Hello world!

This was a back-up for my blog  when blogger had been playing up back in 2012.

My real blog – Painting With Shadows – can be found here:


Please click through for my latest posts

Posted in About Blogging, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Midsummer Music Festival 2012

Last weekend was the Gatehouse Midsummer Music Festival. Once again I went along with my camera for a bit of practice at performance photography on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Low light is the biggest problem. With the performers moving, slow shutter speeds (a technique for letting more light through the lens) aren’t possible as the images will end up blurred. The only other option is to dramatically increase the ISO, which means the images become “noisy” or “grainy.” However, by dropping them into black and white, the grainy quality can help make them look a bit more like music press photos.

Here’s a wee selection of the images I took, but you can find more on my Flickr or Facebook pages here:

Alasdair Roberts

Samba Sene

Finding Albert

Sally Campbell



On the Sunday afternoon, the band I’m in, Scruffy Buzzards, was performing, but as I was playing I was unable to take any photos. If, however, you’d like to keep up to date with Scruffy Buzzards performances along with videos and photos as they appear, then please visit our Facebook page and hit “like”

Posted in Music, Photography | 3 Comments

Tin Opener

As I picked the tin of tomato soup out of the cupboard, my next thought was to locate the tin opener.

I wasn’t sure where the tin opener was, and I wasn’t sure why I didn’t immediately know where to look.

Admittedly we mostly ate Maggie’s homemade soup for lunch, but the occasional tin of soup wasn’t an unknown phenomenon.

I found the tin opener at the back of the second draw I looked in, but although I knew how to operate it, the action felt unfamiliar: almost like somebody else’s memories.

I wasn’t sure why it felt like this. I wondered if we had a different tin opener – perhaps some fancy electric thing – I’d been using more recently. But I was pretty certain we didn’t have one of those, and I definitely couldn’t think where in the kitchen it might be located if we did.

So allowing my hands to work on muscle memory rather than conscious familiarity, I squeezed the levers, puncturing the lid, then turned the winder until the tin had rotated the full 360 degrees and the last piece of the metal was cut through.

I fished the lid out of the soup and poured the contents in to a pan.

At which point I saw the ring-pull on what I had hitherto assumed was the underside of the tin, and the universe abruptly shifted.

Now I suddenly existed in a world where easy-to-open cans had been the norm for many years, and all the memories of using the ring-pulls were right there in the front of my brain, as easy to access as turning on a tap or opening a fridge door.

There are some theories about the structure of the universe that reckon there are an infinite amount of parallel universes which exist along side our own, each with minute differences to the next one.

It feels slightly more comforting to believe I gently slipped from one universe (where ring-pulls on tins didn’t exist) into another (where they do), than drawing any more obvious conclusion.

Posted in Trying to make sense of my existence in the universe | 12 Comments

Farino in the Stairwell

When the high-energy, foot-stompingly good guitar duo, Farino, performed at The Mill Sessions last year [see – Farino at the Mill Sessions], I did a photo shoot with them for The Mill’s Hall of Fame.

When they were invited back for another high-energy, foot-stompingly good gig at The Mill last Friday, I did another photo shoot with them in the afternoon before their performance.

To be honest they really hadn’t changed that much in the intervening 14 months, so doing another set of headshots seemed a bit pointless. Instead I thought I’d try and go for something a bit more compositionally interesting, looking at the use of lines and shapes.

I had a few ideas, which I was pretty certain would look good, but they based around the idea of being outside with plenty of light and space. Unfortunately it was chucking it down with rain that had no intention of easing off.

After trying out a couple of potential places, we settled on the stairwell of The Mill.

Making the most of diagonals

More sweeping shapes

The gig was sold out, which was good for the local band supporting them, as it gave them a bit more exposure to a warm crowd. This was particularly good news for me, as the local band was Scruffy Buzzards – the one I’m in.

I’ve gone back and checked through past posts and am surprised to discover I’ve not blogged about Scruffy Buzzards at all, and this is the first mention of them. I will rectify that soon, but for those who interested, you can find out more about us on Facebook here:

Posted in Business, Mill Sessions, Music, Photography, Scruffy Buzzards | 10 Comments

Spring Fling, Artist in Residence, and The New Book

Last autumn, I was artist-in-residence at the Wigtown Book Festival, where I took 173 portraits of visitors, residents and authors over 10 days.

These photos were then pinned to walls of “The Hut” – the studio space I’d been given to use for the duration – and each person’s name, along with the title of ‘a well-loved book,’ was scribbled underneath.

I’ve now created a book of the event, which includes all the portraits and a journal of my experiences as I progressed from naïve enthusiasm, through loss of confidence and on to final success.

Like my previous books, Facing The Weekend, and Staring Back, it’s been created via blurb.com – an online, print-on-demand publisher. You order the book and they print it and post it to you. Unfortunately, it’s not very cheap, but then copies are being printed off individually rather than en mass.

However, you can download it for your iPad or iPhone for a mere £2.49 (approx €3 or $4) because there are no printing or shipping costs.

If you would like to see and handle a printed copy, then I will have one with me this weekend when I am back at “The Hut” in Wigtown for the Spring Fling Open Studio Event (studio 6 in the brochure – visit the Spring Fling website to download the brochure app), from Saturday 2nd to Tuesday 5th June

If you can’t get over to visit, then take a look at the widget below to give you a taste.

If for any reason, the widget below isn’t working, then click on this link for more details

Posted in Photography, Spring Fling, Wigtown Book Festival | 10 Comments

"My Community" – a photographic exhibition

A couple of months ago I began an after-school photography project with 7 pupils at Moffat Academy, aged between 12 and 18.

The “Transitions” placement was a jointly funded and supported venture between the Spring Fling Open Studio organisation and the Education Services through the Creative Learning Network (CLN), which saw 3 different artists being placed in 3 separate schools in the region, myself being one of them.

As well as giving talks to the pupils about technical, compositional and practical aspects of photography, my goal was to put on an exhibition of their work at the end of it.

The title “My Community” was broad enough for the pupils to interpret it individually, and the aim was to produce a cohesive collection of 8 photos each.

The exhibition is being held at the Old Well Theatre in Moffat over the weekend (2nd & 3rd of June), but the preview evening is tonight, from 7pm to 9pm.

While I do, of course, know what all the photos look like, I’ve not yet seen them being displayed. Some of the older pupils helped the art teacher, Miss Young, who has been a wonderful support through this project, put them all up last night. Needless to say, I’m really excited about seeing them all in place tonight.

They’ve been a great group to work with, and the potential and creativity they have all shown has been amazing. All I can really say is I’m dead proud of them all.

For those who would like a taster, or who can’t make it along, I’ve picked one image each from their collections for you to view below.

Alex took a series of shots of friends revising for their exams and nicely caught the sense of tension and pressure

Alison’s family like to go sailing on the loch so her photos captured the people and action in this environment

Tom went exploring the streets of Moffat, taking photos as an observer

Mairi had fun with her friends at the park, organising them into a variety of fun poses

Daniel concentrated on photos of the band he’s in

Ruaridh captured the last day at school for the senior pupils as they all went around signing each other’s shirts

Min took her camera to the skateboard park to photograph her pals on their bikes and boards

If you can make it along to see the photos, your support would be appreciated and I know you won’t be disappointed. But if you can’t, lovely people that I know you are, I’m sure you’ll be wishing them all the best.

Posted in Photography, School, Spring Fling | 9 Comments

Win a free photo shoot for you and a friend!

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Spring Fling Open Studio trail across Dumfries and Galloway (2nd to 5th of June – I’m Studio 6 in the brochure), I’m offering you the chance to win a free photo shoot for you and a friend.

Between now and the 5th of June 2012, all you have to do is ask people you know to visit and “like” my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/kimayresportraitphotography – and get them to leave a comment saying who recommended it to them (if you aren’t already following me, then you need to visit and “like” my page first. Once you have done so, just tell your friends to “like” my page and say who sent them).

On the 6th of June I will randomly select a new fan from the comments and he or she, along with the person who pointed them in my direction, will win a free photo shoot for them both.

The photo session will last 2 to 3 hours and the aim is create a series of images of you together and individually. We will explore a variety of looks and moods, and I will show you how we can manipulate the images in Photoshop – from removing stray hairs to making you look like a character from Lord of The Rings.

The final images will be put on a disc for you to print off as many as you wish, or send to friends and family.

You can share this chance with as many friends as you want – the more people who mention your name, the more chances there are for you to be involved in the photo shoot.

Please note: the photo shoot will need to take place in Dumfries and Galloway within the next 12 months – unless you are prepared to pay for my travel, food and accommodation for the photo session to take place elsewhere.

For more about the Spring Fling Open Studio trail, visit www.spring-fling.co.uk

Posted in Anniversaries and Celebrations, Photography, Spring Fling | 6 Comments