About N4C and Food for Thought

I would first like to say thank-you for letting me serve as yourN4C is an acronym for the North Central Camera Club Council.   It is an organization of 43 camera clubs located in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Our club joined N4C almost two years ago.  Since we had started a new master schedule with fewer competitions at our regular meetings, we wanted to offer additional competition opportunities for our members without having it become the mainstream of our culture.

The N4C year runs from September to May so a new N4C year is about to begin!

n4cClubsN4C has competitions every month from September to May (but not December) and they refer to these as contests.  There are six digital contest categories which include Black and White, Creative, Journalism, Nature, Pictorial, and Travel.   There is also a Photo Essay contest in April, and a Panorama Print contest in the spring.

Member clubs take turns judging the month’s entries, and each image is given a score for three different criteria:

  1. Technique – focus, lighting, color rendition, exposure, print quality.
  2. Composition – arrangement of all elements within the picture area so the subject matter is presented as a harmonious, well balanced photograph.
  3. Interest – Originality, imagination, interpretation, subject, impact, mood, humor, etc.

Judging clubs are also encouraged to make constructive comments on each image.  Our club will be judging three times this N4C year, including September 17, when we will judge Black and White.

The entry deadline for contests is the tenth of each month and for details on how to enter, please see the N4C Competition Rules, for sizing, naming conventions and category descriptions as well as N4C bulletins and handbooks.  Most people have been submitting images on their own, but Michael Waterman and I will fill up as many spots as possible (up to eight for each category) by using salon images and by reaching out to members for entries.

N4C also has two conventions each year, a mini convention in the spring at Springbrook, Iowa, and a bigger convention in the fall, which is September 29-October 1 in Fargo, North Dakota, this year.  At the main convention “Best of the Best” awards will be given based upon all of the images that received 1st , 2nd, 3rd place and honorable mentions throughout the year.  We should find out by October if any of our members received any of the annual awards.  The N4C web site is here.

The Fear That Everything Has Already Been Done

Schwabacher Road - Tetons National Park - Terry Butler

Schwabacher Road – Tetons National Park – Terry Butler

A couple years ago, I submitted a photo for a competition salon that I thought was one of the best I’d ever taken.  The judge was not impressed, saying that it was one of the most photographed places in the US. At the time I hadn’t known. It took the wind out of my sails, and I let those comments change the way I felt about the photo for a long time.  Now I am back to thinking it is still a pretty great photo.  Don’t let that happen to you, letting one comment put you down.  It’s okay to compete, but it’s okay to please yourself, too.

Here is a YouTube video that touches on the subject.

This entry was posted in Club Event, N4C.


  1. mj springett August 18, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    very cool terry, i have shared that feeling many times, love your image of the tetons, your way, Marge

  2. marilyn Rau August 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    There are thousands of photographers taking commercial pictures every day, but it is us – on our vacations, and family outings, and that by chance discovery, that we discover the enjoyment of also taking that perfect shot. Let’s not let the commercial artists have all the fun of taking great pictures. That perfect shot is still out there, or is in our camera right now!

  3. Bryan August 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    Excellent video in so many ways. Thanks Terry.

  4. Candiss August 19, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    Oh Terry! This video is so powerful. It brought tears.

    First of all, I think your photo is just breathtaking and when I saw it was yours I was so proud of you. I felt very bad that the judge you had was derogatory about something this fantastic. The Tetons is a place I have always wanted to go, so when I see it captured this way, it is -for now- the vacation ticket that gets me there. Thank you for that.

    I felt the same way at the last salon, which was my first that I had anything entered in. The judge (can’t remember his name right now) was hard on most of us. Images that I had seen shared on Facebook that took my breath away were put in as a 6 or 7 tops. I didn’t expect too much for myself this time, since I am so new at this, but one of the photo’s that my family loves so much that they put it on the computer screen as a desktop, was rated a 5 and he said it “bothered” him. I didn’t mind the 5, but it B0THERED him??????????? I had to make a choice right then and there that I was not going to let that humiliate me. It certainly could have.

    Michelle and I noticed that he gave far less attention to the actual guidelines of good photography, clarity, composition, etc and far more attention to his own personal opinions which didn’t seem right to us. It was tough, very tough on all of us. But – I am also aware that most of our strongest oppositions come at the beginning of an endeavor which has the potential to thwart us from pursuing what we love. It is a test that needs to be passed, so we can develop character, become stronger, grow, move on and succeed.

    With that being said, I just pressed in that night and took as many notes as possible on what I thought was information worth keeping and tuned out the rest. Ken told me once that when the judges start critiquing, he turns off his hearing aid. (Had to laugh at that one!) Now I can see why. They are in fact judges, though, so I humble myself and learn as respectfully as possible. Someday, I may be one….If I am, I hope I will be kind, respectful and encouraging.

    I had hoped to share this with you since you were not able to be there that night. I am glad that this opportunity presented itself.

    ~ Candiss

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