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Thread: Spider Webs How to?

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    Ausphotography Regular Elvie's Avatar
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    Spider Webs How to?

    I have been trying for a while now to perfect a capture of a spiders web but with no success, Can anyone offer any suggestions please . Thank you, Elvie

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    Member Kaktus's Avatar
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    Hi Elvie,
    I don't have any suggestions (being a total novice), but your question reminded me of a fluke shot in which I managed to capture a spiderweb. Will post it in the Members Photo section. Mind you I've only got a Bridge Camera (FZ-100) and was shooting in iA (intelligent auto) mode.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    what lens are you using?

    You need a macro lens, set to around f2.8 or so. then it is a matter of focusing in the web and using the aperture setting to ensure the background is out of focus and the web is in focus. Also consider your lighting. Sunny day with highlights in the background, will not be as effective as a dull day with lots of greenery etc in the background
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Hi Rick, Many thanks for your advice on my question, sorry the delay, but could not find where I had posted the question, however never too late. Thanks again. Elvie

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    few more hints:

    Wait till the web is wet. It stands out more. Shoot at 90 degrees to the web. Light can play a big part on how well the web shows up, check the web several times a day and you will find that at times it is almost invisible and at other times it stands out well. Choose your shooting time to match that

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I don't think there's any specific bits of info to help you capture spiderweb images.

    Rick's reply on using a macro lens is good, but not vital.
    Better detail is available when using a macro lens for the ability to get in close, but any telephoto lens will capture an amount of detail in the web.


    this one was captured with the Tammy 70-200mm I think


    This one with a 105mm macro lens, but only close up, not at macro magnifications. BTW, this spider was huuuuge! and it's web was massively massive. Tried to get in closer but would have tangled myself in the web itself.


    this one was at 17mm (with a wide angle obviously!) ... just had to get in closer than I would have liked. The point wasn't to capture as much detail of the web, but more so as a semi abstract environmental genre.


    this one again with the Tammy 70-200mm.

    the beauty of the Tammy over the other two brands of 70-200mm's(Nikon and Sigma) is that the Tammy can focus a lot closer and maintain a higher magnification. The Sigma is pretty good and only a whisker shy of the Tammy's ability, but the Nikon lens is way back in the pack in this feature.(dunno about the Canon side of this lens type).

    Even tho I'm about to contradict my opening line, a few things I've noted about spider web capture:

    Light: Quite important is the amount of light. An abundance of light = higher shutter speed. One thing that infuriates me with capturing spider webs is that they are so fragile. Even tho there is no wind to bother a human(common known as 'a perfect mild day' this doesn't have the same meaning for photographing a spider web.

    Time of Day: early morning when dew concentrations are at their highest is a good time to capture the small necklaces common seen out in the wild. They light up like Christmas trees against an early morning sun.
    again watch for shutter speed.

    DOF: if you capture the web from an angle of 90°, watch for a few lens related settings and aspects. Because at a 90° viewing angle, your DOF is very shallow, so you can get away with a very wide aperture setting. But then this can be a problem depending on your lens, with a phenomenon called field curvature, where as the lens is held wide open the DOF is more along a curved plane, rather than a straight wall line. A web at 90° mimics a straight wall plane, and not curved. Watch which lens you've used or stop down a bit. Don't automatically assume that you need to be shooting at f/16 or f/8 for maximum DOF, unless you want a sharply rendered background. eg. if your fast 50/1.8 has good control of filed curvature at f/2 and is relatively sharp at that setting, the f/2 will be fine. Otherwise try f/2.8.. or whatever other setting yields a sharp image as required.

    Now even tho there is a level of contradiction in that I said there are no specific bits of info for web photography, I still think this is true. It's about realising what other specific genres require specific settings and information and applying them. That is, a web is similar to a wall
    .... ie. practice your DOF and focus plane testing on a plain wall first to see what settings work best for your gear if need be.
    As with any moving subject, you need good shutter speed. Webs have a high frequency movement where they move very little, but bounce about a lot due to their springy nature. What I usually do for fast moving subjects is to capture a fast multiple frame rate set of images, in continuous shooting mode. I know that some will come out blurry, and others will come out sharp. It's a matter of percentages.

    This is my personal fave of all my spider web images

    and really only because it was a harder one to capture than normal. Due to the more difficult nature of it, in wanting the moon as the backdrop, with some detail in the spider, and the web itself, and using an old manual focus 180mm lens for the shoot.. apart from the wide open aperture, it went against all the specific bits of info I just explained (exif is fully intact if you want to read it all)
    Slow shutter, hardly any light other than annoying backlighting(which made contrast hard to achieve and create flare within the lens and so on!)

    I use a small powerful single chip LED torch for 'flash lighting' where I flicked the torch beam across during the 1/2s exposure instead of concentrating it on the spider. Leaving the LED lighting on the spider made for horrible lighting on the spider.

    best advice for spider web photography is to experiment with various settings
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    I've also found damp early mornings when the webs have dew drops on them and the morning light is soft is a good time for photos, frosty mornings are good too!

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    Ausphotography Veteran Speedway's Avatar
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    Take a spray bottle with you and spray the web with a fine mist of water this helps make the web stand out.
    Keith.

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    Not claiming this to be a good shot - it was taken in a hurry when I missed walking into him by the meerest whisker, and grabbed a pic to show my kids what I'd nearly copped a facefull of, but if it's anything to go by, then night time using a flash certainly made a lot of the web visible.
    Last edited by Ezookiel; 17-09-2011 at 10:41pm.

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