Solve This Puzzle: What Is This Mystery Object? by David McMahon

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Solve This Puzzle: What Is This Mystery Object? by 

Put on your thinking caps, have as many guesses as you want, and most of all, have fun. Your time starts … NOW!

Spoiler alert: do not read any further unless you want the answer revealed.

First part of the question: solved by US-based Red Bubbler PBWright, who answered that it is rippling water.

Second part of the question: In which city did I shoot this image? Solved by “PBWright” once again, answering correctly that it was shot in Melbourne. This is the surface of the Yarra River, as I spotted these reflections late on Friday night. This was shot without a tripod, using a 70-300mm lens.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 70-300mm lens. F5.6, 0.5 sec, ISO 800, focal length 300mm.

Featured in COLOUR ME A RAINBOW, June 2010.


Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • PBWright
    PBWrightover 4 years ago

    So it looks like rippling water. Perhaps a sunset somewhere as the light is really intense. Or maybe beside a carnival with the lights reflected in the water.

  • Hi Paulie – yes, it’s rippling water indeed. Solved with the first guess! I’m going to post a follow-up question to ask where (which city) it was shot, add your link as the person who solved this – and if you want, you can ask us a question as well ….

    – David McMahon

  • PBWright
    PBWrightover 4 years ago

    Well, hmm… knowing that you are from Oz, I’ll start there. Melbourne.

  • Yes, spot-on, Paulie. I shot this with a 300mm lens on Friday night, as I walked past Southbank. It’s the surface of the Yarra River.

    – David McMahon

  • Themis
    Themisover 4 years ago

    Very nice – did you really think it’s going to take us long to guess what it is?! :-) I saw it in thumbnail in my activity feed, and thought ‘nice water reflection, must leave a comment’ – didn’t even see it was a puzzle, so I answered my Bmails first…. Really nice, love the colours, very cheerful!

  • I figured it would only last about 90 seconds before being solved! But today’s a public holiday (Monday) so I thought I’d upload a really simple “Solve this puzzle” image, even though people wouldn’t be expecting it. The reflections are from both sides of the river, Flinders Street Station and Southbank, meeting in the middle!

    – David McMahon

  • silenthostage
    silenthostageover 4 years ago

    darn it..did i miss this one again

  • I don’t normally do them on Monday mornings (Australian time) but today’s a public holiday. Sorry you missed this one!

    – David McMahon

  • PBWright
    PBWrightover 4 years ago

    Wow! Cool!! Do you know what the reflections are of?

  • Yes, Paulie, they are from both sides of the river, Flinders Street Station and Southbank, meeting in the middle!

    – David McMahon

  • Wendi Donaldson
    Wendi Donaldsonover 4 years ago

    Fabulous colours and light trails, David!

  • Thanks very much, Wendi. It was a bit of a challenge. I had to use the 300mm lens, because this was just a small patch offshore ….!

    – David McMahon

  • Beverley  Johnston
    Beverley John...over 4 years ago

    Rippling water would be my guess also with reflected neons

  • Absolutely right. PBWright nailed the answer with her first guess. The only thing is that the reflection shows floodlights from the station (the gold) while the blue (as far as I remember) is reflected neon. So yes, two different types of light quality.

    – David McMahon

  • ellismorleyphto
    ellismorleyphtoover 4 years ago

    Heh, I too thought “nice water” 1st then saw that it was a puzzle… so of course I stepped awaaayyy from the water… but couldn’t get past it. Turns out I did not have to. I would have said Melbourne too… nice bit of bonus fun there anyway!

    Why was yesterday a public holiday? :-D

    Congrats PBWright btw :-)

  • It was the “Queen’s Birthday” weekend. We know it isn’t her real birthday – but it’s a great way to start our ski season with a long weekend!

    – David McMahon

    JUSTARTover 4 years ago


  • Thanks very much, JustArt.

    – David McMahon

  • Magi5760
    Magi5760over 4 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature 20 June 2010. Don’t forget to enter this into the challenge

  • That’s a great honour, Colin. Thank you very much for letting me know.

    – David McMahon

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