Wilhelm Photography Blog

O is for Orchard Orbweaver

You might not like spiders, but if you are a bug-hater in general this guy is really on your side. The Orbweaver usually makes his webs low to the ground or in bushes. His main mission is to control the insect population in your garden. Well, his main mission is to eat, but that is a bonus. My favorite thing is the crazy vibrant colors on this species of spider.

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The orb weaver spider’s web is often oriented horizontally, with the spider hanging down in the center.

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They are tiny. I am sure that no spider is tiny enough for you, but this guy is atop a hosta bud to give you some size reference.

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Hairy legs

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I love how clear and iridescent his long eight legs are. This shot captures the morning dew still clinging to the web.

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Those of you who follow my artwork know I have a passion for macro photography- especially “creepy crawlies.”  Of all the little ones I photograph, spiders are one of my favorites! I realize most people are not exactly in love with spiders. I don’t appreciate them sneaking up on me or living in my house, but I think they are both delicate and mesmerizing in front of my lens. I  like to know a good deal about the creature I am photographing so I will share some fun facts with my artwork.  Let me show you a few old and recent favorites.

 

This was my first published piece: Best of College Photography Annual 2003

That is a VERY large Banded Garden Spider silhouetted by the setting sun. I had shivers standing in the middle of the field being that close to it,  and every time I turned to leave I came face to face with another. I will admit, I ran out of that field!

Daddy Long Leggers or Harvestmen: This guy has the most graceful lines of all arachnids with it’s delicate thin legs splayed out at different angles. However, he is technically NOT a spider. Although in the class Archnida, harvestmen are in the order Opiliones. The most obvious difference between harvestmen and spiders is that in harvestmen the connection between the cephalothorax and abdomen is broad, so that the body appears to be a single oval structure.

The crab spider is one of my favorites probably because they come in many colors. Instead of the traditional web strategy for catching dinner, crab spiders blend with the petals of a matching flower and wait for its prey to land to collect pollen or nectar and that is when they pounce. In addition to their ambush hunting they a closely resemble actual crabs with the posture of the two front pair of legs and the way they scuttle from side to side. I will blog on Crab spiders again in the future since I have many images of them.

I believe this to be a large variety of Orb spider, but I took this image before I was reserching my subjects so I am not sure. I did however allow him to live in my sunroom for three weeks until I had the right light for this photo. I also tried a flour dusting trick on the web to help in stand out. I wasn’t overly impressed with the change it made and haven’t used that technique since. On a side note, I used this image for a personalized credit card and it is so funny to watch cashiers try to swipe it without touching it that I have renewed the image twice.

Unlike the spider above that was large and hairy, this one was incredibly tiny-” head of a pin” tiny! You know the little gnats that swarm around your head on summer evenings that are like annoying specks of dust? That is what he has caught in his web, and he isn’t much bigger! It was almost a strain on my eyes to photograph him.

One last old image.  I am always fond of spiders on flowers for my images.  It is something most people love and hate mixed together, but both are exquisitely designed.

As I continue to blog some of my favorite artwork before I start unveiling the new in the spring, feel free to share, like, and pin your favorite images!