Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday's Shootin' (Camera) in Bise Okinawa, Japan: Photo Essay

A good day of camera shooting requires proper nourishment. The Texan, Rusty, was the driver and Saturday was going to be fantastic for shootin', according to the weatherpersons. Unusually warm and sunny for a day in February, Rusty came by and said, "Let's go back up to Bise, I know a spot where the ospreys dive for fish".

With only a few hours of sleep and a few beers from Friday night still working on me, I decided to travel light. No backpack full of gear and no heavy 500mm lens.  Just a camera, tripod and an 18-250mm lens.

Bise is a long drive from where we hang out. We got there just around lunchtime. So, we stopped in the first place in town that looked like it served good food. That's my tray above. It's called Yasai Itame Setto (set). I got a pile of stir fried veges, pork, rice, soup and some pickled cucumbers and seaweed, or something like that and a cup of tea for about six bucks. Just what the doctor ordered. It was delicious.

Rusty's not at the table because he saw a water buffalo pulling a wagon and ran outside to take pictures. So, I sneaked some food off his tray, too. I didn't want to see it go to waste.

After lunch, we decided to walk along the coast and head up to where he'd seen ospreys before. The island in this photo is Ie Shima.  That's where Ernie Pyle, the war correspondent, was killed during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

Way up the coast a white tower is barely visible on another island off to the right. We were heading there because just behind that island is where the osprey would be diving for fish.

Ospreys like to fly where the sun is shining. It makes it easy for them to spot the fish, shining in the water, below.

Black rain clouds followed us and got to the spot just about the same time we did. Shucks.

When you come this far with a camera, you might as well shoot something, anything, if the birds refuse to show up. So, I started walking all the side streets in the village looking for stuff to shoot.

The villagers have all kinds of fishing floats hanging from trees and rafters and they painted them bright colors and put them on display so people, like tourists, will walk up and down the narrow streets snapping pictures. So, that's what I did. Felt kinda touristy, I guess.

Then, when I got back on Main Street, the road Rusty chased the water buffalo-wagon down, I decided I'd get enough photos of the place to make a travel pamphlet, if I ever have to, for some reason.

Walking around shooting pictures of little Mom and Pop operations, buying cans of iced coffee and speaking some of the local dialect got some of the gals running the shops laughing, cackling and running around showing me all kinds of stuff to take pictures of.


The gal who owns this place was a real sweetheart. She makes all kinds of trinkets and knows how to use power tools, paint, do carpentry, electrical, masonry and maybe, even does some arc welding. A man'd be crazy not to like a woman like that. But, when she started showing me her pictures from when she was twenty and thirty years old, I had to let her know, I was already taken. She'd have better luck hitting on the dude from Texas. Maybe...


The gal kept insisting we follow her and take pictures of the Fukugi Trees on this side road. She said it was the best one in town for photography. I took lots of photos and showed them to her. This one, here, she likes best. So, next time I visit Bise, I'll bring her a pile of 4x6 prints of it. She had abandoned her store to guide us to this spot. What a gal !

These flowers were on the corner of another Mom and Pop store and we shot a bunch of them but, I wasn't sure if they were Plum Blossoms, or not.  So, I went in and bought some coffee and when I paid, asked the lady. She confirmed they were Plum Blossoms.

Well, Rusty and I shot a bunch of the flowers and she was looking at all the photos and being super friendly, too.


So, while she was looking at Rusty's pictures on his camera, I started slinking down the road aways to see what else I could find to shoot when I spotted a patch of blue sky and SUNSHINE !

The people of Bise in Okinawa, Japan are some of the finest folks you'll meet anywhere on earth and I had a blast walking around taking pictures, joking with the shop owners and enjoyed their hospitality and warm smiles. But, when the rain stopped and black clouds went away, I had to get out of town.

Well, by the time we walked back to the car and headed back over to the spot where the ospreys grab fish, the weather turned again. Cold, windy and on and off again sprinkles of rain was the highlight of our time at the secluded beach. I got an osprey but, no fish. The ospreys didn't get any fish, either. We'll all be back.

The next time, maybe Rusty and I will pack up my Queen Bee and his Gal on a Saturday and let them entertain the Gals of Bise while we go and do some serious camera shootin'. 

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