Astronomy Riddle/Quiz … And Booby Silhouette-Facing Direction Answer. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Astronomy Riddle/Quiz ... And Booby Silhouette-Facing Direction Answer.


Well, we thought that Tuesday morning was bad, but Wednesday was worse. The wind was practically lifting us off the cliff and there were very few birds in flight. I created only a few Brown Booby images and deleted them all. I did keep a very few landscape photos. The afternoon was great. I started off doing some wind against sun flight and had a few good chances with birds banking back toward their nests. Then we photographed two different chicks in nests just ten feet apart; one was quite large, the other quite small. Then a nice dinner at Captain’s Table. We fly tomorrow to Grand Cayman and Miami arriving in Orlando at 6:30pm.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred ninety-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 90 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Lens (the “old five”) with extras!

New BAA Record Low Price!
Reduced a total of $253 on 15 FEB 2018.

Greg Morris is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good plus condition for $3447 (was $3700). The lens was cleaned and checked by Canon in December 2017 and the lens mount was replaced. The sale includes a Canon Extender EF 1.4X II, a Canon Extender EF 2X II (both in like new condition with caps and pouches), the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the leather front lens cover, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Greg via or e-mail by phone at 1-580-678-5929 (Central time).

The 500mm f/4 lenses have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. If you don’t have the cash for the 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds, then this is your best super-telephoto option. Most everyone can produce sharp images with this lens and a 1.4X TC. Folks with good to excellent sharpness techniques can do the same with a 2X TC. With the new 500 II selling for $8,999 you can save a neat $5552.00 by grabbing Greg’s lens (plus the two TCs!) artie

ps: The Series II TCs work perfectly well with the older super telephoto lenses; the series III TCs are best when working with the newer Series II lenses.


Several folks on the Spoonbill IPTs used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on the second San Diego IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 290mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 2800: Matrix metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6 in S mode (Shutter priority in Canon). AWB at 6:39am in the pre-dawn on a dead-clear day.

Center d-25/Shutter Button AF on the bird; locked focus with the AF-ON button and recomposed. Five-second timer with Live View (for mirror lock-up).

Western Gull and setting full moon …

Astronomy Riddle/Quiz …

The sky was perfectly clear. The blue strip in the sky is caused by the shadow of the earth. The full moon was setting at the moment this image was made. As we all know, a full moon is round. Why does the moon appear crescent-shaped in today’s featured image? If you are 100% sure that you know the correct answer please do not post it until Thursday after 6pm to give others a chance to consider the riddle. Or, you can shoot me your answer via e-mail.

Answer tomorrow.

Image Question

How would this image been stronger if it had been made 15 minutes earlier (with the gull sitting in the same spot of course)?

This image was created on our second morning on Cayman Brac with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) with the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering -1.3 stops: 1/1000 sec. at f/22 in S (Shutter priority mode, Tv in Canon). K7690 at 7:18am after a foggy/cloudy sunrise.

Center Group (grp) shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. AF micro-adjustment: -1.

Brown Booby wheeling in flight with nesting material; silhouette.

Booby Silhouette-Facing Direction Answer

In the blog post here, with regards to the image above, I asked, “Is the bird facing us or is the bird facing away? As stated there, the wind was in my face. Now I will be the first to admit that it looks very much as if the bird is facing me and that we are seeing the dorsal (top) surfaces of the feet. I remember the bird banking but could not for the life of me understand how it possibly could have been facing me at the moment of exposure.

Most folks thought as I did, that the bird was facing me. Some stated definitively that the bird was facing the camera and they knew because of the feet. Others stated definitively that the bird was facing away from the camera and they knew because of the feet. So I decided to find out for sure.

The Clear Answer!

The Clear Answer!

I brought the image into Photoshop and pulled the curve up to lighten it considerably. The result was a really lousy photograph that proved that contrary to popular opinion, this Brown Booby was flying into the wind and facing away from the camera. I have seen this type of illusion before with silhouettes of landing birds, especially Sandhill Cranes; you eyes tell you that the bird was flying toward you when you know for a fact that the bird was facing away, into the wind.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

10 comments to Astronomy Riddle/Quiz … And Booby Silhouette-Facing Direction Answer.

  • Warren H

    The image may have been stronger since the moon would have been higher. With the image as presented, I believe the moon being higher would provide better image balance/ composition.

  • David Policansky

    Artie: 15 minutes earlier there would have been lessn perhaps no pink in the sky and moon would have been higher and farther to the left. I see those as detriments, not improvements.

  • Jake

    Hi Artie,
    I love the beautiful muted colours and the unique composition of this shot. I think that, if anything, the image would be less powerful if made 15 minutes earlier because (as Krishna said) the pink strip would be less prominent and also the gull would not appear to be looking in the direction of the moon (ruining part of the connection)!

  • How would this image been stronger if it had been made 15 minutes earlier?
    I think 15 mins earlier, The pink strip will smaller and you would get much of the normal sky

  • Jean-Guy Gallant

    Hi Artie, I have good images of bird on rocks with poop just like the one on your blog today. Do you cleal the rocks or leave it as is? Also, who should I contact to sell a nikon 300mm through your blog?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


      Cleaning up the poop is completely a personal decision. And it depends on the individual photograph. There is just too much of it in this photo and in a way, it adds a bit to the image … Or not 🙂

      I will e-mail you on the lens sale question.

      with love, artie

  • Renato Fernandez

    Artie, great pucture. The moon appears like that because that is the time when the Super Blood Blue Moon eclipse was ocurring (a spectacle itself).