Feb. 4, 2019 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on February 4, 2019 was attended by 21 people. Club president Ronald Tigges shared final numbers from the Blufftops & Visions convention that we hosted here in Dubuque in September 2018.

Blufftops & Visions was attended by 130 people from 11 states. One-third of the registrations were digital transactions. Our club pioneered the use of online registrations for the annual N4C convention. The three most popular events were opening night (attended by 73 people), the Millwork & Models photo shoot (70 participants), and the American Lady river cruise (78 participants).

After remitting the required 25% of the financial proceeds from Blufftops & Visions to the N4C board, we have a positive bank balance to potentially spend on something that club members would like to see, try, or do.

Here are some suggestions that were mentioned at the meeting:

  • Bring in a speaker. For instance, bring back one of the keynote speakers from Blufftops & Visions to lead a night photo shoot this summer. Horseshoe Mound was suggested as a potential location. We would need to collaborate with JDCF.
  • Subsidize the cost of prints for club exhibits. Provide a subsidy to club members who have a print selected for our upcoming exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. [NOTE: We need to select a theme for this exhibit. Long exposures is a tentative theme that was suggested at the meeting.]
  • Purchase photography equipment that can be shared between club members. An image sensor cleaner was suggested. Other ideas…?

If you have thoughts on these ideas or other suggestions for the use of club funds, contact Ron or bring it up at a future meeting.


Imaging USA outbrief from General Bob

Robert Felderman at Imaging USA, the 2019 national PPA convention

As the highlight of the evening, Dubuque Camera Club member Robert Felderman of General Bob Photography gave a recap of this year’s national PPA convention, Imaging USA, which he and his wife, Nancy, attended in Atlanta in January.

It was a massive event, with over 10,000 attendees, over 2,000 trade show booths, and countless classes and workshops. Photo critiques, awards programs, and parties with endless buffets!

General Bob shared a slideshow of smartphone pictures that he captured in the trade show area, or during the convention. Much information at Imaging USA was pertinent to the business side of photography. Hot trends in the world of professional photography include flat studio lighting and mirrorless cameras. Metal and acrylic prints are also popular.

The badges worn by convention participants showed their areas of expertise, and some individual wore badges that almost reached the floor! Noteworthy photographers that were present included Peter Hurley, who gives classes for KelbyOne, and who was at the convention to present for Canon. In addition to the scheduled classes, there were many impromptu photography presentations or equipment demonstrations at the vendor booths.

“A good 25% of the people I talked to only knew how to shoot in automatic… at this professional photography convention!” — General Bob

Trade show vendors included Canon Professional Services (CPS), Tamron, American Color Imaging (ACI) from Cedar Falls, Iowa, and many more. There were wares for sale from vendors who specialize in printing or display, backdrops, studio equipment, or other photography-related areas. Lots of eye candy from a couple of international photo contests. One software maker claimed to have the secret to fix any blurry image. And the line to purchase gear for taking baby pictures was extremely long!

In January 2020 the national PPA convention will be held in Nashville, Tennessee. Convention registration (in the $300 range) is free if you are a PPA member. Thank you, General Bob, for this outstanding outbrief of Imaging USA!


N4C returns

At tonight’s club meeting, we also went over returns from the January 2019 N4C competition. Our club took home several merit awards and honorable mentions. Congratulations to the following photographers!

  • Casey Klein
  • Ken Kiss
  • Eleanor Schueller
  • Kevin McTague
  • David Smethers
  • Cory Huntington
  • Robert Felderman

Next Meeting: Judging B&W

Our club will judge the Digital Black and White category of the N4C competition at the next meeting on Monday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m. Three experienced club members will be needed as judges. You should have been a club member for at least 6 months to volunteer as a judge.

“It is a night where we get to look at a LOT of pictures. I always think it’s a pretty fun night.” — John L.


Black and White photos are judged on the basis of Technique, Composition, and Interest. Audience members will have a lot of images to look at, so be sure to attend! See the N4C Winners Galleries for past winners in the Black and White category.

“It’s so helpful to come and watch this, and the photos are amazing.” — Casey K.


Photography by Dubuque Camera Club member Jose Garcia was recently featured on the official Instagram account of Canon USA.

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. Sunday, March 3rd @ 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. NOTE: This program was rescheduled for March 3rd due to weather.


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!