Finding a wild shoreline draped in fog, with spider webs dangling and dancing lightly in a gentle breeze, is one of nature’s special wonders. I’m always captivated by the sight, and it’s hard to know where to set up to photograph first. That’s exactly how it was when my friend, Eric Dresser, a top notch wildlife photographer, and I paddled up an inlet of Helldiver Pond in the Moose River Plains in the middle of August.
The fog added a wonderful mystical effect, and created a diffused light that was perfect for photographing the detail around the shoreline. The air and water was just about dead calm, but it only takes a butterfly flexing it’s wings somewhere downstate to jiggle a hanging spider web – so it’s quite a challenge to photograph a web and the details of each tiny droplet.
One large web in particular caught my eye, so I set up there first. I did some images with a slight telephoto focal length and enough depth of field to catch most of the web in sharp focus, and then switched to a wide angle lens and shot at F /22 so I could get both the web in sharp focus, as well as the background. To gain a bit of shutter speed, I pushed the ISO to 320 on my D300S. I knew the images would still be noise free, and it got me to a 1/10 second exposure time.
After this I started working some other angles and locations along the shore, trying to make the most of the wonderful misty light before the sun burned through the fog and created a dynamic range of light that was really tough to capture. I did do some more photography as the sun was showing through the fog, with patches of blue showing through. When it got pretty bright and contrasty, I did some more shooting from the canoe, paddling up into the bullrushes and enjoying the changing light.
You don’t need to be at the edge of a wild pond to enjoy photographing the intracies of webs, though – they are found around most yards and fields in the morning, and are fun to photograph with close-up lenses – as well as many other focal lengths! Happy shooting!