OK, so I never quite followed up with my original plan to post a picture a week. From now on I think I'll just give up on making it a regular occurrence and only blog when I think I have an interesting picture.
When I showed this shot to my wife, her reaction was "disgusting, but well done". She is even thinking of putting this up in her cube at work - which for her says a lot because she can't stand spiders. Whenever I find a spider in the house there's often a race between me getting my camera and she finding a shoe. Very often, I do not win the race.
Luckily, this spider was outside in a rhododendron bush. I have noticed quite a few of these particular spiders around our house lately - including one that lives on the side mirror of my car and drives to work with me everyday - I find it amazing how the web holds up with the wind.
I actually did not go outside initially to photograph this spider. I noticed a bunch of leafhoppers outside and hurriedly grabbed my gear to get some shots (follow this picture to see those ones). I then noticed this spider and something wrapped in silk that it seemed to guard - the spider kept going down to it when I moved away.
I waited a few moments for the spider to come back down and then got a few shots off. Later when I downloaded the shot I noticed what appears to be a fly wrapped up in the silk.
In terms of technical information, this shot was taken using a Canon MP-E 65 lens on a Canon 5D camera with the MT-24EX flash. Some people have criticized the DOF here but in truth I do not like going above f8 when the lens is 2x or above due to diffraction. Diffraction will cause the picture to be less sharp as the aperture diminishes. For the size picture you will see on Flickr - you probably would not notice a difference. However when the picture is expanded to 100% it is very noticeable and the micro stock sites will often not accept them. At f8, I rarely have a problem with sharpness so I stick with that. As with almost all of my other macro shots, I shoot them at 1/200 which is the flash sync speed of the camera. This allows me to compensate for the shaking that is impossible to stop of the camera - most bugs will not give me the opportunity to setup a tripod.
This type of photo is one I have been trying to aim more for lately - insects in the process of 'being insects'.