Readers’ wildlife photos

October 26, 2022 • 8:00 am

Today’s contributor is Mary Rasmussen, who sent a bunch of lovely spider photos. Her captions and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Here are a few photos of spiders found near our cabin in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan. Our cabin is on the northern rocky shore of Lake Michigan with a small lawn and grassy area surrounded by cedar swamp. These are all fairly common spiders, but they’re never boring.

Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia):

The Goldenrod Crab spider is a color-changing flower spider. These are fascinating spiders and now that I know to look for them I see them often. They are able to change color from white to yellow to light green to match the flower where they’re hunting. They don’t spin webs, but catch and eat insects that visit their flowers.

Goldenrod crab spider hunting in Rudbeckia laciniata flower:

Goldenrod Crab Spider with a captured Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata):

Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) sometimes hunt in water for aquatic insects and small fish. This female was brought to me by a friend who found her hunting near the entrance to his beehive. He explained that bees are fairly clumsy fliers and an easy catch for this big spider. She was about 3 inches across and a very cooperative subject. I released her in my garden near the shore.

Dark Fishing Spider Close-Up:

Jumping Spiders (Family Salticidae) may have the best eyesight of any spider group. They are often curious and will approach my macro lens, possibly because  they see their reflection.

See more amazing photos of Jumping Spiders from Thomas Shahan here.

Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) Here she is wrapping her prey in silk:

Longjawed Orbweaver (Tetragnatha species):

Orchard Spider (Leucauge venusta):

I use a Nikon D500 camera with Nikon VR 105mm f/2.8G macro lens. For smaller subjects I add a Raynox DCR-150 snap-on macro lens. For greater depth-of-field, some images are comprised of multiple hand-held shots put together in Zerene Stacker software.  I’m currently using a folding diffuser from AK Diffuser ( which has many thoughtful features. It folds flat for storage, has a built-in LED modeling light for help focusing on subjects at night, and a holder for my Raynox snap-on lens. An internet search will show cheaper home made diffuser options–I used to use paper towels and a clear file folder, but the AK Diffuser is now my favorite.

Another shoutout to Alex Wild and where I first learned to photograph insects and arachnids.

Recommended book: Spiders of the North Woods by Larry Weber

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. What a wonderful set of photos, Mary! “Fairly common” those spiders may be but they are fascinating creatures and your portraits show them beautifully. Thank you!

  2. So nice that you a have friends who would help bees by safely relocating a spider.
    And a win for the spider, too. Everyone should be photographed by a professional at least once in their life.

  3. Very good work! I think your fancy diffuser should also garner a lot of interest in this fun hobby. Well done!

  4. What a collection. I have shot a lot of crab spiders, but none of my pictures even comes close. For your camera and lenses, plus the skill to use them, I would give my horse or my empire, if I had one.

  5. What magnificent spider photos. That orchard spider is probably a Packers fan. 😉 Thanks for sharing your kit.

  6. Beautiful images! Your diffuser is softening that light very nicely especially with those spiders that are highly reflective and often difficult to capture as well as you’ve done here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *