Photographing Spider Webs, 2

Basics & Beyond

A Web – au natural in a heavy fog

This is your basic subject and your basic shooting environment – wet & close to the ground in the weeds usually


Yesterday’s post reviewed spider web photography basics. Today’s post will look at different web photo types and possibilities. Tomorrow I’ll illustrate the use of selective focus for “arty” webs.

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Technical – Nikon D70s, Nikon 75-300 @ 75mm , 1/500 sec, f/4.5, EV=0, ISO400, WB=Cloudy, multi-segment metering, aperture priority, RAW capture, tripod, circular polarizer, manual focus

Essentials –

  • Camera sensor aligned parallel to web (tripod) (an essential essential)
  • Fast shutter speed
  • Lens wide open & at minimum focal distance for a shallow DOF, else the busy background would be to distracting
  • Yesterday I discussed the value of a macro lens; today’s image shows that a macro isn’t essential (as long as you abide by the the 1st two points above)
  • Using a zoom allowed me to more easily frame this shot without the risk of moving the camera/tripod and breaking the web in this tight, cluttered area

Composition

Web slightly off center
Use the grass stalks for framing
Background blurred; out of focus background web at right provides some depth perspective without overlapping & interfering with the main web

Post-process

If done right then almost no post-processing should be required; maybe a little tonal contrast adjustment as I did here to have the web stand out from the background a little bit more.

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Once you have the basics down pat, as discussed in yesterday’s post, it’s time to have some fun exploring different views of spider webs. Click any image to enlarge it.
No dew drops – usually not as interesting as with dew drops

Back lit Spider

Abstract Rhythm

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A Few Extra Large Drops – the reflection in these drops is important; focus on the reflection & make it tack sharp. It will be upside down and backwards.

Composition is important; you’re working with just shapes & lines

Again, composition; if your story is about large drops (shapes) try not to cut any off at the frame

Make your large drops extra special with a sunburst; requires stopping way down which means you must try for a clear background otherwise it will detract when shooting at f/22. Click to see the detail.

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Engineering feats – spiders are incredible builders and the strength of their material is amazing

Focus on the reflections; use shallow DOF in order not to lose the pin head sized drops in the background

Ditto above

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Background color

Wetland cattails and grasses

Straight into the rising sun (through mist). If you click & enlarge this you’ll see the scene in the reflection – the sun just breaking above the horizon. You also note that this image has been flipped vertically as the horizon (dark) is at the bottom and dew drop reflections are upside down. I did this to give the impression of a fountain.

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An infinite number of possibilities once you’ve got the basics down pat. If you live where morning dew isn’t common, maybe a spray bottle would help (never tried it myself, but it might work).
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This next post, the last in the 3-part series, explores breaking the “rules” of web photography to create artistic web abstracts. If you’ve read this far, don’t miss the grand finale. 😉
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