6 Tips for Photographing Dazzling Spiderwebs

Spiderwebs are often associated with horror, dirt, and age. But there are moments when they can be beautiful. When dewdrops appear on the delicate strands of a spiderweb, its structure is made beautifully visible, and the right moment for a picture has come.

I’m not talking about spiderwebs in old, dusty cellars. These usually aren’t very camera-worthy (you might call this a challenge to go and prove me wrong). This article focuses more on outdoor spiderwebs, where there’s a good chance that dewdrops will form on their strands.

1. Fog Is Freedom

If you wake up in the morning and there’s fog outside, then you have a good chance of just heading out to the nearest meadow or the edge of the woods and freely finding a fantastic spiderweb.

A small spiderweb. Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm, f/1.8 D, 1/750, f/1.8, ISO 100

A small spiderweb.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm, f/1.8 D, 1/750, f/1.8, ISO 100

2. Find the Spider

If you’re inconspicuous and don’t scare away the spider away, you can find it perched within the middle of its web. This photo was taken with an old manual lens that provides a very specific take on every scene.

A small garden spider in the middle of its web. Nikon D90, Industar-61 2.8/53, 1/250, f/2.8, ISO 200

A small garden spider in the middle of its web.
Nikon D90, Industar-61 2.8/53, 1/250, f/2.8, ISO 200

3. Get That Bokeh

When it comes to composition, usually you can find a place in the background that’s special in how the light shines in among the branches of the trees. Often you’ll need a low shot angle for this. This creates aesthetically pleasing circles in the background. This picture here was taken with an automatic lens, but it’s an older D model, which, while it often gives soft details, can provide very nice bokeh.

Background bokeh. Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, 1/1500, f/1.8, ISO 100

Background bokeh.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, 1/1500, f/1.8, ISO 100

4. A Spiderweb Is a Whole

No matter whether the web is large or small, you’ll generally do best to keep it all within the frame of the shot. A web is a shape with a unique structure, and any kind of crop would ruin its integrity. Incidentally, in this photo I post-edited the color green to shift it a little towards the warmer yellows. It was a cloudy day, but warmer colors feel like sunshine.

onewhole

5. Compose in Some Foreground

In this photo, a couple of branches are “in the way,” and they cover up a part of the web. I almost had to kneel when taking the shot. With this composition, I wanted to express the “hidden-ness” of the spiderweb deep in the branches.

A hidden spiderweb. Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, 1/1500, f/1.8, ISO 100

A hidden spiderweb.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, 1/1500, f/1.8, ISO 100

6. Each One Is Different

You’ll never find two spiderwebs alike. Each one is an original, and it’s interesting to see how many ways a spiderweb can be built. This one for example looks a bit like a hammock.

A small spiderweb. Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, 1/500, f/1.8, ISO 100.

A small spiderweb.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D, 1/500, f/1.8, ISO 100.

The Possibilities Are Endless

All of these pictures were taken in just one stretch of young fir growth, over the course of just two misty mornings. So these photos are not at all diverse, and yet the angles and the possibilities for taking them were still numerous.

In closing, here are a couple of tips. Generally you’re limited by time on this kind of shoot, since unless you have fog all day, the dewdrops go away. You also need to think about the fact that everything’s wet, and that you’ll be wet too. And probably your camera as well, and so a cloth for wiping off dew at the very least will come in handy.

 

Last updated 24. October 2016

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Author: Matej Liska

Comments

  • Günther Pendl

    die automatische Übersetzung ins Deutsche ist leider sehr mangelhaft. vielleicht gibt’s da eine Möglichkeit diesen Mangel zu beheben.