Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bold twin selfies

with 32 comments

At East Metropolitan Park on March 25th I ended up with twin selfies in the central eyes of this bold jumper (Phidippus audax). The iridescent green appendages, visible from a meter away, are called chelicerae.

Believe it or not, this species is New Hampshire’s official state spider. Why any state legislature needs to waste time designating an official spider is beyond me—but then making sure kids get a good education seems to be beyond the power of state legislatures, so they have to fill their time with something.

And speaking of seeming, what may look to you like volcanic rock is actually the foam mat I carry around with me to ease kneeling, sitting, and lying on the ground. This time it served as a good spider stage. An elevated stage it was, too: I held it with my left hand while wielding the camera with my right hand.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 5, 2022 at 4:33 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , ,

32 Responses

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  1. Thank you for this portrait of this beautiful creature!



    April 5, 2022 at 4:56 AM

  2. A bold performance by the main character and the stage director.


    April 5, 2022 at 5:10 AM

    • I’ll make so bold as to say the stage manager appreciates your comment, even if the spider doesn’t.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2022 at 7:16 AM

  3. Great! Two Steve’s has to be a good thing😁. Not sure if that apostrophe is correct but can rely on your judgement.
    I believe the education of young people is very successful. Heaven forbid they be taught the skill of critical thinking!


    April 5, 2022 at 5:11 AM

    • I’m sure there are plenty of people who find one of me enough, or even more than enough. Whatever whole or fractional number of me there are, the part that’s a teacher will answer your question by saying you can dispense with the apostrophe to make a straightforward (as opposed to possessive) plural. The main exception that comes to mind is in a statement like “The word commit has two m’s in it.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2022 at 7:23 AM

  4. Oh, it looks as if it’s adorned in jewels! Excellent macro Steve!!


    April 5, 2022 at 8:14 AM

  5. Wow, what a bristly bizarre little creature, walking around with lovely little gemstones.

    Robert Parker

    April 5, 2022 at 8:17 AM

  6. Wow, terrific capture, Steve. It looks a bit like a Mars Rover! 😉

    Eliza Waters

    April 5, 2022 at 8:21 AM

  7. A scary-looking spider beautifully photographed!

    Peter Klopp

    April 5, 2022 at 9:08 AM

    • The magnification may make the spider look scary; in reality it wasn’t. There were times when it walked off the mat and onto my hand

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2022 at 9:17 AM

  8. Definitely one of my very favorite spiders, and a fine catch. We had one living for several months in a short stone wall in our yard in Omaha and it gave me many hours of pleasure as we pondered each other. My new favorite, here in NZ, is Trite (rhymes with “mighty”) planiceps, the black-headed jumper.


    April 5, 2022 at 6:24 PM

    • Ah, so you know the bold jumper. I can’t say the same about Trite planiceps, which I’ve now looked up. Its body, black in front and brown in back, reminds me of the two-tone cars we grew up with in the 1950s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2022 at 9:01 PM

      • Ah, the memories. I grew up in Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, and we followed the new models with great anticipation. And the two- (and three-)tones were memorable indeed. I remember that our gym coach had a new 1957 Thunderbird, in three shades of turquoise, and I worked up the courage to ask him how much it cost, and he said $3.000. Egads–what would one of those in good condition bring now?


        April 6, 2022 at 4:29 AM

        • Living in Dearborn, you had a front-row seat to watch the yearly automotive parade. I used an online value-of-the-dollar calculator to determine that $3,000 in 1957 would be worth about $30,300 now, which puts the cost of that Thunderbird in perspective. Another website estimates the value of a top-quality 1957 Thunderbird today at $66,000.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 6, 2022 at 7:30 AM

  9. I became entranced by jumping spiders when I came across the Peacock spiders of Australia. I’m struck by the resemblance of this one to those beauties; while it lacks some of the Australian spiders’ defining characteristics, those colorful eyes and chelicerae are gorgeous. My experience is quite limited, but my sense is that these jumping spiders are more willing to make eye contact, and to stay somewhat still for a photographer. You certainly had a good model.


    April 6, 2022 at 8:46 AM

    • I remember seeing and being entranced by photographs of Australian peacock spiders. The first jumping spider that ever came my way was on a window sill in Honduras. Why none had ever made its presence known to me in New York remains a mystery. As for whether jumping spiders are more likely to make eye contact than other kinds, I can’t say that my experience has borne that out; crab spiders have generally held their place for portraits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2022 at 5:18 AM

  10. Wow, that green really does stand out. And getting in those reflections is such a great added bonus. Nicely done. I need to seriously consider getting a mat like you have, or at least start carrying the kneepads I have. I had a painful experience this past weekend when I kneeled down on a trail covered in large gravel, knowing it would be a mistake but hoping it would be worth it. And of course now I can’t even recall what I was photographing. 🙂

    Todd Henson

    April 6, 2022 at 1:34 PM

    • From a distance I though the iridescent green was a pair of eyes; only a closer look revealed the truth. I’m sorry about your unhappy gravel experience, which eclipsed even the memory of your intended subject. One advantage to a mat is that it protects more than knees. I sit and even often lie down on my mat. One disadvantage is that on a windy day I have to take care not to let it blow away when I first set it down; my heavy camera bag serves as a good “paperweight.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2022 at 5:32 AM

  11. As mesmerizing as spider eyes may be, those green prey grabbers really got my attention. Nice spider shot.

    Steve Gingold

    April 7, 2022 at 3:33 AM

    • They got our attention, too. At first I though they were eyes, till a close look revealed the truth.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2022 at 5:33 AM

  12. A rather handsome spider … great shot Steve!


    April 14, 2022 at 11:30 PM

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