Each spring and fall, Jasper Ridge surveys for ants. This is an interesting event: we look at places spaced on a grid, 100 meters apart — so we go places not usually seen if you stay on the trails. (as you should!) This year, I visited the ridge, along Road F.
By the time we arrived at the ridge, it was after 9 am. Fog still covered the sky; the grassland was speckled with dewdrops. Banded garden spiders had set up their large vertical webs, and were waiting patiently near the centers, waiting in vain for a passing insect. In vain, because the insects were themselves bedecked with dewdrops, too heavy to fly -- waiting for the sun to come out and dry them off, before starting their day.
Quickly, I captured some images: spiderwebs in dew, backlit; a grasshopper, wet with dewdrops; and an acmon blue butterfly on a thistle. It was covered in tiny jewels, tiny spheres of dew. Each dewdrop was a lens, showing what lay beyond, inverted.
Suddenly, the fog lifted. Blue sky, lovely day. The dewdrops evaporated. I looked for the spiders and their webs, but could not see any. The day had started. Good luck, spiders!
I captured a few more images before the light became flat toward the middle of the day. Then I gave my full attention to the ant survey. We did find ants at most of our 11 survey points!