You might have seen small drops of water on grass, plants and trees shining like pearls in the early hours of morning. Often misinterpreted as rain left on the grass but not so much. For those of you that are learning this stuff…
Dew drops are formed due to condensation of water vapors. Air around us contains water vapors which we call moisture or humidity. Hot air contains more moisture versus cold air. At night when the relatively warm / humid air comes into contact with colder surfaces, water vapor present condenses on the cold surface in the form of droplets. These tiny drops of water are of course called dew drops.
The dew formation is enhanced when the sky is clear and reduced when it is cloudy. When the sky is clear and the trees and plants are cooler at nights, there is more evaporation of water and hence more dew formation. But when it is cloudy, trees and plants do not get cool in the night. This results in less dew formation. As the sun raises high in the sky, these dew drops evaporate into air directly.
It seems to me… We really don’t have an excess of dewey mornings here on the MT/WY border. Maybe we have more but I’m not seeing. This is after all a very dry environment. Frost is a similar phenomena but below 32 degrees.
A Daddy Long Legs spider surrounded by it’s 3 dimensional home/web decorated with hundreds of condensed dew drops was a lucky find. Talk about a harmless spider. (I know, some of you REALLY don’t like spiders). Others buy them as pets. I always thought they were too fragile personally as the big spiders crack like an egg. Some of you may not know my wife and myself ran the only pet shop for 6 years in a big college town. Sold that in 1986…. (one of my 9 professional careers). I have sold a LOT of Tarantulas to Frat Houses before. They seemed to like scorpions too. Needless to say I’ve been bitten, stuck, stung, and otherwise generally chewed on for 6 years by all the exotic stuff that went through our pet store.😜 I was much younger then.
Setting the stage:
We are in the middle of a 6 month long drought. That morning was HEAVILY pea soup fogged. The sun was deeply veiled to the point of the fog filter being quite effective at making this possible. Pointing the camera into the sun to capture darker detail is the challenge. Don’t try this with a DSLR camera. Mirrorless cameras won’t blind you in the process. That is a very bright sun at the top. Looking into the furnace as it were.
So when the relative humidity hits 99.9 percent, dew condenses on any cool object. Droplets in the moving air collide with larger drops nucleating around intersections or rough points in the webbing. Anywhere there is a SLIGHT disruption of otherwise smooth air flow, frost or dew will deposit there. That depends on the temperature. For a good google this afternoon, search “triple point of water” in google and see what comes up.
The rare thick foggy morning in the midst of a precipitation drought was welcome in this high country. The dew point had been reached during the darker hours. The net effect was a net moisture gain which is sorely needed. The strength of the gossamer iridescent spider silk amazes me with it’s natural strength. That is a lot of water for it to hold up. I suppose it’s spread out equally throughout the construction.
The sun was heavily veiled by the pawl of fog still lingering after the sunrise. I caught this early enough in the process to get the best of both worlds. Sun shape and definition through the filtering fog but yet enough moderation of the glare to allow me to image this wonder. The spider was no where to be seen as I’m sure the HUGE glass eye I stuck into his domain was sufficiently worthy of note. Thus his quick exit. I’d have loved to have had a dew covered cat faced spider attached to this lolol.
Nature has it’s way of producing miracles that escape our perception due to our hurry up and get there mentality. I have had to teach myself to slow down and actually see/recognize what the generalist in me ignores. Each of us has this ability to focus in on the details around us. Few take the time. To see what others only look at in passing, paying no mind to it, is a core achievement of a good student of photography.
Oddball images from my work flow across my desktop occasionally. I consider this as rather artsy object oriented photography. I don’t do a lot of these but light is where it is. To coin a classic opening to quite a few classics…. “It was a foggy morning”. Really foggy and the sun was just breaking through from above. Clear(er) blue sky surrounded by golden hour light projecting on the fog… So every spider web, thread and spun silk object had trapped a droplet or two during the night. Pointing the camera right at the sun with only the fog and the Barbed wire to filter out the excessive light, this was the result.
It’s certainly abstract in it’s form but it’s function remains intact if not softened by the gentleness of the water droplet. The microscopic world we usually fail to notice is there regardless of our attention to the detail. Humans are such generalists as a whole. Some look a little closer at times when schedule permits.
Macro lenses just focus REALLY close to things. Most don’t actually magnify. Most are 1X, though you can buy up to a 5X. You need a LOT of light to do any of this well. I was about 3 inches from the droplets. This wire is inches from an adjacent hot electric fence wire….. Hazardous duty certainly. I’ve been shocked many times by electric fences but never through a camera. That would have to be good for the electronics therein. 😜
I was fighting Dew on the lens with this Pink “Belt of Venus” RIGHT at the Crack of Dawn. THere was a lot of dew on the grass and the light was very pink/red that morning. A side show to the sunrise ongoing to my left. Never forget to turn around lol.
I work well over 400 sunrises or sunsets a year these days. Some I miss, others I choose not to pursue. I’ve been known to sleep through a few rises but I don’t miss many sunsets. Just clouds in the way slow me down a bit. Grey flat light and I are like matter and anti-matter lolol.