I took this image early one morning (I feel like I start so many of these “Anatomy of a photos” with those same words) while I was out chasing that early light. The grass was still wet, and so as it turns out were the spider webs.
Every year as the fall starts rolling around (usually a month or two before halloween) spiders begin to appear on larger and larger webs out in the coastal prairies with their scrub bushes and their tall grasses. They also begin to appear more and more in the plants of gardens and farms. As the webs get bigger and bigger, so too do the spiders. It’s a fun process to see, and nearly as regular as clock work.
On this morning, I did not head out to look for spiders. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I noticed that they always seem to follow this fall pattern. No, I was simply out for a hike to see what I and my camera would come across, and this spider happened to be part of what we came across.
Now a disclosure. I’ve manipulated this image. I rotated it so that the spider looks like it is standing on top of the web. It was actually hanging on the side of a web that was at a slight angle ( you can tell it’s a slight angle, because the spider looks like it’s raising the web up with its feet- actually, gravity is making the web bulge out a little, where the spider is hanging from it).
Too take this picture I had to get down on my knees, hunch down low so that I was looking at the spider from the side. I didn’t start off from the side though. I began taking photographs of the spider from a more perpendicular angle, which I feel is the more classic view of a spider… and a little more boring. So I began experimenting with these side shots, which I must say I rather enjoy the effect of.
This is a macro picture. Sort of. Some of my lenses have what they call a macro function, and while it is not a true macro, it does a fairly good job of it. Many smaller digital cameras have a similar function (read your camera manual, you might find that you have one in your point and shoot also). I will actually often use my small point and shoot to make macro images, because its function allows me to get in closer than my lenses with the macro function will. This was before I had that smaller camera.
The day was still fairly dark, and it was foggy. This forced me to use a fairly open aperture, but that is good, because I rather like the effect, with the narrow depth of field. (Sometimes you choose your depth of field, sometimes it is thrust upon you as you balance shutter speed and ISO.) I kept the ISO low to keep the noise levels down in the camera. Shutter speed was fairly fast, as I was hand holding the camera- the odd angles I was crawling around at would have made it tricky to use a tripod.
And that’s pretty much it. Enjoy.