The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Favourite Photos of 2012

As we have entered the New Year over the past three years, I've posted some of my favourite photos from the previous twelve months. I've usually chosen one per month, but this year my photography hasn't been so evenly spread out, so I've just picked a selection of photos that are my personal favourites, regardless of the time of year I took them.

For earlier collections, see 2011, 2010 and 2009

As always, feel free to click on any of them for larger versions. And comments are always appreciated, so do let me know if you have any particular favourites.

Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor is an amazing blues guitarist and singer. In 2011 I photographed him before his gig at The Mill Sessions. That photo ended up on the over of his latest album, Love Against Death. He came back for another gig in 2012 and I photographed him in the afternoon before the gig. I did a few set up shots, but he was most relaxed when he was just playing his guitar, so I told him to just start playing. The shots where you can see the backdrop and lights in the background ended up with a more authentic feel to them. And it felt like I was being treated to my own personal gig.

Ruby Shoes

I returned to the Scottish Tattoo Convention in 2012, only this time I had a stall to take photos of people with their tattoos. Unfortunately it wasn't as successful as I'd hoped and much of my time was spent twiddling my thumbs. Although it was frustrating financially, what was worse, was there were all these amazingly decorated people moving about I couldn't photograph. This one, however, I took from my stall as she walked past.

Bellevue Rendezvous

Bellevue Rendezvous are a trio of musicians who play the most amazing music. Ruth's Nickelharpa has to be heard to be believed - it has a rich resonant sound that conjures up other worlds (for a couple of videos of them playing live, see my post Bellevue Rendezvous at The Mill Sessions). I took this photo of them in the afternoon before they played at The Mill Sessions

Hollywood Meg

I had a photo shoot lined up with a former model during a trip down to the South-West of England in the summer. We'd been discussing themes and had settled on the idea of doing a Hollywood style shot. I was really excited about doing the shoot with this amazing woman, and didn't want to mess it up. This meant I had to start learning how to do the lighting and post-processing to get that classic Hollywood feel - and get some practice in. My daughter, Meg, was my guinea pig, and I was rather pleased with this one.

Hollywood Pat

The former model I was practising for was of course the wonderful blogger, Pat, from Past Imperfect. I wrote more about the experience in my post, Photographing a Legend.

Tor Surfing

As well as Pat, England's South-West corner also contains Dartmoor, with its granite tors jutting out of the landscape. The day my son, Rogan, and I went to Haytor and climbed up, it was particularly windy. Rogan decided to have fun leaning back into the wind and "surfing".

Scruffy Buzzards

One of the most fun things of 2012 for me has been playing the bouzouki in the band, Scruffy Buzzards. It's the closest I've ever come to being the rock guitar god I knew I was destined to be back when I was a teenager. Of course, as a photographer, it's down to me to create the promo shots for the band, which can be particularly tricky when you have to not only set up the shot, but be in it yourself. This one I called "Musical Harmony..."

Eleanor McEvoy

Eleanor McEvoy is probably one of the biggest names we've had play at The Mill Sessions. Her album, A Woman's Heart, was the best selling Irish album in Irish history. I did a photo session with her in the afternoon before her gig and was really pleased with this one. I wasn't entirely sure what she would think of it though, as it is less flattering and more characterful than nearly every other photo you will ever see of her. However, she seemed happy with it and even used it as her Facebook profile pic for a few weeks - which is about as big an endorsement as you can hope for.

Refuge Hut

Holy Island is on the Northumbrian coast in the North-East of England, and is separated from the mainland by a tidal causeway. Every month at least one car doesn't check the tide times and ends up being washed off the road. The causeway does have a couple of "refuge huts" for walkers who find themselves caught by the tide, where they can wait for a few hours until it is safe to continue the journey. Maggie and I weren't in any such danger when we visited, but I couldn't resist taking this photo when the sun was getting lower and the cloud formations were quite spectacular.

John Hegley as Keats

John Hegley is a poet and comedian and signed up for a series of photos I was doing for Wigtown Book Festival of authors as characters. He decided to he wanted to be photographed as the early 19th century poet, John Keats. More of that experience can be found in my post - John Hegley, John Keats and a Stick of Celery.

Debi Gliori - The Cat and The Fiddle

Debi Gliori is a children's author and illustrator who also got involved with the authors as characters project. She wanted a reference to The Cat and The Fiddle to tie in with her latest book. More can be found on that tale/tail in my post - Debi Gliori, Tobermory, Cats, Controversy and Photography.

Sara Sheridan - Miss Scarlet in the Library with the Candlestick

Another of my favourites from the same series is the author Sara Sheridan. The reference here is to the game "Cluedo". More will be written about this photo shoot in a future blog.

Sunset at Pittenweem

During the October break, we had a family holiday in the Fife coastal town of Pittenweem. One evening I went wandering down to the breakwater to take some photos of the glorious sunset, looking back along the coast towards St Monans. But it was the bird next to the harbour light that kept grabbing my attention.


A twig, a droplet of water and a few strands of spiders web. With a wide aperture on a zoom lens, the background became so blurred it was possible to isolate this little universe. It gives me a welcome sense of peace when looking at it.

Jupiter's Moons

A little over a month ago, Jupiter was in the sky close to the moon. I took a few photos with my 200mm zoom lens, but it was only when I was able to blow the images up large on my computer screen did I notice the couple of tiny dots next to Jupiter, which are its own moons. It's difficult to say why exactly, but this thrilled me no end - the idea that I was able to see the sun reflecting off the moons of a planet over a billion miles away was one of those slightly mind-blowing moments.

Birch Trees

Out for a walk in Dalbeattie woods with my daughter we rounded a corner and saw the low winter sun reflecting off a patch of birch trees all standing upright. I decided to experiment with a technique where you create a deliberate motion blur by moving the camera at the point you click the shutter. If you do it in the same direction as some existing strong lines you can get some quite interesting effects. I've been trying it without much success all year. This was the first one I took where I really liked the results.

I hope you've liked some of these images. Do you have a favourite?


hope said...

I love the beauty of Meg and Pat, the fun of Rogan and Scruffy Buzzards and the whimsy of John Hegley. Anything with trees is my idea of heaven. :)

Nicely done. Can't wait to see what you do in 2013!

Carole Morden said...

Of course I love them all. But my favorite was Scruffy Buzzards and second was Eleanor McEvoy, although Miss Scarlett was also a favorite.

The Scruffy Buzzards seemed really different. It reminded me of a painting and not a photo.

Hindsfeet said...

what a wonderful assortment, Kim....spent a sweet bit of time soaking these in......

hard to pick a favorite....I gotta say, truly, the one of Meg, "Hollywood Meg" beautiful....really arrested my attention...

...and I was particularly struck by the last one, the birch the abstract feel there...very peaceful...

...the ruby shoes shot is a winner, such an original, one in a million shot....*love it*....

what a feast, always...grateful for your lens on life....

all the best for you and yours, this year and always,

Kim Ayres said...

Wishing each of you a very Happy New Year - I hope 2013 is good to you :)

Hope - I have a few ideas, for 2013, one of which might require a revamp, or at least a re-emphasis of the blog...

Carole - The Scruffy Buzzards, like the Bellevue Rendezvous one had extra layers of texture added in Photoshop afterwards, which gives it a slightly grungier, edgier feel than the original photo.

Liz - thank you :)

redhead83402 said...

Definitely my faves were your daughter Meg & Eleanor McEvoy ~ I love the peaceful look on your daughter's face, especially in contrast with the troubled look on Ms. McEvoy's. Beautiful shots of beautiful people.
The birch trees were neat, but since I have never seen a stand of birches so close like that, the perspective is difficult for me to achieve~ I can't seem to make out how those are trees ~ pretty neat effect!
I also thought the moons of Jupiter were really cool ~ I too am in awe of the beauty & symmetry of the universe ~ that we can see some particle of it is so amazing ~ I am always in awe of the God who could put such incomprehensible things together & make it all work. I always feel so.... small...when I contemplate it all.
At any rate, thanks for visiting my blog, & yes, I do still write every now & again, though it seems the poetry has left me for a time ~ it comes & goes, I suppose, as I need it.
I hope you & your family have had a happy year, and will have an even more beautiful & fulfilling New Year in 2013 ~ Take care, my dear blogging friend ~ :-D

Mary Witzl said...

Swoon -- I love them all, but those shots of Meg and Rogan are particularly good. I'm so envious that you got to meet Debi Gliori, whose books my kids adore even as adolescents -- and that shadow behind her is inspired. Love the picture of Pat too.

Happy New Year!

Pat said...

My favorite is beautiful Meg.

Anna van Schurman said...

I love the birch trees. It has such a painterly quality to it. (Is that a compliment? To say, hey I know you're using a camera, but it looks like paint?) New Hampshire, where I was born and raised, has the birch as its state tree.

Eryl said...

These are all fab, though I'm especially smitten with the tattooed lady. You've been working really hard, this year's shots are even better than last years.

Merry, merry!

Anonymous said...

Some really great photographs this year Kim. It's hard to say which is my favorite. I'm going to say Rogan's and Meg's photo as well as Bellevue Rendezvous and Scruffy.

Guyana-Gyal said...

They're all great shots, I can't decide. The birch trees look, as Anna says, 'painterly'. Your portraits are full of character, and I do so love the ones with your children. You can do a whole book with your children.

Roschelle said...

Love the one of Meg. Hell, all of them are great. I miss my camera :(

Kim Ayres said...

Happy New Year to each of you - I hope 2013 is a good one for you and yours :)

Red - it's always a wee treat when I see you've posted another rare blog :)

Mary - it's a rare photo of Rogan. Meg's still fine with me pointing the camera at her, but Rogan's more self conscious about it these days. Fortunately he was in a fun mood at this point, as you can see :)

Pat - I always get more positive comments when I post a picture of Meg :)

Anna VS - I know my dad gets irritated if someone says his paintings look like a photograph. However, in this instance the compliment is that you like it :)

Eryl - the hope is to improve each year. Becoming stagnent is a slow death...

Allen - glad you like the band photos - it's fun creating something that could be an album cover :)

Guyana-Gyal - every parent could do a book of their own kids, but the market is always going to be limited to very close relatives ;)

Roschelle - time to get a new one - you can often get good 2nd hand ones from ebay

savannah said...

pick one? i can't do it, sugar! but that's a good thing for me, i think. cheers to you and yours, dear friend! xoxoxo from across the pond

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Sav :)

Phil McMenemy said...

The one of Meg - easy.

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Phil - thanks for taking the time to visit and comment on my blog :)

Tina Mammoser said...

Love that you're thrilled by Jupiter! That makes me smile. :) I have astronomy binoculars and can usually see 3 of the moons and it's just so cool. (surface of the moon is pretty awesome too)

I tend to sketch them, but I might try my wee little camera just to see what I can get.

Kim Ayres said...

Tina - astronomy binoculars sound pretty cool. Do you mount them on a tripod to keep them steady?

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