click photo to enlarge
A few weeks ago I was well into the third day of cutting an area of rampant ivy from a vertical-lap wooden fence when, instead of hitting the chisel with my wooden mallet, I hit my hand. The pain was excruciating and I thought I'd broken my index finger. However, an hour or so later, after ice-pack treatment, I began to think that bruising was the worst of it. And, after a few days that's what transpired. This patch of ivy had expanded over the years, despite me regularly and savagely chopping it back. Of course, ivy is like rust, it never sleeps, it is always colonising fresh ground. So, having had enough of it, and in agreement with my neighbour, we decided to be rid of it. It is now gone, though I'm sure some will appear from the ground in a fresh attempt to re-assert itself when spring comes around.
I remembered my ivy (and my finger) recently when I was photographing this corner of the churchyard at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire. You might think this is a neglected acre or two of God's ground. Nothing could be further from the truth. The churchyard is well-maintained and its fine collection of seventeenth century, Georgian and later tombs are well displayed all year round. But, by way of contrast a few edges are left in a semi-wild state, and it was one of these patches that drew my photographer's eye. I liked the the contrast of the deep shade, the ivy-covered gravestones and the prominent uncovered cross, with the sunlit, orderly graveyard beyond. As we went on our way, I thought about the volunteers who must periodically control the ivy to prevent it completely smothering the trees and the gravestones, leaving them undifferentiated mounds of shiny leaves. I didn't envy them their task.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm (60mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On