Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creepy Crawly Kind of Day

I have a love-hate relationship with spiders.

Okay, so it's a little heavy on the HATE end, but I do have a certain amount of respect for them. They are a little bit fascinating, when being observed safely and on purpose.

It's those moments when you don't expect them that they are abhorrent.

I had a little bit of both today.

I met up with a bunch of friends today at a local neighborhood park, and all the moms were chilin' under a giant, gorgeous tree.

You know--the ones that you can only find in the state of Washington.

Well, it turns out spiders think Washington's trees are pretty fabulous, too, and one descended gracefully, almost landing on a 2-year-old girl's head. Luckily, one of the mommas kept her head, and rather than frantically telling the child to move, grabbed the web and moved the spider itself. But she flung it to the ground--right underneath my knees.

He (She? Aren't most spiders female? Maybe??) kept a low profile for the next 20 minutes or so, until he showed up on my leg--you know, just chillin'.

Moment of panic hit, and I flicked that sucker with enough force to make the national champion of tabletop football proud--right onto the back of my dear 39-months-pregnant friend.

Another moment of panic, and the demon was removed for good.

Naturally, a whole lot of nasty spider stories followed.

Check out what I found spanning the 4-foot gap between our tree and backyard fence when I got home.

Instead of having another panic fest, I grabbed the opportunity to play with my f2.8 100mm macro lens. I didn't dare get too close, because there was a breeze, and the web was swaying about a foot in either direction. Wouldn't that be a nasty surprise--to get a spider in its web stuck on the end of your lens!


My tip for photographing spiders and webs--if you dare?
Said in a spooky Halloween voice, naturally...

Switch your lens to manual focus--the fibers of the web can be so fine that the len's focus system doesn't pick them up. If you have a ginormous spider plopped in the middle, then you are probably fine. Mine wasn't all that ginormous--but still gross, right?


Use a lens with a long focal length. I don't think I really need to elaborate on that one.

Play around with angles and aperture sizes. The depth of field (how much of the photo is in focus, and how much is blurry) can make a huge impact on your photo. The smaller your f-stop, the wider the aperture, the narrower your depth of field (lots of blurryness!).

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