DCTC Hosts Camera Club Event

Camera Club Event
Camera Club Event

TCACCC Spring Break draws more than 300 photographers to campus

Darrell Tangen, a photography instructor at Dakota County Technical College, helped organize the annual Twin Cities Area Council of Camera Clubs Spring Break, which took place Saturday, March 22, 2014, on the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn. The seminar featured nearly 30 workshops while delivering the expertise of 15 guest speakers.

“Over the last decade, twenty-one camera clubs in southern Minnesota and Wisconsin have organized a weekend of photography workshops for more than eight hundred of their members,” Darrell said. “TCACCC Spring Break is one of the largest amateur photography events in Twin Cities—and it’s open to the general public.”

Darrell reported that DCTC hosted Spring Break for the second consecutive year—and 2014 proved the biggest ever with more than 300 people attending. “Spring Break was a great opportunity to show off our Photography department and facilities to a very active photography group,” he said, adding that a fair number of attendees would likely be inspired to take part-time classes at DCTC due to their positive experience during the event. Click the image above right for a list of the participating camera clubs.

TCACCC Spring Break 2014 breakdown
  • 29 separate one-hour workshops presented in seven different rooms
  • 15 guest speakers presented a wide variety of topics
  • 10 industry vendors displays, including Adobe, West Photo, National Camera and White House Custom Color.
  • University of Minnesota Raptor Center exhibited wild birds outside Library Atrium for photo opportunities
  • More than a dozen professional models volunteered to pose for hundreds of photographs during a runway show in Main Commons
  • More than a dozen door prizes donated by vendors and participants
  • Three award ceremonies showcased winning photographs submitted by club participants throughout the year
  • More than 60 award-winning photo prints on display
  • Lunch buffet provided by ISD 917 culinary arts; price included in $40 ticket
Minnesota Raptor Center gallery | Images courtesy of Eric Haugen Photography | Eric Haugen Photography on Facebook
Darrell Tangen wished to thank a full complement of people for assisting with the event:
  • DCTC CIO Todd Jagerson and his IT staff for managing projectors, computers and sound systems for the presenters
  • TCACCC Spring Break Committee for lining up vendors and speakers
  • DCTC Customized Training Coordinator Larry Lewis for setting up the contract and working out tons of details
  • DCTC Photography students for helping with equipment and room setup
  • DCTC Graphic Design Specialist Jeff Siltala-Choban for creating programs and delivering DCTC can coolers for each attendee
  • DCTC Operations personnel for providing tables, rooms, chairs and dividers setup

Photography student perspectives

When Ron and Kjerstin McKeehen enrolled in the Photography program at DCTC spring semester 2012, they were taking a major step on the path to new careers as a wife-and-husband team. In 2009, Ron experienced a stroke while blowing snow from a neighbor’s driveway. Finding his own driveway blocked by freshly plowed snow and no ambulances available due to the snowstorm, Ron was rescued by his son, who lived nearby and drove him to the hospital.

“I lost all my long-term memory and had to relearn the most basic things,” Ron said. “That is a scary feeling—also humorous and frustrating. The stroke changed our way of life.”

Ron, 51, had worked in management in the RV industry for most of his career. Kjerstin, 37, started working in the daycare industry at the age of 16. She and her mom were both teachers at Children’s World in Apple Valley, Minn. A back injury requiring surgery made daycare work problematic for Kjerstin. The decision to go back to school and pursue photography came naturally. Both Ron and Kjerstin had a passion for the field. Ron loves the freedom inherent in photography’s creative process. Kjerstin was already a photography buff and wanted to increase her technical knowledge. Because they reside in Inver Grove Heights, DCTC was not only close to home, but also had a topnotch Photography program.

“I love working in the studios,” said Kjerstin, a Rosemount native and a 1995 graduate of Rosemount High School. “One of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to check out and use the program’s great camera equipment, including lenses and lights. We’ve also gone on field trips to the North Shore six times. This fall we’ll be taking our seventh trip.”

Ron’s stroke rehabilitation therapist advised him not to take on the challenge of college-level coursework. “I’m hardheaded,” said Ron, a native of Detroit, Mich. “I knew I would have to work harder than other students. I put in long hours of study in remedial math and took part in a new English tutoring program.”

That determination earned Ron a 3.99 GPA and landed him a job in the Photography program’s equipment lockup alongside Kjerstin. His mechanical aptitude keeps him busy maintaining equipment. His work ethic motivates him to leave the college a better place than when he arrived.

“It was interesting to see the different levels of knowledge and experience all working together to get great photos.” — Ron McKeehen on TCACCC Spring Break

Kjerstin, who goes by the nickname KJ, noted the McKeehens are a Canon family. Ron shoots with an EOS-1D X; she shoots with an EOS 5D Mark III. She also mentioned that she and Ron have launched their own business, North Beacon Photography. They shoot family portraits and weddings as well as fine art photography.

“Eventually, we would like to do underwater photography,” Kjerstin said, adding that Ron was an avid scuba diver, reaching the level of divemaster. He specialized in cold-water diving, exploring wrecks in the Great Lakes. He taught recreational and technical diving, the latter to area police and fire departments. “We would use a swimming pool to shoot trash-the-dress wedding portraits, which are becoming more and more popular.”

All together, Kjerstin and Ron have six children, Melissa, 24, Michael, 23, Mandy, 20, Maria, 17, Morgan, 13, and Macie, 10. They have one grandchild, Melissa’s daughter, Hailey, a 1-year-old. Ron has completed his A.S. degree in Photography and taken a number of photography-related business classes with plans to take courses in the college’s Entrepreneurship/Small Business program. Kjerstin is on track to earn her A.S. in Photography in fall 2015.

North Beacon Photography gallery

Banner image courtesy of Eric Haugen Photography

For more information about Photography at DCTC, contact:
Video clip of TCACCC Spring Break courtesy of the Western Wisconsin Photography Club