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Shooting spiders

john schroeder

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I am trying to photograph spiders. Big Hobo Spiders to be exact. I

can't get them to stay still long enough. They don't like my lights

and won't sit still for the long exposure needed without the lights.

Does any one know how to knock a spider out without killing it and

without it curling it's legs in?

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The one time I tried to "pacify" a spider, it appeared to work. Several shots (mostly wasted on focusing and stuff for >4X) went by with the spider still but alive. When I was getting all the stuff together (after about 5-6 shots), *impressed* with my photographic skills the spider died :-(<div>00Do7J-25995784.jpg.949207608e14203f54718219bd56fb7e.jpg</div>
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The spider in the *snap* shown above was knocked out by an unruly mother who was concerned about this prowler in the baby room. All I had to do was to take a few *snaps* to discover its status. Distance (territory) is a relative aspect for different animals. A spider's territorial limit may be very different than that of an African elephant.
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1. As others have said, use flash, not hot lights


2. Cool them down in a refrigerator. Spiders are ectotherms, so low body temperature

slows movements. This won't hurt them (I said refrigerator, NOT freezer), but there are a

couple of problems. First, they're small, so they will quickly warm up to room temperature

and normal activity, and second, a chilled spider often looks unnatural. Not as unnatural

as a dead one, however.<P>


I used the 'fridge method to help with this little <A HREF="http://www.biology.ucr.edu/

personal/MACphotos/arthropods/yellowjumper.html"><I>Thiodina</i> jumping

spider</a>. In these photos the animal has long since warmed up, but I was able to

position the camera when she was still cool. Therefore, even when warm she was 'relaxed'

because she didn't see a big camera making large movements nearby. Or so I assume.

For whatever reason, it worked.

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As others have said, use a flash.



<img WIDTH=430 HEIGHT=321 src="http://webs.lanset.com/rcochran/prettypics/spiderface2.jpg" border=10><br>



I shot the above with a 500 W-s monolight bounced into a 36" umbrella.

Probably the craziest ratio of subject size to light size I've ever used, but it works well. The spider was jumping constantly, very active, yet I was able to get a sharp shot of her. Because she was

moving so quickly and erratically, it took quite

a few shots to get one with her in the frame, however.

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When shooting in the dark, I use a flashlight to (manually) focus, then take the shot with flash. The flashlight isn't on long enough to spook them. This is easier than daytime shooting, when they sometimes spook...depending on species of course.


Here's a shot...and if anyone can telll me who this guy is, I'd appreciate it; my spider ID books don't show him.



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<I>if anyone can telll me who this guy is, I'd appreciate it</i><P>


Probably an Aaraneid, one remote possibility is <A HREF="http://biology.ucr.edu/personal/

MACphotos/arthropods/neoscona.html"><I>Neoscona crucifera</i></a>, but I'm very far

from an

arachnologist. And very definitely, this is a female: they're the ones with the huge abdomens.

Males are typically very, very tiny and 'svelt' in compared to females -- and they have to be

<B><I>extremely</i></b> careful in courtship to avoid being eaten.

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<I>I am trying to photograph spiders. Big Hobo Spiders to be exact.</i><P>


John: since you are interested in hobo spiders, you might want to look at <A HREF="http://

spiders.ucr.edu/index.html"> this page</a>, down near the bottom (it has links to some


spider information). The page is mainly oriented to California spiders; I don't know your

location but your web pictures have a California flavor to them.

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Um, Amran, depending on the spider and the situation, Mike sometimes captured his subjects, either to preserve or for captive study. The 16x20 prints of hia spider pictures on his walls at home are quite something. He also took literally miles of quite remarkable films of, mainly, spider courtship and mating. Motion pictures. Some 16 mm, some Super 8.


In one of my other lives, I'm sort of an ichthyologist. My aquarist friends, who prefer their fish live, are appalled when they learn of the quantity of fishes we routinely put away.



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Yes, it's a bit odd. The small 'legs' in front are pedipalps but I can't figure out the two leglike

structures in the rear. It's almost like this was a solphugid (not a spider) but it lacks the big

"jaws" (mandibles) that

group posesses.


My guess is that the rear 'legs' are highly modified spinnarets, but I'm probably wrong.

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