Here’s my first post of nature photography!  I’ve been practicing photography in an amateur, unschooled capacity ever since my Mom gave me her old digital camera for Christmas in 2001.  In that time, I’ve taken almost 30,000 photographs.  Yeah, that’s a whole fuck of a lot of photographs.  So, I guess I’m finally ready to start sharing some of them, for some reason. 

So I figured, what better way to start sharing than with some of my favorite shots of gnarly eight-eyed freaks!  Remember to click the image for a much larger and grosser version!

I found this beauty on a stump, under some bark, on Madeleine Island in Lake Superior.   This shot in particular has great detail on the eyes and fur. Yeah, this thing actually has fur.  I’m thinking it’s some sort of Wolf Spider. I think the colors on this animal are absolutely beautiful.

Here’s a nice shot of a common Garden Spider – a type of Orb Weaver.  The cool thing about this picture is that it is from below the spider, and you get a nice view of the spinerette – the web-excreting organ at the bottom of the abdomen. This guy appears to munching the remains of a bee or wasp.

This lovely fellow is the Goldenrod Crab Spider, which has the amazing ability to change colors from white to yellow and back again, so it can better hide in its chosen flower.  It can also catch a humongous fucking bumblebee, which makes this just about the most bad ass spider I’ve ever seen.  Check out the grains of pollen which have fallen from the bee onto the spider’s head.  I found this on a wild rose blossom on a cliff above Lake Oshkosh.

Jum-piiiing uh-Spiduh-l! (that’s for all you Ninja Warrior fans).  These things are just flippin awesome, free-roaming hunting spiders.  Look at the huge eyes, and the awesome colors, and it’s eating a fucking Deer Fly, which is awesome, because those fuckers bite.

This hairy motherfucker, a Huntsman spider, was one of about 150 of these freaky bastards that I encountered while cleaning out my Grandpa’s shed in Florida.  Now, normally I’m a real ‘live and let live’ kinda guy, but when one of these grapefruit-sized fuckers popped up from behind every rusty old can in Grandpa’s shed, I about lost it. Let’s just say I gained many experience points from wasting spiders that day!  You can find an excellent illustration of how large these freakin goblins are, and how well they can hide, here.

The Golden Silk Spider.  Pretty cool, huh?  Due to their size and color, these little monsters are called Banana Spiders down in Florida, where I took this picture.  This one lived in my chicken coop.  The first day that I was in Florida, I went wandering through the little orange grove that my Grandpa had planted.  As I was passing through two particularly large tangerine trees, I felt my head hit what seemed like a backyard volley ball net.  This was odd, since I had not seen any volleyball nets strung between the trees.  I stopped and backed up – and there before me was a huge golden spider web with an enormous golden spider in it.  The spider had a Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly, which, as I am sure you know, are quite large,  in it’s big hooked jaws –  and it was chewing the Swallowtail’s head off!  Unfortunately I did not have a camera yet.  Later,  I went to scope it out some more, and all that was left of the butterfly was two big wings on the ground.  Totally awesome; much cooler than how I learned about fire ants…

This is some sort of Argiope – but I call it the Evil Fuckin’ Skull Spider.