I recently stayed with a friend on her family’s 53-acre farm in downstate Illinois. On one of our morning walks, we found several spider webs. Normally I would steer clear of them, but in such wide-open spaces, I could see that the spider webs were tremendously complex and beautiful (yes, beautiful!) structures—not just nuisance silken strands in the air. Well, today’s views were just that – large, expansive, beautifully complex orbs designed by spiders, creating a lace-like embroidery, sometimes seemingly hanging in mid-air.
I have tried to photograph spider webs before, with much less than spectacular results (she said kindly). But this time, my friend’s brother had the secret – a water bottle with a mist spray nozzle. His secret – gently mist the webs with water, and they appear as if they had morning dew on them, newly visible in the light. Hope you enjoy these 5* images!
- Lace Collar: I am no real fan of spiders, but I have to admire their handiwork. This orb (as they are technically called, I learned), reminded me of a lace collar, similar to those worn by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a justice on the US Supreme Court. The intricate design on this web caught my attention – as an engineer, I was also captivated by the symmetry of the structure, each section, almost evenly spaced around the inner circle.
- Pinwheel: The only similarity between this and the earlier web is that both are circular, and both were made by spiders! Otherwise, they look VERY different from each other. It made me wonder if spider webs, like snowflakes, are each unique (I’ll have to look that one up). I loved the way the threads of the web were so closely spaced in this one – designed to catch much smaller insects, I imagine. And that wider part of the web, making a line thru the center of the web – the fruits of the labor, caught in the spider’s sticky web.
- Mid-air Lair: If you don’t watch out, you can walk into a spider web anywhere. What seems only to be a strand, can be one small thread of a huge intricate structure. This web is a great example – it was suspended in the air, from a tree whose branches dropped across the driveway to an industrial-sized trash container near the edge of the driveway. The diameter of this web was easily 18 inches!
I would typically look at spider webs as a nuisance to be avoided. But when they are as spectacular as these, they are definitely NOT a nuisance. I stepped out to capture the wonderful landscaping surrounding my friend’s house, maybe catch a few images of the local flora and fauna. Finding the beauty in these lacy structures was an unexpected bonus!