Still Life Workshop – Mon. Oct. 18th

The Dubuque Camera Club enjoyed a Still Life Workshop during the club meeting on Monday, October 18, 2021. Sixteen people attended this in-person workshop. Those who wished to participate in the photography brought cameras and tripods; others acted as photoshoot facilitators. Several people brought items to photograph, along with lighting and small backdrops. The club members assembled upstairs, and photoshoot stations were set up in the downstairs classroom.

Club president Ron Tigges started the meeting with a few announcements:

• Wi-fi access at the nature center will become available sooner than expected, possibly by next month. Having internet access during meetings will make sharing images easier, and will also make livestreaming possible.

• The Dubuque Museum of Art has obtained corporate sponsorship for the club’s upcoming “Trees” exhibit, to open on Nov. 13th. This is a very good thing! More information will be shared as we learn the details about how this sponsorship will benefit participating photographers.

Club N4C rep Cara P. handed out some certificates and awards. These came from the N4C convention that was supposed to be held in Duluth, but was postponed until 2022.

Then the club moved to the downstairs classroom where a number of still life opportunities were set up. The still life workshop was very fun!! In the ensuing photography free-for-all, lots of good discussion happened, and many photos were taken!

We hope to see the result of everybody’s creativity at the next meeting. You can also share them on social media, using the hashtag #DubuqueCameraClub.

Next meeting – Monday, Nov. 1st @ 6:30pm

The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be held in-person on Monday, November 1st at 6:30 p.m. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. If you would like to submit to the N4C print competition, bring your prints to the meeting. Be prepared share a few of your photos from the Still Life workshop. (Club members, watch your email for details.)

Meeting Notes – Oct. 4, 2021

On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Dubuque Camera Club met at E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center in the Mines of Spain. This was the first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic. Fifteen people attended.

Future meetings. The club plans to hold upcoming meetings in person. Unfortunately, hybrid meetings are not possible right now, due to poor-quality internet at the nature center. The earliest the club would be able to livestream meetings is early next year, if everything goes right.

Local photographer Stephen Gassman has agreed to give a presentation at a club meeting in 2022. He has taught photography classes in the past through UW-Platteville. He is now a staff photographer with the Telegraph Herald.

Update on the “Trees” exhibit. The art museum curator has worked with club president Ron Tigges to choose images for the “Trees” exhibit. Each active club member that wished to participate will have at least one image in the show. Up to around 26 images will be on display. Final images are due on Oct 15. Email with details about selections went out after the meeting.

We’ll be printing as a group, 12×18-inch prints on metal, with a glossy surface, and a float mount. Minimum specs are 2400x3600px at 200dpi.

The club will partially subsidize the cost of one print per club member. Jennifer estimated the total cost per print as $62.49. The proposed subsidy is $30, with the club member responsible for the remaining cost. Anyone with two images in the show will need to pay the complete cost of the 2nd print.

Jennifer is looking at ordering from Meridian. If you know of a printer with a comparable pricing and quality, let her know.

The art museum will order a 90-inch tall vinyl cutout to place on the wall behind the prints. Ron said its purpose is “to give the exhibit a little more spice.” He showed an image of the proposed backdrop.

War photography will be the theme of the exhibit in the main gallery — “Vietnam: The Real War – Photographs from the Associated Press.” In contrast, our “Trees” show will contain visuals that show serenity and calmness. Both exhibits will run from Nov. 13, 2021 to Feb. 6, 2022.

Treasurer’s business. To facilitate purchases by the club treasurer, it was suggested that the club needs a debit card associated with the checking account. A motion was made by club member Casey K. to go forward with the debit card idea. The motion was seconded by club vice president Jim D. A vote was taken, with all club members present voting in the affirmative. The motion passed in favor of adding a debit card to the club’s checking account.

Print contest. Remember, our club is now competing in prints as well as digital categories. Print entries are due by the first meeting of each month. “You can give me a whole year’s worth of stuff for each category,” said organizer Stephonie S. “I’d like to have them shipped out by the 8th of the month.” Do NOT use the 1920px size for ordering prints. Your prints need to be higher resolution than submissions to digital categories.

N4C rule updates. The N4C contest rules have been updated for the 2021-2022 season. Find them at this link on the N4C website.

Effective immediately, the N4C board decided to delete the rule against “cultivated plants” in the nature category. This means that any plant is now fine in nature. However, domesticated animals or pets are still not allowed.

Returns from September contest. The club looked at overall winners on the N4C website. Our club N4C reps Cara and Ken shared judging comments and scores from our club’s submissions last month.

Congratulations to the following photographers!

  • Stephonie Schmitz, 1st place, Digital Nature, “Harmony in French Polynesia”
  • Stephonie Schmitz, 3rd place, Digital Black and White, “Reflections”
  • Stephonie Schmitz, honorable mention, Digital Pictorial, “Serenity at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, CO”
  • Kevin McTague, honorable mention, Digital Nature, “Barn Swallow in a Barn”
  • Kenneth Kiss, merit award, Digital Nature, “Great Horned Owl’s favorite perch”
  • Sam Fenstermacher, merit award, Digital Travel, “Mount Scott sunset”
  • James Durrant, merit award, Digital Travel, “Foggy Sunrise, Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisc.”

Note that some of the recognized photos were re-submissions, so don’t get discouraged. Stephonie’s first place photo of the fish was taken with a Canon G12 Powershot, which is a “point and shoot” digital camera.

“There’s always a photograph every place, and a real photographer will find it,” suggested Ron.

“You can’t take the shot if you don’t have your camera,” added Casey.

Many of our club’s submissions came back with the pre-fab comment, “Nicely done, but I don’t think it fits the definition of the xxx category.” Since our club reviews all submissions, this is clearly a filler comment. Another umpteen submissions came back with the comment, “Technically sounds, but lacking interest to the majority of viewers.” We have noticed that sometimes, judging comments are actually helpful. Too often, comments from other clubs are a lesson in how not to give comments.

Submissions. The club also looked at submissions to the October contests.

Kevin said about his bluebird photo: “It took me all summer to get that one picture. That’s probably one shot in 500 pictures.”

The N4C does not have categories for every type of photo. For instance, there is no architecture category. Pictorial is a catch-all, for photos that don’t fit elsewhere. Another option is Black and White.

♦ Your next chance to submit to N4C contests will be by the first meeting of next month, on Mon. Nov. 1st.

Voting. If there are extra photos in any category, sign in to the Smugmug gallery and use your member number to vote. You can vote for up to 5 images per category. Our club’s N4C reps have the final say about which images get submitted. If there are open slots (less than 8 in a category), get your submission in as soon as possible.

Street photography. Jim K. asked: “Are there any rules or guidelines we should have with respect to taking random pictures in the street?” He was concerned because he asked to sketch an Amish man at the Farmer’s Market and was told no.

Ron said the N4C doesn’t have any concerns or rules about street photography. Any photo is fine, and you don’t have to worry about release forms. However, if you want to submit to Adobe Stock, they have strict rules.

Bob F. added: “On the privacy side, you’re allowed to take it as long as you take it from public property, until someone says no, or if you ask them and they say no. For an ethical photographer, once you have a no, you can’t use that.”

Jennifer pointed out that there are two aspects of this question: ethics, and legality. “I think we as photographers really need to look at both.”

Other news. The Galena Center for the Arts is taking submissions for their latest exhibit. However, they have updated their rules so you must be a member to participate in their exhibits. Cost is $40 annually. (On our club’s wishlist is doing this same type of virtual exhibit in the future. It is possible, but somebody would need to commit the time.)

Although the N4C convention in Duluth was postponed, some club members travelled up there anyway. No fall color in the trees yet when they were there in September.

See this 2021 Fall Foliage Map if you are interested in chasing autumn landscapes.

Next meeting on Monday, Oct. 18th at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will also be an in-person meeting. Bring your camera and a tripod. We will have a still life workshop.

Meeting Notes – Sept. 20, 2021

Dubuque Camera Club member Sam Fenstermacher contributed to these meeting notes.

Fourteen club members attended the Dubuque Camera Club virtual club meeting on Monday, September 20, 2021. This meeting was held via Zoom. Tentatively, the club plans to meet IN PERSON for the next meeting on Oct. 4th. However, internet is not working at the nature center, so the club will NOT be stream meetings as we hoped. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for more meeting information).

Finishing up DJ judging. The top item on the agenda for tonight’s meeting was deciding tiebreakers for the monthly N4C Digital Journalism (DJ) contest. “There was a lot of stuff that was close in caliber,” said club president Ron Tigges, “so we need to resolve those tonight.”

As a club, we looked at all of the DJ entries for this month’s contest. Club N4C rep Cara Pusateri organized the top-scoring images. (She had experienced some trouble with Excel, due to outdated software, so tech recommendations flew back and forth a couple minutes. )

Prior to the meeting, three of our club members had already judged 63 images from 18 clubs. No manipulation is allowed in the DJ category, which means that photos need to be “real,” with nothing added or removed or altered. Panel-type images, consisting of a story of 2-3 photos, are fine.

Each judge had given each entry a numeric score. In DJ, 3 judges score each entry 2 to 9 for a max possible of 27pts. When all of the judge’s scores are put into a spreadsheet, ties happen. Ron was the only judge present, so he asked for input from others.

First, second, third, and honorable mention images were chosen. See the top-scoring Digital Journalism entries, along with winners in other categories, in the Winners’ Galleries on the N4C website.

Do you need a model release for that?

Photo opps — model releases, privacy, copyright. Several of the DJ images were of athletes, which inspired a discussion of similar local photo opps. Several trail runs and marathons/ultramarathons are hosted in Dubuque — The Swiss Valley Trail Run is coming up on Oct. 5, and the Mines of Spain 100 will be on Oct. 15-16.

The club briefly discussed the subject’s right to privacy, whether permission is needed to take photos of others, if a model release is needed, and whether it makes a difference when an event is held on public land.

“It’s a very complicated issue,” said new club member Suzie Wright. Her work in the past involved clearing permissions in book publishing. “That’s why I can’t wait to hear what changes happen in January.” That’s when the CASE Act will get up-and-running.

Suzie explained: “When you’re hanging something for art’s sake, and not making money on it, as long as you’re not harming that person’s brand, you have a little more latitude.”

“There’s two people that need to be protected,” added Ron, “the person that you’re photographing, and your work as a photographer.”

The group consensus was that, if you hope to photograph the upcoming trail runs and marathons, one strategy is to make contact with race organizers in advance. Another option is to approach the athletes themselves beforehand or afterwards, to get their name and request permission, or to have them sign a model release form.

A suggestion was made to see what Adobe Stock’s policy is for their contributors. Here’s their policy on Model Releases. Here’s their info on Property Releases.

Club business

Membership update, treasurer’s report, and “Trees” exhibit. As of Sept. 20th, our club has 28 active members for the 2021-22 season. We are a “large” club by N4C standards. (Reminder: Only active members may participate in club exhibits. It’s easy to renew your membership. Simply pay $20 annual dues).

Jennifer prepared a summary of club financials. We are in the black, yay!! Recent expenses have included food for the opening reception for the club’s “Eclectic” exhibit at the Smokestack; along with catered lunches for the club picnic in June.

The club has the option to again subsidize the cost of prints for the Dubuque Museum of Art exhibit. Ron will meet with the curator later this week. She is currently reviewing submissions. After exhibit images are chosen, each club member with an image chosen will be notified and asked whether they wish to participate. We’ll be ordering prints as a group.

The club will give two presentations during the 3-month duration of the “Trees” exhibit:

  • “History of War Photography” — a presentation by Ron, Stephonie, and Bob.
  • Exhibitor presentation — a talk by club members with prints in the show: Get ready to volunteer!!!

Our club will enter N4C Print Contests!

NEW: Print competition. Due to positive changes in the contest, our club has decided to start participating in N4C print contests. Stephonie Schmitz has volunteered to serve as print chairperson. She will collect submissions, and make sure they get forwarded to the appropriate judging club.

** Deadline to submit prints will be the first meeting of each month** There will be a few days of wiggle room (no later than the 7th). They must be received in time for her to get them in the mail so they can reach the judging club by the deadline. Stephonie made ** print labels ** as well as a concise version of the ** N4C rules for Prints ** which you can also find in the club’s Facebook group.

“I would be ordering stuff now for next month’s entry,” Stephonie suggested to the group. 8″x10″ prints will work fine. She uses Miller’s (was MpixPro) and McKenna in Waterloo. (Sam F. suggested Nations Photo Lab). Next season, our club will probably need to judge prints too.

Other news

The N4C has updated their “Handbook” for the current season. It is on the “Supplies and Forms” page on their website.

Dubuque Camera Club member and state representative Chuck Isenhart reminded the group of a conservation bond coming up for vote that will give financial support to local parks and preserves. It is called the Dubuque County Land and Water Legacy, and should be of interest to all landscape and wildlife photographers. The Catfish Creek Music Fest will be held in support of this bond measure at Swiss Valley Park on Sun. Oct. 3rd from 2-5 p.m. Find more info at

Dubuque Camera Club member Stephonie Schmitz has invited us to a reception for her photography exhibit at Chestnut Mountain Resort. The exhibit is currently on display in the lobby. The reception will be on Thurs., October 14th from 4-7p.m. This is a pretty spot for landscape photography, especially with the trees changing, so stop out if you get a chance!!

4:00pm – 7:00pm
Chestnut Mountain Resort Lobby
Light snacks provided. Drinks and food available for purchase with one of the most scenic views of the Mississippi River in the TriState area.
Chat and mingle while viewing photographic works by Stephonie A Schmitz of SAO Dzynz, Inc.
Art + 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles available for purchase

Next club meeting will be IN PERSON on Monday October 4th at 6:30 p.m.

The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be held on Monday, October 4th, starting at 6:30 p.m.

TENTATIVELY, the next meeting will be in person at E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center in the Mines of Spain. The internet is not working at the nature center, so the club will NOT be livestreaming meetings as we hoped.

N4C contest submissions are due before the meeting. Because we judged that category this month, our club can submit double (16) entries in Digital Journalism. See the Competition page for more information about submitting to monthly N4C contests.

Note: Meeting details are subject to change. Current club members will receive more information by email.

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.

Kickoff meeting on TUESDAY September 7th at 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for the first club meeting of the 2021-22 season!

The Dubuque Camera Club will hold a season kickoff club meeting on Tuesday, September 7th at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually, via Zoom.

If you are a tri-state resident who is interested in joining the club, send an email with your contact information to

To join the club or renew your membership for the 2021-22 season, please pay your $20 annual membership dues. Active membership qualifies you to participate in all club activities and exhibits.

Experienced club members: N4C submissions are due before the meeting. Remember, up to 1920px on the longest edge, file size up to 750KB. More information is on the Competition page.

Our club will judge the Digital Journalism category in September. Speak up during the meeting or contact Ron if you are an experienced club member who is willing to serve as volunteer judge for the monthly N4C contest. Click here to see past DJ winners.

Below is information about the Journalism category from the official N4C Rules:

Journalism Photography depicts some event or activity; story telling is emphasized, as in a newspaper or magazine photograph. An element of human interest is a fundamental quality for a journalism photograph.

  1. A Journalism entry can be a single image or a sequence of related images arranged for presentation as a single entry.
  2. Only minimal digital editing is allowed. In the interest of credibility, photographs that misrepresent the truth, such as manipulation to alter the subject matter, or situations set up for the purpose of photography, are unacceptable. No elements may be moved, cloned, added, deleted, rearranged, or combined. No manipulation or modification is permitted except resizing, cropping, selective lightening or darkening, and restoration of original color of the scene. No special effect filters may be added or applied.
  3. For the Print competition, PRINTS should be UNMOUNTED or on a lightweight mount not to exceed 8 x 12 inches in size.
  4. The three (3) jury members shall vote a score of between two (2) and nine (9) points. Separate voting for technique, composition, and interest will NOT be made, but will be considered only in connection with the suitability of the work for Journalism competition. The total score for each submitted photograph will range from six (6) to twenty-seven (27) points.
  5. The titles or captions of the submitted works will be read at least for the first round of judging. If subsequent rounds are required, it is not necessary to repeat the title or caption.