Friday, 30 September 2011

Spider consuming a ladybird

These feel, I think, like truly intimate shots, providing a fascinating view of life and death in a tiny, almost alien environment of which we are so often oblivious. When I caught sight of the House Spider (Araneus diadematus) suspended between reeds with its trapped prey, I knew I had to try to capture it. While to the naked eye little detail was visible, I knew if I could get close enough a whole new world would open up. There were issues with this however. Negotiating ever closer to the spider without triggering any movement of any part of the web was difficult; the reeds were thick and the wider web was complex. The brilliant light meant getting the exposure right was a challenge and the slightest breeze sent the spider and its ladybird lunch into a frantic swaying motion. Finally, capturing the reverse of the scene (shown in the second picture) meant shooting directly into the sun, the challenge being to render detail in the shot without losing any of the atmosphere.

  • Technical notes: the shots were taken using a Canon 100mm image stabilized f/2.8 macro lens. In each shot, a medium aperture setting (f11 and f18 respectively) was used to maximise crispness in the details. The downside to this was, with the camera hand-held, that the slower shutter speeds (just 1/85th sec in the second shot) meant several takes were needed before motion blur was eliminated.
Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100mm 2.8 IS Macro lens, 1/400th sec, f/11, 100mm at ISO 500

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100mm 2.8 IS Macro lens, 1/85th sec, f/18, 100mm at ISO 800


  1. There's beauty in the beastly nature! Excellent recording of an event that we would otherwise miss. I really like this Tim.

  2. Superb shots Tim. From what I read, the 100mm 2.8 macro is a fantastic lens.

  3. Thanks Christian. Much appreciated. Hi Roy – I cannot recommend the lens highly enough. Really flexible length, amazing clarity, image stabilized, really tight minimum focusing distance and – if the focus is spot on – razor sharp details. Oh, and a really useful portrait lens too.