Tag Archives: Photography

Taking Spider Web Photos

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)



Posted by on August 11, 2016 in eHow, Photography, photos, Uncategorized


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My Top Seller on Zazzle

My Top Seller on Zazzle

I’ve placed many of my photos on Zazzle products over the last three years. The results are mixed. Actually I have better luck promoting other folks’ designs than I do selling my own.

Lately I’ve been surprised by repeat sales of a wrapping paper I designed. It consists of a pattern of American flags running in stripes across the gift wrap.

Here's my popular gift wrap and some of the competition.

Here’s my popular gift wrap and some of the competition.

When I searched the site for my keywords, “patriotic gift wrap,” mine came up first in the site’s most popular list. Hurrah!

Here’s a better view of it:

I took the photo a few years ago in a Walmart where I noticed a cluster of small flags for sale. It’s a great design for wrapping gifts for someone in the military or for a special occasion gift on the 4th of July, Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day.

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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Zazzle


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Source of Photos of Vintage Items or Crafts

I wanted some photos of vintage feedsack material and of dresses made from that fabric. Although I had the one below that I took at a quilt show, I wanted more examples of feedsack dresses and quilts and fabric.

Quilt pieces from vintage feedsacks.

Quilt pieces from vintage feedsacks.

It hadn’t occurred to me before, but as I browsed around on Etsy, I saw the perfect photos to illustrate my articles. Of course, one can’t just rip-off the photos and use them on your own articles.

I approached three Etsy sellers and politely asked if I could feature their item on my article. All three of them responded in the affirmative, giving me permission to use their photo with a link to their page.

To see how this turned out, you can see the Etsy photos on my pages called Feedsack Dresses and Tea Cup Flower Arrangements. I think they really brighten the pages up. In the past, I had permission from several eBay sellers to use photos of their auction item which happened to fit some of my pages about collectibles.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Ask nicely and if turned down, accept that graciously
  • Keep the email granting permission (in case of future issues)
  • Place the photo on your web page with a credit telling who the photo belongs to. Link the photo to their product on Etsy.
  • Both parties benefit from this. I get a great photo to use and they get some free publicity and backlinks.
  • In the case of photos on Hubpages, you can only use 2 links to the same place. Where I used more than 2 photos from Etsy, I put them in a series with one link for the batch.
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Hubpages, Photography, photos, webpages


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I’m a Solivita Celebrity Blogger

Just what does that mean? The Central Florida retirement community that I live in had a contest to select three bloggers to represent the community. We had to submit a writing sample and go for an interview. Part of the interview was videotaped and appears on the blog. I was excited to be one of the three chosen for the seven weeks of blogging about Solivita.

I’m hoping that all the people who follow this blog will drop over to see what my new blog is all about. I’m interviewing interesting people in the community to create profiles to post on the blog. I’m also creating posts about my wildlife photos and observations. Solivita has quite a few nature preserves, so we see many animals. Since I now have a camera with lots of zoom, I’m thrilled with the wildlife I’m capturing with my camera.

The bloggers are competing against each other for the most visits and comments. The winner gets a BBQ for 40 of their friends. This is a great incentive to promote our blogs and try to bring in viewers. Come give it a read! Just click on any of the links on this page to get to it. Please pass it along to your friends who might be interested in Florida or retirement communities or wildlife.


Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Blogger, Writing


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Those Cute Chipmunks

Rodents aren’t supposed to be so darn cute. After a mild winter this year, the chipmunks in New Hampshire are having a population explosion. It has given me an opportunity to try out the zoom on my Canon SX20is. Capturing digital images of the little critters has been fun.

What isn’t fun is the interest they’re taking in my strawberry patch. I have a photo series of the brazen culprit turning the large red strawberry around in his paws while nibbling daintily on different parts of the ripe fruit. Then we found they were even abscounding with the smaller green strawberries. As my husband waved his arms and stomped into the garden, a chipmunk took time to stuff a not-yet-ripe strawberry into each cheek before running away to safety.

Chipmunks are great tree climbers.

Chipmunks are great tree climbers.

I have several webpages about the chipmunks. The one about Ten Humane Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks is proving quite popular. Apparently, I’m not the only one suffering from an over-abundance of these rodents with racing stripes. The second one is Fun Facts about Chipmunks and the target audience is children, but I’m finding that it appeals to adults too. It includes some of my chipmunk photos and observations that I’ve made of their behavior.

Update (July 2011): Since people wanted ways to more permanently get rid of chipmunks, I’ve created a new web page called Get Rid of Chipmunks – The Final Solution. Of course, new chipmunks will try to move into the territory left vacant by any that you have relocated or killed. Be prepared to continue your efforts every summer.

Eastern Chipmunk in New Hampshire

Eastern chipmunk (photo by Virginia Allain)


Posted by on July 23, 2010 in New England, Photography


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Sorting My Photos of Insects

My inner-librarian took over today and I categorized some of my thousands of photos that are clogging up my computer. The original idea was to weed some of them out, but then I got caught up sorting them into categories. I had one section of insects under my animal photo category. That didn’t suit me with all the insects mixed in together.

I sorted them out into these sub-categories:

  • bees/wasps (41 pictures)
  • butterflies/moths (48)
  • caterpillars (22)
  • dragonflies/damselflies (6)
  • grasshoppers (8)
  • odd insects (45)
  • spiders/webs (82)

I used my caterpillar photos to create a webpage called Name the Caterpillars. Hopefully someone will give me the names to go with the photos.

This one fell into the odd insects category. Does anyone know what it is?


Posted by on February 7, 2010 in Nature, Photography



Lots of Gators

It’s not uncommon for us to see an alligator cruising down the middle of the small lake behind our house. Well, really it’s a retention pond for all that rain that Florida gets, but I think “lake” sounds nicer. When we have visitors, we hope that the resident alligator will show himself for their benefit. What’s the use of traveling all the way to Florida if you don’t get to see an alligator at least once.

Our visitor this week was escaping the chill temperatures in Missouri. Maybe he would have been satisfied with just Florida sunshine and dinner on the lanai. He hit it lucky though, getting sunshine, 80 degree days, and THREE alligators. First we saw one, just barely showing its head above water. Then we spotted the second one further down the lake. A short while later, the two of them looked quite cosy resting on the shore across the lake. I took my camera with its 20X zoom down to my neighbor’s yard to get a closer photo of the pair. They appeared to be at least 6-8 feet in length. It’s hard to judge.

While looking for a good angle, I noticed a small alligator just a stone’s throw away from me on my side of the lake.  Quickly I snapped a picture of it, then tried getting a little closer. Splash! He hit the water running and was gone in no time. Oh, well, I still had the two larger gators to capture. With the zoom, I could see them pretty well and took several shots. Here are the three alligators that were in our lake:

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Posted by on January 23, 2010 in Florida, Nature, Photography


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