Portrait of a jumping spider

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Spider Eyes
Phidippus jumping spider (Urbana, Illinois)

One of the joys of our BugShot 2011 photo workshop was learning spider photography from the brilliant young Thomas Shahan. To capture this image of a local Phidippus jumping spider, I drew from four of Thomas’s pointers:

  1. Approach the subject from below so that it looms large in the photograph.
  2. Arrange a backdrop to complement the colors of the organism.
  3. Diffuse the light to really bring out the character of the spider’s captivating eyes.
  4. Patience! This photo session took about an hour of experimentation and many mediocre shots before I captured the winner.

Here’s a less magnified view of the subject:


photo details:
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/13, 1/160 sec, diffuse twin flash

11 thoughts on “Portrait of a jumping spider”

  1. I especially love the full spider picture. I guess the jumper was intrigued enough with what you were doing that she hung around. Great tips.

  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos of my favorite spiders. Those tips could even be useful for someone like me who just has a little point-and-shoot – I’ll have to keep them in mind next time I’m trying to get a good spider photo.

  3. Love it!

    I’m also wondering how you managed to stay in one area for an hour! So far my few attempts have ended up with them jumping on the lens, or my hand, or who knows where!

  4. Love it! I also am curious how you kept it there. I’ve only done shots of ones i’ve found outside and in my house and not moved, so maybe it’s just having more patience than i do. 😉

    I also so wanted to go to that workshop, but couldn’t sadly. 🙁

  5. Maybe it stayed still because it only has 7 legs, or am I the only one unable to see the 8th leg!?

    On second glance, is it hidden behind the front most leg…

  6. I was hoping that the missing leg would have slowed the spider down. Alas, no. I ended up confining her(?) under a petri dish until she calmed down, then I’d remove the dish and have a few seconds to shoot before she was off again.

    After a couple hours of this we’d both had enough and I let her go in the back garden.

  7. The goofy shot was entertaining (previous post with the “pupils”!) but this one is really great.

    I will have to start looking more closely at the spiders that I trap and deport from the house! (I have a glass and a piece of stiff card: a really simple trap-and-export system for everything from spiders to centipedes to wasps that are in the house.)

    So glad that the spider wasn’t given the “cold treatment”: though as far as I can tell, most “bugs” subjected to a moderate cold spell will be more photographable (slower!), and still live to run away and play another day.

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