The Spider and Macro photography – can I overcome my phobia? 

Exposure to a spider..

I’ve seen TV shows of when people with extreme phobias go through a process of “exposure”; when the individual is put right next to or in an environment that they are fearful of. I don’t have an extreme case of arachnophobia to the point where I will not leave the house but it will make my skin crawl and paranoid until the spider is eliminated.

Another day at the lake

I captured the picture above while I was out fishing and decided to take a break from being unsuccessful and having fish eat my bait. My intention was to follow a beautiful monarch butterfly that I saw flying above my head. I followed it down a row of bushes mixed with flowers, waiting for it to land. Just when I thought it was about to land, it started to fly over the lake. Which was the end of my butterfly chase. My first thought was, thats ok because I’ve captured a Monarch Butterfly before. As I glanced up, I noticed my beautiful subject disappearing into the wind.  I dropped my camera to the side and turned around to proceed back to my folding chair to cast out again. As I turned I was greeted by a busy spider making its web in the bushes. In a state of surprise, I gasped and quickly jumped back. Almost losing my footing and dropping my camera. Thinking of the possible damage I could cause, I quickly got myself  together and moved away quickly and carefully.

The power of macro photography 

That’s when a wired thing happened. Something that has never happened to me before. I became intrigued by the spider. I stood and stared at it for about 15 seconds until I decided to take advantage of my scene and capture it; another thing that has never happened before. I have never in my life attempted to stare and take a picture of a spider. My interest in the spider peaked when I saw how gracefully and intricately it wove its web. Leaping from leaf to stem between the bushes. It move so quickly that once I decided to raise my camera, it was almost done with weaving its web. It was when I started to make the picture when I realized, “Is this really happening? Am I actually taking a picture of a spider?” – Yep! I was standing a few feet from the very thing that makes my skin crawl. However, since I was focusing on capturing the spider, my mind was not focused on the fear. I was focused on the spider as I would focus on one of my regular subjects: landscape, wildlife, and other macro subjects.


I was glad that I brought my  Tamron 70-300 with the macro feature; Otherwise this image would have never been created. I focused as close as I could while maintaining the farthest distance. Which was about 3 feet. That is still to close for me. However, what I really couldn’t believe I was doing was looking at an insect that I’m afraid of magnified! The spider seemed like a monster out of a sci-fi film in my view finder. I used the techniques mentioned in my previous post about moving capturing macro subjects. It was a bit difficult to concentrate on the spider because of its fast movements. After watching it for a few moments, I noticed that it was moving in a particular pattern. After I memorized the pattern, It was easy for me to follow with my camera and start to compose the shot.

On a final note

It seems that photography never ceases to amaze me when it comes to discovering something new. It could be a new subject, a different way of viewing an everyday scene, or in my case; noticing the hard work of a spider. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I am no longer afraid of them, but I will say that I gained a new perspective on how I view the eight-legged creature. As for that butterfly, I did capture the photo immediately after I finished my “exposure” lesson with the spider. See below!

Butterfly monarch



#photography #insects #macrophotography

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