Surreality « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


This image was created at the Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/30 sec. at f/25. in Av mode. Manual focus.

Click on the image to see a larger version.


Why did I need to focus manually in this situation?

What is the white thing?

What is the pink?

What is the creature ?

Africa Photo Safari: August 2013

Serengeti Summer Migration Safari: 12 full and two half-days of photography: $12,999/person double occupancy. Limit: 12/Openings: 9.

Leaders: Todd Gustafson, Denise Ippolito, and Arthur Morris. Tanzania Summer Migration Safari. Leave the US on August 3. Day 1 of the safari is August 5. We will visit Tarangire for great dry season photography, Seronera Lodge–aka Leopard City!–twice, Central Serengeti for big cats, Northern Serengeti and our mobile tented camp to search for river crossings, and the spectacular wildlife spectacle that is Ngorongoro Crater. Our last morning of photography is August 18. Fly home from Arusha, Tanzania on the evening of August 18.

A deposit of $4,000 is due now. This trip is a go. Happy Campers only please. Guaranteed maximum no more than 12 photographers plus the three great leaders. 3 persons/van. You get a row of seats for yourself and your gear. In addition to rotating in-the-field instruction with each of the co-leaders, artie, Todd, and denise will be available for image sharing and review and informal Photoshop instruction during breaks and after meals. And–with apologies to Miss Manners–even during meals!

Once we cash your check you will be strongly advised to purchase travel insurance. You may wish to consider using Travel Insurance Services. Do understand that most policies must be purchased within two weeks of our cashing your deposit check. The 2nd payment of $4000 is due MAR 30, 2012. The final payment/balance is due MAY 30, 2013. Sign up with a friend or a spouse and apply a $300 per person discount.

The lodging is all first class. Please e-mail to request a PDF with additional details, the complete itinerary, and a description of the unparalleled photographic opportunities that we will enjoy. Please e-mail or call me on my cell at 1-863-221-2372 with any questions. I hope that you can join us.

You can see a collection of my images from previous safaris here.

Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar, Tampa, FL: February 23 & 24, 2013: $149

You are invited to join Denise Ippolito and me on the weekend of February 23-24 on the outskirts of Tampa, FL for a great weekend of fun and learning. Learn to improve your photography skills, your skill at designing images in the field, your creative vision, and your image optimization skills. Sunday critiquing session. Click here for additional details and the complete schedule.


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54 comments to Surreality

  • Is there a follow up with the final answer? I’ve modified mine cribbing from other’s answers to the storks foot for the pink. And sticking with Florida Softshell Turtle.

  • Francisco Herrera

    Wood stork, maybe a softshell turtle and something pink

  • Melissa Groo

    Wood stork, raccoon, and something inanimate that’s pink. Bloody hell. Makes my eyes hurt to look at it for too long. YOu said that no birds are in the pic, but that doesn’t include bird reflections, right?

  • Arla

    a giant boa constrictor!

  • Art,

    I actually liked the shot. It appears to be a beaver but I read that there are no beavers East of the Suwanee river, which the Everglades are, so I’m a little stuck I guess.

    That white profile looks like something to provide shade but that’s a wild guess.

  • Joel Eade

    I think the creature is a pleisiosaur and the white thing is the reflection of an Ivory Billed Woodpecker 😉

  • Ruth Schueler

    I give up! The woodstork is not a woodstork, I never saw an alligator, the only thing I can see clearlty are the legs of a tripod!

  • JeffR

    I would say raccoon, but I don’t know if they can float instead of swim and I see no movement in the water, so I have to say otter, which can float. Both have eyes more forward facing than nutria and alligators. The white is a shirt, the pink is a face, the tan and black next to the otter face is an arm, the black on the other side of the white is a Nikon camera and lens hanging on the persons side and in the center of the white heading upwards are the tripod legs.
    The focus is manual to prevent the camera from searching back and forth from near foliage to far reflected objects.

  • I’ve got it.
    It’s a seal (in the water) swimming away in panic from a polar bear (seen in the reflection) standing on the walkway sniffing the ground.
    Go on admit it, I am right aren’t I?

  • Richard Wozniak

    Well, judging by the way that competition is going (and I go to the exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London and to Wildphotos at the Royal Geographical Society every year), you will probably win.
    I would still bin it though.

  • Carolyn Peterson

    The Stork’s Head is a telephoto lens and the legs are a tripod. The white part is someone’s outer clothing. It is likely the pink is something being worn by a human.

  • No, no, I have another explanation.
    Artie is having a laugh at our expense (gently of course).
    He leant down to pick up something he had dropped and the camera went off by mistake.
    We’ve all done it. (I have some brilliant work of my own – executed when the motor drive went off in my camera bag when on safari.)
    Then he posted up the result to see how many daft explanations and interpretations people could read into what looks like a random, accidental exposure.
    So far, he’s doing pretty well.

  • Tim Hurley

    What a riot! I was there when Artie took this, these guesses are a hoot. Party On, dudes!

  • Bob

    Any photos yet with the 600mm and 2x???

  • I take pictures in this vein every chance I get, and the longer I look at it, the more I like it. I would suggest cropping just above the fake creature’s head. Although the vegetation at image’s top offers contextual information, it is a distraction and lessens the surrealistic effect. That’s my 2 cents, which here in Canada actually works out to exactly zero since we took the penny out of circulation! Interesting work, very appealing.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jack. I tried that crop originally and did not like it. Neither did Denise or Geri 🙂

  • Faraaz

    That’s me in the water, plotting how to grab your 600 😛

    I’m guessing a softshell turtle – at least that’s what the “nose” looks like. But their eyes are positioned differently than what’s in this shot. Looks more and more like just a log with some odd catchlights in the right places to me, the more I stare at it. But my rasta habits give me extra powers of imagination.

    And reflection of a wood stork.

    The pink seems to be the reflection of some sort of flower? I have no idea what the vegetation is like over there. Looks too close and too small to be a spoonbill or flamingo.

    MF because of the water ripples.

    Love this shot. Some of the best photos are the ones that evoke all this imagination. Not everyone can do it.

  • Richard Wozniak

    Wood stork refection and alligator in the water.
    For Sure.
    I would bin it if I were you.
    A good picture speaks for itself.
    It should not need an elaborate explanation.
    This one says nothing.
    Regrets and Love.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Actually, no birds in the image. No spoonbill. Is the animal really an animal???

  • Bill Eaton

    The water ripples and lack of clear subject would confuse the auto focus.Muskrat or Nutria,Wood Stork and Flamingo.

  • I forgot: Why the low ISO/long shutter speed?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for being honest. 🙂 I figured out what you did but it took me a while. Small aperture trying to make the reflection sharp from front to back. Motion blur on the animal, if it is an animal. BTW for all, there are no birds in the image.

  • I won’t say anything because I cheated in looking at the image.

  • Maggi Fuller

    Oh for goodness sake! This isn’t about the quality/composition/content of the photograph…. It’s just a fun thing that Artie saw and took for the opportunity to have a bit of fun with us!!

    Personally, I haven’t got a clue as I am from the UK & have no real knowledge of the wildlife in this area, though I would probably go with the stork theory….. Not a gator surely?

  • Bob Morton

    The animal looks like a Racoon, the white reflection a Wood Stork and the pink is presumably a Roseate Spoonbill. The water ripples no doubt caused problems with the Autofocus

  • pk

    I’d say that alligator has you in it’s crosshairs…

  • Ruth Schueler

    The white reflexion is certainly a woodstork. I do not know which animal is swimming there, it could even be a soft-shelled turtle. And the pink? Who knows….

  • Ah yes a Raccoon swimming with reflections around him !

  • Doug Zoern

    The white thing is the body of a wood stork.
    The pink is its foot. I would guess it is scratching its head.
    The creature appears to be vegetation or something else laying over a stick. It looks like the “eyes” are lily buds.

    You manually focused because auto focus would be inconsistent. It may focus on the surface or it may focus on the reflections but I think you actually wanted a focus somewhere between these two.

  • Carolyn Peterson

    A fun quiz!

    White: stork
    Water: python
    Pink: thing one or thing two, just ask the cat in the hat
    Manual focus: because the water was a shimmering

  • Steve Wasson

    I’d guess, but since I was there, it wouldn’t be fair!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bud! Mazel tov on your new lens. Coming soon! It was great meeting you at the Canon Event. Please do e-mail for info on the best head, plate, and LensCoat for your new 500. If you go with the Mongoose M3.6 as you should, you will want to use the 4th GD Low Foot.

  • River otter and person’s arm and white shirt. I like this picture if it has not been manipulated.

  • Andrea Boyle

    No, wait! I mean a White Ibis…and a Raccoon. That’s my final answer…

  • Andrea Boyle

    Huh? I’m not seeing two birds, but I will go with one, the Spoonbill. Also the critter looks like a raccoon. Do I win a 600mm lens if I get it right? (OK, just kidding…)

  • Reflections look like a Woodstork bent over, Spoonbill and a Softshell turtle.
    Interesting photo to!

  • Hi Artie , not at all a good photo , not always the things we does got results .

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Perhaps, but I just might enter it in the BBC contest. Last time that so many folks told me to delete an image it was honored by the BBC…..

      • Tough crowd 🙂


        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          It’s all part of the “Let’s trash Mr. Famous Bird Photographer” mentality :). I take it as a compliment….

          • BTW, have you turned this image upside down? If not, try it. What I
            say is an alligator, when you look at it upside down, looks like a
            man’s face (two eyes, nose and a mouth). Actually, the other way does
            also, but upside down it looks even more real.


  • Alligator, Wood Stork and a Spoonbill.


  • I have no idea, but if I took that picture I’d delete it. Just sayin’

  • Marvin T. Smith

    I’m not sure about the manual focus, but I think you have a Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, and a raccoon.