The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

2013 in Photographs

It has become something of a tradition over the past few years to offer up a selection of my favourite photos over the previous 12 months (see - 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 for past selections).

There's quite a range, so hopefully something for everyone - although I don't expect anyone to like them all. 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

A Drunk Man Dances With a Lamppost

I've photographed the poet, David Mark Williams, a few times, but back in January we decided to create a shot based on one of his poems, A Drunk Man Dances With a Lamppost. The image I had in my head utterly failed to take into consideration that lampposts are usually several meters high, so if I included the whole post and light, then he would appear tiny in the final image. The solution was to find an angle that showed one behind him so the viewer would then fill in the gaps. It was a cold winter night and we were glad to finally climb back in the car and whack the heating on full (more on this photo, including the poem, can be found here)


I'd seen some interesting long-exposure photos taken from a moving vehicle, so decided I'd give it a go by placing my camera on the dashboard of my car and setting the shutter speed for a 10 second exposure. I took about 40 photos on the drive home from Dumfries and they were nearly all complete crap. This one, however, kept drawing me back to it. I'm still not entirely sure what it is, but this photo really does it for me.

Winter Birches

There's an interesting technique of intentional blur that a couple of local landscape photographers use, where you deliberately jolt the camera as you click. Unlike the 10 second exposure used above, this one was done at 1/8th of a second of a patch of birch trees in the snow. It made me go "oooh..." (more from the walk I took on that day can be found here)


Out for a walk in the woods with my daughter, Meg, I suddenly asked her to stand still as I was struck by a beautiful shaft of light coming through the trees. She tossed her head slightly to clear the hair from her face and it gave me the idea to exaggerate the movement. We did it several times, but this was my favourite.

Winter Trees

I was actually trying to take some photos of some swans on the loch while it was snowing, but then noticed the way the tree shapes were highlighted by the snow on the branches. Believe it or not, this is a colour photo...


There's something about back-lighting which makes me go gooey. Out in the woods for a walk again and the light hitting the mossy twigs and branches was just magical.


At Spring Fling I had an event called "I'm Humphrey Bogart and So's My Wife", where visitors to my studio could, if they wanted, be photographed as the Hollywood legend. In the end, 127 people decided to go for it. But a couple of months earlier I needed an photo for publicity purposes, and the wonderful Alice Frances came to my aid to help me work out angles, lighting and to give me a striking image (you can find out more on how it went over Spring Fling here)

Snow Shoes

In March the snow returned. I was wandering down the street heading for the loch to see if I could find any interesting patterns when I noticed someone who didn't appear to be dressed for the weather...

Tomb Raider

Gina's husband is a Tomb Raider fan, so for his 40th birthday she wanted to present him with a series of photos of her in the role of the heroine, Lara Croft. The red glow of the flame gives the illusion of heat, but the reality was it was a cold, damp day in April and between shots a thick jacket had to be put on (more on the Tomb Raider shoot can be found here)

The Castaway

When I asked writer and musician, Alan McClure, what kind of role he would like to be photographed in, he replied "castaway". We spent a couple of hours down at Carrick beach as the sun went down, trying out different angles and light. I love the colours in this along with the sense of expanse which was helped by use of a wide angle lens (more on the shooting of Castaway can be found here)

The Undefended Hour

When we did this shot for Anne Lindsay's book, The Undefended Hour, my first reaction was delight at how well it turned out. This was then followed by a stab of fear - I was so pleased with it, but what if I'd peaked? What if I wouldn't be able to reach this standard again? It remains my favourite photo of the year (more on The Undefended Hour shoot - including a colour version - can be found here)


Blue is a singer, musician and songwriter, and is bringing out a new album in the next month or two. We'd done a few standard head shots which we were happy with so I decided to play with the wide angle lens and was really pleased with how this turned out.

The Smoker

My friend, Andy, had converted a building at the back of his garden into a photo studio. I'd been meaning to investigate for some time. He's got a wonderful array of lights and we spent the evening playing with them and taking photos of each other. I knew I wanted to try a shot with lots of shadow, but a back-light with smoke drifting through it. I made him smoke far more cigarettes than he usually would while I tried to capture this shot. I don't think his lungs will thank me, but in the end I got the image I wanted.

The Yahs

The Yahs are great fun - good driving, rock n roll and they know how to get a crowd going. The 2 photos above were taken at a gig in a tiny room in a pub. Space was so tight the audience were sometimes only inches away from the band. Despite the cramped conditions and poor light, I manged to get these atmospheric shots and experienced a considerable *smug" moment when looking at them on the computer screen the following day.

The Yahs Album Cover

As well as being damn fine musicians, The Yahs are playful and have a sense of the theatrical, which meant when we came to shoot their album cover they were the perfect models - happy to absorb themselves into the appropriate roles (more about this photo can be found here)


Wandering around a harbour at high tide, I kept seeing lines and shapes in the water, which I found particularly appealing (more from that shoot here)

Last of The Autumn Leaves

Sunlight hitting a handful of leaves, just clinging on as Autumn draws to a close - irresistible... (more from this shoot can be found here)

Wedding Dress

When a client said she had a red wedding dress that she could still fit into, and not far from the house was a gnarled old hawthorn tree with a wonderful view, all we had to do was wait for a day when the light was right (more about how this photo came about can be found here).


A wee bonus pic taken just before the New Year - another shaft of sunlight illuminating a mossy seedling.

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 2014


Kateri Von Steal said...


Well... I have to admit... They are all amazing.

I do like the Undefended Hour...

But, I think my favorite is the Backlight.

I think the reason for that being, that it depends if you are taking a Literal view of it, or making up pictures in your head. I hope that makes sense.

I see synapses when I look at it... It makes me think of thoughts being passed.. and the darkness and light contrast makes me wonder (if these were synapses) the kind of person having these thoughts... and what they could be.

:) Love your pictures.

Joan Lennon said...

Rope ... Wedding Dress ... two favourites!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that!

Anna van Schurman said...

I picked the birches as my favorite last year, so I am going with the wedding dress. It's so spectacular. But I do love how the straight rope squiggles in the reflection.

Anonymous said...

Great images! Some I may not seen before. Like Hair, great shot. And Sunlit, has a wonderful calm stillness.

Hindsfeet said...

snow shoes and birches have got it hands down m'friend.....

snow shoes could win something, be published in's so potentially iconic....what a *brilliant* shot....

(I've *got* to find something to barter with you!! ) ; )

hope 2014's bein' good to ya so far m'darlin'....


Hindsfeet said...

p.s. "winter trees", *magic*.

hope said...

As a tree lover, "Winter Trees" is my favorite. But "Rope" was the most eye catching one for me this year because of the irony of straight/curvy rope.

Your "people" shots are always great. Meg's is fantastic, as is the Red Wedding Dress. You have the ability to make me feel as if I "know" that person...for the sake of the photo. (I'm pretty sure you didn't document any real murderers this year).

maurcheen said...

Always like the photies of Meg & Rogan.

I haven't taken the camera out of it's case in ages, bad me! :¬)

Pat said...

Difficult decision but for me it's The Smoker.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Gosh, I feel as if I'd dipped into a bag of goodies, so much I like...drunk man and lamp-post, hair, the undefended hour, blue, winter birches, rope, wedding dress, so much drama in your photos!

The snow shoes girl sees what they do in fashion mags. I could never understand how they do that in the winter fashion with legs exposed to the freezing cold. Do they make them up to hide the blue from the cold??

Mimi and Tilly said...

I love all of the them. the birch tress ohoto calmed me just by looking at it. I could feel the silence. The wedding dress photo moved me. I love red. It felt powerful. the album cover was very appealing due to the richness of detail and playfulness. The shot taken while driving really intrigued me. The pattern of the lights was beautiful. I love your work. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and wish you and your loved ones a beautiful 2014. Em x

Kim Ayres said...

Kateri - thank you :)
The great thing about semi-abstract images is they allow the imagination to roam free :)

Joan - thank you :)

Sandra - I'm glad :)

Anna VS - same two as Joan :)

Allen - thank you :)

Liz - if you can find a few friends, neighbours and/or work colleagues to club together and fly me out... :)

Hope - the split in images comes from the fact photographing people is my first love, but that's not always possible. I used to get frustrated with landscape photography until I decided to zoom in on details. :)

Maurcheen - Anything with Meg in it always gets more comments, likes and general positivity :)

Pat - thank you :)

Guyana-Gyal - I've never understood how so many young women can go around wearing so little in the freezing Scottish winters, but it's not uncommon among the under 25s...

Mimi and Tilly - thanks for the explanations - wishing you all the very best for the coming year too :)

Hindsfeet said...

I'll have to work on that....although li'l ol' Richmond, Virginia might not be the thrilling quintessential American experience........

....having said that, the 'thrilling quintessential experience' may be a little over-rated ; )

who knows, m' is is funny....

sweet week over there...

Kim Ayres said...

Liz - Richmond, Virginia might not be New York, but it's still more of an American experience than SW Scotland ;)

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