A string of pearls…

The autumn/winter weather is really upon us now.  On Sunday I had the “pleasure” of driving through a very heavy snowfall indeed on my way to the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, where I was tutoring a creative photography course.  The course was great fun, and well worth the effort of getting there.

The bad weather does bring benefits though.  There was a cold misty morning recently, and the cobwebs were shining with dew/mist.  I realised it was time to try to capture their beauty.  A normal lens wouldn’t have got close enough so I fitted my Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX  macro lens.  For a great cobweb shot you need to control the light, and as there wasn’t much light around I chose to use a remotely-triggered Nikon SB800 speedlight as my main light source.

“Pearly cobweb 1” by Derek Gale

There was a nice cobweb on our garden table and chairs.  I lit it so that part of the table got some light as well as the cobweb which brought out a bit of colour.  There’s an interesting bit of “cobweb wobble” on the lower right hand side.  I assume that a droplet had just fallen off and it had caused the web to bounce.  It’s quite hard to see some of the web’s threads, so it looks as if the droplets are floating in space.

“Pearly cobweb 2” by Derek Gale

I wanted a more coherent web so I moved to my car.  There’s usually a web between my car door and door mirror. With the SB800 on the ground the web was backlit, and the car door was mostly dark.  I used the door mirror as a shield to stop light from the flash flaring into the lens.  It’s an image that could be from the Large Hadron Collider, or the track of moons round a mystery planet.

“Pearly cobweb 3” by Derek Gale

I really liked how these droplets looked against the dark background, so I moved closer to get a simpler composition.  Here there are far fewer droplets, but you can see ever smaller droplets between the larger ones.  It’s a sort of fractal.

Water droplets on a cobweb are a bit of a photographic cliché, but there’s a reason for that; they are beautiful!  So, before you brush that door mirror cobweb away get out your camera.

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