Ugly but intriguing
The other morning when I was in our backyard, I couldn’t help but notice a spider in a large web hanging from David, our Bradford pear tree. It stretched about three feet from a branch to the fence.
You know me, right? I raced back into the house to grab my Nikon D700. First, I tried the Nikon 105mm macro lens, but spidey was a little too high up for its range. And, of course, I wasn’t about to get too near the little bugger in case it decided to jump on my head. Too terrifying to even contemplate!
Not too close for comfort
So I switched to the Nikon (f/4) 300mm lens, and that did the trick. I watched . . . from afar, natch . . . as the spinybacked orb weaver (yep, I Googled it) weaved its web. The entire time it was busy as a, well, bee. If that bee was white and black with eight legs, of course.
As I was walking away to return to the safety of my house, I saw that the arachnid and its silky work of art was backlit. Usually I don’t like to shoot into the sun, but I figured I’d give it a try.
A backlit surprise
I was so glad I did! The spider captured a rainbow!!
Posted in insects, photography
Tagged Bradford pear tree, David, insects, Nikon 105mm lens, Nikon 300mm lens, Nikon D700, rainbow, spider, spinybacked orb weaver, web
Jupiter looks miniscule compared to the moon last night.
Were you looking up at the sky last night? If it wasn’t cloudy, you should’ve seen a very bright dot in the darkness near the moon. Although it appeared tiny, what some might have mistaken for a star actually was big, old Jupiter!
My college roommate Jan commented about the event on Facebook yesterday along with a handy-dandy link for EarthSky. That website noted that last night the waxing gibbous moon would be at its closest to Jupiter, an event that won’t happen again until 2026.
I don’t have a crystal ball that can tell me what I may or may not be doing in 13 years. So I figured I’d better go outside last night and shoot. Fortunately, the temperature was in the 50s, so I didn’t have to suffer for my art.
I handheld my Nikon 300mm f/4 lens attached to my Nikon D300. Fortunately, I remembered the lesson I learned when I snapped pics of the supermoon last year: The key is to select spot metering to bring out the moon’s details. Otherwise it looks like a bright blob.
I hope if I get the opportunity in 2026, I haven’t forgotten how best to shoot the moon!
Nothing up my sleeve. Presto! It’s a baton!
Need an excellent example of background blurring, aka bokeh? Just check out this series of photos I took last Saturday morning of our high school’s drum major, Courtney.
Here it comes!
I love how my Nikon D700’s total focus on her pulling her baton out of her uniform so brilliantly softened the musicians and dancers she was about to lead. My Nikon 300mm f/4 lens did a great job of providing that contrast.
Time to start the show.
It looks like Courtney is conducting an abstract painting!
Our work here is done.
Of course, I’m sure everything looked perfectly in focus for her as she led our wonderful band and Angels to another fine performance.
Monarch caterpillar #2 has been transformed way up high on our house.
A closer look
The other monarch caterpillar’s chrysalis is imperfect.
Photographic Equipment Sidebar: The first photo was snapped with my Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm lens; the other two with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm (f/4) lens.
My first attempt at shooting the moon.
The moon closed in on the Earth Saturday night. When I finally remembered to look at it, the time was 10:40 p.m., and the orb was pretty high in the sky, glowing brightly. So I ran inside, grabbed my Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm (f/4) lens, and did my best to document it.
The supermoon was so luminous that my shutter speed was fast enough for handholding. At first I opted for that wide-open f/4 setting (ISO 320), which meant I had to go to –4 with exposure compensation to bring out the moon’s features.
Then I went into the house, looked at my results in Photoshop (as seen above), and felt satisfied. Until I read an article about the proper way to shoot the supermoon. The advice was to use at the very least f/8 and spot meter to adjust for the brightness.
My second try using f/8 and spot metering—it looks more detailed.
Outside I went once again with the same equipment and changed the settings (ISO 200, exposure compensation –.3). How did I feel about the results?
Over the moon!
Here’s looking at you, kid!
The other day as I was walking to my Honda Pilot, which was parked in the driveway, a flash of blue along the walkway’s stones caught my eye.
It was a damselfly!
Showing off a side view
I immediately ran back into the house and grabbed my Nikon D300, which always has a Nikon 300mm lens (f/4) attached. I lamented the lack of dragonflies last summer after a plethora of the winged visitors the previous year. This wasn’t a d-fly, but it’s the next best thing!
Ugly in a cute way from any angle
I’ve never seen a damselfly this color before. What was especially nice was that it insisted on posing for me. It would fly up off the stones, hover, and then settle back down, well within reach of my camera lens.
This definitely was not a damsel(fly) in distress!