The details

You know that old saw about stopping to smell the roses? Photography can be something like that, except you lean in with your lens, absorbing all the details. Suddenly there appear all those wonderful bits of life and texture that on regular day are as invisible as the quantum world.

Seven-legged spider-UPDATE

A not so itsy-bitsy-spider was climbing the walls of the house yesterday and later found exploring the front porch. Not yet sure what he is, but have a query in to the Arthropod Museum curator at the University of Arkansas. Toe-to-toe, this fellow was about the size of a quarter. He was also missing a leg, which made his climb harder. During one of his slow climbs, he fell off the wall, but got back up again.

Thanks to the entomologists at the U of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, we have an ID for our mystery man:

“That is an adult male Myrmekiaphila, the only eastern genus of Euctenizidae, the ‘wafer-lid trapdoor spiders.’ The name ‘Myrmekiaphila’, meaning “ant-loving” refers to fact that early authors found burrows near ant nests … although there is no actual association with these spiders and ants. Males reach adulthood in the fall and early winter, when they leave their burrows and wander in search of females (which remain in their burrows). The strange modification of the first leg (metatarsus) seen in these photos is used to grip the females forelegs and push her backwards awkwardly, which prevents her from eating him during mating.”
Red spider on concrete brick.Red spider on tan bricks looking at front of spider.

12-27 Mystery Spider9

On ice

Winter is a slow time here on the mountain. Not much is moving and wildlife is elusive. However, Nature does provide a little interest in the variety of strokes in which she uses her frosty paintbrush. There are leaves carefully rimmed with ice crystals. On the cliff sides,  bladelike crystals  arise from the earth, separating roots from soil and rocks from their beds. And  there are those those tiny, rimming crystals — flakes that stand on end in seeming defiance of gravity.

Frost-rimmed oak leaf amid frosted chickweed and dormant Bermuda grass blades.
Frost-rimmed oak leaf amid frosted chickweed and dormant Bermuda grass blades.
Ice blades
Tiny blades of ice, about one-eighth of an inch wide, span an inch-and-a-half gap in the cliffside.
Ice crystal flakes.
Ice flakes like raised hackles on the edge of this leaf.

Great balls of … water?

(Apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis, of course.) Winter likes to make water do interesting things: create stalactites, delicate snowflakes and spheres of ice. Here, a couple of samples of what water can do.

(Catching that little drop of water falling from an icicle took many, many frames.)

sleet balls
CRYSTAL BALLS — Tiny spheres of sleet that accompanied a winter storm.
Sphere of water falls from a bank of icicles.
THE BIG DRIP — Sphere of water falls from a bank of icicles.

Posts from winters past:

 

Weekly photo challenge: Lost in the details

One of the nice things about the weekly photo challenge is that the prompt gets you to see the world in another way; or see an object in a new light; or at the very least from a new angle. Our take on the details is below.