Hello Little Spider

Okay, you have been warned. You might want to skip this post if you’re not a fan of spiders, creepy crawlies, or any of those things that definitely crawl on your face at night whilst you’re asleep. Seriously, they do. Maybe.

Look, since I’m being really nice, I won’t put any pictures in this little preview. You’ll have to click ‘read more’ to see them. Just in case you’re really creeped out by small hairy things (insert your own joke here). Because although the spider in this post is not small by Australian standards (where the spiders can grow to the size of Utes), it is pretty big by UK standards. And I managed to get pretty close. Are you ready? C’mon, let’s take a look.

1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250, exposure bias -0.67, 100mm

Right, now you’ve seen it, let’s get on with a bit of the backstory.

Just outside my flat a couple of big spiders have taken residence. This big guy (his body was a couple of centimetres from nose to tail, if he had either, but my spider biology is a bit rusty so I have no idea) had built his web right by the entrance to our block. He’s a hardy fellow, too: he survived at least one pretty hellacious thunder and hailstorm during the summer. And I think his web is big enough to comfortably detain a kitten.

So, after a some months of passing him as I arrived home every day, I finally gave in, snapped on my macro lens, and headed out to get some shots of him.

1/100sec, f/4, ISO 400, exposure bias -0.67, 100mm

Frustratingly, I headed out when the light was good and the weather calm – but as soon as I got out there a wind picked up that blew his web all over the place, making it really difficult to get a decent shot of him.

1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250, exposure bias -0.67, 100mm

Whilst I was out there photographing, someone arrived, presumably visiting one my my neighbours. She stopped me and asked if I was photographing one of the cars in the car park. I was a bit bemused by the question, to be honest – for a start, half the car was obscured by the bush the spider’s web was attached to, so if I had been trying to photo the car in question I’d have been doing a terrible job of it. I’m also not entirely sure what the problem would have been – it’s not like I haven’t photographed cars in public before (slightly different sort of case, but still).

Anyway, doesn’t matter. I was photographing a spider. Perhaps I should have put it in her hair? Too far?

Of the handful of shots that weren’t scrubbed for being to blurry and out-of-focus, this one is my favourite.

1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250, exposure bias -0.67, 100mm

What I like about it is the composition (the movement of the web forced me into a high ISO and robbed me of the ability to frame properly) and the bokeh of the background. I also love the colour and the fact the spider is fully in focus.

You can take a look at the rest of the shots of the spider in the gallery below. Unfortunately, if you like that sort of thing, the EXIF data still isn’t displaying in the gallery view. I need to dig up and revive the support ticket on that one.

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9 Comments

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  1. Wonderful spider!
    It only takes the slightest breeze – maybe even heavy breathing – to make macro photography much more challenging.

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    • I know. There’s something I call the macro sway, where you are trying to take a really closeup photo, and your natural swaying keeps moving the image in and out of focus, and you have to time the image just right so it’s all in focus!

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  2. Hello I am glad you put this pictures, because this is a common one in here, I mean I live in East Sussex, and in my garden i saw them loads of time and ohh i can not bare them. Once there was a big on my front door that I was so terrified I wait outside until my boyfriend came back and with a stick we tried to make him move ohhhh gosh still thinking about make me feel sick. Yes I am one of that people that hate spiders in all shape and form. Do you have any idea about this one, are they poisonus? dangerous, are they typical english or not??? You are right they are pretty big and scary!!!!

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    • I have no idea about spider species. I can’t say I’ve seen this one anywhere else, and I would probably recognise the yellowness of his body if I saw it.

      My wife dislikes spiders too, but she is a bit more accepting of them. She lets them be unless they go for her. We had a couple living in our flat for a while but they help catch bugs so they’re okay. Once they start going for you then they get thrown out.

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  3. Interesting looking spider. I’m not a fan of spiders, but I don’t mind looking at them. As long as they don’t crawl on me . . . at night while I’m sleeping and wake me up.

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  4. I had a spider on my porch all summer, big as yours. She would catch a bug, eat it, and then the next day she would be that much bigger. Then one day a little spider showed up. The big spider and the little spider faced off, front legs in the air like two martial artists. They stood like that for hours, until finally the little spider ducked in and out, almost too fast to see and left. Turns out this is how the male inseminates the female. Sometimes he escapes with his life, sometimes he doesn’t. Too metaphorical? A few weeks (days?) later the web was full of hundreds of teensy little spiders. Pretty neat to see the whole thing play out.

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  5. Oh wow! I saw a very similar one not too long ago and also photographed it for my blog here: http://thisislemonade.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/faces/

    Seems like yours was bigger though from your description. Mine was living inside the wing that houses the mirror on the side of a car. It has that distinctive cross on the body though so perhaps it’s the same.

    Love your photos, they were definitely worth crossing the lady who thought you were photographing cars. Luckily no one saw me when I took mine, because I most certainly was 😉

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  6. That’s a very cool looking little critter… but he needs to do a few web repairs. Haha! Nice photos, Rob.

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