Webnesday (13)

Greetings from New Zealand!  I’ve been here a nearly a week already and have another six weeks to go, and it’s wonderful to be here again!  All is well except that the Elf has a nasty cold; it doesn’t seem to bother her very much except for the usual messy symptoms.  I’ve been completely out of blog contact because I will have only two weeks together with CD before she returns home, and I’ve been that busy.  Not too busy, however make some family photos (will share some soon) and to take advantage of my few spare moments to prowl Batty’s and Squiddy’s gardens.  I’ve found a number of things of considerable interest, and my photo angel Frances has come through for me with three fascinating new (to me) spiders so far.  I spotted this tiny (total length around 1.5 cm) jumping spider yesterday from a distance of about 3 meters and approached very carefully.  It was perched on the underside of a leaf, backlit by the radiant green of the leaf with the sun on its upper surface.  I went into considerable contortions to try for a decent image, shooting from below at a very awkward angle, with the sun in my eyes.

Helpis minitabunda 7433I returned a quarter of an hour later to find that it had moved to the leaf’s upper surface, providing me with excellent light for some serious portrait shots, during which I was able to be in a much more comfortable position.

Helpis minitabunda 7473My research has led me to discover that my subject was a Helpis minitabunda.  This is an immigrant from Australia, having been first identified in Auckland in 1972.

Helpis minitabunda 7544Some 30 spider species indigenous to other countries have settled in New Zealand, this is apparently the only salticid (jumping spider) that has managed to establish itself here.

Helpis minitabunda 7510One of the wonders of the international date line is that it’s already Webnesday here!

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
This entry was posted in Webnesday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Webnesday (13)

  1. Vicki says:

    Great shots, especially the second one – I like the composition with the leaf edge.

    It never ceases to amaze me how such wee creatures migrate from other countries or continents – no wonder we have such strict laws against bringing any fruit or animal products into Australia.

    Shame those laws weren’t around when the first settlers came out here in the late 1780s.

    • krikitarts says:

      There are so many examples of carelessly-imported animals and plants that have wrought havoc in ecosystems. It is amazing that folks in earlier times were unable to think it through to be able to foresee possible negative consequences and reconsider their whims. Happily, this wee one is not such a case. It fits right in and there enough predators and competition that it’s in no danger of running rampant.

  2. Have a great trip and I look forward to sharing more of it with you.

    • krikitarts says:

      I should have more of general interest (landscapes, etc.) to offer later this week, as we get out of Auckland and into the surrounding country. I’m looking forward to it, too!

  3. I think it was really into the photo shoot by the last photo. It looks like it was actually posing for you :). Glad you are having a great trip and can’t wait to see more!

    • krikitarts says:

      Not only did it get pretty comfortable with my proximity, but it also started to get interested in me, too. I think it probably saw its reflection in my UV filter, because it hopped into the barrel of my lens hood, and when I carefully detached the hood and tried to guide the spider back to the leaf, it switched to my finger. I was eventually successful. I dearly wish that I’d had my little Pentax handy to record the event!

  4. Mike Powell says:

    Great shots of the spider–I especially like the final one, in which the eyes are looking right at you. That shot also illustrates really well how narrow the depth of field was for the shot, with most of the legs out of focus, but the body really sharp.

    • krikitarts says:

      My main goal was to get those amazing eyes in sharpest focus and, secondarily, as much else as lighting conditions would allow. With this in mind, I pushed my ISO up to 2000, which allowed me to use f/13 at 1/160 second, which I needed because there was an annoyingly-persistent breeze that permitted the leaf to hold still for only the occasional split-second. It took me about 45 minutes to get nine really decent results. I know you’ll really appreciate the patience this demands, as you’re very good at it, too!

  5. lauramacky says:

    Nice detail and I like the last one as well. Eerie!

    • krikitarts says:

      That’s an excellent descriptor for what it feels like when they fix you with that riveting gaze. I haven’t seen any reference to that feeling in my reading about salticids (it has been described in snakes), but I can’t help thinking that there may well be an element of something mesmerizing if they are close enough to their prey, though they usually pounce from a distance of several body-lengths so that they can approach unnoticed.

  6. Meanderer says:

    Love that last image. He. Is. Really. Looking. At. Me.

    Have fun!

    • krikitarts says:

      When I was studying it with the naked eye, it would indeed turn and watch me with apparent curiosity, looking right into my eyes, as you say, but as I delicately set up the camera to within about four inches, I took care to keep my hands, constantly on the manual-focus ring, shielded behind the lens hood, so I’m quite sure that in that last shot it was reacting to its own reflection in the filter. Squiddy has a wonderful book on NZ spiders and the author describes a number of instances in which the subjects of their photographic studies have jumped not only onto their cameras (which I have experienced several times), but also right onto their noses and fingers!

  7. What an excellent set of shots! I love the detail in the eyes. I really like spiders and am very comfortable with them, but I have managed to give myself a fright every now and then by concentrating so hard focusing with a macro when they suddenly move towards you! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip :)

    • krikitarts says:

      Ah, the almost-inevitable interaction experience! I don’t think I’ve ever had an opportunity to try to photograph a spider of serious concern, like a Sydney funnel-web, so I can’t claim to have shared the fright thing, but getting as close as i do–sometimes closer than an inch with my little Pentax WG-2, I’ve had them bridging the gap to explore me up close and personal a number of times, and I’ve always considered this a privilege and a compliment. But it’s quite true–one gets so engrossed in the moment that everything else just sort of fades into the background, and our very alive subjects can bring us back to reality in the blink of an eye. And sometimes we’re not quite ready for it!

  8. Adrian Lewis says:

    Good pictures, Gary, and they get better as I work down through the post – with that last one being really excellent. Enjoy your holiday! Adrian

  9. I really like jumping spiders, but don’t think I’ve ever seen any with such long legs. Great shots!

    • krikitarts says:

      It’s great fun to look for new spiders here. There are a great variety, and quite a few of them are so far unnamed. Rest assured that I’ll keep my eyes open for more!

  10. Wow, these are fabulous photos! So much detail and artfully framed. It must have been such a great trip.

    • krikitarts says:

      Hey, Cait, great to see you in and about again! It is a great trip, except that I’m getting a nasty cold, but I’m determined not to let it get the best of me during the two and a half weeks I have left…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s