Taking Spider Web Photos

Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses.
Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses. (Photo by Virginia Allain)

Nature buffs and camera enthusiasts find spiders and their intricate webs fascinating. Photographing them is challenging. Here are some tips to improve your digital photos of spider webs.

 Things You’ll Need:
  • digital camera with close-up mode
  • outdoor area to find spiders
Spider webs with dew on them are more visible in photographs than a plain web. This means getting out early with the digital camera before the sun dries everything out.
spider web
Spider web after a light rain shower. (photo by Virginia Allain)


Use the macro setting (close-up) on your digital camera. Often this setting is represented by a flower icon.


canon camera powershot
Canon SX 20 IS Powershot that I use
Keep your hands very steady or use a tripod for macros. Avoid windy days when slight movements of the web will blur your picture.
Be cautious if the spider is on the web.
Look for plain, uncluttered background to show off the web better. Dirt, mulch, or sky work well as a background. The close-up setting on the digital camera helps by putting the background out of focus.
Take multiple shots from different angles. Try getting the whole web, a section of the web, different sides of the web. Then see what turned out the best.
This photo could benefit from cropping. The grass background is not the best.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fog or a sprinkler or a light shower sometimes creates ideal conditions for photographing webs and can mimic morning dew.
  • Black construction paper held behind a web might work when the background is too cluttered.
  • Avoid disturbing the web when taking your photo.

(Previously published on eHow in 2008 by Virginia Allain)



I Was Wrong

In a previous post, I shared some upward trending stats on a Squidoo lens. Grasping at straws, I suggested that maybe it was a sign of traffic starting to rebound on the site. I was WRONG.

Here’s the end of Squidoo and in another week, the pages lovingly crafted there disappear. Hopefully people took the lifeline of moving their pages to Hubpages or scrambled to repurpose them for their own web site or blog.

The demise of Squidoo...
The demise of Squidoo…

I’ve deleted manually 37 pages that need not go to Hubpages. Hubpages wouldn’t want my lensographies, Squidoo tips and some personal pages created for quests. Compulsively, I saved even those to my cloud storage with Evernote. Perhaps I can glean a few paragraphs from them to use in blogs. The rest are saved and transfer to Hubpages where I’ll deal with them later.

I feel sad, I feel sorry for anyone depending on the income they’d developed on Squidoo and for all those beautiful personal pages and family history pages that may fall by the wayside. I feel angry that Squidoo tortured all of us for a year and a half before finally setting us free.

If you took your content and escaped last year, consider yourself fortunate. Unfortunately, this is not a new story on the Internet. I survived the debacle on eHow when they killed their Writer’s Compensation Program. We learn a lot for each site and take those skills with us wherever we go online. At least on eHow, they offered a buy-out. I do appreciate the 5 figure check they sent me.

Now, it is onward and upward. There are new opportunities opening for us and new skills to learn. My fingers have been pried away from clutching the rail of the sinking ship. It is sink or swim. For many of us, Hubpages provides a life raft. That gives some of us a little more time to take some swimming lessons if we need those.

Another Lens of the Day

It’s a huge honor on Squidoo to have your lens (web page) featured as Lens of the Day. This time it wasn’t one of mine getting that honor, but a fellow writer that I enticed over from eHow. I kept telling my writing buddies about how much fun I was having (and how much money I was making) on Squidoo. Dragging their feet, some of them finally gave it a try.

The results have been awesome. These writers already know how to research topics, use keywords and put together a great article. Now with Squidoo’s tools, they’re turning out first-class web pages on all sorts of topics.

The latest Lens of the Day showcasing a former eHow writer’s work is by Wordstock, better known to her eHow pals as Ann Hinds. Here’s the link to the page:

A 10-yr-old Christmas List A 10-yr-old Christmas List
For the first time, he has to give us a list of the things he might like for Christmas. This is hard for him and for us. No more trips to see Santa and thos…

The Ups and Downs of Squidoo Mentoring

I’ve encouraged a number of eHow pals to migrate over to Squidoo with their content or to become more active on Squidoo if they were already there. At times they get discouraged and I feel responsible for luring them to a site that might not work out for them. I have to remind them that the first 3 to 6 months on Squidoo can be long ones while waiting to see results, but their hard work will pay off over time.

Actually they’ve made amazing progress in the few months since eHow pulled the rug out from under the writers. Here are some of the remarkable achievements of my eHow writing buddies:

  • Frischy won Lens of the Day with From Ugly Shed to Trendy Chicken Coop. It is currently ranked at 5,000 but I think with some backlinks and occasional updating she could make some sales and achieve tier one earnings too. She has 25 lenses already.
  • Wordstock created over 100 lenses on Squidoo and is a Rocket Mom. Congrats to her on these achievements. Her lens, A Little Extra Courage, won a purple star for excellence. She has several niches going, but sometimes comes up with something quirky like How to Escape from Godzilla.
  • ChrissJ had a good start on Squidoo on her own, but I bugged her into making lenses about storytime themes. With that niche and her former eHow articles on dog care, she has rapidly reached 86 lenses. Her Diary of a Puppy Fashionista recently made Lens of the Day.
  • NancyCarol dragged her feet about making Squidoo lenses, but suddenly got the Squidoo spirit and made a lens about My Best Friend, My Pug. Now she has three purple stars and quite a few angel blessings on her 53 lenses. Her Story of the Women’s Army Corp is one of the purple stars.
  • Gottaloveit at first gravitated to List My Five and I finally cajoled her into giving Squidoo a try. She quickly built two impressive niches with a variety of lenses on Dessert Shooters and caregiving lenses like Helping a Hospitalized Senior Citizen.

To keep this post from getting too long, I’ll make a separate one to feature more of the eHow writers who are making their mark on Squidoo. Here’s a directory of eHow Writers on Squidoo.

Sad Times on eHow

For several years, I wrote articles for the eHow website. Over time, the almost 500 articles started earning good residuals for me and I looked forward to that monthly deposit from Demand Media (eHow) into my Paypal account.

This past year, they switched to paying $15 upfront for articles and I was dismayed to see the flat rate articles seemed to duplicate the titles and content of some of my most successful and best earning articles. I wondered if they were just trying to divert some of the traffic away from my article to the new ones so they wouldn’t have to pay me as much in residuals. My other fear was that once they had the best earning articles covered would they just dump the originals (and the residuals)? As far as making money for Demand Media, it seemed like a smart, but borderline unethical thing to do.

This week, it appears that eHow has started a massive purge of articles that they claim are duplicate content. The writers are comparing their war wounds in the eHow forum, which mysteriously remains active even though eHow said it would close in February 2011. At this point, I think I’ve lost about twelve eHow articles. I expect more deletions over the weeks. Some writers have lost as much as 20% of their articles.

I’ll sure miss that $400 or so that I was earning from eHow residuals each month. It’s their site and they have to fine tune it as they see fit, but I can’t help but feel sad that it has taken this way of ridding itself of its writers and all the articles that earned so much for each of us and eHow over the growth years of 2008 and 2009.

I’ve been busy handing out links to my eHow and Squidoo articles that might help others through this time of turmoil on eHow. Here are the topics in case you need them:

Turn an eHow Article into a Squidoo Lens

eHow Writers on Squidoo

How to Find Deleted eHow Articles (find out what was deleted and find the cache on Google)

Payday for Squidoo, eHow and List My 5

It’s always exciting to see payday come around for the various online sites where I write. With eHow, you see the amount going up day-by-day, so it’s not really a surprise but it’s always sweet to see the final amount deposited into Paypal. Since I no longer write for eHow, it is all residual income from the 488 articles that I wrote for the site over a two-year period.   The November payout was $353.29.

With List My 5, I’m only on my third month there so haven’t reached minimum payout yet.  I have 60 lists posted to the site and the earnings are still in the pennies stage. So far, I’ve accumulated about $5, so it may take another month or two to reach the $10 payout. Why keep writing for such a pittance, you might ask. I remember that with eHow, it started out slowly and I didn’t make payout for several months.   My first month on eHow (February 2008), my articles earned $1.74.  It takes time for Internet content to “age” and build up an audience. The search engines, ranking of the site, and backlinks factor into this. Anyway, as time passes, the magic of the Internet happens and more and more people view what I’ve written and it starts to make money for me.  With List My Five, the site is new and it will take awhile, but I’m hopeful it will become a good earner over time. In the meantime, it’s fun to make the lists and post them there.

My big excitement this month was Squidoo payday. That happens around the 15th of the month. The site buzzed with lensmasters anticipating good returns for traffic in October, November and December. Today, the 15th of December was payday for sales and traffic on the lenses (webpages) in October. Total earnings = $395.64! What is even more exciting is from all indications, my November and December earnings should be even better. I’ll know for sure when those paydays come around in mid-January and February.  What I like about this, is I’ve been seriously making lenses since September 2009. The first holiday season on the site wasn’t that exciting for me, as I focused on making webpages on family topics. These were personally satisfying, but not lucrative.

Total it up from Squidoo and eHow, and I made $748 this month. Quite nice. Can you make money writing online? The answer is YES.

My eHow articles

My List My Five lists and my article on writing for List My Five.

My Squidoo webpages and the monthly postings of my Squidoo Payday earnings.

Dollar Sign bag
Dollar Sign by trendyteeshirts
Soon I’ll need a bag like this one from Zazzle to carry all my earnings in….

Trying out a New Writing Site: List My Five

Lots of my old writing buddies from eHow are trying out the site List My Five. Many of them felt rather lost after eHow forced them over to Demand Studios to publish their how-to articles. They didn’t like the restrictions on topics and the editorial meddling.

I’d encouraged them to try Squidoo which was working out great for me. I don’t know if they were daunted by learning the module system on Squidoo or what, but few seem willing to try it. That’s why I started my Squidoo lens about my earnings on Squidoo so they could see how it pays off.

I was curious about all the buzz being generated about List My Five, so I took a look at some of their articles they were posting there.  What the heck, I thought, I’ll try a few. After posting a couple of articles, I could see what was exciting them. You can choose any topic you want, so my first one was The Top Five Reasons to Love Squidoo and my second one was The Top Five Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks Without Killing Them. Within a few days, I’d made 3 cents on the chipmunk article. A few pennies doesn’t sound like anything to get excited about, except the eHow crowd remembers how they started with pennies on there.

As I built up a library of over 400 articles on eHow, it went from pennies, to dollars, and now I earn residuals of over $300 monthly. Think of it like a savings account. You bank your articles, then wait for the interest to accrue. Maybe that’s a bad example with interest rates being so low. The really great part is that they articles keep paying back over months and years, so eventually the pay is quite good. In the short-term it looks petty, so you need to remember to keep the long-term in mind.

I’m compiling comments from fellow eHow and Squidoo writers plus other information about the site on List My Five: A Fun Website Where Writers Earn Residuals.