Thursday, January 8, 2009


I have taken a lot of bird photos. I am displaying some of them on this yuwie club. I hope you enjoy them as I will be posting more of our winter friends. I do my best to identify them, but if I am wrong, I would appreciate any help. Thank you!

The Hawk landed in our tree and the Goldfinches and other birds froze where they were. The finches remained in the position on the right the entire time the hawk was there, which was a good 10 minutes. It was as if they were holding their breaths hoping they wouldn't be seen. Nothing moved while he sat in our tree. When he flew off the finches on the feeder and the Juncos hiding in the shrubs began coming out. In a few minutes all was normal.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Photographing spiders

I really got into Macro photography about two years ago. I never realized how beautiful insects could be. I never thought I would get up close and personal with spiders, but they are truly fascinating creatures. I never knew orb weavers (bottom two) took their webs down each evening and re-spun them. Some are very elaborate. Some spiders build tunnel like webs where they lie in wait for prey. Not all spiders build webs, spiders like the crab spider and the Wolf spider (left) hunt their pray without relying on silk, yet they all use silk. On a warm sunny day you can see tiny spiders drifting along on streamers of silk and most people have experienced the creepy feeling of walking into a spider's web.

Spiders get a bad rap, but they are really beneficial. People get bit by
spiders and hardly notice. Spiders rarely bite humans unless they are provoked or rolled on. The Wolf spider in the photo above looks about as big and menacing as a spider can get, but he is quite harmless to humans and will quickly retreat when approached. The colorful Crab spider bites, but would rather wait in a flower for it's prey.

Spiders are everywhere! About 40,000 species exist in the world and most are quite harmless to us. The Brown Recluse and Black Widows are exceptions in North America. Their bites can be serious and painful to humans. Brown Recluse spiders are rarely seen but they are all around and people rarely get bit by one. Their bite can be very serious though. They move across a surface very quickly, so capturing one with a camera, at least for me, has been impossible. I haven't seen a Black Widow since I gave up pest control work years ago. I don't go looking for them. Both prefer dark, out of the way spaces.

Spiders do make interesting subjects for macro photography like the Orb weaver, commonly called a Black and yellow garden spider (right) wrapping his dragonfly catch. Commonly mistaken for a Banana spider, it is not. Intimidating but not a threat to humans. I never noticed a Golden rod Crab spider (above right) or the Spiny backed Orb weaver (above) until I started using Macro on my camera. Their color, variety, shapes and sizes are truly amazing when one takes time to stop and observe.