Each year we see these spiders pop up around our house en masse around the start of autumn, but they still surprise me a bit when I first encounter their massive webs. The one in here is about two inches in diameter (including the legs, not just the body) and while I’m not sure if it’s poisonous or not, I’m still more than a little inclined to maintain a respectful distance. I saw this spider when I was taking out the trash one morning, and of my reaction was something along the lines of “whoa.” The web’s proximity to our outdoor flood light made for a really cool backlit effect, and even though I was holding my infant son in one arm I ran to get my D200 and tripod to see if I could get a decent shot. And I did, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Truth be told I kind of forgot about my new spider friend until that night when I was working in my garage and noticed that he was not only still hanging around, but had his legs fully extended which made for a much more interesting picture. This time I put the 50mm lens on my D7100 so I would have more flexibility if I needed to crop the photo, and could also take advantage of its higher ISO capabilities. Instead of a tripod I just used a stepladder, and tried several angles to get the shot I was looking for. The tricky part here was getting my metering right–I tried Matrix and Spot, but those ended up either too dark or too washed out. Center-weighted got things just how I wanted them, and even though I did have to do a bit of Lightroom finessing (yay for graduated radial filters!) I came very close to nailing the shot I wanted right in camera. Turns out I didn’t even need the higher ISO of my D7100 since I shot this at ISO400, but still, it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it.


  1. I got the best cardio workout the other night when I ran into a spider web and immediately went into Jackie Chan, Steven Segal and Chuck Norris mode all at the same time!!

    This is a very awesome shot, Simon. And that looks like an incredibly dangerous specimen of spider. On your next wildlife safari be careful not to get bitten or you may end up like Peter Parker or the dearly beloved late Steve Irwin.

    • Oh yeah, I know what you mean! If I so much as brush a spider web when I’m walking around, I freak out and start pummeling the air. Meanwhile, the spider is probably sitting back and watching this poor sucker just flailing about. I’m glad you like the pic, and not to worry: I’ll make sure to keep my distance. I have no idea if this little fella was poisonous or not, but I don’t really want to find out firsthand :)

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