Wolf Spider

A wolf spider stares down the camera.

A wolf spider stares down the camera.
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Winner in Eck.....A spider or Bug picture Photo Challenge
Peer Award
rushewallace LifeForcePhotography edgewater MjBain french1944 cahit Kaceoo +6
Absolute Masterpiece
xavierromeo whoath Jack_Key
Top Choice
emerald71 MadisonWPics jnmayer
Magnificent Capture
pdforgra thatunicorngal steveangelakis
All Star
ricrog keithpassaur
Superior Skill
ricklecompte Captzach
Superb Composition



Top ClassTM

Macro Photo Contest Speed SeriesTop 10 class


Behind The Lens

I took this image of a wolf spider in front of my home. My house abuts horse property, so I frequently have all kinds of exciting animal and insect visitors. I was getting something out of my vehicle when the spider tried to make its way into my garage! I had just enough time to shut the door before this very determined critter made it inside. Wolf spiders are one of the larger insects I have encountered. They can be a little intimidating. Once I could breathe again, I was able to grab my camera and get a couple of shots before the spider ran off.
This wolf spider chose to visit me late at night. It was about 11:30 pm when I encountered the insect, and thankfully for me, it ended up sitting in a pool of light cast by one of the exterior fixtures on the house, which gave me enough light to get some very detailed shots.
While wolf spiders are not poisonous, you don't necessarily want to be bitten by one. While lighting conditions were a consideration, I was more focused on making sure I was far enough from the spider to avoid a more physical encounter. I was really trying to take advantage of the spider's position, which fortuitously happened to be in an area that was being lit by a fairly bright porch light.
I shoot a Canon 80D. I'm a headshot, wildlife, and floral photographer, and I love the versatility this camera offers me. The crop sensor gives me that little bit of extra distance when I'm shooting wildlife and works beautifully with my 50mm lens when I have portrait clients. I've been very impressed with the quality of the images for the price I paid for this body. Lens wise, I used a Canon 55 - 250mm telephoto lens. I love doing telemacro work. I frequently shoot florals with this lens. In this instance, the telephoto provided a unique opportunity to capture the detail on the insect while giving me the five-foot minimum distance I needed to feel physically comfortable taking the shot.
This image was a unique opportunity. While we have wolf spiders where I live in Colorado, I had not had a chance to photograph one before this. I was inspired to grab the camera because I love wildlife, I had a cool insect in a photography friendly area, and it was sitting still.
I use Lightroom for most of my post-processing. I made some reasonably small color and contrast adjustments to the image but didn't do a whole lot to it beyond my fairly standard edits. I did crop the image slightly to get rid of some of the background debris.
In my camera bag
For what I do, I always keep a small telephoto handy and a couple of different portrait lenses.
I was fortunate to be able to capture this image, but part of my luck was preparedness. Knowing that I live in Colorado and wildlife and insect encounters are frequent where I'm at, I keep my camera in an easily accessible place in my home. I know I have a minimal amount of time to grab my device before that animal moves on. When an encounter begins happening, I move quickly as possible to get my camera into my hands without scaring the critter off. I keep my movements slow, but deliberate and quiet so not to appear threatening. It's a delicate balance to strike, and it takes practice.

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