Portal to the void

We kind of wrapped our July spider survey today — there are a few homes on our list where the owners were absent, and we’re a bit reluctant to barge into people’s garages without permission. We might check into a few of those tomorrow, but otherwise, it’s time for me to sit down and enter all this data into the computer.

Just for fun, I wandered about the science building taking a few photos. Here, for instance is a lovely funnel web I found in a corner of one window, on the outside. There was also a large dark body lurking deep in the funnel, but dang, macro photography has problems with depth of field.

As long as I was prowling about in the bushes, I also took a photo of the magnificent sheet webs that are draped all over the shrubbery.

I also found a new friend. He posed on a paper I happened to have with me, and looks handsome and dapper. Except for the fact (which I don’t think you can see here) that I fed him a fly, and he thoroughly pulped that thing. It wasn’t even recognizable as a fly anymore, just a wet ragged blob of bug meat that he was chomping on with his chelicerae. I could watch horrified as his fangs scissored in and out of the corpse. At least he held still for his photo.

Tomorrow my students and I have our fingers crossed that some of our P. tepidariorum will produce egg sacs for us. They’re looking tremendously plump and well-fed.


  1. Kip Williams says

    My camera has the option of manual focus. What’s quicker and sometimes works is the half-click, which freezes the camera’s settings (focus, exposure, mostly) and then you do the complete click without releasing the half-click and you get the photo. The thing is to guess the distance of the object you really want to be in focus, and point your camera at a wall or other surface that’s that distance away. I choose a wall because it’s simple and there’s not something else it can claim to believe I really wanted.

    I don’t know that there’s anything like the half click on a phone camera. My dedicated camera was carefully chosen to have manual settings and replaceable batteries.

  2. stroppy says

    I think the photography is looking pretty good!

    Sounds like you’re maybe desirous of some focus stacking? If your software doesn’t have that feature, you may be able to get a cheap/free dedicated plug-in or app…

  3. wzrd1 says

    @1, I just go manual all the way. Less unpredictable settings at times.
    Granted, it’s over a decade old and I have to wind it up in the morning, but it does take excellent photographs.

  4. says

    I thought you might enjoy this video I ran across. I show a guy (Australian of course) feeding a cockroach to a huntsman spider. Those guys are FAST!