Iowa 4-H Camera Corps

Iowa 4-H Camera Corps is a talented group of youth photographers working together to make beautiful, powerful, and creative photographs of communities from across of the state of Iowa. It is a unique opportunity to practice your photography skills and receive public recognition and juror feedback on your work.  

Each month, a photography theme is provided with a different focus. Professional evaluators will give individual feedback to each photographer after they submit their monthly photograph, and then each photograph will be exhibited digitally on the Iowa 4-H Facebook page where voting will be open to the public.

The top ten Juror's Choice and top ten People’s Choice photographs will be printed, framed, and shown at statewide gallery exhibitions every month.

New for this year we are adding a certificate program where youth photographers will level up from newbie to master photographers as they complete certain tasks and challenges.

All youth from all counties are welcome to join Iowa 4-H Camera Corps. We want to help you become the best photographers you can be!

The application to join Iowa 4-H Camera Corps 2018/2019 can be found here: https://form.jotform.com/82636644984976


This months theme:

June’s theme is “Whether the Weather”. The unpredictable forecasts of Iowa summers can bring seemingly less-than-stellar lighting conditions for outdoor photography. BUT don’t be dissuaded by those clouds- stormy weather can actually bring out vibrant colors, sweeping sky shots, and gorgeous portraits when you use it to your advantage. This month, your challenge is to (safely) experiment with taking multiple photographs with varying weather conditions- cloudy, windy, rainy, sunny- and then choose your favorite composition! Take caution and if the forecast predicts unsafe weather for you to be outside with a camera, try experimenting with windows, reflections, and unique interpretations while staying dry indoors.

Things to try: Pay attention to not overexpose when focusing on white clouds, and try long exposures and using a tripod or stable surface when it’s extra windy to show movement in trees and grasses. When editing experiment with color or black and white to set the appropriate mood.

Some potential subjects could be: 

  • Clouds
  • Skylines
  • Silhouettes
  • Puddles
  • Umbrellas
  • Rain
  • Windows

When submitting your photograph please save your image as:

Your County_First Name_Last Name.jpg

Voting will be opened to the public after submissions are received on the Iowa 4-H Facebook and closed on June 30th. Winners will be announced and highlighted on Facebook shortly after.

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique. Please submit your “Whether the Weather” photo by June 30th via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/91494803676973 . Please submit your photo on time.


Past Themes:

January’s theme is “Metal Machines”. The machines need to be old, 1970 and older, think pre-computers. Machines are a tool, gadget or device that applies mechanical power and consists of more than one part. Be on the lookout for gears, wheels, belts, whistles and interesting parts and pieces. Think in detail, get up close, create interesting compositions. It is not necessary to show us the entire machine, highlight the most interesting part and let us investigate the photograph to learn what it is! Again this month is black and white only so pay close attention to light and shadow and textures.

Try all of these and select your best photograph:

  • Centered composition, or off centered utilizing the rule of thirds.
  • Look for subject with great light and shadows.
  • Utilize high contrast to create eye movement.
  • Look for subjects with interesting textures.
  • Play with repeating elements that draw us in.
  • Look for the interesting details where two different parts meet.

Potential Subjects: Any machine pre-1970. To make your photograph exciting and exceptional look for the beauty in the details and your highlights and shadows. Get closer and closer, frame and reframe your subject. 

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique. Please submit your “Metal Machines” photo via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/90007310943952

Please submit your photo on time.

 

February’s theme is “Vernacular Architecture”. Vernacular architecture is designed to serve functional needs for the local community. These buildings can be found in communities of all sizes and can be fascinating subjects to photograph because they are not designed with visual form as their priority. This is the last month of our black and white photography series, so pay special attention to contrast and perspective in your compositions. How can something designed with functionality in mind be photographed in a way that sparks visual interest?

Try all of these and select your best photograph:

  • Pay close attention to lining up straight lines with the edges of your composition.
  • Look closely at the structure to find interesting lines and shapes.
  • Try centered composition, or off centered utilizing the rule of thirds.
  • Find interesting textures.
  • Play with repeating elements that draw us in.
  • Look for the interesting details, find connections that catch your eye.

Potential Subjects: Look for barns, outhouses, warehouses, industrial complexes, grain silos, or skywalks. These structures are beautiful and often striking on the landscape.

Voting will be opened to the public after submissions are received Iowa 4-H Facebook and closed on March 31st. Winners will be announced and highlighted on Facebook shortly after. 

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique.

Please submit your “Vernacular Architecture” photo by February 28th via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/90364933632964

 

March’s theme is Rhythm & Texture. Whether showing a slick and smooth plane of reflective glass or the rough, jagged edges of stone, texture gives a photograph descriptive depth. Notice and explore the varied world of texture all around you, paying close attention to rhythm (repeated elements that lead the viewer around your photograph), and emphasis (an element that stands out from the other repeated elements). 

Try and think about all of these to create your best photograph:

  • Photograph interesting repeating textures.
  • Find that one moment where that repetition changes and that becomes your subject and emphasis.
  • Pay close attention to how light creates shadows on textures, focus on the highlights and shadows.
  • How do you create eye movement in your photograph? Where does your eye go? Does it follow lines? Is it attracted to highlights, or certain colors?
  • What becomes your main subject? Is it the texture itself? A specific point on the photograph where your eye rests? A transition from one texture to another?
  • What is texture? How does it feel? How do you photograph that feeling?
  • Try using contrasting textures to highlight their differences in a rhythmic way. 

Some potential subjects could be: Reflections, materials, old and new, grids, geometric patterns, etc. Always look for or create the emphasis, that special moment, within your photograph of rhythm and texture. 

We are really excited about a new partnership this month, your jurors will be Interdisciplinary Design students from Iowa State University! Their studio this semester is learning how to give great critiques of art and design! To learn more what Interdisciplinary Design is check out the following link: https://www.design.iastate.edu/interdisciplinary-programs/interdisciplinary-design/degree/

Also, starting this month when submitting your photograph please save your image as:

Your County_First Name_Last Name.jpg

Voting will be opened to the public after submissions are received Iowa 4-H Facebook and close on April 30th. Winners will be announced and highlighted on Facebook shortly after.

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique.

Please submit your “Rhythm and Texture” photo by March 31st via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/90593862257972

Please submit your photo on time.

Thank you for participating in Iowa 4-H Camera Corps! We look forward to viewing your photos and watching you grow in the field of photography.  

 

April’s theme is “Tranquil Transitions”. This month is an exciting time to observe the subtle pastel colors of spring emerging from the melting snow silhouetted by soft dusk skies. The world outside is coming back to life so now’s the time to creatively capture the transformation! Try taking a step back for a wider camera angle, and experiment with using paths and roads to lead the viewer through the transforming landscape. Take advantage of the increasing daylight by focusing on the leading lines and forms created by the newly sprouting and blooming plants, but also the various shadows they create. When the spring weather creates fog and rain venture safely outside to study its atmospheric beauty or try finding a window perspective from indoors to create depth between the foreground and background of your composition.

Things to try: Sit still outside on a spring morning and listen to the bird’s chirp, the water trickle, and the spring breeze rustle in the trees. Have plants recently sprung from the earth? Crouch down and closely observe the area around your feet, does the sun highlight a sign of spring? Wander to a rolling hilltop, look across the landscape in its dawn or dusk light, can you see and feel the atmosphere, does fog or rain quench the surface? Is there a cow path or road winding into the valley below or hilltop above or is it so foggy that it vanishes as a mystery into the distance? Does the sun stream through a window into the house as it has not since last fall, do the rays land and warm the floor inside? These are “Tranquil Transitions” to enjoy and be looking for!

Some potential subjects could be:

-       Emerging plants

-       Foggy fields

-       Vanishing or winding streets or paths

-       Tranquil windows

-       Wide angle calm landscapes

-       Subtle pastel colors of spring

-       Warm and cool light of dawn and dusk 

When submitting your photograph please save your image as:

Your County_First Name_Last Name.jpg

Voting will be opened to the public after submissions are received Iowa 4-H Facebook and closed on May 31st. Winners will be announced and highlighted on Facebook shortly after.

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique. Please submit your “Tranquil Transitions” photo by April 30th via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/90895994184982. Please submit your photo on time.

Thank you for participating in Iowa 4-H Camera Corps! We look forward to viewing your photos and watching you grow in the field of photography.  

 

May’s theme is Bold Beauty. April showers bring May flowers, which means this month will be filled with bright, vivid colors and the excitement of warmer weather! Look for exciting color combinations all around you- from the unique color schemes of blooming flowers, to fresh paint against blue skies. Colors that are directly opposite on the color wheel are complementary (an example would be blue and orange) which immediately draw interest into your composition. This month, find the most vibrant color combinations you can- especially in unexpected places that catch your eye. Perhaps you find places, signs, buildings, farmers markets, playgrounds, ice cream that all contain the intricate world of colorful textures when you get closer.

Things to try: This month we invite you to try out editing your photographs. Adjust the vividness and saturation of your colors. When editing, feel free to explore the full range of editing and enhancement options and then choose settings that you enjoy and seem most successful to you!

Some potential subjects could be: 

  • Anything colorful!
  • Flowers
  • Gardens
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Farmers Markets/Festivals
  • Signs
  • Clothes/Shoes

When submitting your photograph please save your image as:

Your County_First Name_Last Name.jpg

Voting will be opened to the public after submissions are received Iowa 4-H Facebook and closed on June 30th. Winners will be announced and highlighted on Facebook shortly after.

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique. Please submit your “Bold Beauty” photo by May 31st via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/90895956863984 . Please submit your photo on time.

2018 Themes

December’s theme is “Exploring Doors”. Doors frame all of our entrances and exits, but they are also unique and fun subjects when framed in a photograph! Because your photograph will be black and white, focus on the contrast, highlights, and shadows of your composition. Doors come in many styles and sizes, so don’t just settle for the first door you find! Instead, explore the structures and material textures of different doors in your community.

Try all of these and select your best photograph:

  • Centered composition, or off centered utilizing the rule of thirds.
  • Look for subject with great light and shadows.
  • Utilize high contrast to create eye movement.
  • Look for subjects with interesting textures.
  • Play with having a secondary subject be interacting with the door, capture the movement, utilize the door as a framing element.
  • Find a repeating series of doors.
  • Find doors in unusual locations.
  • Creatively include only a portion of the door in your photograph, use leading lines, moving the viewer into and out of the photograph.

Potential Subjects: Barn doors, Interior doors, Exterior doors, Animal doors, Car doors, Thresholds, Portals, Architectural door features, etc.  

Please submit your “Exploring Doors” photo by Sunday, December 30th via JotForm using this link: https://form.jotform.com/83345073631959 Don’t forget to only submit black and white photographs!

 

November’s theme is “Water of Iowa”. Water is an important natural resource that also has very unique visual qualities. Explore how water moves, reflects light, and shapes the Iowa landscape. Look closer at the color and texture of the water you use in your everyday life.

Things to try:

  • Long Exposure: Show the movement of water while keeping your camera steady.

    • Aperture f/22 and Shutter Speed of  1/10 of a second or slower.

  • Short Exposure: Freeze waters motion, think about suspended water droplets, splashes, etc.

    • Aperture f/5.6-8 and shutter speed on 1/100 of a second or faster.

  • Play with flash or other on or off camera lights to create interesting reflections.

  • Focus on the texture and reflected textures in water.

  • Pay attention to the composition, framing, and focus of your water subject, play with eye movement.

Potential Subjects: Watersheds, rivers, lakes, streams, wells, tap water, rain, snow, puddles, run off, clouds, gutters, ice, plants and animals of water environments, etc.

Take it to the next level!  If you’re a 9th-12th grader, after you’ve taken and submitted photographs of water in Iowa submit an essay for the Iowa Water Center Essay Contest. For the essay, you will be given a water scientist in Iowa to interview and then you will write about the research they are doing and how they are working to make Iowa a better place to live, work, and play in.

Watch this video to learn more about the contest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrbBxmQEj9o

Essay winners will receive a monetary prize, receive recognition at an awards ceremony during the 2019 Iowa Water Conference in the spring, and will have their essays published in an online anthology produced by the Iowa Water Center. 

Essay prizes include:

First Place: $500 cash and 4 credit hour scholarship to the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

Second Place: $300 cash and 2 credit hour scholarship to the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

Third Place: $300 cash

Submit your essay before January 11th by following the contest guidelines at: http://www.water.iastate.edu/essaycontest.  

Iowa 4-H Camera Corps voting will be opened to the public on Monday, December 2nd on Iowa 4-H Facebook and closed on Sunday, December 30th. Winners will be announced and highlighted on Facebook shortly after.

Submit only one photo per month, per theme. If you take multiple photographs, which we encourage you to do, please choose the photo you believe to be the best. Submitting only one photograph will allow for better critique. Please submit your “Water of Iowa” photo by Sunday, December 2nd via JotForm using this link:

https://form.jotform.com/83046554484967

Please submit your photo on time.

 

October’s theme was “Falling for Fall”. The breezy autumn weather creates a lot of movement all around you from the leaves falling from the trees to people picking apples. Your challenge is to capture this movement in a photograph! Focus on how you can show the story of the movement and create contrast between stillness and motion. Try experimenting with shutter speeds, lighting, focus/emphasis, and motion blur. 

Tips and tricks:

  • Try using a tripod and a longer exposure, include objects in the scene that are moving and stationary. 
  • Zoom your lens during the exposure. Aim your camera at a vibrant fall tree to paint with fall colors. Try the following settings during the day: f/22, 1/5 second exposure, ISO 100. 
  • Try turning your camera and zooming the lens during the exposure, to create an abstraction of the imagery. Select your favorite photograph by focusing on eye movement, color, highlights and shadows to create areas of interest in the composition.
  • Find a small stream that has fall leaves swirling in eddies and create a landscape photograph with a longer exposure that shows the movement of the water. Exposure time could be up to 30 seconds! 
  • If you are using a smartphone use the manual camera settings to adjust shutter speed, if this does not come standard on your phone you can download free applications that will allow you to adjust shutter speed! 
  • Have fun, play, create! 

For questions send an email to our Arts, Communication, and Design Program Specialist, Clark Colby, at cacolby3@iastate.edu.  Please specify “Camera Corps” in the subject line and include your name, county, along with your question.


Things to try!

Night photography

  • First-read your camera manual, it may have settings programed in for night shots.
  • Open f-stop to a large aperture like f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 or f/4 that lets more light in.
  • To create beautiful star effects from lights use a smaller f-stop like f/22.
  • Use a tripod for all exposures longer than 1/60th of a second
  • Try light painting with controlled camera movements (zoom in or out) or controlled light movements.
  • Try shutter speed of 2 seconds,1 second,1/2 second,1/4 second - and see what looks the best.

Reminder:

Have your camera set to the highest resolution!  This makes it possible to enlarge photographs without reducing quality. (Minimum 300 dpi)
Set your camera to large JPEG or RAW.
Photos can be horizontal or vertical.