**** MPAGB - Double Delight! ****
11th May 2018
The MPAGB (Master of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain) is awarded for 20 images that have managed to score 450+ points (an average of 22.5 out of 30) - when scored by a panel of 6 independent Judges according to the standard of "the highest standard of UK amateur photography."
Historically, Northern Ireland only had one long standing MPAGB recipient - Colin Thompson MPAGB, who sadly passed away in 2016. He was joined in April 2012 by Ross McKelvey MPAGB.....
AND NOW in April 2018, two fellow members of Catchlight Camera Club - Bob Given and Hugh Wilkinson have also been awarded the MPAGB in the APM assessment at Chorley, North West England.

This is a fantastic achievement not only for the two recipients, but also for the Club. It now has a handful of CPAGB, 3 DPAGB, and 3 MPAGB members. In the whole of NIPA, the only other DPAGB in stills photography is Kieran Murray from Banbridge Camera Club.

This is proof of the mentorship and guidance that is available in the Club, for those who are prepared to put real effort into reaching the top Distinctions levels in photography. Both Bob and Hugh took an active part in competitive National and International Photographic Exhibitions for several years, thereby gaining FIAP and BPE Distinctions along the way, and more importantly, learning which of their images are likely to be up to the required standard.

Catchlight Camera Club salutes the achievements and dedication of both Bob and Hugh, who will now hopefully continue the ethos within the Club of sharing their knowledge and their skills, in order to help others achieve their own aims.

Congratulations Bob Given MPAGB and Hugh Wilkinson MPAGB!!

** World Champions 2017 - Catchlight Camera Club! **
08th December 2017
On Tuesday 5 December 2017, word came through that Catchlight Camera Club had won the 2017 FIAP World Championships for Camera Clubs! This was the 12th FIAP World Cup, and only 1 Irish Club had won it previously - Dundalk PS in 2010! Traditionally, Irish Clubs have featured very well in the competition, so it was fantastic news for our Club to win it in 2017, particularly as we are currently the Top Club in Ireland, both North and South!
The Competition was entered by 201 Clubs from 48 different Countries around the World, with a total of 4020 images.
This completes a hat-trick this Season as Catchlight CC is the reigning IPF Champion Club, the reigning NIPA Top Club, and now the winners of the FIAP World Cup. The competition involves a real Club effort, as it consists of 20 individual images with a maximum of 2 from any one person. Our entry of 20 images is shown below, from a total of 13 club members. Hugh Wilkinson had a tremendous individual result, winning a FIAP Bronze Medal and a Judges Award with his 2 images, Orangutan with Butterfly, and Fox with Quarry.
Just last week, several of these contributing members were successful in obtaining LIPF Distinctions from the IPF at Thurles, Tipperary - where we had 9 out of 9 successful on the day!

This follows our performance in the UK PAGB Print Championships at Blackburn in October, when we made the Final for the 3rd time in 4 years, coming 4th overall.

The only way is down after this!

A Strong Arm by Keith Elgin:

Alone with his Thoughts by Laurie Campbell:

Autumn Cape by Ross McKelvey

Brexit by Brian McClure

Bridge Player by Joe Carberry

Conor by Kenny Gibson

Crash 'n' Splash by Keith Elgin

Ebony Dove by Ross McKelvey

Esmerelda by Bob Given

Fibber Magee by Joe Vize

Fox with Quarry by Hugh Wilkinson (Judges Choice Award)

Kirkjufell Waterfall by Gregory McStraw

Lady in Red by Kenny Gibson

Mr Wizzy is not Happy by Bob Given

Orangutan with Butterfly by Hugh Wilkinson (FIAP Bronze Medal)

Space and Time by Gregory McStraw

The Fugitive by Brian McClure

The Ice Queen by Dean Irvine

To the Manor Born by Gerald Gribbon

Winner Takes All by John Tinneny

** In Praise of Judging **
06th November 2017
** In Praise of Judges **


Being a Judge can be a thankless task - your job is to please the chosen few, and disappoint everyone else. Not so at this year's PAGB Print Championships! The 3 Judges in the firing line were Paul Stanley FIPF EFIAP/S from Dublin CC; David Lowe ARPS DPAGB from Smethwick PS; and Colin Westgate FRPS MFIAP from Eastboburne PS.

The first maximum score of '15' was announced on about the 3rd picture in - "Green Parrot Snake in Rain Forest" by Alan Walker MPAGB of Keswick PS -

And so it continued....yes, the various Clubs that are privileged and good enough to qualify for the PAGB Print Championships produce quality pictures....but to see the Judges so willing and able to hit the magic '5' button not only in unison, but on such a wide variety of images was a pleasure to witness. No-one could say the Judges favoured one genre over another.....No-one could say highly processed images scored higher than 'well seen' pictures.....No-one could say that landscapes were hard done by....or fine art nude.....or sport.....or still life. If the print was good enough, it scored 15!

I would like to thank the members of several Clubs that have willingly provided me with digital copies of their images that scored 15, in order to illustrate my point.

A still life by Stan Farrow from Dundee, beautifully printed on fine art paper:

"Softly Last Summer" - 15

An image that made the audience chuckle, and the Judges all hit the '5' - "Meat" by Hilary Roberts of Smethwick PS :

A composite picture by our own Hugh Wilkinson - "Orangutan with Butterfly" - 15! Yes, the butterfly is a figment of Hugh's imagination!

Creative imagery by Hazel Marr of Dumfries Camera Club - "Out of the Forest" - 15!

A beautiful misty landscape by Ken Rennie of Keswick - "Dornoch Point" again printed on a fine art paper to suit the delicate subject -

My own low key Fine art Nude/Figure Study - "Private Dancer" printed on Fotospeed Platinum Baryta - 15!

Don't forget the Sports Photographers - "Accomplishment" by Warren Alani of Smethwick PS, and "Full Force" by Phil Barber of Wigan10 (also judged to be the Top Colour Print!)

A personal favourite of mine when it came up, a creative image by the multi-talented Rikki O'Neill from Dundee PS - "Woman" - 15!

Bison of Yellowstone from eventual winners, Cambridge CC -

Nature featured again with a beautifully delicate mono print by Michael Windle of Smethwick PS - "Polar Bear Greeting" - 15!

Dinah Jayes of Smethwick also managed a well deserved "15" with a high key Fine art Nude entitled "Delicate Form" -

Ken Rennie of Keswick PS produced his second "15" of the day in the Plate Competition with "Last Flight of the Day" -

Keith Elgin of Catchlight CC scored 15 with his super mono sports image entitled "Point to Point" -

Rikki O'Neill hit the maximum score again, with "Bubbles" -

Another landscape photographer, Brian Clark of Dundee was rewarded with a "15" when his beautiful minimalist landscape "Through the Mist" came up -

And finally, a cracking sports image by the overall winners, Cambridge CC - "Sophie Hitchon, Womens Hammer."

So this is just a sample of the images that were rewarded with the perfect score on the day. I will add to this blog post as and when I receive other images, particularly from the winning Club - Cambridge Camera Club, and clubs like Chorley, Non Pareil and Dumfries.

But what a job by the Judges to produce so many 15's. One of the lessons every Judge should learn, is that you only get one chance to hit the 5 button on an image. I have often regretted hitting a '4' button instead of a '5' - but I have never regretted hitting that magic '5' button. Obviously all the photographers from the various clubs have to be congratulated for producing such a fantastic array of top quality images. But the final word has to be a word of high praise for the 3 judges who made the competition by their willingness and ability to recognise and appreciate ALL genres of photography with "15's!"
Because the Judges were so willing to reward good prints, the final outcome was extremely close - with only 4 points between 1st and 5th!

Ross McKelvey
Catchlight CC
** Catchlight CC at PAGB Print Championships 2017 **
29th October 2017
Catchlight Camera Club took part in the PAGB print Championships at Blackburn on Sunday 29 October - a competition restricted to the top clubs in each of the PAGB Federations throughout the UK.
In a remarkable performance, the Club made the Final for the 3rd time in 4 years and managed our highest score to date - finishing in joint 5th place, just 4 points behind the ultimate winners.

In Round 1 we scored 160 points - averaging 13.33 per print over 12 prints. In the Final we averaged 13.2 per print, over 15 prints to score 198. A fantastic achievement for the Club and all its members - well done all!

Space and Time - Gregory McStraw - 13 points

Alone with his Thoughts - Laurie Campbell - 11 points

Point to Point - Keith Elgin - 15 Points

Ivory on Ebony Rocks - Hugh Wilkinson - 14 points

Brexit - Brian McClure - 13 points

Oranguntan with Butterfly - Hugh Wilkinson - 15 points
**This image was scored 11 by 3 NIPA Judges in Round 1 of the NIPA Top Club Competition just last week. On Saturday it was awarded a Silver Medal in the Guernsey National Exhibition, and now scored 15/15 in Round 1 of the Print Championships, and 15/15 in the Final of the Print Championships.**

Esmerelda - Bob Given - 12 Points

Private Dancer - Ross McKelvey - 15 Points

3 Wise Men - Bob Given - 13 Points

Kirkjufell Waterfall - Gregory McStraw - 13 Points

Fibber Magee - Joe Vize - 12 Points

Ebony Dove - Ross McKelvey - 14 Points

Additional Images in the Final (We replaced 2 images, and added 3 other new images)

Fox with Quarry - Hugh Wilkinson - 13 Points

High Ball - Bob Given - 13 Points

Autumn Cape - Ross McKelvey - 12 Points

Crash and Splash - Keith Elgin - 14 Points

Feeling Blue - Ross McKelvey - 12 Points

** 2017 Club Exhibition at Artcetera **
10th October 2017
The Club held its inaugural Annual Print Exhibition in June 2017 at Artcetera Gallery, Belfast City Centre. Gerry Coe FRPS FBIPP from Bangor CC was the Judge, and he was extremely complimentary about the standard of the images entered. Gerry's task was to curate the entry of 135+ prints down to 100, before selecting individual prize winners. Our thanks to Gerry Coe for his time and effort and skills in doing the job!

Catchlight purchased 100 picture frames for 50x40 mounts to display the selected images, and the opening night saw visitors from several NIPA and IPF Clubs attend.

Many thanks to all the Club members who managed to create and display this exhibition from exactly 4 weeks notice! The enthusiasm of the members for exhibition photography was great to see, with novices through intermediate to advanced members all submitting work. Anyone whoe entered images, was guaranteed at least one acceptance - so the final exhibition was wholly representative of the overall standard within the Club.

Thank you to all the visitors and guests who attended during the 10 day exhibition, and for all the kind comments in the guestbook. And finally, our thanks to Olivier at Artcetera Gallery for hosting our first ever Annual Print Exhibition.

Top Novice Print Winner - John T Glover

Visitors Maureen and Gabriel O'Shaughnessy FIPF from Dundalk PS

Raphael Mason and Joe Carberry from Catchlight

Steven Ferguson and Shirley O'Neill from Catchlight

Colin Ross and Gerald Gribbon from Catchlight

Judge, Gerry Coe FRPS FBIPP and Dean Irvine Catchlight

Peter Knott Ards CC and Harry Dale Dungannon CC

Joe Vize and John Tinneny from Catchlight, with Brendan Tumilty AIPF from Dundalk PS

Chelle McGaughey CPA with Matthew Canning BPIC

Leslie Armour and Irvine Ferguson from Ards CC, with Vittorio Silvestri NIPA President from CPA

Club Vice Chairman David Campbell ARPS from Catchlight

Laurie Campbell from Catchlight

The "Winners Wall"

** First Guest Speaker of the Season **
27th September 2017
On Wednesday 20th September, we had our first guest speaker of the season in Roger Evans MPAGB FBPE EFIAP, from North West England. Roger gave a mixed print and PDI presentation which went down really well with the audience, with lots of important information on camera settings and shutter speeds. We had visitors in the audience from the local community, and from camera clubs near and far - including several members of Enniskillen PS and the NIPA President Vittorio Silvestri. Thank you all for your attendance.

This was our first opportunity to showcase our new digital projector and 3m wide 16:10 electric screen. The quality of the projection has still to be fine-tuned but is miles better than what we had before. Thanks to the National Lottery Awards for All scheme, the Club received an award of £5000 to fund our digital projection and photoshop project.

The feedback from our members and visitors has been fantastic, with many members feeling inspired to get out and take better sports pictures. Roger was extremely open with his techniques and tips and tricks, and hopefully many of the attendees will now start to produce high quality sports images for their clubs and for NIPA.
** Another 'First' for a NIPA Club **
16th July 2017
The PAGB holds an annual PDI Championships at Warwick in July. The top 2 Clubs from each Federation throughout the UK are invited to take part - a total of 38 clubs. This year Catchlight and Bangor Camera Clubs from N.Ireland took part from the NI Federation, NIPA.
The competition consists of 2 Rounds, with 8 images from each club in each Round. At the end of the 2 Rounds, the Top 8 clubs compete in the Final, and the remaining 30 clubs compete in The Plate Competition.

Catchlight qualified in 8th place, to take part in the Final - becoming the first club from NIPA ever to do so. This is no mean achievement, as those who have taken part in the past can testify - you are up against 'la creme de la creme' of UK club photography.
In the final, Catchlight remained in 8th spot overall with a very creditable 257 points, just one behind the 7th placed Club. Smethwick PS won the event, with an incredible average score of 14.1 per image, and a total score of 282.

Congratulations to new Club member Gregory McStraw, who was taking part in a competition of this standing for the first time - his 2 images scored 15/15 and 14/15 respectively, so he made a major contribution. Ross McKelvey also had images scoring 15 and 14. Bob Given had images that scored 14, 13, 13 and 13 respectively. In all, over 14 individual members contributed to the pool of images that were used in the competition.

The Club won a PAGB Bronze medal and an automatic qualification for next year's event! In the Final, the Club had 12 images that scored either 13, 14 or 15 and our average score across 20 images was 12.85.

Well done all!

15/15 - Waterfall at Kirkjufell by Gregory McStraw

15/15 - Ebony Dove by Ross McKelvey

14/15 - Space and Time by Gregory McStraw

14/15 - Morning Light by Ross McKelvey

14/15 - The Gentle Touch by Bob Given

13/15 - A Winter Warmer by Shirley O'Neill

13/15 - Sparrowhawk by Hugh Wilkinson

13/15 - Ninja Rugby by Bob Given

13/15 - One by Gerald Gribbon

13/15 - Esmerelda by Bob Given

13/15 - Feeling Blue by Ross McKelvey

13/15 - Baker Street by Bob Given

** NIPA Annual Exhibition Success **
07th July 2017
Catchlight Camera Club actively encourages its members to get involved in exhibitions - whether at local, National or International level. Many members now participate in the National British Photographic Exhibitions that run throughout the year, as well as the International FIAP exhibitions.

Locally, the NIPA Annual Print and PDI exhibition is open to all members of camera clubs in Northern Ireland. This year it was selected by a panel of 3 selectors, Kieran Murray (Banbridge), Denis Whelehan (Dundalk) and Judy Boyle (Drogheda). Their task was to select 100 colour and monochrome prints from the overall entry, trying to ensure a varied exhibition in terms of content (ie avoiding repetition, and selecting images to cover the full genre of photographic subjects from portraiture, to sport, nature, still life, travel, architecture and landscape etc). Full marks to the 3 judges for producing what must be the best NIPA print exhibition to date!

The exhibition has now been framed and is up on display at the Artcetera Gallery, Rosemary Street, Belfast. Of the 100 selected prints, Catchlight Members have contributed a remarkable 51, equating to 51% of the total exhibition. Laurie Campbell won the Trophy and PAGB Gold Medal for the Top PDI, and Ross McKelvey won the Trophy and PAGB Gold Medal for Top Colour Print. Keith Elgin won 2 medals - bronze in Mono prints and silver in PDI. In mono prints, Bob Given won a remarkable 3 PAGB ribbons and was also successful in having all 8 prints accepted into the exhibition! In total, Catchlight members won 11 awards.

Alone with my Thoughts by Laurie Campbell - Gold Medal PDI

Autumn Cape by Ross McKelvey - Gold Medal Colour Prints

Syncro Pair by Keith Elgin - Bronze Medal Mono Prints

Swan Dive by Keith Elgin - Silver Medal PDI

Baker Street by Bob Given - Ribbon mono Prints

Ebony Dove by Ross McKelvey - Ribbon mono Prints

Kingfisher with minnow by Hugh Wilkinson - Ribbon PDI

Rough and Smooth by Bob Given - Ribbon Mono Prints

Fernando by Raphael Mason - Ribbon PDI

Gentle Touch by Bob Given - Ribbon Mono Prints

Togetherness by Laurie Campbell - Ribbon PDI

*** Open for New Members ***
30th May 2017
** Opportunity to join Ireland's No.1 Camera Club **

Catchlight Camera Club will be taking in new members for the start of the new season in September 2017. We will not know exactly how many places are available until existing members have been given the chance to renew their membership, but the likelihood is that there will be a new intake at all levels namely novice, intermediate and advanced levels.

Criteria to consider before submitting an application to join:

(a) Are you willing and able to attend the Club meetings on a Wednesday evening on a regular basis throughout the season?

(b) Are you prepared to actively take part in the club and its activities?

** If you are interested in submitting an application to join, please send an e-mail to with the following details:

1. Your full name and address
2. Your current standard (novice/intermediate/Advanced)
3. Details of any other camera club you are, or have been, a member of, and reasons for leaving

Please be aware that applications for membership will be considered by the Club membership committee, and the Club has a constitutional ceiling on the overall number of members. All applications will be considered on merit, dependent on the number of vacancies arising after the end of June 2017.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Catchlight Camera Club
** 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
** Top Club in NIPA 2016/17 **
20th April 2017
Catchlight Camera Club was crowned Top Club in Northern Ireland for the 4th consecutive year at the recent conclusion of the inter-club competition! The theme for Round 5 was "Bad Weather" and things were fairly close between the top 3 clubs, going in to Round 5. Thankfully a couple of top class images managed to see the Club maintain its position in first place, with a winning margin of 15 points from second place CBPPU. Bangor CC was 3rd.

Thanks to all Club members who contributed to the season's internal selection evenings, and made the task selecting the right images very hard indeed on a lot of occasions. As usual, the fact that we have up to 10 members that regularly compete in National and International Exhibitions, and who actively pursue photographic Distinctions, meant we had a great pool of images to draw on, many with established pedigree in larger Open competition.

This has been another successful season for Catchlight Camera Club, with many highlights throughout the season. We made the final of the PAGB Print Championships for the second time in October, which guarantees us entry for 2017/18. Our Members continue to win individual medals and awards in Open Exhibitions all over the UK, Ireland and Internationally. Hugh Wilkinson DPAGB BPE4* in particular, excelled himself by winning the coveted FIAP Blue Badge for best individual entrant in both the Bristol and Southampton International Exhibitions in 2017! To our knowledge, no camera club members from Northern Ireland had ever won FIAP Blue Badges previously, and now we have Bob Given (2), Ross McKelvey (4) and Hugh Wilkinson (2) all with FIAP Blue Badges! John Tinneny LIPF LRPS won the Will McCrum Cup for Portraiture run by CPA at the start of the Year. Several of our members have continued to successfully apply for Distinctions from the IPF, RPS and the PAGB.

In NIPA, Catchlight is unique in having 4 DPAGB qualified members and 1 MPAGB member as well as 7 CPAGB qualified members. Congratulations to NIPA Past-President Terry McCreesh in particular, who finally got round to adding letters after his name, with success at CPAGB level. Terry has taken on a whole new lease of life as a result!

Next up this Season is the NIPA Exhibition. Members are encouraged to put forward a full entry of 4 mono prints and 4 colour prints and 4 PDI's for selection by an independent Judge. All those members who achieved starred images in the inter-club competition will now be in the running for the top image title, to be judged at the NIPA 50th anniversary weekend in Bangor on the weekend of 20/21 May.

Catchlight is also taking part in the IPF Club Championships in Mullingar on the weekend of 13/14 May. Dundalk PS will be hot favourites this year, having not won the title of Top Club for 3 years, and the standard of their work this season is top class. Catchlight however, will be submitting a strong entry to at least keep the eventual winners and top placed Clubs honest! We are delighted to hear that fellow Belfast Club BPIC will also be taking part in the IPF Club Championships for the first time this year.

Thanks all,

Catchlight Committee 2016/17

A selection of our PDI images in the 2016/17 competition:

*** Catchlight comes 7th in PAGB Print Championships 2016 **
06th November 2016
The PAGB Print Championships takes place annually, and only the Top 2 Clubs from each Federation throughout the UK are entitled to participate. As you might expect, the standard of competition is as high as it gets. Top Clubs like Wigan 10, Smethwick, Dumfries, and Inn Focus etc regularly compete for the Championship Trophy, and traditionally clubs from Northern Ireland have not fared well at this level of competition.
Catchlight Camera Club was only formed in 2012, and when the Club was formed, the intention was to gather a solid core of members who were prepared to get involved in National and International Competitions, as well as attempting the higher levels of photographic Distinctions. (I am a firm believer that unless you are competing in National and International Salons, you have no real idea of the 'standard' of competition photography at this level). In 2013 we won "The Plate" in the Print Championships, which is for all those Clubs that do not make the Final 8. When I was preparing the entry for 2014, I felt that our prints were good enough to make the Final, and so it turned out - we were in 5th place after Round 1, and ended up 5th overall in the Final.
In 2015 we just missed out on a place in the top 8, and were 2nd in the Plate by a single point from Smethwick PS.
This year, I genuinely felt that we had our strongest pool of prints ever - so much so, that I sought the views of several independent photographers to assist with choosing our best 12 for the Round 1 entry. Many thanks to Gerry Coe FRPS, Darren Brown, Terry Donnelly MPAGB, Joan Blease MPAGB, and others who willingly gave feedback on the pool of potential prints.
After Round 1 the Club finished in joint first place with an incredible 154 points - averaging 12.83 points per print!! In the Final we unfortunately slipped down to 7th place overall, but this could have been several places better if several of our prints had scored the same in the Final as they did in Round 1. Such is life, and who would be a judge etc.....but what matters is that Catchlight has once again done itself and its members proud, and put Northern Ireland Club photography on the map once again.

This result guarantees our entry for the 2017 Championships, and allows NIPA a potential 3rd Club entry for next year. To cap it all, the Club wins a PAGB Bronze Medal for its performance, and 2 members won individual awards - Hugh Wilkinson DPAGB BPE4* was awarded a Silver PAGB Medal for "Indian Pride" and Bob Given DPAGB BPE5* was awarded a ribbon for "The Gentle Touch."
Many thanks to Club Chairman Bob Given and his wife, NIPA Vice President Anne Given for taking our prints over and dealing with all the admin on the day.

To say I am proud of this Club and its achievements is an understatement!


The Prints used are shown below, along with their scores and authors:

The Man from Calcutta - Hugh Wilkinson - 12 points in Round 1; 11 points in Final.

Big Nick on the Charge - Bob Given - 14 points in Round 1; 12 points in Final.

In the Hood - Ross McKelvey - 12 points in Round 1 and in the Final

Cold Stare - Laurie Campbell - 13 points in Round 1; 12 points in Final

Out of the Woods - Anne Given - 12 points in Round 1; 11 points in Final

Ode to Nestor - Ross McKelvey - 12 points. (Not used in Final)

The Gentle Touch - Bob Given - 15 points in Round 1 and 15 points in Final. Ribbon awarded.

Indian Pride - Hugh Wilkinson - 14 points in Round 1; 14 points in Final. Silver PAGB Medal

One - Gerald Gribbon - 13 points in Round 1; 14 points in Final.

Dark Statue - Ross McKelvey - 13 points in Round 1; 13 points in Final

Wet Jump - Bob Given - 12 points in Round 1; 13 points in Final.

Irish Red Squirrel - Hugh Wilkinson - 12 points in Round 1 and in Final

Uwimana - Ross McKelvey - 14 points in Final (not in Round 1)

Indian Queen - Ross McKelvey - 12 points in Final (not in Round 1)

The Quiet Man - Joe Vize - 13 points in Final (not in Round 1)

Nepalese Man - Hugh Wilkinson - 11 points in Final (not in Round 1)

** An Evening with Joan Blease MPAGB EFIAP ARPS **
22nd October 2016
Catchlight Camera Club brought another top quality guest speaker in Joan Blease MPAGB EFIAP from Warrington PS, to Belfast on Wednesday 19 October.
Approximately 70 people attended the Club night, with visitors from as far as Sutton Camera Club in Howth, County Dublin! Joan gave a mixed presentation of print and PDI's, to outline her journey from buying her first DSLR in 2007 to gaining the MPAGB in 2015. Her creative ideas and approach to image-making was a delight to witness, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Thanks to Joan Blease from travelling over from Warrington to give the talk, and Catchlight Camera Club looks forward to bringing many more top quality speakers throughout this season.

Thank you to all who attended! The Club is aware that our digital projection facilities are not of the standard that we would like, and the Club committee is actively pursuing options to try to improve the service that we provide.

NIPA "Top Club" Competition 2016/17 - Round 1
22nd October 2016
Round 1 of the NIPA Inter-club competition was hosted by Ards Camera Club in Newtownards on Friday 21 October. CBPPU are in 1st place with 109.5 points and Catchlight are on their tail with 106.5 points!
Catchlight members managed a fantastic 8 Starred images in the OPEN Round.

Harris Beach by Colin Ross :

One by Gerald Gribbon :

Gentle Touch by Bob Given :

Indian Queen by Ross McKelvey:

The Curator by Ross McKelvey :

Brown Rat by Hugh Wilkinson :

Also starred were:

Pandoras Box by Darrin Walker and The Doorman by Hugh McGuckian
Analysis of a successful season 2015/16
07th July 2016
Catchlight ended the season as Top Club in NIPA for the 3rd year in a row. Over the 5 Rounds of competition, we managed a total of 22 starred images from 13 different club members.
In the IPF, we finished 2nd in the Club Championships overall, and top club in Mono.
In the PAGB Print Championships we just missed out on the Final, and finished 2nd in the Plate, losing out by 1 point to Smethwick PS. In the PAGB PDI competition at Warwick we finished 5th out of 29 UK Clubs in the Plate competition.
In the Will McCrum Cup for Portraiture hosted by CPA, Hugh Wilkinson DPAGB won the Trophy - the fourth time in its 4 year history that a Catchlight member has won.
On an individual level, more than a handful of members gained either new Photographic Distinctions, or gained a higher level of Distinction.
At least 8 members now regularly participate in National and International Exhibitions, gaining acceptances, and winning medals and awards literally all over the World. This is something that has been lacking in NIPA club photography, but it is noticeable that members of several other clubs within NIPA have started appearing in the lists of successful authors now too. The standard of NIPA photography can only improve as a result. The recent NIPA success in the mono print section of the PAGB inter-Federation competition is the proof!

In the local East Antrim Exhibition, Catchlight members won 5 awards in the Colour section, and 7 awards in the mono section.
In the NIPA Annual Exhibition, Catchlight members provided no less than 45% of the final 100 prints in the exhibition, winning 8 awards, and the Trophies for the top Mono Print and the top Colour Print. In the PDI section of the exhibition, Catchlight members provided an incredible 29 of the 45 selected images, equivalent to 64% - and they also won 6 of the 9 awards in PDI. 6 of the 9 medals available in the Exhibition were won by Catchlight members.

Our Firmus Energy series has gone from strength to strength, bringing top quality speakers from all over the UK and Ireland. These events are open to any member of NIPA or IPF affiliated Clubs and have been very well supported and attended throughout the season. Expect more of the same next season, with a super array of top quality speakers already arranged!

So all in all, a very successful season.

Here are some of the starred images from the 2015/16 season, which encompass everything from sport, to still life, environmental portraiture, fine art nude, street, nature, wildlife, portraiture and landscape. (Apologies for the quality, but these are screenshots from the NIPA website) :

** 3 New FIAP Distinctions gained **
22nd June 2016
Congratulations to 3 Catchlight members who have been awarded new FIAP Distinctions this week -

Anne Given has been awarded AFIAP

Keith Elgin has been awarded EFIAP

Ross McKelvey has been awarded EFIAP/Silver

FIAP Distinctions are awarded for a certain number of images accepted into different Salons in Countries all over the World. Salon photography is more popular than ever, which makes acceptances and awards all the more difficult to achieve, but there is no doubt that the process has improved the standard of photography from all concerned. All 3 of the afore-mentioned have won Medals and awards in competitive photography throughout the year.

Anne Given AFIAP

Keith Elgin EFIAP

Ross McKelvey EFIAP/Silver

** Catchlight Roll of Honour **
28th May 2016
Members of Catchlight Camera Club are encouraged to apply for Photographic Distinctions, as we believe the process involved makes you a better photographer. Whether it is a 'panel' based Distinction like the LIPF or LRPS, or the individual scoring approach of the PAGB Awards for Photographic Merit, we have yet to see a single person who doesn't believe the whole process made them a better photographer. They have to understand everything from composition, content, colour balance, focus, sharpening, to printing and processing.

Our current Roll of Honour is as follows:



Hugh Wilkinson DPAGB BPE4* LIPF LRPS



Colin Ross ARPS AIPF

David Campbell ABIPP ARPS

Stephen Bassett LIPF CPAGB

Joe Vize LIPF BPE1*

Shirley O’Neill LIPF

Raphael Mason LIPF

Hugh McGuckian LIPF

Laurie Campbell MFA

Steven Ferguson LIPF

Brian McClure CPAGB BPE1*

John Tinneny LRPS

Valerie McKee LIPF

Walter Crozier LRPS
** Brian McClure CPAGB Success **
29th April 2016
Brian McClure was awarded the CPAGB Distinction at the weekend, in the Awards for Photographic Merit at Gateshead. Brian joined Catchlight 2 years ago as a novice member, and very quickly established himself as someone that was eager to learn, and eager to progress and improve.
The CPAGB is not an easy Distinction to get, as many NIPA photographers often find to their cost - 6 judges mark all the images images individually - this is not a 'panel' based Distinction like the LIPF or LRPS etc. The required score for a pass is 200 points, or an average of 20 points per image, and the images are marked according to the standard of what constitutes 'good Club Photography.' This standard seems to be increasing every year, as photographers in general are upping their game.

Brian got across the final hurdle with an impressive 219 points, and can now proudly put the CPAGB Distinction after his name.

Congratulations Brian! The 10 images along with their scores are shown below:

*** Top Club in NIPA - A Hat Trick **
19th March 2016
Catchlight Camera Club has been crowned Top Club in N.I for the 3rd year in a row! This is no mean feat, given the quality of opposition from several other Clubs within NIPA, and it guarantees our entry into the PAGB print Championships later this Year. Catchlight won the Colour Print Section, the Mono Print Section and the PDI Section as well as Top Novice Club, and Top Club overall.

We started the season in 5th place after Round 1, but quickly jumped into 1st place after Round 2, and consolidated our position thereafter with a very strong performance in Rounds 3 (Street theme) and 4 (Open). Round 5 with the tricky theme of 'contre jour' was just a matter of keeping our heads above water. The final score tally was as follows:

1st Place - Catchlight CC with 545 points
2nd Place - CBPPU with 509
3rd Place - CPA with 502.5
4th Place - BPIC and Banbridge each with 493 points

This was potentially a tricky year, having lost 2 very experienced members in Martin Courtney AIPF who joined CBPPU, and Paul Hanley LRPS who joined CPA. Paul had a whole clatter of images selected to represent CPA throughout the season, and managed several Starred images along the way - which helped to lift CPA from 12th place last year to 3rd spot this year!
Congratulations to all the Club members who contributed to this result by consistently raising the bar, and by providing the Club with a constant stream of quality images throughout the season. Most weekends, Catchlight members are out taking pictures whether in rain, hail or shine.

At least half a dozen of our members now regularly compete on the wider stage, learning what makes a good 'competition' image by competing in National & International Salons. We also had several members add the LIPF and/or CPAGB Distinctions to their name during the Year. This has produced a definite knock-on effect in our NIPA entries, as many of the images have already been accepted or won awards in larger-scale competitions.

Just some of our images from this year's Club entries:

PS - Just for "Jeff Smyth" - enjoy!
** 7 Starred images in Round 4 **
25th February 2016
Catchlight CC put in a very strong entry to Round 4 of the NIPA Top Club Competition, in an attempt to cement our position at the top of the leaderboard. An incredible 7 stars were awarded, with Hugh Wilkinson managing a Star in all 3 sections of mono print, colour print and PDI. Bob Given was starred in mono prints and PDI. Laurie Campbell was starred in colour prints, and Ross McKelvey in mono prints.
In mono prints, the images by Bob Given and Ross McKelvey were both scored the maximum 15/15.

With one Round to go, Catchlight finds itself in 1st place with a lead of 35.5 points over 2 clubs in joint second place, CPA and CBPPU. The final Round is a tricky themed Round, 'contre jour' so the overall lead is very welcome!

Blue Tit by Hugh Wilkinson:

Dejected by Hugh Wilkinson:

Preparing Supper by Hugh Wilkinson:

On the Charge by Bob Given:

Leap in the Dark, by Ross McKelvey:

Delicate Balance by Laurie Campbell :