Sir Walter Scott’s words came to mind as I downloaded photos I took this morning of a huge garden spider. Spiders give me the creeps and I have always been afraid of them but today I managed to keep my life-long arachnophobia in check. Photography has changed me in many positive ways, one of which is that I make it a point to try to overcome my fears when it means that I will be able to capture an interesting photograph. When I saw this spider outside the window of my gym this morning, I knew I had to photograph it. I jumped off the treadmill, grabbed my camera, ran outside, tramped through the shrubs, and squeezed around the huge web to capture the best angles. I used my 24-70mm lens and cropped these shots to eliminate all the distracting background and for dramatic effect. I was about 24 inches from this creature (yikes) and it is really quite large; the body is probably an inch and with the legs, its overall length is probably almost 3 inches. If it had been jumping spider, I would never have ventured this close. As it was, I jumped about three feet when the spider moved suddenly and when I got home, I let out an audible gasp when I downloaded the shots to my computer and the first one came into sharp focus. It brought back memories of my inability to touch the pages of National Geographic Magazine when I was a kid reading an article with creepy bugs or spiders pictured prominently on the page. A short time later, I let out a loud shriek when I realized that one of the shots showed the spider actually spinning silk to repair its web, something I didn’t notice when I took the pictures because I was so intent on the angle, lighting, and focus. And, I should add, that shriek was one of delight, not horror. Wow!