After a considerable period of doing other stuff, last Sunday I found the opportunity to take my camera gear and go for a short walk in the woods near Munich. The short walk ended being a very short walk because just 15 meters in, I saw the snails and couldn’t resist staging a couple of photographs.
While setting up the gear I noticed another very young snail being caught in a spider’s web near the edge of a bush branch. I tried to photograph its attempts to escape, while the spider (really small) was ominously looking from about 2 cm away. Getting the things into focus really challenged my camera’s 3D autofocus setting because the wind was blowing and the branch was in constant motion. Trying to hold it still with my hand didn’t help either. I kept shooting anyway and managed to get 2-3 relatively sharp shots (out of 20 or so in total).
In the meanwhile the little snail managed to do an about turn, disentangle itself from the web (destroying it at the same time) and speed away. I am not sure who got the worse of the encounter, the snail, which presumably got a scare or the spider, which got its web destroyed.
After that, I focused on my two selected protagonists (two bigger snails). I set them on the “stage”, which was a short tree branch at chest height so that I wouldn’t have to scoop down to photograph them. After a few minutes they managed to gather enough courage to move about and try to get out of there. I snapped away the whole 30 minutes it took them to move 10 cm.
One of the two was braver and started moving sooner, exploring various getaway options before finding the main branch which led to the ground. The other one pretty much stayed where it was the whole half an hour, mainly observing what the first one was doing. Maybe it was less adventurous or maybe it was clever enough to leave the other guy do the work and follow only after the other one had found the way down.
As a note, they both seemed to be able to see my camera lens (which hovered about 5 to 10 cm above them) and react to its moves, which surprised me because for some strange reason I thought that snails couldn’t see very well. “Again what learned” (wieder was gelernt) as the Germans say. Anyway, after happily shooting away for about half an hour, I placed both snails back to their original locations on the ground and left.
I finish this post with the necessary disclaimer: No snails or spiders were hurt during the making of this post.
© 2014 Epameinondas Stamos