(…in which I discover something that now seems really, really obvious!)
It was back in the fall of 2008 that I first realized that I am a big fan of fog. I had just gotten back to Pittsburgh from my first visit to San Francisco, where I learned that fog has a way of making everything in your photos look new and different. The next week, I woke up one morning to find a beautiful fog blanketing my street, so I headed to Schenley Park before work. Whereupon the first thing that jumped out at me was…spiderwebs.
Huge, elaborate spiderwebs all over the Panther Hollow Bridge. The way the light was hitting them just accentuated their careful construction. I just figured the spiderwebs were a bonus, some kind of pre-Halloween present that made the fog all the more interesting.
And then yesterday morning I woke up to a fog so dense it was hard to see the traffic lights. I decided to try to go to the lowest spot I could think of in the parks, which led me to the Commercial Street entrance to Nine Mile Run. And the first thing that I noticed there were…spiderwebs.
They were draped on every plant, sometimes in huge tangles like the one above, sometimes in long, unshowy strings. I started thinking, is there a correlation between an approaching fog and spiderweb production? HOW DO THE SPIDERS KNOW?
I would like to tell you that the light bulb went off right then, but the truth is I resolved to employ that great crutch known as Google when I got back to the office. And while nothing came up correlation-wise, the obvious answer did reveal itself: dew clings to spiderwebs. Fog = massive amounts of dew. Therefore, spiderwebs are more noticeable in the fog.
See? Really, really obvious.
I also learned that spiderwebs are so good at catching water droplets that Chinese scientists have figured out how to replicate their architecture to create dew collectors that can be used in water-poor areas. I find this almost as cool as the knowledge that the inventor of Velcro used the sticky bracts of burdock (which we know as an invasive plant in this area) as his inspiration.
So there’s my low-level science lesson for the day. Here are some more photos I captured yesterday in Nine Mile Run and then over in Schenley Park in what turned out to be a very good (and educational) fog.
A couple of different views of the Commercial Street Bridge.
Different park, different bridge: I stopped over in Panther Hollow on my way to the office. There were more colorful trees over there as a contrast.
One final shot down into Panther Hollow Lake, because this fog was so thick you couldn’t even see to the far end.