one instead.

Finally, the promised night photo shoot is tentatively re-scheduled for an upcoming meeting (Oct. 21?). The current iteration of this idea is to shoot the MOS chapel. Yes, you read that right. We are going to walk through a dark forest with our tripods a few days before Halloween. Hopefully nobody meets a haunted seagull on the trail. Stay tuned…

Reflections timeline

The Dubuque Camera Club is preparing for our 7th consecutive annual photography exhibition at the Dubuque Museum of Art. This year’s theme is Reflections. The exhibit will feature 25 photos by 20 club members. It will be on display in the Amuse Bouche Balcony Gallery (upstairs), from September 21 through November 10, 2019.

An opening reception for the Reflections exhibit will be held on Friday, September 27, 2019, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Dubuque Museum of Art.
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.
May 20: Reflections images may be submitted for Critique Night.
June 3: Reflections submissions reviewed at club picnic.
Monday, June 17: Submission deadline extended to this date. Twenty club members submitted a total of 73 images for consideration.
Tues. July 9: Submissions sent to art museum curator.
Fri. July 19: Selections announced. Twenty-five images were selected to be in the show. Last call for final high res images.
July 23: Prints ordered. 12×18-inch prints were ordered on aluminum. Artist’s statement requested from participants.
August 10: Draft of exhibit brochure released to participants.
August 10 to 23: Sign and pay for prints. The club is using Blufftops & Visions convention proceeds to offer a financial subsidy of 50% of the cost of one print per participant.
Monday, Sept. 9: Prints to be delivered to art museum. Participants MUST have completed an incoming loan agreement.
• Sept. 21, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Reflections Exhibit opens. Get two free tickets for Museum Day.
Friday, Sept. 27, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Opening reception. Admission charged. Free to exhibiting artists (and one guest).
Oct. 4, 5:00-8:00 p.m. First Fridays at the Dubuque Museum of Art ($10 admission)
Nov. 1, 5:00-9:00 p.m. Fall Into Art, free tour of downtown galleries
Nov 10, 2019: Reflections Exhibit closes.
Monday, Nov. 11: Club to pick up prints from museum.
Dec. 2, 2019. Prints to be returned to participants during the club’s holiday party.