The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Comlongon Castle, Robyn Stapleton, and an Owl...

Comlongon Castle is an original 15th Century Scottish Keep, with a Baronial hotel attached to it.

Primarily used as a wedding venue (it's the nearest Castle wedding venue to Gretna), the owner, Phill Ptolomy, was telling me he wanted to promote the romantic getaway side of it too, so we started bouncing ideas about.

It should probably be in the Great Hall, which has a huge stone fireplace. Perhaps if we had a woman in a red dress - Scottish looking - red hair, pale skin etc - standing in front. Oh, and candles - there are these large candle stands available. We could probably have a sword in the background too - the place is full of suits of armour. What about an owl? An owl? Yes, the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre have a trained owl that can swoop down the aisle and deliver the rings to the best man. Wow, OK, let's get an owl then. Who can we find to be our model? I know the perfect person - I've photographed her before...

And so last month I found myself in a castle photographing singer Robyn Stapleton wearing a red satin dress with an owl on her arm in front of a large stone fireplace.

When I did the shoot for Morag Macpherson Textiles a couple of months back (see Photo Shoot at the Rural Mural) I worked with Ralph from Basement 20 Hair Salon in Dumfries. He and his team did an amazing job, and we got on really well, so he was my first port of call for this shoot. We also managed to secure the services of the wonderful Jade Jamieson as our make up artist.

With such a great combination of location and people I wanted it recorded, so I dragged out my friend, the poet David Mark Williams with me, thrust my other camera in his hand, and asked him if he could video it for me.

I was delighted with some of the footage he managed to capture, and then it occurred to me it would look pretty cool if I had an aerial drone shot of the outside of the castle as an intro and a possibly title sequence to bookend the video. I knew just the man to ask - Andy Jardine of Digital Services Pro, who I knew had created exactly that kind of shot before. When I asked him he said he'd recently bought a new drone which was a much better, and he insisted on shooting some fresh footage for me to use.

All I needed was a soundtrack, and Robyn was happy for me to use "The Lads That Were Reared Amang Heather" - the last song on her debut album, Fickle Fortune.

I hope you enjoy this wee behind-the-scenes video - I think it gives a good flavour of what it was like at the photo shoot.


hope said...

You take wonderful photos but I love these behind the scenes moments! Robyn looks like a china doll as they are getting her ready. The music was a beautiful bonus. Well done to you, your friends and Mark the poet. ;)

Jonathan Chant said...

Glorious. What a team effort. Beautiful.

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - Many thanks - it was a lot fun. A long day, but very rewarding :)

Jonathan - thank you :)

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