Web Architecture

Wet Web © Harold Davis
Wet Web © Harold Davis

When I drop Katie Rose off at Step One, the area around her pre-school is often in the clouds, with drops of water clinging to flora—and spider webs.

The other day, I brought my camera, and paused to admire the marvelous but ephemeral architecture of the spiders.

There was a stiff breeze, so I shot needed a fairly fast shutter speed. I also needed a bit of depth-of-field to get most of the web in focus.

All photographic technique amounts to compromise in the face of what is practical. In this case, I boosted my ISO to 500. With my lens set to a 65mm focal length, I shot at 1/100 of a second shutter speed and an aperture of f/14.

This was an underexposure by about 2 EV compared to an average light meter reading—in essence I captured the waterdrops on the web at the expense of letting the colorful background of the out-of-focus tree go dark and dull. As I teased my image out of the RAW file I adjusted this, so that the waterdrops are vivid, and the background also appears bright.

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