My name is Nik Nimbus. I am not a Spider expert. I am merely fascinated with the many species of Arachnids that inhabit the world. They are incredibly complex, very fragile and beautiful creatures, that are very much misunderstood. They are one of the most diverse groups of animals on Earth, and they have conquered almost every environment - from mountain tops to deserts, to underwater in ponds and rivers. I have been obsessed with Spiders since I was a child, in fact, one of the first words I ever spoke was "pider", as I had a problem saying "S" at such a young age. My brother and I would carry jam jars wherever we went, to collect Spiders, to take home, and create a habitat for them in a tank, so to observe them. They were very cool pets, and, they were free, as such. My brother has been keeping Tarantulas for 30 years or more. I got into the hobby around 6 years ago. I keep many Tarantulas as well as True Spiders. I photograph my collection, and they appear in my latest Arachnida Exotica Calendar for 2018.
I am a proud member of the British Arachnological Society (B.A.S.), which I greatly recommend to anyone interested in the subject. Most Spiders cannot be fully identified from a photograph - for a true identification, the genitalia of adult Spiders must be observed under a microscope, and compared to previously collected vouchers and detailed drawings. I have been using the Collins Field Guide to Spiders - Britain and Northern Europe by Michael J. Roberts and Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe by Dick Jones. Also the Field Studies Council Guide to House and Garden Spiders, and the Field Studies Council Guide to Harvestmen of the British Isles. The recent publication of A Field Guide to Britain's Spiders by the B.A.S., in association with WILDGuides is the most up to date guide to around half of the species of Spiders in the UK, and is a must for any budding arachnologist.
I regularly contribute photographs to the Spider Recording Scheme, (run by my Spider mentor, Peter Harvey of the B.A.S.) Many of which have been published in the aforementioned Field Guide to Britain's Spiders, and also in the B.A.S. fact sheets, available from them, upon request. My photo gallery for the Spider Recording Scheme - HERE. I have submitted an article for the B.A.S. newsletter, on Parasitoid Wasps that use Spiders as their hosts - a subject that I am as fascinated by, as I am with Spiders themselves.
I began photographing Spiders in 2009 using an LG Viewty mobile phone camera with a pocket magnifier held against the lens. I have been using a Nikon Coolpix 4500, which is a fantastic and very cheap little camera for a macro beginner. I am now using a Pentax K-x with Tamron 90mm Macro lens, extension tubes and Raynox attachments. I have recently started stacking images, using the Helicon 6 software.
The idea for printing Spiders Calendars came about after writing a letter to Sir David Attenborough, concerning the nationally scarce Purse Web Spider - Atypus affinis. I sent him some photographs that I had taken of these Spiders, at my local Cemetery, where they are thriving. Sir David replied to my letter and he praised my photography, which inspired me to want to print my pictures, in some form. I decided that a calendar would be a great way to reach people, as most people use a calendar.
My aim is to show people the true beauty of these ancient and amazing creatures, to relinquish fear and, hopefully, to inspire interest as well as to also stop people squashing them! Spiders are so important to the eco-system, and I feel that people need to understand just that. I find that showing people close up images of spiders, seems to break down their fear and instill wonder. People are amazed at the different markings and colours, and that they ‘actually have little faces’. I am proud to say that I have helped to cure a few people of their unfounded fear, which is arachnophobia. Most of my customers are arachnid fans, but some people have bought them for arachnophobes, as a joke, I suppose, but ultimately it has inspired them and quashed their fear. They are now regular customers. We are not born with arachnophobia - it is inherited from family members and/or learned from our peers. For example, this little girl is not yet 3 years old, and she is full of wonder.
Fear is disabling for the person suffering it, and I feel it limits our very existence. To realise the true beauty of all of the Natural World - not just Spiders, is to enrich our lives without limit. We seem to have lost our connection to nature, and many see it as a threat, as an enemy to be defeated or controlled/ culled. Next time you see a Spider, stop for a while to observe it. Watch it building it's web, wrapping prey, just going about it's business. You will be witnessing something that has been happening for hundreds of millions of years - a true link to the past.
I also photograph insects, including Bees. I have had photographs published in Bee Craft Magazine
Check out my Publication Portfolio (coming soon) for all of my published work.
Photo credit - Matt Hollinshead