Can I get a little privacy here?

After 10 days of studying Charlotte, my favorite orb-weaver spider, I was disappointed that I had yet to get a good portrait of her. You know, the kind of professional image that she’d be proud to display on her LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts – assuming spiders had a need for social media. The challenge has been that she’s...

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Nature has a plan

Following the life of a spider is both beautiful and tragic. Yesterday, while I was out walking the dogs, Charlotte caught a majestic monarch butterfly in her web. By the time I noticed, the butterfly had succumbed to her entrapment and was completely motionless. All day I hoped that this would be the last creature to fall prey to Charlotte...

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Probability and luck

Charlotte finally caught a meal last night. I realize now why she builds such a huge web. It’s not because she’s greedy. It’s all about probability and luck. Yesterday, while working at my desk, I watched from my window as several honey bees vibrated themselves out of the web to safety, and even as a moth shed some scales to...

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Some spider!

Charlotte has become not only a friend, but a subject of intense fascination. I have now had the privilege of viewing many of her habits including building a new web, consuming the old web for valuable protein, wrapping up prey and carrying it to her hiding place, snoozing all day under a branch, and even shooting out silk from her...

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Charlotte, the orb-weaver

Meet Charlotte, the half dollar-sized orb-weaver spider I’ve been watching for a few days. Every night she gets to work building a web over a foot in diameter, connected by long anchor filaments, including one attached to my roof over 7-ft away. One morning I awoke to find her wrapping up an early caught honey bee, and then dragging the...

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Pigs in heaven

I recently had the good fortune of producing a lynda.com photography title with acclaimed San Francisco photographer, and phenomenal human being, Ben Long (www.oreillynet.com/pub/au/2862), while on the stunningly gorgeous mountaintop property of Rancho Ojai (www.ranchoojai.net), amongst “wild”, well, um…pigs…actually. Now, while my admiration of Ben Long’s genius goes without saying, and the views atop Rancho Ojai are the best in...

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Exploring

In response to my asking her repeated questions about where to indulge my rekindled interest in hiking, my friend Ashley bought me a day hike book for Ventura County. I was stunned at the number of trails in the area that had gone unnoticed by me. I’ve always been the kind of person that slows down, looks around, and smells...

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Tsunami

Dublin the Dog and I braved the beach while others remained hidden away in upper level apartments or at higher elevations throughout Ventura, after heeding weather warnings of a potential tsunami slamming the Pacific coast. After all, a little tsunami is no match for Hurricane Samara who has already left a trail of destruction wherever she’s been. So I figured,...

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Four-legged friendships

Llamas and dogs make friends, but just how deep do they bond? When Gaze, the llama, gets out of sight of his constant companion, Baylord, the llama, he kicks at the dirt, pulls on the leash, and gets downright unpleasant. Dublin and Checkers met for the first time on the weekend this photo was taken, but these dogs were instant...

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A story of human intervention

My day started off the same as every other this month. Feeling the weight of depression that only a broken relationship can impart, I dragged myself out of bed and blamed myself immediately for the ugly state of the world. It’s a good thing for my dog, or I might not even bother waking up and feeling sorry for myself....

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