The whopper that didn’t get away…
You really have to admire the ambition of this little spider—it seems to be hunting way out of its weight class! I found this spider and its prey a few weeks ago when I was out hunting with my camera in my garden. I believe the prey was an Eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens). I originally thought the spider was an orb spider (family Araneidae) but now I don’t think so and have no idea what kind it was. It also appears to be a male too.
Technically this wasn’t a difficult photo to take once I had the exposure set—after all, these critters weren’t going anywhere. Well, the bee wasn’t anyways. The problem was the logistics: firstly, the bumble bee was hanging not far off the ground, which meant I had to get into a rather uncomfortable position to get the photo at its eye level. Secondly, the day was quite breezy and the bee was swinging and spinning around. Lastly, the little spider kept running up and down the web and leg, and most of the time it seemed to be behind the leg. I really wanted to capture the spider in a good visible position; and the bumble bee’s leg that was hanging down had to be in the same plane of focus as the leg that was ensnared in the web. And of course I needed both the spider and the bee in focus despite the limited depth of field.
All together I took 29 photos. My favourite (below) was number 28.
The picture below was a close runner up:\ for best shot:
This last shot was is interesting too because you can see the spider’s face. Too much of the bumble bee is out of focus though, and I had to crop the picture tighter to remove a distracting bit of plant in the bottom left corner.
All-in-all I think this is an interesting image that provides a glimpse into the life of a spider (and death of a bumble bee). Its just too bad that I couldn’t shoot it in a way to throw the background more out of focus—it’s a bit busy.
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus E-620 digital SLR
Lens: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: manual exposure (F14 @ 1/125 sec)
Lighting: Olympus RF-11 ring flash (TTL)