Sunday Spider: Backlit Araneus

Araneus sp. | Wildwood, St. Louis Co., Missouri

Araneus sp. | Wildwood, St. Louis Co., Missouri

Letting the dog out tonight, I encountered this spider—presumably in the genus Araneus—who had strung up her web in the corner of the doorway and was eerily backlit when I turned on the porch light. Without a tripod that would allow me to position the camera about 7′ above the floor and make use of a super long exposure, my only option for capturing the scene hand-held was to crank the ISO all the way up to 3200, ratchet down the shutter speed to 1/20th sec, and open up the aperture to f/5.6 (any lower and the shallow depth of field would have been unacceptable). Heavy-handed processing to reduce noise and increase sharpness yielded a serviceable photo; however, I’ve been thinking about getting a tripod lately, and the chance to produce much better versions of scenes like this only strengthen those thoughts.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2013

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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4 Responses to Sunday Spider: Backlit Araneus

  1. Jeff Weber says:

    I couldn’t live without my tripod, though I have a permanent crease in my left shoulder from hauling it around with my camera attached. I recommend a snap-mount system for quick attachment of the camera. Shots like your stationary spider are a breeze, using a tripod.

    • I suppose I could have one on hand for such situations, but I still can’t imagine carrying one around with me when I’m in the field. I haven’t quite gotten to the point yet where I can go out and focus only on photography and not collecting.

  2. smccann27 says:

    They can definitely do wonders, although I had to buy three of them before I found one I would actually carry. Lightweight carbon fibre ones are coming down in price, If I had a car to get around, I would probably carry a heavier one instead, but all the busing and walking I do forces me to carry the lightweight one (whicjh is still not bad if I hang my camera bag from the post). .

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