This is a shot I took on the Big Island of Hawai’i. We were driving along the road, and we noticed a small road way down below us in a beautiful valley full. So, we pulled off the main drag and found the road we’d seen from above. I’m glad we did. We found ourselves in a gorgeous spot – waves pounding the rocky shore on one side, and lush rain forest on the other.
I noticed these lovely water droplets strung like pearls on a spider’s web. So, of course, I pulled out my macro lens and got down to business.
Capturing a shot like this is tough. Even with a macro lens, it was hard to get in close enough for the shot I wanted. And the slightest breeze is enough to keep the web dancing… so getting a sharp picture required patience.
I took several shots – hoping that I could get one that was sharp. Thanks to a few moments of stillness, the photo I took with a 1.6 second shutter speed (ISO 100) is cleaner than another I took with a 1/6 second shutter speed (ISO 400. :) Sometimes, you just get lucky. :)
A few tips for shooting spider webs.
1. Look for a clean background. Here, I used an aperture of 7.1. That setting gave me just a bit of depth of field to work with, and left my background completely blurred out. I was VERY close for this shot… just at the focus limit of my lens, so my depth of field is incredibly narrow.
2. Look for patterns. Notice that I included only a few strands of the web in this shot. I looked at it carefully to find repeating patterns that were appealing to me. The Y-shaped strands give me the patterns I want, and the single strands break up the pattern just enough to keep things interesting… in my opinion, anyway. :)
3. Align the objects you want in focus on a flat plane – and keep that plane parallel to your camera’s sensor. As I mentioned before, I was working with a ridiculously narrow depth of field here, so anything outside my narrow plane of focus would be blurred. I adjusted my camera very carefully to be sure it was aligned as accurately as possible.
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