I am really, honestly, NOT a fan of spiders. But when something this amazing pops up on your front door, sometimes you just gotta man up and do what you do best—photograph the thing.

This spider is huge. About 3”, or 8cm, long. That’s a big arachnid (big for me at least… I know they get a lot bigger in the Amazon. But this isn’t the Amazon. It’s South Carolina).

She would appear to be an Argiope aurantia [wiki link], judging by her colors, the zig-zag patter on her web, and the fact that she did this when I walked past the first few times… (quoted from wikipedia)

The Garden Spider can oscillate her web vigorously while she remains firmly attached in the center. This action might prevent predators like wasps and birds from drawing a good bead, and also to fully entangle an insect before it cuts itself loose.

Argiope aurantia spider, found in Anderson, South Carolina near Lake Hartwell

Shot on Canon 5D Mark II, 100mm Macro f/2.8 lens, with a two 580 EX I and EX II speedlites. One with a grid back-lighting the spider, and one hand-held and naked in the front. Hand-held was probably EV–1. Exposure: ISO 400, ƒ/18, 1/160 second.

If you want to see more detail, click the photo to open the slideshow, exit to the gallery and click the “Original” to view the full-size 22 megapixel image!

This shot isn’t great as it was shot through double-paned (dirty) window, but you can see what she looks like on the other side.

Argiope aurantia Spider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_aurantia near Lake Hartwell, Anderson, South Carolina Spider_2010-09-16_10-29-56_IMG_7002_©JosephLinaschke2010