Meeting notes – Kickoff meeting – Sept. 7, 2021

Meeting notes contributed by Dubuque Camera Club member Sam Fenstermacher.

Sixteen people attended the Dubuque Camera Club virtual meeting on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 (It was on Tuesday due to Labor Day). The meeting was held via Zoom and began at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting began with a photo opp discussion. The “American” riverboat was to arrive in the Port of Dubuque the next day. (If you know of any local photo opps, please share them at meetings or to the club’s Facebook group!)

We have gained two new club members:
• Destiny Goetzinger
• Suzanne Wright

Welcome to the club, Des and Suzie!!!

Submit your info to the club’s Member Directory! We’ll use this biographical information in the brochure for the upcoming “Trees” exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA). The member directory is password protected, and the password was given out during the meeting.

Return to in-person meetings? Club president Ronald Tigges explained that the first two club meetings this season will be virtual. The internet/wifi is not presently working at our usual meeting venue. Also, at the next meeting, the club will review judging results, and that is well suited to a virtual meeting.

The current hope is that the first meeting of October will be held in-person at the E.B. Lyons Interpretative Center, in the Mines of Spain. Please note that with the Covid numbers increasing, we may need to be flexible with virtual meetings. Plans are in the works to continue to have a virtual option even after meetings return to in-person.

About the club. Ron gave some basic information about the club, and also introduced the club officers. The Dubuque Camera Club has a long history, which dates back to the 19th century. We are affiliated with the North Central Camera Club Council (N4C), which is made up of 37 midwestern clubs. Our club currently competes in six categories of digital photography.

A question was asked about PSA affiliation. The N4C is an affiliate of the Photographic Society of America (PSA). At the end of the N4C season, the N4C’s PSA chairperson selects and submits from winning images and enters them in a PSA contest. However, as far as we know, we do not have access to educational materials on the PSA website. Note that the annual PSA Photo Festival is coming up in Rapid City in October.

N4C convention for 2021 was cancelled. The N4C convention in Duluth was cancelled due to Covid and forest fires. A couple of our club members are still heading up north to Duluth or the Apostle Islands, so we look forward to seeing their awesome autumn travel images!

Annual Dues are Due! Participating in club exhibits is one of the perks of Dubuque Camera Club membership. If you have not paid your dues for the 2021-22 season, please do so now. Annual dues are only $20 and may be easily paid online. (Click here to pay your dues online.)

TREES exhibit. The Dubuque Camera Club photography exhibit, “Trees,” is scheduled to open on November 13, 2021 at the Dubuque Museum of Art. It will be on display concurrently with a military and veterans related photography exhibit: “Vietnam: The Real War – Photographs from the Associated Press.” Both shows will run for about three months, through February 6th, 2022.

The DuMA curator is currently choosing images. We’d like to include at least one image from each participating club member. New club members, please be aware that the “Trees” exhibit was an event that was postponed from 2020. If you have not had a chance to submit, send up to 5 images to Ron ASAP. He also has one mystery photo to identify from prior submissions.

If you didn’t send in a high-res or final version, you’ll need to do that after you get notification that your image was chosen. We’ll be printing images as a group, with the final cost and details to be determined. (We’ll probably print at 12×18″ at a total cost of around $60 per print). No watermarks on the final images. We’ll be signing prints by hand.

Ron Tigges, Bob Felderman, and Stephonie Schmitz have volunteered to do an informative photography presentation at the art museum during the “Trees” exhibit. The tentative topic will be changes to military photography and photo-journalism techniques over the years. More details will be shared when we know more.

Competing in N4C Print competition. Due to changes in the N4C monthly print competition, which hopefully will lead to a reduction in both hassle and cost, our club may start to compete in prints (in addition to digital).

“Because we don’t do print competition currently,” said Jennifer, “there’s not a good chance we can be Large Club of the Year.” Digital is limited to 8 submissions per category per club (unless we judge, when it’s 16). For prints, up to 16 prints could be submitted in each category, which will ratchet up our club’s points, if people participate.

Stephonie has volunteered to organize the mailings, and to serve as contact person for prints. Jennifer will check with the N4C to see if we can still get onboard this season. Typically, we would have to judge prints, too (that happens in person!). However, the N4C prints judging calendar is already made up for the season.

More details about print competition will be sent out when we know more. If you foresee participating, 8×10 prints are a safe bet! No matting or frames are needed. See the rules on the N4C website.

Upcoming club meeting workshops. Several ideas were suggested for hands-on activities during upcoming club meetings:

  • Macro/closeup workshop, including focus stacking
  • Still life, with various lighting or subject options
  • Copyright/CASE act presentation
  • Critique of member images

Bob Felderman showed off a “Learning Light” with a variety of lighting modes for trying new lighting styles. (Kudos: Bob was mentioned in a recent issue of Photoshop User magazine. Good job!!)

Digital Journalism judging. This month, our club will do virtual judging of the N4C Digital Journalism category. Club N4C rep Cara Pusateri will organize the judging. Volunteer judges: (1) Ron Tigges, (2) Bob Felderman, (3) Kenneth Kiss. Judging will happen from Sept. 16-19. We’ll go over results at the next meeting.

Submissions to the monthly Digital contest. The remainder of the meeting was devoted to viewing the club’s submissions to the September N4C Digital contest. The submission process was reviewed for the benefit of the new club members. Some categories did not have enough entries. “If a category is not full,” said N4C rep Cara, then it’s first come, first serve, after the meeting.”

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos this month! Remember, submissions are always due before the first meeting of each month, so your next chance to submit will be before the October 4th meeting (double DJ).

Meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

Next meeting on Monday, Sept. 20th at 6:30 p.m.

The next Dubuque Camera Club will be VIRTUAL. It will be held on Monday, September 20th at 6:30 p.m. We will review the results of Digital Journalism judging. This meeting will be held via Zoom. If you are a tri-state resident interested in attending, please send your contact information to

Don’t forget to renew your club membership! Annual dues are only $20 for the 2021-22 season. Your dues must be current to participate in upcoming club exhibits, or to submit to monthly N4C contests. Learn more about the club on the FAQ on this website.

March 15, 2021 meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club held a virtual meeting on Monday, March 15, 2021. Thanks to club member Bob Felderman for taking meeting notes!

Absences: Stephonie is becoming a new mom. Pamela had a death in the family and could not attend.

• Next meeting, on Monday April 5th, will be submissions and returns.  In May our club will judge the Digital Travel (DT) category of the N4C competition , so in April we will get to submit two travel images for competition.

• The E.B. Lyons interpretive center is expected to be open by summer, so we should plan an outdoor picnic on the first Monday (7th) of June. 

• Even though the N4C competition is closed for the summer, we will schedule a summer meeting to include an outdoor photo shoot. 

• Tonight’s agenda was “Roll your own magazine cover.” The goal was to practice preparing your original digital photos for a print publication. The club looked at the magazine covers that were submitted before the meeting. A template and instructions were provided.

• Discussed the types of images typically used for different magazines. Ron and Bob shared screens with samples. Photography-oriented magazines usually have a small amount of text with a focus on images.

• Future exhibitions were also discussed, and Bob will reach out to area gallery managers for potential dates and themes. Ron suggested an eclectic exhibit so people could display pre-existing prints. 

• Chuck suggested we consider a Camera Club magazine or newsletter of 16 pages, with everyone responsible for a page or parts of a page, like an image with a description of the location, lens, settings, lighting, etc.

• Ron concurred but reminded attendees that success of the project depends on club member participation.

• Other discussions were around Ron shooting with an automatic stick for his camera using a 50mm, which can take images that are blended into GB size. He showed some examples. The meeting ended around 7:45 p.m. 

 UPDATE: We’ll be meeting in a different virtual Zoom room.

Next meeting on Easter Monday

The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be held via Zoom on Monday, April 5th at 6:30 p.m. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. Our club can submit double Digital Travel (DT). See you there!

Upcoming Labor Day Meeting

The Dubuque Camera Club  will meet on Monday,  Sept. 7th, starting at 6:30 p.m.  This meeting will be VIRTUAL.

Dubuque and tri-state area photography enthusiasts are invited to attend. Get to know us, and see what the club is all about.  For more information about club membership, see the new FAQ.

This is the first meeting of the 2020/2021 N4C season. (The N4C season runs from Sept. through May). 

Dubuque Camera Club virtual meeting — Labor Day, 6:30 p.m.

If you have received club emails in the past, look for Zoom meeting details in your email. If you’re a tri-state photographer and want to receive club emails, send an email to

Annual dues of $20 are due. You can now pay your club dues online! Or mail in an old-fashioned paper check by printing the Membership Application form.

Submissions to the N4C monthly photography contest are due before the meeting. You must have a member number to submit. To learn more about submitting to monthly N4C contests, see the competition page.

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:

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.

Top ideas for the 2019 DMA exhibit

Because the club needs to decide on a theme for the upcoming 2019 Dubuque Camera Club exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art, club members were asked to vote in a poll. Information about the poll went out by email, and it was also discussed at the Feb. 18th meeting. Seventeen people chose between five options. The poll closed the day after the meeting. See below for the voting results.

The club will make a final decision about the DMA exhibit theme at a future meeting. If you are a club member and wish to participate in the exhibit, please be aware that digital submissions will be due by our June 3rd picnic. After the museum makes selections, we will order prints (dimensions TBA). This year, the club will give participants a stipend toward the cost of prints. We will possibly frame and mat our own prints in a workshop this summer. The exhibit will be on display from September 21 through November 10, 2019.

Poll results

Click on the links below to learn more about the top choices:

Long exposuresBeginner’s TipsExamples
More examples
ReflectionsIdeas and TipsExamples
More examples