Registration reminder: Finding Your Light

Finding Your Light, the annual N4C convention, will be held in Des Moines, Iowa on September 19 – 22, 2019.

If you plan to attend Finding Your Light, the annual N4C convention in Des Moines this fall, now is the time to register! Convention registration is open to Dubuque Camera Club members (all of our club members are N4C members) as well as other photography enthusiasts in the community.

Last year when our club hosted the annual convention here in Dubuque, we had a lot of fun! Our theme was Blufftops & Visions. This year the Des Moines Camera club is hosting the convention. They have planned some interesting banquet speakers, workshops, and photoshoots. See the full list of presenters here. Here’s a preliminary list of field trips.

If you are an N4C member and register by August 11th, you can get the early bird rate of $185. Non-member early bird price is $210. Your choice of lodging is extra. The event will be held at the Sheraton hotel in West Des Moines. Follow the Finding Your Light page on Facebook for more details.

SPEAKER HIGHLIGHT – Shari MillerEmbracing the Process, Practicing Gratitude(9-10:30 am, Sat., 9/21About Shari:Using…

Posted by Finding Your Light in Des Moines N4C Convention on Saturday, July 6, 2019

What our members are doing…

The talented members of the Dubuque Camera Club are always up to something. Several of our photographers regularly contribute to local publications and social media accounts. You might run into them photographing art events, car shows, concerts, fireworks, balloon races, rodeos, or storm clouds. Here are a few recent noteworthy activities…

Dubuque Camera Club member Jose Garcia recently led photography workshops in Cedar Rapids.

On June 21-22, 2019, Dubuque Camera Club member Jose Garcia, now a Canon Ambassador, led a pair of weekend photography workshops in Cedar Rapids. The workshops were sponsored by Canon and Photo Pro, one of the few remaining specialty retail stores in this area.

Making Great Portraits Using One Speedlight was held on Friday at Noelridge Greenhouse, and the Natural Light Portraits Workshop was held on Saturday at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.  First there was an informative presentation, with Jose using his wonderful portrait images as examples; then everybody got to go outside to try out the techniques, with assistance from two (very patient) live models.

We counted three club members participating, including Cory from Studio H Photography. If you want to see some images from the workshops, Photo Pro put a nice gallery on their Facebook page. With Cedar Rapids only an hour’s drive away, consider keeping on eye on the store’s future events.



Dubuque Camera Club member Henry Matthiessen III will take a creative journey through the American southwest with local musician and videographer Dean Wellman.

From September 16 through October 1, 2019, Dubuque Camera Club member Henry Matthiessen III will document a photo journey through the American southwest along with another local creative, Dean Wellman, for “Thoughts from the Road.”

Henry regularly shares amazing photos of the Driftless Region as Stoned Art Studio. This desert adventure to photograph the landscapes of New Mexico is sure to have some awesome creative results.

Right now the duo is looking for financial supporters through their GoFundMe page. You can watch the promo videos on the Highway 11 channel on Youbue or follow Thoughts from the Road on Facebook.

Congratulations to Dubuque Camera Club member Casey Klein. One of her photos appeared in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald on June 4.

If you are a Dubuque Camera Club member, contact Pamela if you would like to share news or information here.

2018/2019 N4C winners

During a season running from Sept. 2018 through May 2019, members of the Dubuque Camera Club entered their original digital photography in the monthly N4C competition. The competition is judged on a rotating basis by 37 different midwestern photography clubs.

Ten of our club members earned first, second, third, or honorable mention awards. Their 24 images will advance to the annual competition at Finding Your Light, the annual N4C convention to be held this year in Des Moines in September 2019.

Many of our club photographers also earned merit awards. Although merit award images do not advance, these photographers received recognition from judging clubs. All of our club’s competition entries are posted in our online gallery. The N4C Winners galleries may be found here.

Submitting to monthly N4C competitions is one of the perks of Dubuque Camera Club membership. Receiving feedback from others helps us to evaluate our own work so we can learn and grow as photographers. Even if we don’t receive any awards, participating in the competition is a fun way to be involved with the club.

Competition winners
Thanks to everyone in the club who submitted photos to the monthly competition!
Mo/YrMonthCategoryImage titleFirstLastAward
2018-11NovemberDigital Altered RealityPainted Daisies EleanorSchuellerHM
2018-11NovemberDigital Altered RealitySuccess on attempt number 5  RonTiggesHM
2018-10OctoberDigital B&WForgotten Coon Hound   RonTigges1st
2018-11NovemberDigital JournalismOh Crap    RonTiggesHM
2018-10OctoberDigital PictorialHappy Halloween  RonTiggesHM
2018-10OctoberDigital TravelLate Night on the Mississippi Dubuque, Iowa  RonTiggesHM
2019-05MayPrint Panorama  Christmas in July         RonTigges3rd
2019-02FebruaryDigital JournalismRock Climber Scales Sheer Cliff Face to Summit RimDavidSmethers1st
2019-01JanuaryDigital TravelHorseshoe Bend DavidSmethersHM
2019-04AprilDigital PictorialBouquet of Fireworks Over People & Mississippi RiverRobertFelderman3rd
2019-03MarchDigital NatureWhat’s for Lunch    KennethKissHM
2019-05MayDigital TravelVirgin River at Zion National Park Utah KennethKissHM
2018-09SeptemberDigital NatureHummer    KevinMcTague2nd
2019-03MarchDigital NatureDowny Woodpecker 2 KevinMcTagueHM
2019-04AprilDigital NatureThe Landing   KevinMcTagueHM
2019-02FebruaryDigital TravelAuckland New Zealand    KevinMcTagueHM
2019-05MayDigital TravelGrand Canyon, Arizona     KevinMcTagueHM
2018-10OctoberDigital Altered RealitySmokydress           JoseGarciaHM
2018-10OctoberDigital B&WSmoke       JoseGarciaHM
2018-10OctoberDigital TravelMonument Valley, Utah     JoseGarcia1st
2019-05MayDigital PictorialBurrowing Owl           BeckyMatherHM
2019-03MarchDigital TravelCanyonlands of Utah            BeckyMather3rd
2019-01JanuaryDigital JournalismBellevue Barn Blaze     CaseyKleinHM
2019-03MarchDigital PictorialTrain Wizzes By At Morants Curve CoryHuntingtonHM

June 3, 2019 — Meeting notes

Thanks for making our final meeting of the season a success!

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on June 3, 2019 was our annual potluck picnic, the final meeting of the 2018-2019 season. We had an excellent turnout, with thirty-four people attending. Thanks to everyone who brought food, assisted at the grill, or helped to setup/takedown this enjoyable event.

“It’s great to see this many people here. The food was amazing,” said club president Ron Tigges.

The club provided burgers and brats, at a cost that tallied to only $2.19 per person. Jennifer did a great job of organizing, and Ken helped set up the room. Attendees brought a variety of salads, side dishes, beverages, and desserts. We had to scramble for plates and forks (not to mention gnat spray for those at the grill), but everything came together.

After dinner, treasurer John Leicht gave an overview of the club’s finances. We have a healthy balance in both checking and savings. The club’s yearly expenses include facility rental, N4C membership dues, Smugmug subscription, web domain, Eagle watch expense, brochure printing, any presenter stipends, and the food/refreshments provided at various meetings or events. At this point the club is in a good position to subsidize the DuMA exhibit and also purchase light painting equipment.

The Dubuque Camera Club will hold a summer photo shoot to feature Light Painting. This event will happen in July or August. Details TBD.

Summer photoshoot: Light painting

In July or August we will hold a summer photoshoot to feature light painting. Ron is in charge of purchasing equipment and organizing the event. We may reach out to other regional photographers and ask them to join us. We will first gather at a local venue, and then head out after dark to explore. Club members, watch your email for details.

Light painting is a long-exposure night photography technique. To participate, you will need a tripod and a camera that can do low light photography. (You need to be able to set your camera to manual or bulb mode.) ** Do you need to figure out this technique? Below are some helpful links:


Reflections submission deadline extended to June 17th

The club reviewed all the Reflections submissions received thus far. A few were not yet in the online gallery. We hope to have at least one image selected from each photographer that wishes to participate. Ron touched base with the art museum curator, and he read her email response to the initial submissions.

Cost. The club will pay half the cost of one print per member. Everybody who has submitted needs to think about whether they are willing to have more than one image in the show, because you will be responsible for the additional cost.

Exhibit brochure. The club also hopes to create a brochure to accompany the exhibit, with short profiles of each participating photographer. Everyone will be asked for biographical info about 50 words in length.

Deadline extended. The Reflections submission deadline has been extended by two weeks to Monday, June 17th (the Monday after Father’s Day). See this page for the complete Reflections Guidelines.

(Re-)Election of officers

A motion was made to retain all current club officers in their positions for the 2019/2020 season. The seconds, thirds, and ayes went around the room so fast that my head was spinning. The general consensus of the group is that the current officers are doing a fine job.

“I think we have a really good club. We have the camaraderie,” said Ron. He pointed out that the club’s Smugmug gallery serves as an archive of growth. Due to this synergy, our club has good representation in the N4C winners’ galleries.

Club PresidentRonald Tigges
N4C Board of Directors / Club PR Jennifer Tigges
TreasurerJohn Leicht
N4C RepresentativeCara Pusateri
Vice President / N4C RepKenneth Kiss
CommunicationsPamela Brandt

N4C photography competition returns

N4C reps Cara and Ken shared comments from judging clubs as we reviewed the returns from the May 2019 competition. Congratulations to the following talented Dubuque Camera Club photographers!

  • Bob Felderman, Two merit awards
  • Kevin McTague, Honorable mention and Merit award
  • Lori Burrows, Merit award
  • Cara Pusateri, Merit award
  • Becky Mather, Honorable mention and Merit award
  • Ken Kiss, Honorable mention

For future competitions, remember that Black and White photos need to be high contrast to do well. It’s possible to submit a panel of up to three related photos in Journalism. And no “hand of man” should be visible in nature photos. Pictorial is a catch-all category, for subjects that don’t fit elsewhere.

Some of the canned comments were every bit as helpful as usual. This one I could recite in my sleep: “Technically sound but lacking interest to the majority of viewers.” Remember, some of the feedback we hear on N4C competition photos is a default selection from the spreadsheet that is used during judging. We did well as a club to hold a critique workshop last month. More constructive feedback is always better.

Is it Art or not?

“Art is subjective and different for everyone,” said someone in the room, as we were looking through images. Yes, that is somewhat true, but not completely.

General Bob, who is currently attending the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, spoke up and mentioned the English art critic Clive Bell (1881-1964). Bell, who was part of the Bloomsbury Group (he married Virginia Woolf’s sister, Vanessa), wrote a lot about what makes art art — or not. That field is called aesthetics. It is related to the Philosophy of Art.

Think about the last time you saw an incredible image, one so good that it made you catch your breath in awe. In your gut, you KNEW it was artistic. That photo had SOMEthing to make you react in appreciation. Composition, color, subject matter, post-processing… everything lined up perfectly.

One example, for those who attended Blufftops & Visions, was the astounding keynote presentation by our international speaker, Iván Ferrero. His final slideshow was awesome. Every picture was eye candy, really and truly art. And I’m pretty confident most of the other people in the room felt the same way — this perception wasn’t just my own subjective taste. So it must be possible to develop the skill or talent to take consistently wonderful photos.

Yet not everybody who picks up a camera can easily make a decent photo. Certainly, not every photo gets the same score or feedback on N4C judging nights. The rest of us have to learn and stumble. We learn the rules of composition and how to use our camera, and also how to take advice from more experienced photographers.

Anyway, that pretty much sums up what little I know about the subjectivity of art. You may want to take a look at this interesting article from PetaPixel about the Aesthetics of Photography. And if you want to read Clive Bell, here’s a book.

Art, like green eggs and ham, is subjective…. Or is it?

Upcoming club events

Visit the events page for more upcoming area photography events.

Next official Dubuque Camera Club meeting: TUESDAY, September 3rd, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. (Note this meeting is on a Tuesday due to the holiday). All tri-state area photographers are welcome to attend. Location: E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center, Mines of Spain. This meeting will kick off the 2019/2020 season. We’ll review changes and updates to N4C rules and competition guidelines. Monthly competition submissions are due before the meeting. No digital nature.

N4C convention in Des Moines, Sept. 19-21, 2019 — Finding Your Light, hosted by the Des Moines Camera club. Speakers, field trips, and workshops. No commercial vendors this year. Early bird registration deadline is August 11 at a cost of $185, not including lodging.

Reflections exhibit opens. Saturday, September 21, 2019. Photography by members of the Dubuque Camera Club at the Dubuque Museum of Art. The exhibit is scheduled to run through November 10th. More info about an opening reception/gallery talk will be announced closer to the date.

Flash Happening. Sometime this fall (possibly the first weekend in October???) — A temporary art installation in the former radio station on 8th and Bluff. This is a partnership between the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society and the Dubuque Museum of Art. The club will organize some sort of photography-related activity or exhibit. Details TBD.

Member events

Photo Pro workshops. Club member Jose Garcia, now a Canon ambassador, is leading two workshops in Cedar Rapids in June. Learn more at the store’s events page.

Dubuque Camera Club member Laura Schuster will exhibit her work at the Corkless art show in Galena, Illinois, on June 22, 2019.
Location of the new Stoned Art Studio on Central Avenue in Dubuque.

Stoned Art: Thoughts from the Road. Club member Henry Matthiessen III has partnered with local musician/videographer Dean Wellman to adventure in the American southwest. They will soon be launching a GoFundMe campaign. To learn more, visit the Thoughts from the Road page on Facebook.

Henry has moved his Stoned Art Gallery to the Central Avenue “curve” with an official opening date of August 1st.

NOTE: If you have any news or information, or corrections for the website, please contact Pamela.

Noteworthy photography events

Want to re-invigorate your photography or improve your skills? Are you ready for a roadtrip? Consider registering for these noteworthy photography events…

Dubuque Camera Club member José Garcia will be leading workshops at PhotoPro in Cedar Rapids on June 21-22

You must register in advance. Cost is $25 per workshop.  José is now a Canon ambassador, and this is part of the store’s Canon weekend. See the Photo Pro Facebook page or website for more information.  Here is a list of all upcoming PhotoPro events.


The Des Moines Camera Club will host the annual N4C convention, Finding Your Light, on September 19-22, 2019.

Register to attend Finding Your Light by August 11 to receive an early bird discount. The cost for N4C members who register by the early bird deadline is $185. Speakers, workshops and photo shoots, photography presentations, and more! The event will be held at the Sheraton of West Des Moines. Lodging costs are not included in convention registration. See below for more information:

Click here for more information about Finding Your Light