Never had I fallen more in love with macro photography than when I stumbled upon the opportunity to photograph spiders. It opened up a whole new world. It was like wearing my glasses for the first time; tiny detail that my eyes would never see were brought to live on my camera screen; faces emerged from webs; spiders seemingly embarrassed at the scrutiny covered their eyes with their legs; amazing colours emerged; giggling faces were revealed. It was love at first sight.
On the down side, a whole new aspect of spider behaviour was revealed to me. I spent hours watching them capture prey, bind them in their silky web and suck them dry. On several occasions I felt queasy with the sights that were unfolding in my viewfinder. Yet so hooked was I with this new emerging world that I almost ruined the LCD screen on the camera by overheating it with the amount of shots taken and reviewed in 33degree heat.
I sat hour after hour in the baking sun, eyes glued to the bushes, rocks and undergrowth for spiders. I’d dehydrate, lose a little of my mind and develop a deep obsession with spiders all by spending one afternoon with these amazing creatures.
They’re not easy to capture – the slightest breeze throws the web into chaos and renders sharp images impossible (mental note made to myself to buy a windbreaker!). They would also have a habit of remaining dead still until the wind broke, when they would scurry around their web and come forward for a better look at me – rendering my focal distance null and void and throwing me and my tripod into chaos. I won’t lie, on several occasions they’ve also lunged from their web toward the camera and I’ve screamed and fallen back into the undergrowth before scurrying into the safety of the gite, covered from head to toe in goosebumps. It’s not that I am scared of spiders (I grew up with a spider’s nest in the corner of my bedroom and refused any offer of its removal – even after watching arachnophobia!), but once their sinister little world has been opened up to you, well….lets say I developed a healthy respect for them and will not be providing them with any opportunities to suck my blood!
Here’s a couple of my favourite spider photographs (above and below), more are available in our online macro gallery.