The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Amber, Daisy and a Bluebell Wood

"Never work with children or animals" is a phrase much quoted in all forms of creative media, and did cross my mind when discussing the idea of photographing my friend's daughter on her pony.

Allan Wright is a superb landscape photographer, and fellow member of the Galloway Photographic Collective. A little over a month ago we'd been chatting about the shift in direction of my photography from intense head shots to narrative-driven, staged images, and Daisy the pony had found her way into our conversation.

When Allan talked to his daughter, Amber, about it, she suggested the idea of riding bareback in a white dress - something for when the weather turned a bit warmer - and dryer. We then explored the woods near his house and Allan pointed out they would be carpeted in bluebells within a few weeks.

A bonnie wee lass on a pony in a bluebell wood, with a low evening sun spilling through the fresh green leaves of the trees - what's not to love?

Arrangements were made.

Well, only loosely. In Scotland, the weather is not to be relied on.

About 3 weeks ago, the sun came out late in the afternoon. I phoned Allan, but it was too short a notice.

A week later conditions were ideal, but Amber had other arrangements she didn't want to cancel.

The following Tuesday the weather was perfect, and it looked like it was going to be the only day of the week where the sun was going to be out. Except that Amber had exams on Wednesday, was stressed out about them and was completely committed to revising.

My hopes faded. My intention had been to try and get the photo before the Spring Fling Open Studio event so I could display it as part of a collection of images highlighting my work. If I didn't get it now, then it would be a couple of weeks before we could attempt it again, by which time the bluebells would have gone and the leaves on the trees would be darker and thicker. It wouldn't be the same.

Allan said he thought the sun would return later in the week, even though the BBC weather site predicted rain. However, it turned out Allan was right. Decades of photographing a wide array of landscapes seems to have given him a more highly attuned sense of weather patterns, so on Thursday we were able to do the photo shoot after all.

In the end, the most difficult part was deciding which image I was going to choose to print up large to display on my wall over the Spring Fling weekend.

Below are a couple of images from the shoot. Click through to the album on my Facebook page to see more:


Martin Johnston said...

A lovely series of photographs, again Kim manages to plan great shots....
Congrats to Amber & Daisy , the Bluebells et al for contribute to a wonderful series...!

Kim Ayres said...

Martin - thank you :)

Kateri Von Steal said...

These are beautiful!

And her horse is MAGNIFICENT!

Kim Ayres said...

Kateri - thank you :)

hope said...

I don't remember "where" I suggested this, but I really think you should do your own line of Fairy Tale books with this beautiful photography of yours!

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - I guess it's inevitable that once I started focusing on fantasy/storytelling photography, some would end up with more of a fairytale feel :)

injaynesworld said...

These are gorgeous!

Claire Tilley said...

Very pretty. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Jayne - thank you :)

Claire - thank you too :)

Hindsfeet said...

Kim, I think the bigger picture here is what is even cooler (no pun intended) the bigger picture, you've created a trademark look, a defining characteristic to your craft, which is a tough thing for photographers to do these days. I feel like if I saw a photo of yours, having never seen it before, I'd recognize it as yours. In the same way that someone, perhaps, who had never seen Van Gogh's Sunflowers would recognize them if they knew anything of his work, i.e. The Starry Night, because his style is so distinctive.

You've nailed it my friend. You carved out a niche in a field that is distinctly yours, a tall order. A diamond in a pile of cubic zirconias.

(But we already knew that.)

Kudos, Kim.

(I want to see another "making of" video!!) : )

Hindsfeet said...

p.s. If I lived closer, I'd want you to do a photo shoot of me as Ilsa in Casablanca....... I swear that would be a pinnacle moment!!

One of these days my friend.....

("Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship")

: )

Guyana-Gyal said...

Intense head shots or narrative-driven, staged images...doesn't matter what you do, you de master of your art, Kim. I bet you can make drama out of mundane objects.

Pat said...

They are simply lovely and even better after a click. Sheer poetry.
Were you tempted to try a gallop just for the hell of it?

Hindsfeet said...

came back for another peek tonight, Kim.....ya know the only detail I'm not crazy about in this shot is her choice of a red hair bow. it's a little distracting from every other perfect element. What did you think of that?

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - I think I once went on a donkey ride when I was about 3 years old, but that's the closest I've been to riding. Galloping would be a bit out of my league... :)

Guyana-Gyal - Thank you for your kind words :)

Liz - Do you think I have a distinctive style? I'm not so aware of it, but then I'm a bit too close to my own images.

Casablanca would be a fun shoot. I still have the trenchcoat and trilby from last year's Humphrey Bogart shoot :)

I think the bow is largely a matter of taste. Amber was in charge of her outfit so I wasn't going to challenge anything :)

Hindsfeet said...

let's do it! Make me Ilsa! : )

Ok, now I just need a plane ticket to your side o' da pond.....

One o' these days, I'm tellin' ya, Kim : )

(oh, and I probably fixated on the hairbow because I was insanely jealous of her legs.....just easier to look up, haha ; p )

sweet night for you, Kim,
Liz ~*

(and yes, I *do* think you have a distinctive style...there's just...*something*.....that 'je ne sais quoi' something....still love the backstage dancer the best....)

Kim Ayres said...

Liz - the other option is to find a group of friends and club together to fly me out to the States to do some photo shoots :)

Hindsfeet said...

I need to make more friends!! ; ) (closet introvert that I am...)

: )

Kim Ayres said...

Liz - wealthy friends would be useful in this instance... ;)

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