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As I was reaching down one recent morning to pick up my newspaper from the small concrete stoop of my townhouse, I happened to look up and saw a beautiful spider web reflected in the early morning sun. In the center of the web was a small, fuzzy brown spider with what appeared to be short legs.

The spider was positioned in such a way that I could use my macro lens to get some close-up shots, but he was too high in the air for me to use a tripod or to brace my arms for optimal steadiness.  I also did not have a choice of too many angles, because the spider was suspended over a large bush that impeded my access. I took a lot of photos, many of which came out really out of focus.

Here are my favorite shots, two of which show the underside of the spider and two show a side view. I really like the markings and texture of this little spider, though I am not at all sure what kind he is. The unidentified spider is living proof, however, that the most interesting things are sometimes literally just outside our front door—all we have to do is open our eyes as we open the door.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I came upon this scene this afternoon I couldn’t help but think of some blog posts that I had read recently. Steven Schwartzman had a beautiful artistic image of a damselfly caught in a spider’s web entitled “Three Orbs, Three Colors.”  Daniel Proud had a wonderfully informative Four part series on Harvestmen (Daddy Longlegs) in late July that included colorful images of different harvestmen. Both of those bloggers caused me to be much more attentive today as I took in my surroundings during a nature walk at a local marsh.

I managed to capture an image of the spider moving in on his captured prey, a daddy longlegs, that had become stuck in the spider’s web.  Some may find the photo to be a little disturbing, but to me it is a simple fact of natural life.

Shortly after taking this photo, I moved in a little closer and must have disturbed the web. The spider quickly climbed up the web and took refuge inside the curled-up leaf. I waited for quite some time but the spider did not reappear.

I think the daddylongs was still alive when I left him, but his prospects do not appear to be good.

Caught in the web

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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