Dec. 2, 2019 — Meeting notes

On December 2, 2019, the Dubuque Camera Club held a holiday party that was attended by 34 people. In addition to club members, we enjoyed the company of spouses, significant others, and at least one guest photographer. The club provided poinsettias, punch, cute plates, and hot sandwiches. Club members added to the delicious banquet by bringing potluck dishes. A tempting variety of food was enjoyed by all.

Club business

A poll has been posted to the club’s Facebook group to help decide the theme for our 2020 exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. As of this writing, top poll choices are (1) Tri-state trees, and (2) Downtown faces. Make sure to cast your vote. You can also contribute theme ideas to the poll.

The advantage of choosing a nature-related theme for our next DuMA exhibit is that it will tie in with Parks 2020, a state-wide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Iowa state parks system.

Our club will either judge or participant in an upcoming photo contest that is sponsored by the Friends of the Mines of Spain. This is also an event for Parks 2020. We don’t know the details, except that it will be prints.

The key opening event for the local celebration of Parks 2020 will be a nature photography presentation. It will take place on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. at the nature center in the Mines of Spain. Club president Ron Tigges is leading this team presentation. He is anxious to have other club members join him at the front of the room. The total time allotted for the entire group is 45-60 minutes. Your photos should have been taken in the Mines of Spain. Contact Ron for more info.

The club is in good financial shape, according to treasurer John Leicht. We pay for facility use, website hosting, N4C membership, and of course, food for events like our holiday banquet! It’s possible to sponsor a speaker or another special event. As always: ideas, ideas, ideas. Speak up at the next meeting if you have an idea.

Jennifer is now an N4C board member, so she and Ron get to observe all that delightful board harmony up close. Potentially, our club will host the annual convention in Dubuque again in 2023. Expect confusion about the upcoming 2020 event because two “Sioux” clubs are hosting. If you are there to take pictures of the falls, you’re probably at the wrong place.

More N4C rule changes are coming down the pipeline. For instance, there will be soon be a photojournalism collage category. We hope that changes will also be made to the print competition. The best idea involves sending 8″x10″ disposable prints so the receiving club doesn’t have the hassle of mailing everybody’s images back. Right now it is not possible for a club like ours that only competes in digital to earn Club of the Year, which is an unfair situation.

The confusing score numbers on the November returns told us that some clubs have started to use alternate scoring methods. In some cases a total of 27 points are possible. Not sure which is which since the teeny printed scoresheets don’t elaborate. For instance, I got one back that had a bunch of plusses on it for Composition and Interest, without any numbers in those categories. I guess weirdness makes life interesting.

Our next club meeting will be next year, on Jan. 6, 2020. For our second meeting in January (on Monday, Jan. 20), the club decided on The Story Behind the Photos. Every club member who wishes can contribute 5-10 photos and talk about them. We are envisioning a bunch of quick, mini-presentations. You must either send your photos to Ken by Sunday before the meeting or bring them on a USB flash drive.

A selection of Digital Travel images from Dubuque Camera Club members. See these images and more in the club’s online gallery.


At the holiday meeting, we went over returns from the November 2019 N4C competition. The following photographers were recognized:

  • Ron Tigges, digital journalism, merit award
  • Ron Tigges, digital nature, merit award
  • Andreas Exner, digital nature, merit award
  • Andreas Exner, digital travel, honorable mention
  • Ken Kiss, digital B&W, merit award
  • James Durrant, digital travel, merit award
  • Lorna Costello, digital travel, merit award

Misc. member news

Holiday party attendees also shared a variety of photography-related activities and accomplishments. Here is a smattering of gossip overheard:

Becky Mather attended the Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit in November. “We had a ball,” she said about driving out there with a girlfriend. Although the elk photo expedition was disappointing, the sunrise pics every day were glorious, and world-class photographers led the workshops. Becky won 3rd place in a macro contest for a photo of a water droplet.

James Durrant is not yet over his obsession with Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. He registered for another workshop next Memorial Day weekend in Oak Park, Illinois. Photographer Andrew Pielage leads these architecture photography workshops. Participants have access to interior and exterior of private residences.

Bob Felderman has returned from Austria where he and his wife, Nancy, enjoyed castles, museums, architecture, and time with the grand kids. Nancy says she is never again trusting a German-speaking waitress because they always bring her liver dumplings. She finally put her foot down and made Bob take her to an Italian restaurant; they have those in the big cities. We can expect to see lots of schnitzel-flavored photos from their trip in upcoming competitions.

General Bob’s photos are on display through December 27, 2019, at the Smokestack, located downtown by the courthouse. There is some whispering about a closing party, but we don’t know the details.

In the realm of wildlife photography, club member Andreas Exner recently photographed a Great Horned Owl. In case you’re wondering, it’s not Ken’s owl, but a different local resident. Andreas has also had recent glimpses of a Fox and an Opossum. Not sure if he had time to grab his camera.

We have heard that Kevin McTague is in Costa Rica, photographing the bird life. If the end results are anything like his southwestern birding trip, we can expect to see some stellar images.

David Smethers attended the holiday party after missing the whole entire season due to the call of two-wheeled adventures. He was in disbelief that his image of a rock climber at the Grand Canyon earned a Best of the Best in the end-of-the-year 2019 N4C digital competition. See the N4C gallery here.

Henry Matthiessen is doing well in his new gallery on the Central Avenue curve. He’s making plans to again attend Shutterfest in St. Louis. The event is held in a huge old train depot. Free models are available if you send them a few portfolio shots.

I nominate Bridget, guest of club member Leo Heim, for People’s Choice award for the most fashionable holiday party-wear. She tucked dollar store poinsettias into a headband and scarf made from the soft underbelly of a Musk Ox. What a creative seasonal wardrobe!

Upcoming events and meetings

  • Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6:00 p.m. Dubuque Audubon Society meeting at E.B. Lyons, with a Pelagic birding presentation by Tony Moline. More info here.
  • Monday, January 6, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. First club meeting of the new year. Send in your N4C submissions before the meeting. Watch our Facebook group for any weather-related cancellations.
  • Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Photography presentation by Dubuque Camera Club members at E.B. Lyons. Would you like to share your Mines of Spain, bird, or nature photos? Ron is looking for people to participate in this team presentation! More info here.
  • Saturday, January 18, 2020. Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch. This is an all-day, family-friendly event at the Grand River Center. Our club will have a vendor table. John, Andreas, Ken, and Kevin have volunteered to be our Eagle Watch committee. The slideshow will consist of past nature submissions from the club’s online gallery. If you want to contribute other nature images, send them to Ken before the event. More info here.
  • Monday, January 20, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Club meeting. We will enjoy informal club member presentations: The Story Behind the Photos. Club members will be invited to tell a story and show us your best stuff. Bring 5-10 images on a USB flash drive. You can also email them to Ken by Sunday night at the latest.

Nov. 18, 2019 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on November 18, 2019, was attended by 18 people. We had some club business to talk about before the main item on the agenda: Photo Critique Night, plus Five-minute Tips and Tricks.

Reflections prints. Bob Felderman, co-organizer of the Reflections exhibit, arrived with a big box of metal prints. Participating photographers could take home their prints from the club’s successful 2019 photography exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art, which ended on Nov. 10th. Bob will bring any remaining prints to the upcoming holiday party. You are welcome to contact him if you would like your print(s) back sooner.

Members of the Dubuque Camera Club will give a free photography presentation at the Mines of Spain on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Club Photography Presentation at Mines of Spain. The club has accepted a request from the Friends of the Mines of Spain to give a one-hour photography presentation on Sunday, January 12, 2020, starting at 1:00 p.m. This will be similar to the photography presentations that club members gave in the past. “Anybody who wants to be can be involved in it,” said club president, Ron Tigges. Contact him if you are up for this challenge.

The Friends of the Mines of Spain will be organizing several other events for Parks 2020, a year-long, state-wide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Iowa state parks system. Still in the planning stages is a photography competition. The images that are entered MUST have been taken in the park.

We don’t know the photo contest details yet. It has even been suggested that the club might judge the competition. The entries will be prints, possibly 8×10-inch. Definitely they will want images of all seasons of the year. Keep this in mind if you’ve taken some good photos at the Mines of Spain in the past.

Bald Eagle Watch. The club will also have a presence at the Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 18. This all-day event is organized by Dubuque County Conservation and the Dubuque Audubon Society. It will take place at the Grand River Center in the Port of Dubuque. The following club members have volunteered to serve as our 2020 Eagle Watch committee: John Leicht, Ken Kiss, Kevin McTague, and Andreas Exner.

The Dubuque Camera Club will have a display in the vendor area at the 2020 Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

Critique Night. As the main event of tonight’s meeting, the following photographers bravely submitted their images for Critique Night:

  • Ron Tigges
  • Ellie Schueller
  • Casey Klein
  • Sam Fenstermacher
  • John Leicht
  • Bob Felderman
  • Kevin McTague
  • Willie Tigges

The group consensus was that tossing leaves in a swirling eddy is just, well, swirly. Also that it’s wise to wear galoshes for goose poop when taking pictures by the Presentation sisters’ lake. And it doesn’t really matter which side of the dock a boat is tied on during a pretty, pastel-colored dawn. Plus, although throwing frozen lizards at roadrunners in Texas is a little icky, we really, really want to go to Madison for Gleam.

Tips and Tricks. Ron polished off the evening with a brief post-processing demonstration. With several images of the same scene at the Chicago “Bean,” he showed how to open them as a smart object, and use median stack mode to make people disappear. This technique can also be used to reduce noise. Here’s what Adobe says about image stacks. Here’s a similar technique for focus stacking.

Member news…

Casey Klein was walking on air during the meeting because her photo of Galena Luminaria was selected to appear in the December 2019 issue of Illinois Country Living magazine.

Corey Huntington has closed his professional photography studio and will be moving out of state. He has studio lights, backdrops, stands, and other equipment available for sale.

Bob Felderman, owner of General Bob Photography, will display his original digital photography in a solo exhibit at the Smokestack. The exhibit is scheduled to open on Tuesday, December 3rd. An opening reception will be held on December 6th, starting at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Smokestack is located on White St. in downtown Dubuque near the Dubuque County Courthouse.

Other area photography news…

Several of our photographer friends are selling calendars right now. For instance, Mark Dierker is offering fine arts nudes in addition to a storm chaser calendar. Here’s a link to the Bear Dancer Studios Store.

Dubuque photographer Tim Olson is again signing books for his A City at Work project. Here’s information from Loras College about a pair of related books. The library will be hosting a history/photography presentation on Dec. 1st. Here’s more info about this event.

From BizTimes: Seeley Photography achievement. Sarah Seeley was named a Platinum Medalist during Professional Photographers of America’s 2019 International Photographic Competition. Her work will be on display at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 19-21. This International Photographic Exhibit is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention and expo for professional photographers.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Dubuque Camera Club will be our annual Holiday Party on Monday, December 2nd at 6:00 p.m. (note the early start time). It will be the final meeting of the year, with no other meeting in December.

The December meeting is a potluck, and club members are welcome to bring spouse or significant other(s). The club will provide main dish and tablewear. Note that the N4C does NOT do a December competition. Club members, see your email to RSVP to the Holiday Party.

After that, we will meet again next year on Monday, January, 6, 2020. N4C competition submissions are due beforehand.

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 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.