2023 N4C Convention

2023 N4C Convention “Blufftops & Backroads” will be held September 15-16, 2023 at the Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel & Conference Center 3100 Dodge St. Dubuque, IA 52003

The Dubuque Camera Club is working on the details of the 2023 N4C Convention titled ” Blufftops & Backroads”  With a similar name to the 2018 convention that Dubuque hosted, we promise to shake things up a bit for this one. (Yes we are entertaining bringing back those models) There will be more hands on opportunities and we will be exploring the neighboring states of Illinois and maybe Wisconsin too.  Hotel rooms will be $139 a night with a daily hot breakfast buffet included with the hotel stay each day. More information coming soon.

Follow us on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/dubuqueN4Cconvention/ or watch Dubuquecameraclub.com for updates coming soon.

Macro Workshop — Nov. 15, 2021

The Dubuque Camera Club held a macro photography presentation and workshop on Monday, November 15th, 2021. The meeting was held in-person at E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center, Mines of Spain.

The meeting was attended by 21 people. Club president Ronald Tigges (Digital Dubuque) gave a short presentation on macro photography and showed off some of his gadgetry. Then the club held a hands-on macro photography workshop. Thanks to everyone who participated in this fun meeting!

November 1st, 2021 — Meeting notes

The Dubuque Camera Club in-person meeting on November 1st, 2021 was attended by 16 people. The club gained a new member at tonight’s meeting. This puts our club up to 32 active members, making us a “big” club by N4C standards.

  • Keith Hilby — Welcome to the club, Keith!

Trees exhibit update

“Trees” exhibit. Prints have been ordered for the club’s upcoming Trees exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. Twenty-two club members are participating. The prints are 12×18-inch on metal, and should arrive by the end of the week. Member cost will be $30 for those with one print in the show. The remaining half the cost of one print per person is being subsidized by the club, thanks to our club’s hosting of the Blufftops & Visions N4C convention in 2018.

You must pay for and sign your print in order to have it hung in the show. More detailed information will be sent to participating photographers by email. Print signing will be at the Tigges’ home on these days:

  • Friday, Nov. 5 from noon to 3:00 p.m. OR
  • Saturday, Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon OR
  • By appointment.
Dubuque Camera Club “TREES” photography exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art — November 13 through Feb. 6th, 2022.

► ► OPENING RECEPTION. The Trees exhibit will open on Saturday, November 13th, with an opening reception from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Opening reception is free to exhibiting artists. Wear your name badge. Cost for non-museum members: $7 adults, $6 seniors. Masks are strongly encouraged.

On the same day, the following events will be held at the Dubuque Museum of Art for the Associated Press photography exhibit, Vietnam: The Real War.

Sat. Nov. 13 @12:30 p.m. — The Marine Corps League Color Guard of Dubuque will hold a flag raising ceremony, perform “Taps” and the national anthem, and read the names of local veterans who lost their lives.

Sat. Nov. 13 @2:30 p.m. — Veteran Navy combat photographer Ron Testa will discuss his three tours of duty aboard the USS Ticonderoga and the selection of his images on view in the museum’s galleries. 

Holiday Dinner Party!

The club is exploring a different type of holiday party this year. For the past several years, we have done a potluck at the nature center. It has always been successful (and delicious!), but now we are in a new era of Covid, and the nature center has been closed for a very long time. For that reason, and to ensure an enjoyable time for everybody, we will meet at a local restaurant for a group meal in December. The meal will be order-your-own, self-pay.

Some club members have reported that it’s difficult to reserve large dining areas, due to widespread restaurant staff shortages. Club member Casey K. accepted the challenge. She will contact area restaurants to plan a large dinner party for club members and one guest (per club member). We are completely confident that the get-together will be more fun than the Zoom party held in 2020. More information abut the club’s December Holiday Party will be announced at Nov. 16th meeting and/or emailed to active members when we know more details.

Print competition update

Our club’s N4C print competition organizer Stephonie S. brought along prints for past and future N4C contests. (Remember, print entries are due on the first meeting of each month, just like digital entries). She is in the process of helping other N4C clubs get familiar with the new postal rules. Prepaid labels, not stamps — that’s how we roll.

“I highly encourage everybody to submit if you can,” she said. “Because we’re a large club, we can submit 16 in each category. We could really rack up points for our club.”

If you have prints to enter, your next chance will be the January N4C competition. Stephonie plans to mail out prints by the 8th of each month. Order them now, and plan to bring them to the first meeting of the New Year. Prints submitted must have a label affixed to the back, and these labels can be found on the Competition page.

Area news & information

Dubuque Land and Water Legacy. Club member Chuck Isenhart, who represents our area in the Iowa House of Representatives in Des Moines, said a few words in favor of the conservation bond issue. Everyone who is interested in nature and the outdoors, or who is concerned about conservation, or who just enjoys wildlife, wildflower, or bird photography, should support this measure. It will fund Dubuque County natural areas for years to come. Voting day is November 2nd. (Update: This bond measure failed by only a few percentage points: 59.2% of voters approved it, just under the 60% needed).

Northern lights were a bust. A few area photographers chased the northern lights, based on optimistic news reports that they would be visible in the midwest. Not.

Need some good news after that? Motor Mill Historic Site in rural Elkader, Iowa will be lit up on Sat. Nov. 20th from 4-6:00 p.m. If you’re yearning for a road trip, this is a tempting evening/night photography photo opp. Clayton County Conservation is the host. See the event on their Facebook page. Or see pictures.

Again this year, several club photographers have images in the 2022 “Treasures of the Tri-States” calendar from Radio Dubuque.

The Galena Center for the Arts has released its latest virtual exhibit, with a theme of “Gratitude.” Three club members are among the artists included: Casey Klein, Jim Durrant, and Karen Durrant. Here is a link to the flipbook.

October contest results

“Pair of Monarchs” – Photo by Kenneth Kiss.

During tonight’s meeting, the club reviewed returns from last month’s N4C contest. Ken Kiss, our club’s N4C representative, read judges’ comments. As usual, there were many jaw-droppers. When our club judges, we need to focus on giving higher quality comments than we oftentimes receive.

No doubt, the winner for the absurd comment of the night was made on Ken’s exquisite photo of mating Monarch butterflies: “Try subject separation between the butterflies.” (Right. Enough said.)

Our club did very well in October, with a first place winner from club vice president Jim Durrant. He entered an action shot of his grandson on the ballfield. Good job, Jim!

Congratulations to the following photographers:

  • Jim Durrant, 1st place, Digital Journalism, “Ouch, That Was a Fastball!”
  • Stephonie Schmitz, Merit award, Digital Pictorial, “Slot Canyon Waves”
  • Stephonie Schmitz, Merit award, Digital Travel, “Mount Rainier, Washington State, USA”
  • Will Hoyer, Honorable mention, Digital Pictorial, “Fishing in the Flames”
  • Will Hoyer, Merit award, Digital Travel, “Julien Dubuque Bridge in Summer Fog”
  • Ron Tigges, Merit award, Digital Travel, “Matthiessen State Park Waterfall, Illinois”
  • Ron Tigges, Merit award, Digital Journalism, “Art Giesert author and artist has a young man read…”
  • Ron Tigges, Merit award, Digital Journalism, “Blocktoberfest Skate Competition”
  • Ron Tigges, Honorable mention, Digital Black and White, “Keytar Player Farewell Tour”
  • Kevin McTague, Honorable mention, Digital Altered Reality, “The Haunted Castle”
  • Kevin McTague, Honorable mention, Digital Nature, “Bluebird”
First place winner in the N4C Digital Journalism contest for October 2021. Photo by Dubuque Camera Club vice president Jim Durrant.

2021 – “Best of” N4C club winners

Congratulations to the following Dubuque Camera Club members. Their photos earned recognition in the 2021 N4C end-of-the-season “Best of” contest:

  • Kevin McTague, honorable mention, Digital Altered Reality, “See Jane Run”
  • Will Hoyer, honorable mention, Digital Pictorial, “Morning Color at -16 degrees Fahrenheit”
  • Kenneth Kiss, honorable mention, Digital Pictorial, “Lifting Fog at Green Island”
  • Kenneth Kiss, honorable mention, Digital Nature, “Yep, All Feathers Counted”

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.