February 2018 Meeting Notes

The first meeting of the month, on Feb. 5, 2018, was cancelled due to severe winter weather.  Competition submissions were made as usual. Remember, Cara and Ken are our N4C representatives, and they handle the image submission process.

Being able to submit photos to the monthly competition is one of the perks (and challenges) of Dubuque Camera Club membership. If you have questions, please attend a meeting and ask! Our more experienced members will be happy to help!

Judging Criteria
Technique: Focus, lighting, color rendition, exposure.
Composition: Arrangement of all elements within the picture area so the subject is harmonious and well-balanced.
Interest: Originality, imagination, interpretation, subject, impact, mood, humor.

Twelve people attended the meeting on Monday, February 19, 2018. The top priority on the evening’s agenda was judging the Digital Altered Reality category. There were 96 images, all of them unique, and many of them awesome!

José García, Greg Nauman, and Rick Noel served as volunteer judges. Each photo was judged on technique, composition, and interest. The DAR category showcases image manipulation, so we saw many examples of digital editing techniques. The images were of many different subjects and came from a variety of other photography clubs across the midwest.

Many comments — both helpful and critical — were offered by the group. A few of the photos were simply outstanding! Everyone who attended came away with creative ideas for our own photography.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday, March 5 @ 6:30 p.m.  We’ll go over N4C competition returns, and also select the new submissions. Because we judged Digital Altered Reality in February, our club can submit double (16 total images) in this category in March. Club members, send in your submissions before the meeting! The sooner the better!
  • Monday, March 19 @ 6:30 p.m. Agenda to be determined. Possibly a workshop or presentation.

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.

December 4, 2017 Meeting Notes

The December 4 meeting was our holiday party!!! A dedicated group of about two dozen people attended, along with  significant others. The food was awesome! We enjoyed a terrific selection of homemade salads, soup, side-dishes, and desserts, along with pulled pork or beef sandwiches. Thanks to everybody who came and shared this delicious meal! Since we will not meet again until next year, it was the grand finale of 2017.

Note: If you missed the holiday party this year, please accept our apologies. Remember, upcoming event information is sent out to members by email, using MailChimp. All club members should be receiving this email. Make sure it is not going into your spam folder, and make sure to read it! Club emails contain reminders of important dates and upcoming events, as well as a synopsis of what happens at each meeting.

The sad spoiler of the evening was the news that Everything Photography will soon be closing. We watched Sean’s goodbye video that he posted on Facebook. Thank you, gentlemen, for the work you’ve done to build a local camera and photography business that we will all miss! Watch Facebook for details about their final customer appreciation party, to be held in January.

Congratulations, photographers!

The following Dubuque Camera Club members received awards in the November 2017 N4C competition:

Click here to view the N4C Winner Galleries.

Upcoming Meetings

  • TUESDAY, January 2, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m. First meeting of the New Year. All tri-state photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend. We meet at the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center in the Mines of Spain.  Photographer José Garcia will lead a post-processing workshop using Adobe Photoshop. You may wish to bring a laptop. He will distribute RAW files, or you can use your own. Don’t forget, N4C submissions are due by New Year’s Day (the earlier, the better!).
  • Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m. Regular club meeting.
  • Saturday, January 20, 2018. Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch. Our club will be a participating vendor. We will be handing out our newly updated Dubuque Camera Club brochure. This year, members may bring prints to sell. Contact Ron or Jennifer for details. Volunteers are needed for setup, takedown, and staffing the table. As in previous years, a slide show of nature photography by club members will be on display. While you’re at the Bald Eagle Watch, make sure to attend the live animal lectures! Visit the Dubuque Audubon Society website for a full schedule of the day’s events.

November 20, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Thirteen lucky club member attended the Blufftops and Visions brainstorming session on Monday, November 20, 2017. Jennifer brought everybody up to speed on planning for next year’s N4C convention, to be held in Dubuque on Sept. 14-15, 2018. All hands will be needed to make this project a success.

The Blufftops and Visions convention on September 14-15, 2018 will be held at the  Holiday Inn of Dubuque/Galena at 450 Main St. in Downtown Dubuque, Iowa.

There is quite a bit of work to do in order to prepare for this event. Our club has already reserved banquet and meeting space in the downtown Dubuque Holiday Inn, along with a block of rooms. We need to choose keynote speakers by January. Hunts Photo and Video has already expressed interest in being a vendor, and they have a variety of speakers that we could contact. 

Another priority need is identifying business or corporate sponsors (remember, we are a grassroots community organization, but not an officially registered 501c3 nonprofit). Prior conventions have used different levels of sponsorship (such as Gold – $1000, Silver, etc.) and have accepted in-kind donations, such as the use of a vehicle or van

We will need to create registration materials and awards. We also need to decide on the individual cost for conference registration. The club must give 25% of the net proceeds to N4C (keeping the remaining 75%). Sorry, volunteering will not mean free tickets. It will mean a potential for terrific presenters, photo opportunities and workshops, with most events to be held within walking distance of downtown.

Based on attendance at past conferences, we can probably expect 120-160 people from out-of-town. Dubuque is centrally located on the map of N4C clubs, so our convention might very well be the best attended of all time. We need to figure out tactics to market to the college and 20-something demographic. A student discount may boost attendance. We already have a Facebook page and an email list setup on MailChimp. Jennifer suggested adding Instagram to our social media repertoire.

It’s traditional to have Thursday be the convention’s arrival/welcome night with free hors d’oeuvres. Big banquets (with food served by the hotel) will be held on Friday and Saturday, with lunch on your own. Photo Essays are played during one of the banquets, along with awards, etc.

As far as field trips, it would be helpful to make a list up of photogenic local spots for our visitors to choose from (an “on your own” pamphlet for self-guided field trips). Ideas tossed around included a junkyard in the rain, birds/owls from a raptor center, or arranging for models for a studio session.

It’s best to plan a variety of seminars should be encouraged where people can use their own cameras. We also need to be considerate of the commercial vendors and set specific hours for them so they don’t have to sit there forever without a break. Remember to contact Ron or Jennifer with any thoughts or ideas that you may have to help make next year’s Blufftops and Visions a sucess!

2018 Bald Eagle Watch

Saturday, January 20, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Grand River Center, Port of Dubuque
Find out more at the Dubuque Audubon Society website.
We will have a vendor table at the Bald Eagle Watch. As in previous years, we need volunteers to staff our display. We will be promoting the Blufftops & Visions convention, and a slide show of member-contributed photos will be on display. This year, club members have an option to sell prints. If you have nature-themed prints that you would like to offer for sale, contact Ron or Jennifer.

Upcoming Meetings

Holiday Party — Monday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m. (note early start time). Don’t forget to RSVP! Bring food and family or loved ones. No other meeting and no submissions in December.
TUESDAY, Jan. 2, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m. — First meeting of the New Year. José García has volunteered to share his post-processing secrets with the group. Bring a laptop if you wish. Discussion will focus on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.