This ground spider awaits lunch guests in her front door. I had to convince her I meant no harm before she allowed the photo session.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
When a couple of my co-workers told me about a spider web crying out to be photographed earlier this week, I imagined threads of gossamer silk shimmering in the sun, home to a spectacular tiger-striped garden spider. When they led me to the subject web, I saw an earth-camouflaged ground spider lurking in her lowly ground-level tunnel. Momentary disappointment.
After feigning delight with my cohorts' discovery, I quickly threw my little pea brain into reverse and decided that it was a good thing. The ground spider spends just as much time, perhaps more, on her velvety tunnel and web than the garden spider.
While her lofty sister rids the environment of pesky airborne insects, she, the earthbound counterpart, nabs the creepy crawlers that like to munch on our gardens and bite our ankles. Both arachnids are doing their job and deserve equal billing.
Right after I completed my setup and was ready to shoot, the spider split and remained absent from the shoot for the next 20 minutes. The detritus on her web is scatter from a recent edging by the lawn maintenance crew.
When I stooped to look closer, Sistah Ground Spider spooked and decided it was time to retreat into the tunnel. This was on a Friday. I returned Saturday morning with tripod, Nikon, and remote release cord to the spider neighborhood, a well-tended flower bed on our campus. I was in luck. Ms. Spider was in her doorway, awaiting company for lunch.
She let me set up the tripod, adjust the angle, and even change lenses, but when I sat down on my stool to get serious with the shoot, she scurried. It would be another twenty minutes before she decided the large apparition with a strange machine poised above her domicile meant no harm.
After 15 minutes Mrs. Spider showed me her legs. A good sign that she was warming up to her photo session.
While waiting, I took advantage of the time with my phone. I checked out my grandchildren on Facebook, browsed the latest headline news stories, and read a chapter of Harry Bosch via my Kindle app. That took about 15 minutes. By then, I could see a couple of spider legs in the mouth of the tunnel. My patience was paying off. After five more minutes of news articles, she resumed her position in her front door.
As a result, I captured her up close and personal, prima facie evidence that rethinking ones position and exercising patience can yield rewards otherwise unattainable.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.