Araneus diadematus; the English Garden Spider

A local Garden Spider, who had woven her web on top on the shed at the back of the house. I have never been a massive fan of spiders but I thought some of these shots were rather beautiful and very apt with Halloween coming!

I had just closed all the vents on the bbq and popped round to the shed at the back of the house to put away some charcoal and a few implements when I spotted this stunning large spider and it’s web. The garden spider, araneus diadematus, can vary in colour from a pale-yellowy brown to much darker browns but they are all distinguishable by the characteristic white cross-shaped group of spots on their abdomen.

They are also known for their ability to spin orb webs, the most advanced spider webs, built by laying spirals of silk around radial threads used to catch their prey – flying insects such as butterflies, wasps and flies.

Some 45 minutes or so later I came back into the house very overexcited and confronted by first, rather confused and then after I had told them why I’d been so long, horrified faces.

Photos were taken with a Panasonic Leika Macro H-ES45 lens on our Lumix GF5 with the following settings: (the shutter speed was automatic but varied between 1 second and 1/60th of a second for the different images)

I had great fun working out how to focus on a spider in the pitch black of night. In the end I used my iPhone light to manually focus before taking the photo with the flash open. Took me a while to get it right but I think it was well worth it – I had fun anyway.

It all started with a very Hallowe’eny silhouette…

garden-spider-butterwouldntmelt-com

…before I managed to get some shots of the top of the spiders body – the black night background provided a beautifully stark contrast to the marking and colours of the spider itself, in particular highlighting the white cross shaped spots on her back.

The spider almost seems to be dancing in some.

A few more from a different angle, showing the underside of the spider’s belly – notice the camouflage effect against the background wall.

A couple of beautiful shots of the spider’s orb web.

I think the spider must have got a little irritated after a while as it wasn’t too long before she decided to head towards her bed, tucked up inside the mouth of a metal duck (she was still there when I checked the next morning).

All in all, a lot of fun! What do you think of the photography? Please let me know?

Research and information on garden spiders courtesy of the RSPB.

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