Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Repeating Myself

From the very first peek of glossy green in early spring....the Boston Ivy captivates me.

Aside from my children, I tend to shoot a few things over and over.  The first is a beautiful Japanese Maple in my backyard.  The second is a Lady Banks Rose that climbs over my pergola.  And last but definitely not least is the Boston Ivy that I planted a few years ago to cover my chimney.  It has not only grown, but it has flourished and now mingles with the Lady Banks Rose atop my pergola and gracefully arches from the eaves of my house and spreads into the flower bed over the Oklahoma moss boulders.

I don't know about you, but as a working mom I don't have a lot of free time to go out and explore various locales.  On any given evening I can usually be found in my backyard trying my best to find different ways to showcase the same things over and over.  My playlist of Shasta Daisies, Hamelin Grass, Japanese Maples, Nandinas, Virginia Creepers, Crape Myrtles and this Boston Ivy are on repeat.   I didn't even realize that I had photos of this ivy from all four seasons until I started putting together this post.  I have documented it's life as though it was a child not necessarily intentionally, but mostly because I photography in my backyard for most of my nature shots.   My husband tends to make fun of me because I talk about plants as though they are people.  But he has to understand that as a landscape designer, I am trained to give careful thought and consideration when selecting plants for specific locations.  That is why people pay me the big bucks (yeah right!)  I try various varieties at my own house watching them through a full four seasons before deciding if that plant will make the cut onto my preferred plant list.  My Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata...and yes, I am showing off) has definitely made it to the top of that preferred palette.  It's year round interest has caught my eye not only as a designer, but also as a photographer.   Let me show you why.

ONE- it's young bright green leaves have a very simple immature shape that will change as it grows.

 TWO- it has beautifully shaped mature leaves that gracefully arch out from whatever it's growing on creating a living wall.

THREE-I love the way one plant can spread throughout the garden and give an "always been here" feel to even a newly planted landscape.

FOUR-I'm a girl and I love ruffles. The ivy leaves create ruffles and waves on it's supporting structure.  One of my favorite views is to look up from below to accentuate the ruffles.
FIVE-even in the heat of summer as most everything is either dormant or dead it still shows character and life even with the crispy leaf margins.

SIX-I can't talk about Boston Ivy without mentioning the stunning, jaw dropping fall color.   No words really even needed here.
SEVEN- And when the color has faded, the leaves are long gone and the chill of winter settles in, it's still stunning with graceful branches that create a natural sculpture in the landscape.
Towards the end of winter I find myself keeping a close eye on the Boston for it's first buds and signs of life so I can capture it's annual cycle again. So what are you waiting for?  go get yourself a Boston Ivy and be sure and show me your photos!

Do you ever find yourself drawn back to the same subject matter over and over?  What creates that pull that draws you in?  Be sure to play along with our theme of the month Sunshine and Shadow. I hope to include my Boston Ivy in this months theme.  Be sure and post your photos in our Flickr group for a chance to be featured for our INFOCUS feature!


Dotti said...

Okay, Leigh! You've sold me! Your photos a beautiful and the ivy is gorgeous. Now ... where to put it ... ?

stephmull said...

What a fun post! I would have never guessed that you are shooting mostly in your backyard.....everything always looks different and fresh! So however you are finding ways to keep things looking new, keep it up!! And I'm with've sold me on a boston ivy!!

terriporter said...

Oh, I wonder if this would grow in AZ! What a wonderful plant with it's four seasons and the way it is always providing you with a photographic subject. I do tend to shoot a lot of things over and over, usually flowers from Trader Joe's rather than something in my backyard. But when I do find something in my yard to shoot, I love it because I can wander around close to home and shoot to my heart's content. I have some white flowers that bloom in late October and I have never been able to find out what they are called. This year, I'm going to take some shots of them and let you tell me! I'll bet there are a lot of people reading this who are heading to the nursery to buy some Boston ivy today!

kelly said...

oh leigh i just have to laugh when you said you take most of your pics in your backyard. omg that is soooo me. my husband even teases me saying, "how many pictures of that {fill in the blank} are you going to take?" even when i do get a chance to get out, i always come back to my backyard. it's my happy place. love how you've shown your gorgeous ivy in all seasons. what a beauty!!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

I have several places that just make me feel like "home" when I am photographing. I love your tour of the seasons and they are ALL fantastic. My answer to people who ask "how many picutres do you need of that ______ ???" I say "I need just one... but it might take a while to get that ONE." I especially love the leaves that turned ... what a cool color of red.


heyjudephotography said...

I didn't know that Boston Ivy changed color. The red is gorgeous and I can see why you shoot this subject over and over. It's pretty in every stage. I do the same thing. Whether it's in my back yard or at the sanctuary where I shoot year round. I know that my non photographer family and friends think I'm a little off! I had seen the ivy on the stone fence on your blog, which by the way, blows me away with all of the beautiful photos you have on there. I loved it there, I love it here. Can't wait to see that ivy in the sunshine and shadows pool too!

Leigh said...

Sun or shade's not picky!

leigh said...

I'm so glad you said that Steph. I'm always worried that people will look at my photos and think...geez she doesn't get out very much does she. It's a challenge!

Natalie said...

Great pictures Leigh. The colors are awesome.
One of my favorite things to take pictures of is the Electric building in downtown Buffalo, NY. I see it every morning on my way to work. Sometimes it is surrounded by fog and other times it just lights up the sky.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos! Love all the fall colors and textures of the leaves and the branches!

carol said...

No - I agree with Steph - I had no idea! Lucky you

carol said...

I want to see those pictures of Buffalo!

Natalie said...

Ok, I posted one but I'll dig out the others. I'm in the middle of moving so it might take me a bit to find them. They are on my flash drive.

Deanna said...

I have always loved ivy...I grew up in a house that was covered with Ivy and now my house has Ivy over much of the outside, two different kinds. One seems to stay green all year long (which obviously isn't Boston) and the other turns red and falls off, but it has a different leaf than the boston, so I am not sure what either of them are...I just know I love them both.

Kim Stevens said...

Leigh, your photos are gorgeous and I echo your love of Boston Ivy! We had some growing on the side of our brick house a few homes ago and it was always just so spectacular in the fall, I miss it. Wonderful post!

Linda said...

It seems I don't get out much either! Most of my shots come from my backyard! Some days are a challenge to find something new or to shoot something in a different way! The good think is, like you showcased here, you get a photographic record of things at different times of the year or even different times of the day!

Lovely pictures!


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