Summer Webs: Image #1

Web of Light

This morning, overcast and gray, there are no radiant webs in the pasture.

It’s entirely possible that, before such light presents itself again, the hay mowers will come and that will be the end of the orb weaver’s craft show across the road from my desk.

So, to reinforce what I was saying about the once-ness and the here-ness of every photograph and its role in memory and sense of place, I’m glad I found myself slogging around with the iPhone, wet to the waist, in yesterday’s first rays that crested the ridge. The light was right.

The color distortion is an artifact that comes from facing directly into the streaming sun with a camera that lacks a sun shade.

I could have photoshopped the violet-indigo flare out of the image. But that’s what this particular “eye” to the world saw. So be it. Click to enlarge.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Perfect as it is, Fred. It is sometimes tempting to tinker with images using Photoshop, but really, what the camera sees is perfect as it is, and kudos to you for this one. Orb weavers are grand little beings and superb artists.

  2. A beautiful image! Sure glad you didn’t try to “improve” it (and I use that term loosely) with Photoshop.

  3. I didn’t PS the image to remove the lens flare. I DID use photoshop (rather obviously I thought) to bring the web into focus by taking the background vegetation into a kind of blurred abstract suggesting grasses and wildflowers.

    Occasionally I like to render the art in the natural-light image, and in fact, “see” it that way when I take the picture–with the finished “art” image in mind rather than what my eye sees through the viewfinder.

    I think of this as photographic insight or the artist’s eye in viewing nature. Again, representing the world to ones self in this way engages the mind so that, as I’ve said elsewhere, “nothing is ordinary.”

  4. I am very pleased that you are using your iPhone to get those “never again” photos. My husband is selling his heavy Canon camera after getting a mirrorless Fuji which weighs half as much, but the iPhone is an even better option for nature photography. Especially for older dudes, for whom the weight of a camera is becoming a big deal!