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.
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.
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)
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...
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)
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.
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 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)
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