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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.