Five-Minute Tips and Tricks PLUS Photo Critique on Nov. 18, 2019.

One benefit of being part of the Dubuque Camera Club is the chance to learn from others. The club meeting on Monday, November 18 will be an opportunity to share or hear Five-Minute Tips and Tricks. The club will also offer Photo Critique. All current club members are invited to participate. Any tri-state photography enthusiast may attend.

We did a photo critique night earlier this year, on May 20, 2019, and many attendees felt it was wildly successful. For that reason, we are repeating the event to give club members another opportunity to learn and share their images. In addition, there are many exciting image editing and post-processing skills that photographers need to know, not to mention in-camera techniques. At the Nov. 18 meeting, experienced club members may share their tips and tricks; photographers from amateur to pro-level may share their images.

How to present your tips and tricks. If you have skills or tips to share, please let Ron know before the meeting. Tips and tricks can be anything that is helpful for a photographer, from software, to smartphones, doing stuff in-camera, taking portraits, or general photography skills. You can also bring a couple of super-duper images (from a trip, perhaps?), and explain how you got that awesome shot. If you would like to present, please let Ron know before the meeting and email him any materials.

How to get your photos critiqued. It doesn’t matter what skill level you are, from amateur to experienced. If you want to hear feedback from other club members, you are invited to participate. You must be a club member to have up to three photos critiqued, and you must submit them to Ron by email in advance.

Your critique photos can be of any subject, and any file size. No need to follow N4C guidelines about categories or any of the usual rules. Be creative. Photoshopped images are fine and dandy. You may want to send in a series of BEFORE/AFTER photos. 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 club president Ronald Tigges. 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.

Always try to give reasons for your opinion about an image. A simple thumbs up (or thumbs down) doesn’t give the recipient much information.
→ Not very helpful: I like it.
→ Much more helpful: I like it because….

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: Would you like to have your photo(s) critiqued? Would you like to share your Five-Minute Tips and Tricks?

Email up to 3 photos to club president Ron Tigges, or send him your presentation materials before the meeting.


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 explain your photo, or to ask questions. Think of critique night as the chance to hear how the public responds to your work. Sometimes, being critiqued can feel awkward. 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.

Member
No.
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?

November 4, 2019 — Meeting notes

Fourteen people attended the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on Monday, November 4, 2019. Club president Ron Tigges started the meeting by reviewing all the fun we had during the Light Painting workshop. He gave out some leftover gadgets so people can try these techniques at home. The club is grateful to Lori Burrows for graciously sharing her images on social media so we could all be there behind the camera.

HOLIDAY PARTY The next item on the agenda involved looking ahead to the upcoming meetings. The club voted to hold our annual Holiday Party and Potluck on Monday, December 2nd, starting at 6:00 p.m. This is very early in the holiday season, so hopefully it will work out for everyone.

Club members are asked to bring a (delicious!) potluck dish as well as spouse, significant other, or family members. As in previous years, the club will purchase the main dish and provide tableware. We need to know how many people are coming so we know how much food to order. Please watch your email for an RSVP form.

The Dubuque Camera Club will hold its annual holiday potluck party on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

REFLECTIONS. General Bob has offered to bring the Reflections prints to the Nov. 18 meeting. Any leftover prints may be picked up at the Holiday party. Unclaimed prints will be wrapped up and taken to my aunt’s house for a white elephant with my cousins. (Joking!)

Ron reminded the group that we need to be thinking ahead to next year’s DuMA exhibit. Scroll through your pictures and think about what might work as a theme. Local or regional pictures are best. Once we come up with potential exhibit themes, we will probably poll club members to decide which one to use. We will talk more about the 2020 exhibit at future meetings.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. In the national news, PPA has succeeded in getting the CASE act passed by the House of Representatives. Here’s their news release about it. The bill makes it easier for photographers to go after those who steal their images. Right now, if photos are used without permission by an unethical business or individual, only photographers with deep pockets can do anything about it. The CASE act will let you take those slimeball image thieves to small claims court.

Remember, whenever you enter a photography contest, be sure to read the small print. Some of our club members have been burned that way. In some contests, by entering, you are giving them a perpetual free license to use your photo anywhere they please. Just because it’s a tourist organization (or just because they have a word like Iowa or Wisconsin in their name), doesn’t mean they respect intellectual property.

Dubuque Camera Club member Andreas Exner was awarded 2nd place in the Digital Black and White category of the October 2019 N4C competition.

October 2019 contest returns

The club went over the returns from the October contest of the N4C competition. Four of our club members received recognition. Congratulations to the following awesome photographers!!

  • Andreas Exner, 2nd place, digital B&W, “John Hancock Center, Chicago”
  • Andreas Exner, merit award, digital nature, “Great Egret on the Mississippi River”
  • Ken Kiss, merit award, digital journalism, “Fishing Buddy”
  • Kevin McTague, honorable mention, digital nature, “Cardinal”
  • Kevin McTague, honorable mention, digital nature, “All Natural Light” (Hummingbird in sunshine)
  • Ron Tigges, merit award, digital pictorial, “Sunset Glow on the Des Moines Dam”
  • Ron Tigges, merit award, digital B&W, “Evening Light on Pewit’s Nest”

CLUB COMMUNICATIONS AWARD. In other news, the N4C sent us a 948KB PNG for being awarded Honorable Mention in the Club Communications Bulletin Award. There are no rules for that competition, and there’s a lot of confusion in their ballpark about the difference between print and digital. They also don’t fact check much. First, they said that Ron wrote it.

To celebrate the occasion, the N4C ran my last meeting notes, about the Light Painting workshop, in their deliciously designed November newsletter, without giving me a byline or credit. In some universes, writers get paid for their work. But I guess the snake can’t taste its own venom. My tarot cards are telling me that if they make any money on it, I may someday see the inside of a small claims court.

Speaking of which, at the conclusion of tonight’s meeting, this author received some interesting feedback about the Meeting Notes on this website. One of the long-time club members (I won’t say the whistle-blower’s name, but it starts with K-e-v-i-n), commented:

“I really enjoy reading the meeting notes. In fact, they are so good, they are usually better than the actual meetings. The last one I had to read twice, because I wasn’t sure it actually happened, it was so funny.”

— Kevin, the Whistle Blower

Gee Kevin, you are just in time to sign up for a long, dull lecture at the local community college about the difference between fact and fiction! We all know there are no spur snags in the carpet at the nature center!

That rumor started because of all the photos of the Alamo that were submitted to N4C competitions this year. I am right now putting it on my calendar to fact check with Sam about what spur marks look like — he’s from Texas — that is, if he ever gets his member number from the pelicans circling over the East Dubuque car show (or maybe that’s why they moved it?).

Upcoming club events…

The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be held on Monday, November 18 at 6:30 p.m. On the agenda will be Five-minute Tips and Tricks, plus a Photo Critique. Click here for more details. Club members, watch your email for a reminder.

The club’s annual Holiday Potluck Party will be held on Monday, December 2 at 6:00 p.m. Note the date change and the early start time. Club members are welcome to bring spouse, significant other(s), or family members. Also bring a potluck dish to share. See your email for a link to the RSVP form.

Our club will have a table at the Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 18 at the Grand River Center. We will be looking for volunteers to organize this event. Learn more at upcoming meetings.


Oct. 21, 2019 — Meeting notes

Thirteen lucky photographers attended the Light Painting workshop at the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on Monday, October 21, 2019. We were a few days past fine weather, so most of the meeting was spent inside. Participating club members brought tripods and gear.

Club president Ron Tigges, with assistance from Willie and Jennifer, arranged a goodie table with a variety of light painting gadgets. Ron started the meeting with a slideshow presentation of light painting techniques and images. He learned about some of these techniques during an N4C event.

The most elaborate tool that he showed us was a pixel stick. “The pixel stick is kind of like voodoo,” said Ron. It contains color-changing LEDs with built-in flash card. You can preload small images that display as you walk. The images are invisible to the eye but can be captured with a camera.

Later, when people set up their cameras for long exposure, the first pixel stick surprise was a Blufftops & Visions logo. The flames were really popular too. There were also some spooky images on the pixel stick. They were photographed in the dark woods by a few brave souls who ventured outside toward the end of the meeting. See the Pixel Stick website for more about what it can do.

Believe it or not, the type of cheap lighting that is sold for rave parties is ideal for light painting. Ron tied a bunch of fingerlights on a string and spun them around for a homemade globe spinner. The secret is to mark the spot with a piece of tape to stand on. This ensures that your globe (or light orb) has a center. Here’s a picture that he took for practice:

Light globe photo by Ronald Tigges.

“Be creative. Try all the different stuff,” said Ron at the meeting. Free-hand options may be made from simple items you have at home, such as a flashlight or headlamp. Put clear plastic tape over a white flashlight and color the tape with a marker for a “gel” effect. Some flashlights can be set to display a strobe. Try a small strobe to paint twinkling stars behind a model. Remember, if you don’t want your model to show in the final image, they should be dressed in black or dark colors.

Another funky option shared at the meeting was an LED color change hoola hoop. It’s possible to get a “beam me up, Scottie” effect when the hoop is raised from the floor to above the model’s head. A couple of seconds of flashlight used as a spotlight completes the effect. Willie Tigges, dressed in black for the light painting demonstration, was the hoola hoop model.

Light painting photo by Lori Burrows. Model: Willie Tigges.

At the meeting, people were setting their cameras at about 20 seconds. To do light painting, place your camera on a tripod and set it for long exposure. Pre-focus on a spot, then set it on manual so the focus doesn’t drift. To get a neat effect, you’ll need to experiment with the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed).

“It’s all about the movement,” said Ron. At the meeting, the lights were moved, and the cameras were still. You could also theoretically move the camera. [Here’s a tutorial about kinetic light painting from Digital Photography School.]

Lori Burrows joined Willie in adding light trails to the scenes. With the addition of light sabers (yes, Star Wars toys!), the club succeeded in taking some adventuresomely weird pictures. Henry Matthiessen III volunteered to serve as model.

“It kind of hearkens back to original photography,” said Ron. “When you go back to the darkroom, it’s a surprise. Then you build more light in that image.” The resulting images are spellbinding!

Light painting photo by Lori Burrows of LoriB Photography. Club member Henry Matthiessen III was the model. Taken at the October 21 meeting of the Dubuque Camera Club.

Reflections, a photography exhibit by the Dubuque Camera Club, is on display at the Dubuque Museum of Art through November 10, 2019.

Last chance to see the Reflections exhibit: Nov. 10

We are proud of the terrific photography by the twenty Dubuque Camera Club members who participated in this year’s Reflections exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. We have heard positive feedback from several visitors to the show. The museum has even asked us back for 2020!

Have you taken your friends and family to see the Reflections exhibit yet? It contains 25 photos on metal, and is located upstairs in the balcony gallery. You can see it any time the art museum is open. See the DuMA website for hours.

If evenings work best for you, here’s an option: Fall Into Art, the downtown Dubuque tour of art galleries on Friday, Nov. 1 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Your last chance to see Reflections will be Sunday, Nov. 10, the final day of the exhibit. ** Club members, your Reflections prints will be returned to you at the club’s holiday potluck party on Monday, December 9th. **


Other happenings…

Digital Dubuque photos of Voices murals. The photos of club president, Ronald Tigges, are being used in a display at Clarke College’s Quigley gallery (in the Atrium building). This photo and video exhibit is about the Voices Production murals of downtown Dubuque. The Clarke gallery is open Monday-Friday: noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday: 1-5 p.m. Stop by and take a look before the exhibit closes on November 6, 2019. Free.

Broad Ideas, the annual woman-oriented art show at the Galena Center for the Arts, is accepting submissions from now through Feb. 2, 2020. You can submit up to three items. The exhibit starts in mid-February. We’ve had a couple of club members participate in the past. This is an amateur show, but it is in a wonderful community venue, and they also have several events planned. Learn more on the Broad Ideas website.

Wisconsin nature photos wanted. Have you ever taken a field trip with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin? They just opened their annual photo contest. Prizes are a nice set of binoculars or a t-shirt. Entries must have been taken on one of their field trips. Deadline is Sunday, Nov. 17. Find more info in their newsletter. NRFW nature field trips range across the state of Wisconsin, with some as close as LaCrosse or Madison, so definitely keep this opportunity on your radar for 2020. NRFW is also seeking Wisconsin nature photos from pro shooters:

Are you a professional photographer?
Consider supporting our work by sharing the rights to some of your photos that showcase Wisconsin’s lands, waters, or wildlife for us to use in our print or digital marketing. Please contact jaime.kenowski@WisConservation.org if interested.

Photo Pro in Cedar Rapids has some interesting workshops and events coming up. On Friday and Saturday, November 1 & 2, they will hold their annual Cash for Cameras event, featuring used gear. Tamron and Sony reps will lead workshops. Here’s a link to the Photo Pro events listings. You can also follow their Facebook page.

Our friend Mark Dierker, from Bear Dancer Studios, will be operating a pop-up shop on the Central Avenue Curve (2230 Central) during the months of November and December 2019. Mark creates fine art photography, including outstanding images of storms, nudes, and ruins. To learn more, visit his website or follow Bear Dancer Studios on Facebook.

Fall Into Art, the free downtown Dubuque tour of art galleries, will be held on Friday, November 1, 2019 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Telegraph Herald ran a nice overview of this event in their Oct. 24 issue.

The Dubuque Museum of Art (701 Locust St.) is one location on the Fall Into Art tour. It’s your chance to see the Reflections exhibit by the Dubuque Camera Club, located in the balcony gallery!


Next club meeting

The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be held on Monday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. Submitting to N4C competition is one of the perks of membership. Club members, watch your email for a reminder.


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!!! Several photos taken during 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 City, Iowa (take Hwy 20 and go straight west for five hours). Hosted by the Sioux City Camera Club. Here’s their Facebook page.
    → According to the Sioux City club’s N4C rep, Carl Hardy, the Sioux Falls, South Dakota camera club will be co-hosting, and will judge the end-of-the-season competition. But the convention will actually be held in Iowa, so stop the car before you cross the bridge to Nebraska! (Geez, I better look at a map.)
    Sioux City (see map) has a population of around 80,000 people and is located on the Missouri River. It is historically famous because the explorers Lewis and Clark stopped there. Here are some of the area’s photo-worthy attractions.
  • 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!

Dubuquers rule: End-of-the-Season Winners

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 juggled 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 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: