The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

2014 in Photographs

For the past 5 years, in early January, I've posted my favourite photos of the year before, so it seems a reasonable idea to continue the trend.

You can find previous ones here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

There's a varied selection, so hopefully something for everyone - although I don't expect anyone to like all of them. However, I'm always interested in feedback, so if you'd care to leave a comment about which one(s) are your favourite, or any personal observations, it would be warmly appreciated.

As always, you can click on the images to see larger versions

Adam Booth - Artist Blacksmith

It stirs something quite primal being in a blacksmith's forge. The flames, the glowing metal, the sound of the hammer shaping that metal on an anvil. At the beginning of the year I was given the opportunity to photograph artist blacksmith, Adam Booth, which was not without its difficulties in terms of space and light (or rather lack of). For more on this and others taken at the same time, click through to:

The Cracked Man

Leaving the band I'd helped to create, Scruffy Buzzards, was not an easy thing to do. However, developing a new musical partnership with Marcus in The Cracked Man has more than made up for it, as we now create "Original foot-stomping, spine-tingling, brow-twitching, cheek-spasming, tea-dunking music that will leave you breathless but deeply satisfied". For more about the formation of The Cracked Man, click through to:

In Preparation

Rebecca won my Valentine's competition and after various discussions decided she liked the idea of back stage in a run down theatre. It really came to life once I got the lighting right. Rebecca guest blogged about the experience, which you can read by clicking through to:

Jupiter and its moons

The Orion Nebula

Neither of these photos will win any awards, or mean anything to anyone else, but to me, they were amazing. Taken just with my camera and a 200mm lens I captured images I couldn't make out with the naked eye. I could see Jupiter, but not its moons, and the Orion Nebula was just a tiny dot in the sky. The idea I was capturing light that left the Nebula over 1,300 years ago gave me goosebumps. For more about these photos, click through to:

Journeyman Spectacular

This is fiddle player, Claire Mann, in rehearsals with Gavin Marwick's Journeyman Spectacular - a gathering of astonishingly talented musicians based in Scotland. I photographed one of their rehearsals in the afternoon before a gig in a local (packed out) village hall. They went on to be shortlisted for Live Act of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2014. For more about this shoot, click through to:

Fantastic Mr Fox

As part of a series of photos I've done of authors as characters from literature, I photographed Polly Pullar as Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox. With face-painting, costumes, hens, rare-breed sheep and even a deer making an appearance, it was amazing fun. For more photos and stories from the shoot, click through to:

Thomas McConnell

At the Boswell Book Festival I met the young and talented, Thomas McConnell. With such a grand setting I was sure we could get an interesting photo, and I was pleased with this. For more about this and the Festival, click through to:

Amber, Daisy and Bluebell Wood

From the moment the idea was first suggested, I knew the combination of a friend's daughter on a white pony in a bluebell wood with the evening sun cutting through the fresh spring leaves would be a winner. What I wasn't expecting was the constant rain over the 2 week window where the shot might be possible. I was beginning to think the shoot might be delayed by another year. For more photos and stories from this shoot, click through to:

Cows at Sunset

Back-light is the photographer's secret weapon. You know how your uncle said you should always have the sun behind you when you take a photo? He was wrong. The best photos nearly always have a strong light source behind them. However, you do have to be extra careful when pointing any kind of lens directly at the sun - use the digital display, never the viewfinder. Precautions in place, even cows can look pretty spectacular as the sun is setting behind them. For more about back-light, click through to:

Sean Taylor

Gina and Amelia

Gatehouse Midsummer Music Festival is a regular event in my calendar. These two images feature people I've photographed before. Sean Taylor is an amazing musician who I've been delighted to watch perform several times now. My first photo shoot with him resulted in a photo he used for his following album, Love Against Death. Gina, on the other hand, was last seen on this blog dressed as Lara Croft (see my post, Tomb Raider). A year after the shoot she gave birth to her daughter, Amelia, who attends various music festivals with really stylish pink ear-defenders. For more about the Gatehouse photo shoot, click through to:

Howl's Moving Castle

The last of the authors as characters from literature shoot I did was with Joan Lennon who played the character of Sophie. Our friend, Renita, volunteered to be the scarecrow, but insisted I use Photoshop to remove her legs... For more about this shoot, click through to:

Georgia Gordon

This photo wasn't planned, wasn't set up, and was forgotten about until I was looking at all the shots on the computer the following day. It was a quick snap as we were heading over to a patch of rocks on the beach to do the main shoot with the young and talented, Georgia Gordon, but it turned out to be my favourite of the session. For more about this photo shoot, click through to:

Burning The Wickerman

The climax of The Wickerman Festival is the burning of a 40 foot high willow sculpture. Because I'm friends with the guys who create it, I'm in the fortunate position of being the only photographer allowed to be up at the base of it as it is lit. All the press and the festival goers are a good 60 metres further away. It's quite a magical moment. For more about the experience of being at the foot of The Wickerman, click through to:

First Taste of Autumn

Returning to the theme of back-light mentioned earlier, I was out in the woods, as the sun was setting - it's a wonderful time to capture some stunning images. For more about it, click through to:

Trading Journeys

I was up early in the morning to catch Alice Francis who was on a trek with a horse-drawn cart from Auchencairn to Wigtown as part of an art event called Trading Journeys. It was damp and misty, but this was my favourite photo of the bunch. For more about this and the other photos from the session, click through to:

Mrs Green's Tea Lounge

Mrs Green's Tea Lounge is a wonderful cafe in Dumfries. Mrs Green herself has a great fondness for all things retro and loves dressing up. The women who work there are of a similar mind. The lengths they all went to for this photo was wonderful, and this ended up being one of my favourite shoots of the year. For more about this shoot, plus a video of the making of, click through to:

Fred and Ginger

Winner of my Spring Fling competition, Lynn decided she wanted to do a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers style shoot with her husband. Once again, the lengths they went to to get their costumes and look right, left me in awe. It was a wonderful session. For more about it, and some extra photos, click through to:

James Ewart Racing

Horse racing isn't something I'd ever had anything to do with in my life, but an encounter with James Ewart, who runs a racehorse training facility in the Scottish Borders, led to me spending a day out there with my camera. This shot of James on Tradewinds ended up on the cover of the Business Supplement Magazine of Dumfries and Galloway Life, which were doing a feature on him. For more about photographing race horses, click through to:

The Cracked Man and his Grandchildren

At the Wickerman Festival back in the summer, I took to wearing a top hat and round glasses as part of my stage outfit for The Cracked Man. In the October break, the grandchildren came to visit for a couple of days and I discovered they loved our music, so I had to create an album-cover style image featuring them. I only have the one hat and pair of glasses, so once I had the composition worked out, we took 4 photos, swapping the hat and glasses each time, then I stitched them together in Photoshop.


I did a shoot for a project involving some of SW Scotland's finest traditional musicians (the woman with the dark hair and black top is Claire Mann, featured in the Journeyman Spectacular photo above). A square-cropped version of this will be used as the CD cover once the recordings have been done, so a huge amount of attention to detail was required. And in the end, this is a composite of about 7 different (but very similar) photos. For more about this image and the project, click through to:


My final pic(k) of the year is one I've not published on this blog before, but was taken in Dalbeattie Woods one cool, semi-misty morning. It has such a sense of serenity to it - do click on it to see it larger. If you've been reading the descriptions in this blog post, by now you should recognise the use of back-light...

I hope you've enjoyed my selection - please leave a comment below with any thoughts or observations, and let me know your favourite.

Wishing each and every one of you all the very best for 2015


Eryl said...

Wonderful! I think my favourite is the image of Alice, though the one of Claire in deep concentration comes a very close second, and the blacksmith third, probably. Of course if I look again tomorrow I'll likely pick completely different ones, because they all have some special quality to recommend them.

Kim Ayres said...

Eryl - all three you mention are of someone in in a concentrated moment of doing something. I'm guessing it's probably not a coincidence, but is appealing to you on some level :)

hope said...

Amber, Georgia, those cows, and the chair in the woods top my list. But my favorite is still you and the grandkids...I love the smallest one!

Hindsfeet said...

still love "in preparation"....that was just absolutely inspired....

the cows at sunset, I like this one too....peaceful............

thanks for the walk down memory lane, Kim.....five years.....hard to believe........what a Walk.....

.....and something about that bench in the woods......

warmest and best for your new year my dear,

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - the fun part about the youngest grandchild is you don't see straight way that the hat is covering his head and the glasses are on the outside, so it comes like a second punchline. I didn't realise it would be as effective as it is until after I'd finished editing it :)

Liz - I look back at the photos from 2009 and it almost feels like it was someone else who took them. I'm in a very different place these days, in many ways :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

I've rediscovered what it is like to hold my breath while looking at something wonderful. Mood, magic, mystery, charm...your photos enthral me despite the mosquitoes attacking me here.

It's just struck me [pardon the pun] that the anvil looks like a paint brush.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - if I can compete for attentions with mosquitoes, I must be doing something right :)

Rab said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rab said...

Your photos for 2014 are really a joy to look through, something to be very proud off. I like so many for differing reasons. That one at the end though makes me want to go and sit there for a couple of hours. An escape. Great collection.

All the best for 2015, belatedly, and now off to have a look through previous years.

Kim Ayres said...

Rab - many thanks for your kind words - they are warmly appreciated. Wishing you the very best for the years ahead :)

layla said...

I liked all of the photographs, but I loved the Cracked man and his grandchildren for obvious reasons :-)

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