Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A dangerous spider

I was visiting Biscayne National Park's visitor center and talking with Ranger Gary Bremen when a woman approached and asked Gary if he was a ranger (I guess the green uniform was not a give-away). He confirmed that he was and then the woman pointed toward the building breeze-way where a very large goldensilk orbweaver spider was resting in her massive web near the ceiling. With an anxious tone, she asked, "Is that spider dangerous? Shouldn't it be taken down?" Upon which Gary walked with the woman over to the spider while explaining to her that not only is she not dangerous, but she is a pretty cool spider. And with that, Gary proceeded to educate a park visitor, which is one of the job responsibilities that park ranger's do best. And Gary is a pro and loves that part of his job.

Back to the spider. The goldensilk orbweaver is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. A few years ago, I described my technique for capturing images of the spider from my canoe. I primarily do this on Biscayne Bay that offers various creeks along the shoreline. These spiders are so prevalent in shady tree canopies here in south Florida, that there is no need to paddle a canoe into a creek and photograph them.

The way I see it, if I can photograph it from the canoe, I will photograph it. Sometimes, it takes an exceptional amount of effort and trial and error to accomplish this. Capturing a sharp image of a spider overhead while managing a boat is one example. And for that, the goldensilk orbweaver has become a mission, and consequently, the images have become a significant part of my Biscayne Bay gallery. I am motivated to photograph the spider for the challenge of it, but also because it is a "pretty cool spider", and I love to watch a female spider in her web. She is beautiful.

As we work our way into summer, I expect to be in the creeks again to photograph the goldensilk orbweaver, dangerous or not. In the meantime, enjoy these images that go with this blog, posted for no particular reason other than my recent encounter with Biscayne National Park's dangerous spider.

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