Caught in the web

In my yard, there is a garden or some type of unknown spider that keeps spinning this giant web. It would be amazing to see how this spider gets this done at night. I know that birds keep flying through the thing and tearing it down, then it is back again in a day or two. The spider must climb up the downspout to my roof, and then take a leap off the corner of the gutter. Each time I find the web, it always has one long string off the corner of my house that holds one end of it up. I have seen the spider, but it has been too dark at night to get a good shot of it, not to mention it beats feet anytime I get close enough for a shot. Of course, my wife Jenn is not a big fan of spiders to put it mildly. The only way I’m able to get these shots is because she wont come near the area. Otherwise she would have doused the entire area with bug killer or lit the bushes on fire to make sure the critters were dead. Luckily they are too close to the house – so I don’t have to worry about it at this point.
I used a small water bottle to bring out the web a bit and make it easier to focus. There was already some dew on the web but it was evaporating quickly with the rising sun. This shot includes a little mosquito caught up in the web.

 

Mosquito in dew covered web © Rob Loughrey

Small world

I have been trying out a few things with my macro lens and spray bottle. I read on another Photo Blog by Mike Moats something that he tried in the backyard, using a piece of glass, a water bottle and flower. Real basic – spray water onto  a sheet of glass suspended over a flower or pot of flowers. The drops of water act like hundreds of tiny magnifying glasses. Whatever it is you are trying to magnify needs to be relatively close to the glass below.  Mike used rain x on the glass to help the water bead. I tried this but it wasn’t working the way I wanted, so I used carnuba wax instead. It worked great giving me plenty to work with. It all sounds simple, but this is harder than you would think. In order for the image to be clear from edge to edge, you need to have the image plane level with the surface of the glass. Working at such close distances, if you are even slightly off the edges of the images will be out of focus. I used a bubble level on my camera to help get it aligned. The other difficult part is trying to get the camera setup around the setup. I spent a good deal of time just trying to get everything right. If you are going to try this, you absolutely need a tripod and cable release to minimize vibrations. If your camera has mirror lock-up, use that as well. When you are taking an image of something at life size, even the tiniest vibration can ruin your image. I shot these early in the morning before the breeze started picking up or late in the afternoon with little or no wind.  Hope you enjoy…
New York Aster (Aster-novi-belgii) © Rob Loughrey

 

 

Purple Mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium) © Rob Loughrey

 

Dahlia (Dahlia x hybrida) © Rob Loughrey