Photographing Ivy Leaves

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There isn't much foliage to photograph here in winter except for ivy leaves. However there's always plenty of evergreen ivy leaves scrambling over old tree trunks and through the hedgerows. Therefore it makes a great subject to photograph. Especially when so much of the landscape is all shades of beige and brown.

 

In fact Ivy Hedera helix is the perfect plant for over wintering insects. Furthermore it gives shelter with its evergreen leaves. While it provides nectar in the later months of the year for the few pollinating insects that are still in flight. Particularly wasps and the autumnal Ivy bee - Colletes hederae. The solitary Ivy bee is only active between September and November and feeds exclusively on ivy blossom. While it's clusters of ivy berries that mature between November and January have a high fat content. As a result they are an excellent food resource for the birds during the cold winter months.

 

The plant has two stages of growth: juvenile and adult.

 

When it's at the juvenile stage it has lobed leaves, never flowers nor fruits. Consequently it usually just puts on lots of growth and aerial roots.

 

As you can see in these photos the ivy leaves are at the adult stage with mature unlobed oval leaves. When the plant grows in full sun it's able to produce lots of flower umbels and fruit. Likewise it's more like a bush rather than climbing up a tree trunk. As a result the upper branches hang rather than cling to anything.

photographing evergreen ivy leaves and blossom
evergreen ivy leaves

Photographing Ivy Leaves

 

The following images of ivy leaves were taken with a 200 mm prime telescopic lens, timer and tripod rather than with a macro lens. I have to say that I was delighted with the results. Not only did I get good closeups using mirror lock up but I achieved dreamy bokeh too.

evergreen ivy leaves and fruits in the frost
200mm lens f2.8
evergreen ivy leaves with a dreamy bokeh background
Evergreen ivy leaves and clusters of fruit with a dreamy bokeh background. I shot through ivy leaves to create the blur at f.2.8.
adult  ivy leaves and fruits
These are the adult leaves and fruit clusters. I shoot this at f3.2.
frosted adult evergreen ivy leaves and fruits
arborescent / adult leaves
this is an image of the adult fruits emerging from a blur of ivy leaves
adult goblular clusters of fruit emerging from a blurry bokeh of frosted green leaves
this is a image of lots of adult adult leaves and fruits
adults oval shaped leaves with no lobes and fruits shot at f5

 

 

Juvenile Ivy Leaves

 

Finally I'll leave you with a photograph of the juvenile leaves so you can compare. These leaves have 3 - 5 lobes which cling to tree trunks using their aerial roots.

 

This photograph was also taken in December but not on the same day as the previous shots. This image was shot with Canon 50mm f1.4 at f2.8. Check out my tips for using back light in your photos for further information.

 

this is an image of glowing juvenile ivy leaves with back light from the winter sunshine clinging to a tree trunk.
Glowing juvenile lobed leaves with back light from the winter sunshine.

 

 

 

 

Rosie Nixon
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Rosie is a passionate wildlife gardener in Scotland, a Perthshire / Tayside flower and garden photographer and writer. She enjoys soaking up nature in her own garden and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that buzzes, creeps, crawls or flutters. She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography.

Rosie Nixon
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