March 18, 2019 meeting notes

About 45 people attended the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on March 18, 2019. What a nice crowd!

Dubuque Camera Club meeting on March 18, 2019. Histogram Magic presentation by Henry Mattheissen III. Photo by Amy Laskye.

Our speaker for the evening was Henry Matthiessen III, from Stoned Art Studio in rural Galena. He shared a few of his original photos during a three-part presentation:

  1. The Magic of the Histogram
  2. Black Rock Desert: A Photo Study of Nothing
  3. A Day in the Driftless Region

More than one person in the audience was spied taking notes (F/9, 1/125, ISO 100). We learned helpful tips about stretching out the tonality of an image, and heard about the perils of photo expeditions to the desert!

The storm chasers and landscape aficionados present were especially intrigued by Henry’s panoramic images of cloud formations. Not only does he bring out the dramatic range of an image by using his camera’s built-in histogram, he also emphasizes the sky by using a two-stop graduated neutral density filter.

Thanks to Henry for sharing his photography expertise during tonight’s meeting!


N4C stuff

Panoramic Print Competition. The N4C will be judging panoramic prints during the upcoming spring mini-con in Indianola on May 3-5. If you would like to enter (one entry is allowed per person), contact Ron or Jennifer. They will be taking print entries to the event (prints must be of a size to fit in their vehicle).

N4C rules for Panorama Print Annual Contest:
1. A Panorama print is considered to be a photographic print with an aspect ratio greater than 2:1 with no square inch limitation.
2. Open contest, any subject, mode or process, color or Black & White, one entry per member.

Photo essays and Video essays will also be shown during the mini-con. Our club has never(?) entered either one of these annual competitions before, so if you want to be an innovator, please step up. These two categories are submitted digitally. Complete rules are in the February N4C bulletin. Deadline is March 31.

If you would like to go to the mini-con, you must mail your registration by April 17. Complete info is on the N4C website. Be sure to read the Feb. and March N4C bulletins on their website because they also contain pertinent info.

Member news & other stuff…

If you read 365ink magazine, you may have noticed they have begun to use a social media hashtag to gather image submissions for their regular photo page. If you have taken local event photos that you want to bring to their attention, when you post them to Facebook or Instagram, use the hashtag ‎#my365ink‬.

On the other hand, if you get a hankering to submit a photo to appear in the Telegraph-Herald (they run a lot of backyard bird photos), here is the link to Pix & Flix.


Club member Jesse Green has invested in a mirrorless camera and is starting to take some excellent pictures. The camera has a terrific monitor that is a pleasure to look at! In addition to showing off his new toy at the meeting, Jesse has posted several images to the club’s Facebook group.

Club member José Garcia is making an awesome leap in his photography career! Some of his photos will appear in an upcoming issue of Photography Masterclass magazine. On Instagram, he has been noticed five times (so far) by the official Canon USA Instagram account. This has led to an opportunity to be part of the new Canon USA Ambassador program. He will travel to other midwestern cities to lead workshops on portraits, astro-photography, landscapes, and off-camera flash portraits. Congratulations, José!

Online photo sharing (via Flickr) also led to an opportunity for club member Pamela Brandt. She was asked to contribute images to a commemorative book of photos and essays that will celebrate the first hundred years of Iowa State Parks, 1920-2020. The book will be available at the end of the year, with proceeds going to state parks projects.

Do you have photography-related news or events to share here? Please let Pamela know! After all, “None of us is more than all of us”!

Upcoming meetings

  • April 1, 6:30 p.m. — Club meeting. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. No Travel submissions this month.
  • April 15, 6:30 p.m. — Club meeting. Our club will judge Digital Travel (DT). We will have refreshments! Please attend!
  • May 3-5 — N4C mini-con at Wesley Woods, Indianola, IA. More info here. Contact Ron or Jennifer if you want to submit panoramic prints.
  • May 6 — Club meeting. N4C submissions due. We can submit double DT.
  • May 20 — Club meeting. Presentation or workshop, TBD.
  • June 3rd, 6:00 p.m. — Annual picnic. Open to club members only. Last meeting of the regular N4C season. “Reflection” submissions are due.

FIND MORE INFORMATION about upcoming photography-related events on the EVENTS PAGE.

March 4, 2019 Meeting notes

Fifteen club members attended the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on Monday March 4, 2018. Ron and Jennifer opened the meeting with a discussion of upcoming events and photo opps. Below are a few items that were mentioned:

  • The N4C mini-con is coming up on May 3-5, and will be held at a location in central Iowa that is only a short drive from the Pella Tulip Festival. Send in your registration by April 17. Panorama prints are one of the specialties that will be judged during the mini-con. Jennifer is on the ballot for a director position with N4C. This will be a one-year appointment. More info and a link to the mini-con registration form is on the N4C website.
  • The Dubuque Audubon Society will sponsor its annual bird banding program at the Mines of Spain on Saturday, March 24 @1:00 p.m. If you love photographing birds, this event may offer you some photo opps. You will get an up-close view of chickadees and other birds that frequent the feeders near the nature center.
  • The Dubuque Area Writers Guild is taking B&W photo submissions for its Gallery anthology. Several club members have had work included in the past. This year the subject matter is wide open. However, we do not have info about dimensions or filesize. It might be a good idea to team up with a writer in order to have your photos illustrate their work. Deadline is April Fool’s Day.
  • Depending on the weather (and who knows about that lately?!), the 2019 Galena St. Patrick’s Day parade may make a good photo opp. Not only are you likely to see leprechauns but also people wearing Civil War era costumes. The parade will be held on Sat. March 16 starting at 4:00 p.m. It is sponsored by the Galena Elks Lodge.

REFLECTIONS — Dubuque Camera Club photography exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art, Sept. 21 to Nov. 10, 2019.

REFLECTIONS will be the theme of our 2019 exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. The exhibit will be on display from September 21 through November 10, 2019.  BE LOOKING AT YOUR PHOTOS FOR SUBMISSION IDEAS! Deadline to submit your images: June 3rd.

Participation is limited to current club members. Initial image submissions will be due by our June 3rd picnic with the museum staff to make final selections. We plan to print on metal or on metallic paper. The club will offer a stipend toward the cost of prints. We may hold a workshop this summer to frame and mat our own prints.

Exhibit committee: Robert Felderman, Pamela Brandt.  More details will be announced at future meetings.


Our club will judge Digital Travel at the meeting on Monday, April 15th @ 6:30 p.m.

In other news…

The club voted to purchase and provide refreshments on judging nights. Jennifer offered to organize the goodies. Our next judging event will happen during the meeting on Monday, April 15th @ 6:30 p.m. We will be judging the Digital Travel category of the N4C competition. More fun with munchies for the audience! [Note that since we will be judging, we cannot submit to this category in April.]

About 40 people attended the sequel to Andreas Exner‘s Storytelling in Wildlife Photography presentation on Sunday, March 3rd. The program had been pushed back one week due to winter weather. Good job again, Andreas!

Robert Felderman is going back to college in an online photography program at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. His work was recently juried into the college’s annual student exhibition. Congratulations, General Bob!

José Garcia had his photography noticed again on the official CanonUSA Instagram account. Congrats, José!

♦ ♦ ♦ A reminder to tell your friends about the Magic of the Histogram presentation on Monday, March 18th. We are all looking forward to seeing Henry’s lovely photos and hearing his tips and techniques. More info here. ♦ ♦ ♦

Congratulations to these photographers…

The club reviewed submissions and returns. Four photographers received recognition in last month’s competition:

  • David Smethers, First place, Digital Journalism. Two merit awards.
  • Kevin McTague, Merit award, Honorable mention.
  • Karen Johannessen Durrant, Merit award.
  • James Durrant, Merit award.

Good job! We are very proud of everyone who entered!


Mirrorless Cameras

As the keynote discussion of the evening, club member José Garcia demonstrated the advantages of using a mirrorless camera. He owns a Canon EOS R. It is lightweight and comfortable, can use any Canon lense, and has an awesome focus assist and other features.

For instance, with the touch-screen, adjustable LCD, you can use your finger to select the focus points and not take your eye away from the viewfinder. Meanwhile, in the viewfinder, what you see is what you get. There’s no “click” sound, which is convenient for church weddings (or wildlife).

The camera’s low light focusing ability makes it “amazing for night photography,” said José. It’s got eye detection for portraits and a real-time histogram. When you change the lenses, a curtain closes so you don’t get dust inside the body of the camera.

Every photographer at the meeting had a chance to take a closer look at Jose’s new Canon when he passed it around the room. It felt like passing the baby during a family gathering. However, the technobabble and photography jargon made it clear we were at a meeting of the Dubuque Camera Club.

Thanks to José Garcia for sharing his expertise in this presentation!


Here’s a 5-minute video from Sony that talks about the difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Upcoming events

  • March 18, 6:30 p.m.  — Club meeting.  “The Magic of the Histogram.” Free photography presentation by Henry Matthiessen. BRING YOUR FRIENDS! More info here.
  • April 1, 6:30 p.m. — Club meeting. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. No DT submissions this month.
  • April 15, 6:30 p.m. — Club meeting. Our club will judge Digital Travel (DT). We will have refreshments! Please attend!
  • May 3-5 — N4C mini-con at Wesley Woods, Indianola, IA. More info here.
  • May 6 — Club meeting. N4C submissions due. We can submit double DT.
  • May 20 — Club meeting. Presentation or workshop, TBD.
  • June 3rd, 6:00 p.m. — Annual picnic. Open to club members only. Last meeting of the regular N4C season. DMA “reflection” submissions are due.

Feb. 18, 2019 meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club meeting on February 18, 2019, was attended by 19 people. Our club judged 112 photos from other clubs in the Digital Black and White category of the monthly N4C competition. Bob Felderman, Andreas Exner, and Kevin McTague served as judges. Ron Tigges, Ken Kiss, and Cara Pusateri also helped with the judging process.

Using N4C competition rules, photos are judged on the basis of Technique, Composition, and Interest, with a maximum score of 5 from each judge, in each area. The hypothetical perfect photo would score 45 like this:

TechniqueCompositionInterest
Judge #1555
Judge #2 555
Judge #3 555

In the B&W category, duo-tone or sepia images are fine. Images that are sized at 1920x1080px will fill up a widescreen monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio. To learn more about N4C rules, visit the competition page on the N4C website.

N4C submissions:
File size: up to 750KB
Dimensions: 1920 px on longest side
(recommended: 1920x1080px which is 16:9)
Crop to best advantage!
Next submissions are due by March 4th

How to enhance a photo’s composition

It was very clear from the photos we looked at during judging that a photographer should always crop to enhance the composition. When judges are looking at over 100 photos, those that are composed carelessly are passed over. The choices that you make while cropping can make or break an image.

For instance, look at the edges of your photo. Are tree branches framing the subject in a good way, or will the viewer perceive them as protruding obnoxiously into the composition? If so, crop out or erase the offending items. One option is to use the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom.

When you crop, consider symmetry and leading lines. (Remember, there’s more than one kind of symmetry.) In Lightroom, when you are cropping an image, press the letter on your keyboard to cycle between crop overlay grids (rule of thirds, golden spiral, etc.) This will help you to enhance your image’s composition for the best effect. Click here to learn more about how to do this in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

When you are selecting among your images, remember that no matter how cute or adorable that snapshot of your pet or farm animal is, it’s still a snapshot. Likewise, an interesting subject that is portrayed from a poor angle will not stand up in competition. Be very cautious about putting the horizon line smack dab in the exact center of your picture. And don’t over-sharpen or over-process!

The best photos result when a photographer takes the time to be thoughtful about how the subject is portrayed. And don’t give up! Sometimes, the likes or dislikes of individual judges make all the difference. For example, an all-male judging panel, because of their idiosyncratic likes and dislikes, may utterly dismiss an exquisite and well-lit flower, yet irrationally give fives to a naked lady hood ornament!!! (This is a hypothetical example, of course… Just saying.)

The club took an intermission at or around the 62nd photo so that Ron could thumb-wrestle with projection technology. He was able to untangle the problem so that judging could continue. Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting!

Upcoming meetings

► On Sunday, March 3rd at 1:00 p.m., club member Andreas Exner will give his presentation on Storytelling in Wildlife Photography. This presentation was rescheduled from an earlier date due to weather. Learn more here.

► The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be on Monday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. Send in your N4C submissions by or before the meeting. Specifics are in past emails to club members. Because we judged this month, our club can submit double B&W in March. The club is planning to discuss mirrorless cameras. These innovative new cameras are an alternative to DSLR. If you have an interest or expertise in this topic, please contact club president Ronald Tigges and/or plan to attend this club meeting!

► At the meeting on Monday, March 18, we will enjoy a presentation from Henry Matthiessen III about the Magic of the Histogram. The public is invited. Learn more here.


Finding Your Light

The Des Moines Camera Club will host the 2019 N4C convention, Finding Your Light, from Sept. 19-21. The event will be held at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel, located at 1800 50th St. in West Des Moines, Iowa 50266.

Keynote speakers will be Don Komarechka and David Thoreson. Click here to learn more about them.

For more details and registration materials, visit the Des Moines Camera Club website.  You can also follow the Finding Your Light page on Facebook.


Other photography news

DSO concert photos. In other news, a few club members have had their original digital photos used in a photography slideshow during a Dubuque Symphony Orchestra concert this year. (Congrats!)

DAWG. The Dubuque Area Writers Guild is accepting black and white photos for its annual anthology, which will be released at DubuqueFest in May. Submit by email by April 1st. More info here.

Twin Cities opp. A group of photography clubs in the Twin Cities sponsors an annual “Spring Break” event with a full day of photography tips and presentations. It will be held on March 30, 2019, with registration due in advance. More info here.

Nature field trips. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin sponsors a LOT of field trips throughout the year, some of them within a reasonable driving distance from Dubuque. In 2019, three field trips are specifically for photography — although you can probably take pictures on all of them. They also sponsor an annual photo contest which is limited to photos taken during these field trips. You must be a member of the organization to register (membership is $25). See their 2019 Field Trip Guidebook.

N4C Mini-con. In addition to the big annual fall convention which our club hosted last year (Blufftops & Visions), the N4C organizes an annual mini-convention. It will be held May 3-5, 2019 in rural Indianola, Iowa. You must register by April 17. More info on the events page.

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.

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.