Spider in the Roses

This morning I was dead-heading my knockout roses, a task that I actually enjoy as it gives me a chance to get out in nature instead of sitting in front of a computer all day. Just as I was reaching into the interior of one of my bushes to clip some old dead blooms, I spotted this beauty just hanging in its web right in front of my hand.  It’s an orb weaver spider, non-aggressive and not dangerous to humans, but I didn’t know that at the time.

I may have uttered an expletive at that point….I really don’t remember. But after I caught my breath, I was just kind of blown away by the beauty of this creature, hanging in its web in the middle of my rose bush. I had my iPhone in my back pocket, so I tried taking a couple of shots with it, but couldn’t get it to focus correctly in the low light.

So I finished up my yard work and then retrieved my Nikon D700 with my 28-300 Nikkor lens and went back to see if the spider was still there. Thankfully, it was right where I had left it (him? her?), and I was able to get a few good shots with some great depth of field. I had the ISO bumped up to 2500 so I could get a faster shutter speed since there was a slight breeze blowing the web back and forth, and with the narrow depth of field I wanted to make sure I stayed in focus.

I processed this in Paintshop Photo Pro V5 with Topaz Adjust.

Spider In the Roses

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Jerome Grand Hotel From the Outside

Continuing my series of images from our recent visit to Jerome, Arizona:

A few posts ago, I presented some images of the interior of the historic Grand Hotel in Jerome.   I’ve also shown you their still-operational Otis elevator.  As promised, tonight’s post presents a few images of the exterior of the hotel, with a few processing twists.

This first shot is taken from a vantage point slightly downhill from the hotel.  I really liked the bare branches in the foreground, but wanted to soften them up a bit.  So I used the Venetian Painting preset in Topaz Adjust, and then did some further softening in Paintshop Photo Pro X3:

Jerome Grand Hotel and Asylum Restaurant

This next image shows the Asylum Restaurant after they’ve closed for the night. Since this place is supposed to be haunted, I don’t think they get too concerned if some of the lights are not functioning properly–maybe it’s just part of the mystique. View it large to see what I mean:

Jerome Grand Hotel and Asylum Restaurant

And this last image is an HDR from five bracketed shots taken with the 14-24mm wide-angle zoom. The perspective is wonky, but I think it just adds to the “haunted”, mysterious look of the hotel. After all, any hotel with gigantic spiders hanging from the underside of the balconies has to be a little wonky (click to view it large!):

Jerome Grand Hotel and Asylum Restaurant

I still have lots of great shots from Jerome that I’ll probably play with in the coming weeks. But we’re heading to Sedona tomorrow where there are always great photo ops at every turn, so I’m sure my inventory of images will be overflowing by Sunday evening.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!