I was walking through the tall grass and bushes around Inks Lake trying to find a good photo and carefully watching the ground for cottonmouth or copperhead snakes when I looked up and saw a big spider. I have seen these things around since I was a kid and they’re kind of big and creepy looking and I am glad that I didn’t run into her web. Looking online, I found that these are called Black and Yellow Garden spiders and found that they’re common across North America, and they are not venomous at all.
I decided to get the 70-200mm lens and see if I could get any close up photos of the spider. First I had to go around the other side of the web to get a top down look at her. I tried shooting through the crotch of a tree as I thought that it might frame the spider a bit. And at this point the spider was backlit by the setting sun.
I was shooting at f/8 to try to get a little texture on the tree bark in the foreground. That left the shutter speed at 1/50s which is pretty low for hand-holding 140mm, but I had the vibration reduction enabled and it turned out pretty sharp.
Next, I crept around to the side a bit to try to get a bit of her profile in the last rays of the sun before it set behind the hill. I did see her bounce her web a few times and I read that sometimes they do this when larger animals are near so that they will see it and not run into the web, I guess.
Here I opened up the aperture to the widest setting to get as fast a shutter speed as I could. This also had the effect of blurring out the background well so that the spider and web stand out nicely (compare to the first photo taken at f/8). I was also trying to avoid getting the spider inside the minimum focus distance of the lens which is listed as 140cm.
The light was fading fast and I needed to get moving and find a place to set up for a landscape shot and I was a bit concerned about snakes, so I moved on and left the spider to catch some insects.
Hope you enjoyed the spider. Leave a comment if you like.