** A Season of all Seasons **

24th May 2017
What an incredible season we have had at Catchlight Camera Club in 2016/17! We were crowned Top Club in NIPA for the fourth year running, and capped it all by being crowned Irish Champions at the IPF Club Championships at Mullingar.

Our highly popular guest speaker evenings, with highly qualified and successful photographers from all over the UK and Ireland continued to impress the audiences at Finaghy on a Wednesday evening. These have been free entry to all comers for the last two years, and we particularly try to bring speakers who are willing and able to share their knowledge and skills. Next year there will likely be a cover charge for visitors, to cover expenses and new equipment - we intend to get the best Digital Projection possible for these events.

The NIPA Top Club competition runs throughout the season and covers 5 separate Rounds of competition - 3 Open rounds and 2 themed rounds. Catchlight had a bit of a wobbly start, but took the lead after Round 2 and managed to stay ahead for the remainder of the competition. Congratulations to all Clubs in NIPA that took part, whether you finished top or bottom. Although our winning score was virtually identical to last year, the margins between 2nd and 3rd were a lot closer, which is surely a good sign - Clubs are upping their game in response to the mantle that has been thrown down!

In the IPF, the Club Championships took place over the weekend of 13/14 May at Mullingar. Clubs from all 4 corners of Ireland took part and the standard overall was a delight to witness. Such was the standard, that any number of Clubs could have come out winners - but good fortune was on our side, and we won both the Mono section and the Colour section, to take the top Club title and bring the Sean Casey Trophy North for the second time!
Each panel consists of 10 prints (with a maximum of 2 prints per person in each panel) - and what was particularly satisfying was the fact that no less than 8 club members had a print in the winning Colour Panel, and 6 members in the mono panel!

Club Members with the Sean Casey Trophy:

Earlier in the season we managed to reach the Final of the UK wide PAGB Print Championships at Ellesmere Port - for the second time in 3 years - and something which no other club from N.I has ever done. We were joint first after Round 1, before falling away in the Final but finishing in 7th place overall and gaining automatic qualification for next season's Championships in Blackburn. This was hugely satisfying, as one of the main aims in setting up Catchlight Camera Club, and trying to get people to participate in International Exhibitions, was to try to create a N.I Club that was capable of competing at the very top level. We have certainly proved that it can be done - the challenge now, is to maintain those standards going forward!

On an individual level, club members continued to achieve Distinctions from the various photographic bodies - with several novices gaining their LIPF or LRPS during the season. Particular mention should be made of Brian McClure - who joined the club as a complete novice 3 years ago, and who became DPAGB in the April sitting in London. Brian becomes the club's 5th DPAGB qualified member, alongside Bob and Anne Given, Keith Elgin and Hugh Wilkinson. There is only one other DPAGB photographer in NI - the esteemed Kieran Murray DPAGB from Banbridge. (If any member of any club in NIPA wants help or guidance to attempt the CPAGB or DPAGB, our senior members will be only too glad to assist).
Ross McKelvey MPAGB FIPF FBPE was highly honoured by becoming a member of the prestigious London Salon of Photography, and he also judged the Southampton International in 2017.
Members continue to impress with their achievements and awards in National and International Photographic Exhibitions and Salons. Several members of the Club have been awarded the coveted "Blue Badge" for the best individual author in an International - Bob Given, Hugh Wilkinson and Ross McKelvey.
In the Nationals, Bob Given is about to become ABPE, and Hugh Wilkinson has become BPE5* - with many members gaining BPE awards and gaining acceptances into the National Exhibitions.
In the FIAP Internationals, Michael Ross has gained AFIAP; Anne Given EFIAP; Keith Elgin EFIAP/Bronze and Ross McKelvey EFIAP/Gold.

All this has been achieved due to the hard work of all the club members throughout the season. Photography is a fun hobby, and despite Catchlight's reputation for being a "competitive" club, it is fantastically rewarding and great fun to participate in these exhibitions that run virtually throughout the year. The Club members spur each other on, provide help and guidance to anyone that needs it, and there is a great collective spirit of togetherness in the Club - long may it continue!

At the time of writing, our first ever Print Exhibition is pending - Opening night Friday 2nd June at Artcetera Gallery, Rosemary Street, Belfast. The exhibition consists of 100 framed prints from 35 individual members, from complete novice right through the ranks up to Fellowship. The overall entry of 153+ prints was curated down to 100 by Gerry Coe FRPS FBIPP from Bangor Camera Club, before deciding on individual awards. ** All welcome on Opening Night or for the duration until 10th June **

Thank you to all our friends in fellow Clubs in NIPA and in the IPF in particular, who have been so generous with their congratulations and warm wishes.

The two panels of prints that gained the Sean Casey Trophy in the IPF Club Championships at Mullingar:-

Thank You,

Catchlight Camera Club Committee