First virtual meeting — Monday, April 6, 2020

Dubuque Camera Club members:

We will hold a Virtual Club Meeting on Monday, April 6, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will be held online, using Zoom (video chat).

To fully participate, you will need a webcam with a microphone. The exact link will be sent to club members by email before the meeting starts.

Note that the April 6 meeting is only a TEST. We want to see if this format works for the club. Here are the goals of this initial meeting:

  • To make sure that club members can connect using Zoom.
  • To try screen sharing, with an eye toward virtual judging in the future.
  • To share club news,
    and most importantly,
  • To enjoy a virtual gathering with like-minded individuals during this time of stress and worry.

March/April news & updates

Sorry to say, below is the upcoming Dubuque Camera Club meeting calendar. Along with the rest of the world, we are trying to keep our family and loved ones safe and healthy. In-person meetings are suspended (for now).

  • April 6, 2020 — Club meeting. CANCELLED. Submissions are still due.
  • April 20 — Club meeting. CANCELLED.
  • May 4 — Club meeting CANCELLED. Submissions are still due. No Digital Travel entries.
  • May 18 — Club meeting? VIRTUAL judging of Digital Travel.
  • June 1 at 6:00 p.m. — Potluck Picnic (We hope!).

Virtual judging is coming up!

If you’ve been reading the N4C posts and emails (or the N4C Bulletin), you’ll already know they have decided to (1) cancel the spring mini-convention, but (2) go head and hold the April and May contests.

What does it mean for club members? You can submit your photos to N4C competition, just like always! If you have questions, be sure to check the Competition page . As always, images may be up to 1920px on the longest side, file size no more than 750KB. Send in your April submissions by Monday, April 6th.

Because of the pandemic crisis, our club may need to come up with a process for online judging. Our club will probably need to judge DT virtually on May 18, 2020. (Details about virtual judging will be sent to club members by email).

March returns

Our club has received Digital Nature (DN) returns for March 2020 N4C competition submissions. Congratulations to these photographers:

Get ready for club exhibits

One of the perks of Dubuque Camera Club membership is being able to participate in club exhibits. We are preparing for a 2020 exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art.

TREES at DuMA. This year’s Dubuque Camera Club exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art will have a TREE theme. Be thinking about trees as you’re out and about this spring. Our club photographers have already submitted some beautiful preliminary images. Take a look at the club’s pre-Tree gallery!!!

Club members: If you would like to participate in this year’s DuMA exhibit, send up to 5 preliminary images to Ron or Ken. Make sure that your member number is in the filename.

Smokestack exhibit. Sadly, the Smokestack is one of the many businesses that closed when the Iowa governor declared a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. The club’s exhibit there is postponed indefinitely. We hope to reschedule when the world returns.

Other N4C news: The N4C has had some openings on their board of directors. Our own Jennifer Tigges is running for a new position. Yay!!!

Jennifer Tigges, Dubuque Camera Club, nominated for Director 3.
Owner, operator of Digital Dubuque LLC. Videographer, photographer, web designer and project manager since 1989. Community advocate serving on the City of Dubuque Park and Recreation Commission, City of Dubuque Cable TV commission, Director, Friends of the Mines of Spain Board, and Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America. Assisted in fundraising, policy making and special event coordination in several nonprofits in Dubuque, Iowa. Recently became a Star Legacy photography volunteer. Member of the N4C Dubuque Camera Club since 2007. N4C 2018 Convention Co-Chair, planning committee, and public relations.
“I hope to bring more opportunities to younger members in the N4C and give a digitally focused prospective to promote growth and continuation of the N4C.”

Other news…

General Bob has had success with his photo of “Three Sisters,” a mountain in Canada. You may remember this image, because a version of this beautiful image was in the club’s 2019 Reflections show at the Dubuque Museum of Art. Congratulations to General Bob for the publication of “Three Sisters” in Landscape Photography Magazine.

Here’s an event that may interest all photography enthusiasts: Out of Chicago has switched from an in-person conference to An Online Global Photography Conference. It will be held April 24-26, 2020. They are offering an impressive range of online sessions and tutorials. Cost: $300. Click here to learn more.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is seeking submissions for their 2020 calendar. Deadline is July 1, 2020. Find complete information here.


All in-person club meetings are CANCELLED through May 2020.

Sorry, all in-person meetings of the Dubuque Camera Club are CANCELLED through May 2020.

CLUB MEETINGS CANCELLED. Because our meeting venue will be closed through May 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, upcoming club meetings are also cancelled.

Club members: N4C submissions are still due by the first Monday of the month. Email them to the regular culprits (no DT in May). Discussion has been happening about how to judge Digital Travel on May 18. Stay tuned to your email for details.

Smokestack exhibit postponed. Due to the pandemic, this venue has closed. The club’s exhibit is postponed indefinitely.

LAPC event POSTPONED. The Linn Area Photography Club in Cedar Rapids was scheduled to hold its annual Spring Photography Event on April 25-26. This event has been postponed to September 19-20, 2020.

N4C MINI-CON CANCELLED. The N4C Spring 2020 mini-con has been cancelled. Learn more on the Meetings page of the N4C website.

PPIOWA convention cancelled. Professional Photographers of Iowa has cancelled its Winter Convention. More here.

DubuqueFest 2020 is cancelled. The art fair and all other DubuqueFest 2020 events have been cancelled.

GCA closed. The Galena Center for the Arts has closed its gallery. Broad Ideas events are on hold. More info here.

OTHER CANCELLATIONS. To prevent the spread of illness, many other groups and organizations are canceling or postponing scheduled events.

Note: The Dubuque Telegraph Herald has made articles relating to the coronavirus free to everyone. Click here for tri-state updates:

March 2, 2020 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on March 2nd was attended by 17 people.

Being early, I got to wait outside a locked door, watching a near-sighted opossum decide whether he (1) smelled a human, or (2) dared to troll the birdfeeder. It took him a long time to make up his mind.

I was sneaking my hand up to the coat pocket that held my Google Pixel when a long stream of car lights suddenly poured into the parking lot. It was 6:29-and-a-half p.m. Had I time-traveled to the closing scene in Field of Dreams? No, but at that moment the possum ran into the woods. Yes, you skeptic, they can run.

In the back room, while the chairs were being set up, we found a plastic box of nametags. The nametags have mysteriously reproduced since the box was last seen in December. (Thank you, Ellie. Or Lois?) Almost enough for everyone.

When people put on a name tag, they suddenly became visible (think Harry Potter and the cloak of invisibility). I felt kind of bad for the club members who had to sit there wearing the magical cloak all night, but at least it kept them safe from the brouhaha about the elephants.

Oh, you skeptical reader — You doubt the elephants…? I am 100% convinced there were not just one, but TWO bull elephants. What’s more, they are identical twins! See for yourself:

The consensus was that it is unfair for the same photo to win twice in the same month. Granted, one image was converted to black and white. We realize that the two judging clubs couldn’t have known that the same image was entered in two categories.

We wondered if the photo was entered in Digital Nature too, but just didn’t win in that category. Club president Ron Tigges said: “If you have a phenomenal photo, don’t stick it into three categories. It should be in the rules.”


During the meeting, the club reviewed submissions to the March 2020 N4C competition. Our club members have submitted many strong images. A few more spots are open before they are sent onward to the judging club. Here’s a link to the March online gallery.

Congratulations to the following photographers for being recognized in the February 2020 N4C photography competition:

  • Ron Tigges, Digital Travel, Merit award
  • Ken Kiss, Digital Travel, Merit award
  • Kevin McTague, Digital Travel, Honorable mention
  • Stephonie Schmitz, Digital Travel, Merit award
  • Ron Tigges, Digitally Altered, Merit award
  • Stephonie Schmitz, Digitally Altered, Merit award
  • Lorna Costello, Digitally Altered, Merit award
  • Stephonie Schmitz, Digital Nature, Honorable mention
  • Ken Kiss, Digital Nature, Honorable mention
  • Kevin McTague, Digital Black and White, Merit award
  • Casey Klein, Digital Journalism, Merit award

Casey has been drafted to serve as a judge for a salon competition of the Fargo-Moorehead Camera Club. Although they are also N4C affiliated, they do things a little differently than we do.

She also helped to judge the Digital Pictorial for our club at the Feb. 24 meeting. It was her first experience in that role. “Good learning moment — I recommend it,” said Casey.

Send in your tree photos!

Club members: Send in your TREE photos for a pre-tree gallery. You may submit up to five preliminary images. The club will review them at an upcoming meeting. Email your photos to Ron or Ken today!

We know you have been taking TREE photos!!! Our club’s tree-themed exhibit is scheduled to be at the Dubuque Museum of Art from September 26 through October 25, 2020.

We will put together a preliminary gallery. This will help us to fine-tune the theme and decide on a creative angle.

Ron suggested that the club can offer a financial subsidy again this year. Last year, for the Reflections exhibit, the club paid for half of one print per participant. Remember, you must be a current club member to participate in club exhibits.

“I would like to see diversity in the images,” he said. Look through what you have, or take new pictures. As in prior years, we may go with 12×18-inch dimensions (either portrait OR landscape is fine). We will NOT order from the same printer as last year. Photoshopping is fine, as long as there is a tree in the photo! Be creative!

Each club member may send in up to five preliminary images. Email them to Ron or Ken. Note that as the theme develops, you will have a chance to swap or update your submissions. Get them sent in so we can go over them at an upcoming meeting!

Smokestack exhibit

The club also has a chance to exhibit at the Smokestack. Potential dates were in May, August, or September. Potentially, this show can be organized quickly since many people have framed prints ready to go.

The Smokestack has space for larger pieces. Items on display can be for sale, and the commission is reasonable. Plus, it’s a nice group venue. As Ron said, “It’s a chance to get together, invite other people, and maybe even make a dollar or two.”

We took a vote, and most people preferred May. However, General Bob will not be available then, so someone else will need to step up to coordinate the exhibit. This will include creating a spreadsheet of artist information. Any volunteers to make this happen…?

Update: Due to the pandemic, the Smokestack exhibit is postponed indefinitely. Sorry about that!

Mines of Spain photography contest

During the meeting, the club judged the winter entries for the Mines of Spain photography contest. These prints will be on display in the nature center.

Ron had fun unpinning all the pictures during the print judging process. It was more complicated than expected — definitely a learning experience for next time! Club members are welcome to submit to this contest, but if you do, you cannot take part in judging.

Spring edition of the Mines of Spain photo contest is coming up. Deadline is June 1, 2020. Photos must be taken in the park. Enter your 8×10-inch prints. It’s OK if they are matted, but they cannot be framed. Click here to learn more.

Regional photography events…

Thanks to Henry Matthiessen III for bringing along some back issues of Shutter magazine. The magazine is published by the organizer of Shutterfest , a unique event in St. Louis.

“The Broad Ideas art display at the Galena Center for the Arts on 219 Summit Street is REALLY good,” says club member Lorna C. “It celebrates and supports women.  100+ pieces.  Don’t miss it.  It goes until March 29th.”

Karen D. suggests the Out of Chicago Botanic Conference, August 23-27, 2020. “Their workshops sound interesting and the Chicago Botanic Garden is beautiful.”

Many other photography events and conferences are scheduled for this spring or summer, and accepting registration now. See the events listing for a few ideas.

General Bob shared that Professional Photographers of Iowa (PPI) is looking for board members. You must have been a member of PPI for 4 (5?) years in order to apply. Here’s a link to the application, and here’s their bylaws.

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin will be accepting field trip reservations starting April 1st. You must be an NRFW member. They encourage bringing a camera and hold an annual field trip photo contest.

Bellevue Fishtival on August 15, 2020. The Bellevue Arts Council invites regional artists to exhibit at this year’s 20th annual Fishtival. Artists interested in participating should contact Dave Eisheid. Visit their website for more information.

February 24, 2020 — Meeting notes

Winter weather led to the second meeting this month being pushed back a week. Thirteen lucky people attended the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on February 24, 2020. Our club judged the Digital Pictorial category of the monthly N4C competition.

Dubuque Camera Club member Eleanor Schueller was mentioned in a 1996 news article.

History Tidbits. Eleanor Schueller was at the meeting and fielded some questions about club history while the technology was being set up. We know she has been a club member since at least 1996, because that year she was mentioned in a Telegraph Herald article about the club. [“Camera Club Members Place In Contest,” Telegraph Herald, Nov. 1, 1996, p. C7]. See the About page for more on club history.

Ellie remembers the club before it met at the Mines of Spain. Previous meeting locations included the homes of members, at American Trust on JFK Rd., or in a community room at Finley Hospital. Some workshops were held at the former Interstate Power Co., located at 1000 Main St.

Ellie says that the club was already affiliated with the N4C when she became a member. She’s not sure what year she joined, but Dr. P____ (or was it Dr. M____?) from Finley talked her into getting involved. He took up photography as a hobby when he retired from medicine.

Door prize. Lois P. brought along a freebie door prize, a working Canon Powershot digital camera. Isn’t it funny how fast technology goes obsolete? We don’t know who claimed this goodie, but rumor is that General Bob was later seen whirling it from his pinky on his way out the door while lost in visions of sugarplums and grandkids.

General Bob may be more dreamy lately because he has done well in a couple of international photography contests. He was a finalist in a contest based in Japan, and he also earned honorable mention in another contest based in London. He entered some drone shots in the student category, which he’s eligible to do since he’s presently an online art student at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.

Mines of Spain Photo Contest. Another item at the top of people’s minds this evening was the Mines of Spain Photography Contest. March 1st is the deadline to submit your 8×10″ prints in the winter category. They must have been taken in the park. The next deadline, for spring images, will be on June 1, 2020. Keep this photo contest in mind as you get out and take photos over the next few months! More info here.

Digital Pictorial judging

Judging. The priority item on the agenda was judging the Digital Pictorial category of the February N4C contest. After the technology was set up, club president Ronald Tigges went over the official rules.

We evaluated 115 images from other N4C clubs. Typically, we browse through them once before the actual judging starts. Here is the three-screen setup that we use on judging nights:

All set up for judging night.

Thank you to Bob Felderman, Casey Klein, and John Leicht for serving as volunteer judges. The judging process was facilitated by our club’s N4C reps, Cara Pusateri and Ken Kiss, along with club president Ronald Tigges, who led the meeting.

Photos are scored on Technique, Composition, and Interest, with each judge able to give up to five points per category. A perfect score is 45 points in this system. Feedback is given on each photo, with comments and suggestions taken from the audience. Cara is our expert at distilling audience feedback into helpful comments.

Digital Pictorial is a wildcat category, so we saw all of these subjects portrayed, and more: sheep, body painting, sculpture park, stars, musicians, fog, lighthouse, castle, food, water, hay bales, birds, beach goers, sunset, animals, human portraits, and the hoola hoop tree. [Note: The hoola hoop tree is located on E23 County Home Road, just northeast of Anamosa.]

Judging DP images during the February 24th meeting.

Because it’s so important to have experienced photographers on the judging panel, our club follows the rule that an individual must be a club member for at least one year before serving as a contest judge.

We are very glad that Casey participated tonight for the first time as a judge. Without that feminine influence, the boys tend to give high scores to hood ornaments, for instance. You know how boys are. Sugar and spice and all that. In fact, when John sat down, the first thing he said was, “Frozen bugs are allowed.”

We saw some good ideas in the submitted images from other clubs. In fact, we made plans to hold a Still Life Workshop at the March 16th meeting (Click here to find out more). Here’s one of the photos that was inspiring:

After viewing a number of terrific still life photos, the club has made tentative plans to hold a Still Life Photo Shoot at an upcoming meeting.

As in previous judging experiences, there were also photos that made you scratch your head and wonder why they were entered. Some had typos in the filename. [Note to self: “Field in a Boob” will probably not be scored highly with a diverse panel of judges.]

Sam F. offered a couple of insights from the audience perspective: “Frogs do really good here, I’ve noticed.” He also brought up the term “vernacular photography” to describe questionable submissions. Like the ones where everything is blurry and nobody is facing the camera. Perhaps somebody wanted to document their life, he suggested.

“I don’t care what people submit,” said Ron. “It’s a better chance for people who are submitting nicer stuff.” He reminded the group that our club welcomes everyone with an enthusiasm for photography, from beginners to professionals. We are all learning from each other.

Finally, if your goal in competition is to evoke a group “Oooooohhh,” an ideal submission is a beach sunset. “I wanna be there…” comes universally from almost everyone in attendance, the minute it hits the screen.

At the end of the judging process came the tie-breaker decisions. Six photos had earned a perfect score of 45 points. The judges thoughtfully considered and discussed each one. They selected first, second, and third for the category, with the remaining photos awarded honorable mention. To see our club’s selections, look at the Digital Pictorial winners on the N4C website.

Next meeting

The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be on Monday, March 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Club members: Send in your N4C competition submissions before the meeting. Our club can submit double Digital Pictorial (16) because we judged this time. For details, see the email that was sent to club members. You can also visit the Competition page.