Wild Kingdom in the Phun Kitchen


spider_closeupI love it when I don’t have to leave the house and still get to use my camera.

I had been watching this spider make its web near my kitchen sink but there was never any activity.

I had watched for the past week as the web got bigger and bigger each day.

Finally I had a recognizable respectable web.

Today the luck of the housefly I had been hunting for days ran out.

I snagged him with my flyswatter and he landed dazed onto the web.

It only took about 5 minutes before he was bundled up and probably digested.

Bundled up–A housefly I stunned with a flyswatter ends up bundled up and ready to be digested by my kitchen spider. ISO 100 1/250 sec @ f11. Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.

spider_closeup2The trouble was all this action was taking place when I was making dinner, so you can imagine how crazy my dinner preparation got.

What I Used

Let’s see what did I use:
Mustard Green vegetable, ginger, red chillies, chicken bones ..sorry that was dinner

  1. Canon 40D
  2. Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens (gives 1:1 life size image)
  3. Canon 580EX speedlite set as master
  4. Canon 430EX speedlite set as slave


Here’s a look at the web. All the pictures were taken using flash because

  1. at macro distances, the depth-of-field is extremely shallow.
  2. the spider web is so delicate, it even moved when I breathed a little hard on it. The flash was the only way to arrest the motion.

But using flash has its own set of challenges because at these macro distances, the light from my speedlite is too broad and unfocused.

It spills all over and lights up too much of the background introducing more clutter.


The Setup–My 430EX speedlite was set on manual and ““Slave”” with power ratio set at 1/64th power. Again at these distances, getting f11 for ISO 100 is easy. The tricky part is how to channel the beam of light or narrow it. I moved the coffeemaker closer to the wall. My other flash the 580EX was on the camera hotshoe set on “Master” to trigger the 430EX.

So a quick and dirty fix was to move the coffeemaker to shield the area of the spider web and faucet.

The shiny faucet being closer to the flash would otherwise be over-exposed especially in the case of the 3rd picture above when I showed what the web looks like.

5 thoughts on “Wild Kingdom in the Phun Kitchen”

  1. Sure is simple when someone provides step by step instruction.

    Thank you Peter.

  2. Hello Shane,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I wouldn’t put too much into the gobo trick. It was down and dirty and I didn’t want to burn dinner so the coffeemaker was an easy fix. The rest of it is just the 100 mm macro lens.

    Had to relocate the spider recently.

    As to your question about inserting the degree symbol, for the Windows XP OS:

    • click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Character Map.

    1. To select a font, click the down arrow, and then click the font that you want.
    2. When you click a cell in the symbol grid, a larger version appears for your review. In this example a check mark is shown.
    3. To add the current symbol to the Characters to copy box, click Select.
    4. To place the symbol in the Characters to copy box on the Windows clipboard, click Copy.
    5. Click the degree symbol that you want, click Select, and then click Copy.
    6. Switch to your document, and then place the insertion point where you want to paste the degree symbol.
    7. Click Paste.

    Note If the symbol looks different from the one that you selected, select the symbol and then apply the same font that you selected in Character Map.

  3. WOW! Love the gobo trick with the speedlite. Great pictures. Umm, I am not sure a spider would survive very long in my kitchen though.

  4. Jo,
    How nice of you to come by!

    I almost burned dinner as result of my monkeying around with this spider. Had that happened, we all would have had to be vegetarians tonight. The alternate offering would have been prata or (frozen variety of roti) with sugar. Just like when I was a kid growing up in Malaysia.

    Sorry the drama was gruesome. I will have to re-locate my pet spider in a day or two. I wish I had time this afternoon to videotape the encounter. The fly, I’m sure, will have the last laugh, when he sends his squadrons of kids after me.

  5. Hey Peter,

    What amazing photos! Gruesome (I am a vegetarian), but really incredible.

    I love all the setup info, the glimpse into your kitchen and, of course, your trademark sense of humor.

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