Friday, May 13, 2011

Young spiders

click photo to enlarge
Our New Zealand Flax (Phormium) suffered greatly during the recent very cold winter. Two of the four plants died and the other two came close to death. The deceased pair have been removed - a job for shears and an axe - but the others retained living leaves in their centres and have produced more during April and May: I'm hopeful that they'll make a complete recovery.

The discarding of two such large plants has left a big space in one of the borders that has had to be filled with small shrubs and annuals. The remaining two have halved in size due to the drying out of dead leaves and the fact that we've pulled off those that were loose. It was when she was inspecting these that my wife spotted the young spiders. They'd recently hatched and were clustered on a tangle of extremely thin webs stretched between some of the flax leaves. There was nothing elegant or artistic about the web; functionality was the only consideration in its construction. It was probably the low morning light catching the webs that caught her eye and she came into the house to suggest it to me as the subject for a photograph.

I took several shots using the macro lens, with and without the tripod, with the sun at the side and into the sun. The small creatures seemed to prefer to be in a cluster, a group that was about the size of my finger nail. However, when I touched it they spread radially, like a slow-motion expolosion, giving me a couple of different compositions. Out of the three photographs that I've posted I like the dark shot against the light best, though the other two please me as well.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Main Photo
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On