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Garden Spider | by DaveWilsonPhotography
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Garden Spider

Continuing my foray into macro photography with flash, here's a male Garden Spider , (argiope aurantia) which lives by our chicken coop. Apparently this species is also known as a Banana Spider, Writing Spider or Corn Spider. The male is quite small, around 3/4 to 1 inch long, but the female can grow very much larger, perhaps 3 inches long, and makes a very spectacular sight on its huge web.


For the technically inclined, this was shot with a Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro lens stopped down to f32 which appears to me to be the best aperture for really close shots like this. The lens will drop down to about f55 when you are as close as this but I notice the sharpness drop off way down there and f32 gives me the depth of field I need so I'm tending to stay in that area.


For lighting I had two SB600s, one camera left at about 9 o'clock (camera pointing at 12 o'clock) and slightly above the spider, and another handheld camera right and also slightly above the spider. Both were set to the same power.


The main trick here was determining suitable camera and light positions to highlight not only the spider but also the fabulous web it spins. From many angles, the web disappeared into the background but here I managed to make it visible without having to resort to water sprays and other devious means.


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Taken on July 25, 2009