Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Spider and polygons in the morning

with 30 comments

Spider and Nonagons of Light 8737

Another thing I saw on the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, on June 20 was this tiny spider, the main part of which my 100mm macro lens resolved quite nicely. The morning sun in front of me lit up some strands of silk in the web while also causing the lens to create polygonal artifacts of light. Those nonagons have better definition than the red ones I showed you in 2013.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2016 at 4:30 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Beautiful effect of sparkly nonagons.


    August 26, 2016 at 7:21 AM

  2. Great detail, Steve, especially when enlarged. Unless I miss my guess, what you have here is a sheeteweb weaver, a member of family Linyphiidae. There are some 250 species found in North America, and at least two are pretty common up here n the north woods (the bowl-and-doily weaver and the filmy dome spider. And yes, they are tiny, and quite a challenge to photograph well. You’ve risen to it nicely, as usual.


    August 26, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    • Thanks for the tentative identification, Gary; I had no clue what sort of spider this might be. Your mention of the bowl-and-doily weaver reminded me of the hill and gully rider of a calypso song that was popular when I was a kid. As for the filmy dome, that could be either of my eyes in the early morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 26, 2016 at 9:16 AM

      • I remember the song well, and now you’ve got it stuck in my mind’s ear. Thanks a lot.


        August 29, 2016 at 10:43 AM

        • That sounds like a dubious “thank you,” so I suppose I should add a dubious “you’re welcome.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 29, 2016 at 5:08 PM

          • Check you spelling. Let that read as a “Doobies” thank you–as in Listen To the Music and Rockin’ Down the Highway! Now they are stuck in my mind, and they are much better. And, yes, thanks again!


            August 29, 2016 at 11:33 PM

            • You’re welcome (again). I’ve heard of a persistent song or melody being referred to as an earworm.

              Steve Schwartzman

              August 29, 2016 at 11:38 PM

              • It’s just possible that you heard that from me. It’s a common German term (Ohrwurm) and, if you’re up for a bit of a tangent (knowing your mathematical background), I composed an instrumental number with that title while I was in vet school in Berlin around 1970.


                August 30, 2016 at 10:09 PM

                • It’s possible, but I don’t recall hearing the German version of the term. I didn’t know you went to school in Berlin (presumably West Berlin, given that the year was 1970).

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  August 30, 2016 at 10:15 PM

  3. Tops. Love it.

    Sherry Felix

    August 26, 2016 at 9:27 AM

  4. Great. It’s good to have variety.

    Steve Schwartzman

    August 26, 2016 at 10:28 AM

  5. Fantastic photo… I love the angle you’ve chosen! The blurred legs and the shapes all add to this wonderful capture. Great job!

    laura lecce

    August 26, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    • Thanks, Laura, for appreciating the angle and composition. I seem to see one fantastical element: hands and arms raised to cover a dark face.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 26, 2016 at 2:04 PM

  6. The polygonal light effect makes a wonderful counterpoint to the spider. I don’t suppose there’d be any way to plan that effect.

    Susan Scheid

    August 26, 2016 at 8:53 PM

    • I sure didn’t plan it, Susan. I was doing my best to photograph the spider, and the light show came along for the ride.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 26, 2016 at 9:27 PM

  7. From a sci fi movie! Brilliant …


    August 27, 2016 at 1:55 PM

  8. The first thing that came to mind when I saw your photo is the dreamcatcher. Ojibwe storytellers gave us the Spider Woman, Asibikaashi, who cared for the children and people of the land. When the Ojibwe began moving farther into North America, it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children, so mothers and grandmothers wove magical webs — the dreamcatchers — to filter out bad dreams and allow only good thoughts to enter the childrens’ minds.

    It looks like your spider has woven a lightcatcher — allowing only good, magical light to filter through.


    August 28, 2016 at 7:03 AM

  9. I like that some have turned to prisms. Shooting into the sun is always a challenge. If they are non-agons, then what are they? Since there are 9 sides, I am guessing that you have the newer 100mmL IS as that has 9 diaphragm blades whereas the older had 8?

    Steve Gingold

    August 28, 2016 at 5:43 PM

    • I like the prisms too (and it has nothing to do with the fact that I saw Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring on television this afternoon).

      I’m non-ant-agon-istic to your playing around with the words for polygons. And yes, I have the nine-bladed 100mm L IS lens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 28, 2016 at 7:00 PM

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