2021 week 46 – Spiderwebs

This week’s challenge is to take a photo of something which is always easy to find but not always easy to photograph: a spiderweb.

spiderweb – by Klaus Deisenberger

Always easy to find however does not mean, that each spiderweb you find is suitable as a photo motif for various reasons. It does not help if you’ve found the most beautifully shaped spiderweb if it is in a loction out of reach for your camera, if the background is not favourable, the possible view angle does not allow a good shot or the lighting situation is not adequate.
It’s not possible to describe just with a few words what’s needed to get good spiderweb photos but a few essential issues are:

Shoot on a still day: Spiderwebs are extremely delicate and move in the slightest breeze which makes focusing difficult and will create motionblur.

Background: find a neutral, preferably dark background which makes the web stand out. Background colors should be kept to a minimum.

Aperture and Depth of Field: Widen your aperture to get not more than the minimum of required depth of field and to create a beautiful background blur.

Focusing: In many instances it is advantageous to focus manually. Focusing might be an easy task for your autofocusing system if you are lucky to have a large spider in the center of the web. It’s a different story if you get close and need to focus on the silk, this is a nearly impossible task for the autofocusing system, the lens will start to hunt back and forth and may fail to find focus entirely.

Lighting: the best results can be achieved with backlighting against a dark background.

View Point and Shooting angle: Spiderwebs look quite differently from different angles and the light catches better or worse from one side or the other one.
The easiest is, if it’s possible to postion yourself directly in front of the web and shoot straight on. This way you can keep the full web in focus even with wide open aperture. But quite interesting results can be achieved from different angles depending on the direction of the light and the effect you want to achieve.

Some example photos:

This was a relatively easy shot taken in the morning of a gray autumn day.
The dew covered web was in the gate of our front yard and I could place a piece of dark cardboard behind it as background.

spiderweb – by Klaus Deisenberger

Another example of a head-on angle shot. A delicate web between the low branches of a tree in a forest, photographed in the late morning of a grey November day with a 100mm macro lens. Shallow depth of field to get a blurred background.

morning dew – by Klaus Deisenberger

This shot was taken at an angle from below nearly against the low afternoon sun.
This small spider web was nearly invisible except when looking at it directly against the sunlight.
The very low depth of field creates an interesting color effect in the blurred out of focus threads of the web. Manual focus on the tiny spider (approx. 2mm)
100 mm macro lens (full frame sensor), F7.1, 1/320sec, ISO 4000

caught sunlight – by Klaus Deisenberger

Frozen dew an a spider web, photographed at noon on a foggy cold November day.
135mm lens (APS-C sensor), F/9, 1/200 sec, ISO-1600

Frozen – by Klaus Deisenberger

The following shot was my contribution the challenge 2021 week 38 – the power of awe
100mm macro lens (full frame sensor)
F3.5 in order to get a very low depth of field
1/4000 sec
Manual focus on the tiny spider (approx. 2mm)

Power of awe (PC2021 w38) – by Klaus Deisenberger

You may find further tips, examples and ideas for your image under following links:




Challenge Summary

  • Take a new photo of a spider web, color or B&W. Pay particular attention to the lighting and a favourable background.
  • SOOC (straight out of camera) or post-process your photo.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, November 14 and Saturday, November 20.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr(or both). Tag the photo:  #2021photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2021 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.