Yesterday I posted the spiderweb in the image to the right to Flickr. This particular photo is, perhaps, my favorite (self-made) spiderweb shot to date. I said that at the time, now I’ll give a bit of an explanation.
Typically I tend to *not* like spiderweb photos: they’re all the same. Particularly the ones that I take – I see something & try to bring out that detail. But I never quite… catch the beauty of what I see.
A week or so before going on this vacation, however, I re-read the first couple of chapters from Photography and the Art of Seeing. The author (Freeman Patterson) devotes one of the first chapters to “thinking sideways,” and specifically uses the example of a spiderweb:
Webs are so beautiful in their own right that they had kept me from examining them carefully, and especially from photographing them in a personal way…
…When you think sideways you will find new ways to see your subject matter, and you will stumble upon discoveries and happy accidents. Abandon your normal premises , and go on a search for new ones.
This was in my mind when I first saw the spiderweb. But it was just a web at mid-day. Nothing special, kinda dingy. Later that afternoon, the light began to yellow, and the dinginess turned golden. At this point I noticed it again, pulled out my camera, and started to circle the web. Looking up, down, climbing on a chair, squatting under it. On a monopod, off the monopod, against the light, with the light…
… at some point, I found that there was an entire side that brought out the gold in the light. It wasn’t the typical angle I’d normally look for, but I found the view more pleasing. I kept working up & down, within the same basic area of light (and quickly, the light fades fast), playing with different depths of field. I was finding the background to be better than the web.
The end result is what you see; the focus on this one wasn’t the spiderweb itself. Rather, it was creating an abstract in the background, and then using the spiderweb to break up that pattern.