Fair warning to all you spider-adverse people out there: this post main contain spider in small amounts – and by ‘may’ and ‘small’ I mean to say that it only contains spiders.
I was hoping to do some more serious bug hunting this weekend but, alas, the weather proved to be somewhat capricious once again. The sky was a bit grey when I ventured out and there was a fair amount of wind blowing around (that’s what wind tend to do, in case you hadn’t noticed), so I wasn’t really having high hopes to find anything good. I did a quick check of the usual flowers and saw only a few butterflies, none of which sat in any good location or would let me get close. I abandoned the flowers and instead headed into the trees to try my luck there. At first I kept looking among the leaves for flying critters – I’ve become rather accustomed lately to shooting things with wings – but there really weren’t many around so I started staring at the ground and finally found something.
Spiders are usually rather scarce but today they were almost the only critters I ran into. Not that I’m complaining, I happen to like spiders, at least if they’ll pose for me. The first one you see here was the biggest of the lot so I really wanted to shoot him. At first he was hiding under some thick grass but I managed to scare him out into the open and up on a tree. He was still keeping close to the ground though, and I was having trouble getting a good angle with all the grass in the way. I tried to poke him a bit with some grass to get him to move but he wasn’t impressed; first he attack the grass but then he kind of just ignored it. Finally I switched the grass for a pine cone and that got his attention. I herded him a bit farther up the tree and in the end got this shot, which was my favourite. Don’t forget to check the larger version on my flickr so you can appreciate the details.
So the first spider was a bit of a tough guy but this next one was on the other end of the spectrum…the very far end. This guy was such a baby about having his picture taken, you would think I was trying to eat him or something. I tried several times to get a frontal shot but every time he would turn around and run off in the opposite direction, sometimes jumping to another blade of grass. Let this be a lesson for those of you with arachnophobia; these critters are usually more scared of you than you are of them, often to the point of frustrating innocent photographers to such a degree that they walk away in disgust.
Cowardly tendencies aside, I’m still pretty happy with the shot. I really like the clean background, it puts all the focus on the subject while still placing him in his natural environment. I like the background in the first shot as well, especially the colour, but there’s more clutter in the frame. As a model the first guy wins hands down though, not even when faced with the terror of a pine cone did he run like a little girl.
This last shot is probably the compositionally weakest one but I’ve got a perfectly good excuse for that, no really, I do. You see, at this point it was starting to rain and I was on my way home. Not quite ready to give up just yet, I checked the flowers one last time. I was very excited with what I found: a spider with a freshly caught fly. The problem was that they were in a really bad position where I couldn’t shoot them. I tried to twist the flower into a good position that would both give me a clear shot and allow me to hold my flash at the same time (curse you evolution, we need more arms).
I was almost there when I accidentally made the poor spider fall. He managed to stay on thanks to his safety line but he lost his dinner. I felt a bit bad about that and also annoyed that I missed what could have been a great shot. However, the spider was still there so at least I could get a shot of him. It was still tricky though, the rain was picking up and the spider wanted to stay on the lower side of the stem to avoid it, while I wanted him at the top so I could shoot him.
So, not the best composition and I completely messed up my chance to shoot a feeding spider but the critter is still cool so the shot isn’t completely without merit.
It was weird to find so many spiders in a single outing since they’re usually hard to come by. I’m definitely happy I got to shoot them though, even when considering that some of them really need to man up a bit. Until next time, happy hunting.