Thursday, April 28, 2011

Through a Web of Portals

I took this photo while taking a morning hike in a forest off the coast of Washington.  It shows how the morning dew was caught on a spider web, forming many lenses. In some cases a mirror-like sheen formed on them, acting more like a mirror. These droplets are held onto the web with surface tension of the water molecules.  The tension is caused by the cohesion of the liquid, to bond alike molecules.  Since the air molecules are different, they force the water into a cluster, sticking to the silk of the spider web. Each cluster forms into an almost spherical shape, not perfectly round due to the forces of gravity.  This leads to a more oval-like shape. At most angels, these droplets form converging lenses with the light rays refracting the objects behind them. Some of the lenses refract the blue sky above and with others, the mossy growth of the forest floor below. This is all due to the unique entrance of the specific light rays and the position of the camera.  Some of the drops act as convex mirrors, reflecting a virtual image of my camera and me.  In the mystery of the placement of the web and the droplet’s size, I can be seen in only four of the droplets.  In only one of the droplets, the viewer can see the whole scene behind me; the tall trees, the blue sky, and even the leaves hanging nearby.