Saturday, November 10, 2012

There's a spider in the bath...

...yells Maria.  She's right.  It's a big one, firmly stuck in the bottom of the bath.  Tagenaria gigantea.  It's 11:00 PM and it's my job to deal with it.  Which means I've got to get all the equipment ready.  600D, Sigma 180mm macro lens, tripod, remote release, diffused 430EX flash on a bracket to get the light close to the subject.

What?  You thought I meant a glass and card to trap and humanely remove it?  I'm an insect photographer.  I'll do that after I've got the shot.

So, late at night I'm banging about in the bathroom, manipulating the equipment described above in an attempt to get a good shot.  It wasn't easy, and I'm still not entirely happy with the results.  Even though my tripod - a Velbon CF530 - allows me to open the legs out almost flat I can't seem to get them into a position to support the weight of camera and lens and get close enough to the spider.  Eventually I end up with one leg in the bath, two flat on the bath surround and the lens pointing almost vertically downward.

Tagenaria gigantea
With a bit of manoeuvring I got a little closer.  Easy to see the enlarged palps at the front of the body that mark this one out as a male.

Tagenaria gigantea - a closer view
It was only when I uploaded the shots that I realised he'd lost a leg.  I wonder if that was from the last time I evicted him?  They are fairly territorial, after all.

Like it or not, spiders will creep into our houses.  I was doing some decorating yesterday, preparing a room for a badly needed repaint.  I moved a piece of furniture to unveil a couple of previously hidden false widow spiders, Steatoda grossa.  One vanished with speed, one seemed content to stay around.  Who could resist an opportunity like that?  Out came the 600D, this time with Tamron 90mm and 25mm extension tube and decorating ceased for a while.

Steatoda grossa
She - this one is female - didn't seem too concerned by the cracked and peeling paint.  But I was.  I needed to get on with the decorating.  I put down the camera after a dozen shots and gently evicted her.  She'll probably be back.  There are always dark corners to hide in, even in the cleanest house. The house spiders will always be with us.

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