Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON (龍) and A FEW PHOTOS

It's New Years Eve in Okinawa, Japan.

And tomorrow it will be 2012, the Year of the Dragon (龍).

So, I looked through my photo files to see if there were any dragons.

It made me realize something.  There are dragons everywhere in Okinawa.

Not a day goes by without me seeing a dragon somewhere.

There are gold dragons, concrete dragons, dragon-boats.....


.....and dragons on the the bottles of sake in my bar.

The name of the sake is Tatsu (龍).  That's the Japanese word for Dragon.


Tonight some of my friends who were born in the year of the dragon will be coming over.

Probably, they'll want to drink Tatsu for good luck in 2012.

Usually I only drink beer.

Just a few minutes ago I took this photo of the sake bottle.

When I went to put the bottle away it accidentally got opened.

Thinking, the way I do, it might be bad luck to serve customers sake that has been opened too early.

So, I drank it.

The New Years Eve party doesn't start for another three hours.

If I take a little nap, I won't wake up. 

Maybe, I should crack another bottle. 

The Year of the Dragon wasn't the year I was born.

For sure, when I wake up tomorrow, my butt will be a dragon !




HAVE A SAFE, HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR !








Friday, December 30, 2011

Paper KIte Photo: The Largest Butterfly in Japan

The Paper Kite (Idea leuconoe) also known as a Rice Paper Butterfly, Wood or Tree Nymph is the largest butterfly in Japan.

They attain a wingspan of 2.5 to 3 inches ( 65-75mm ).

They eat plants of the dogbane and milkweed families which contain toxins that don't taste good to predators.










Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Photo Essay: Why Is It Called The Valley Of Gangala ?

Let me warn readers in advance you may experience mild shock.

The Valley of Gangala is within walking distance of Gyokusendo Cave.


Yesterday was the first time I paid for a guided tour through the place.


It was sort of an educational experience combined with a hike down a nature trail.


The tour stops at several places to allow visitors a chance to take photos.


Sometimes you are outdoors in the sun.


And sometimes you wind up in caves.

In this photo the guide is telling everyone about some of the pre-historic bones they have discovered in the Gangala Valley caves.

There seems to be some confusion as to where the word "gangala" originated.

Some people say it came from an orchid or a species of butterfly. 

The pamphlet, a guide gave us, says that "gangala" is the sound you hear if you throw a stone in one of the caves.



It makes you wonder who's telling the truth. 

Why would anyone want to go throwing rocks in a place this beautiful ?


The staff members who take you on the tour teach you everything about the history of the place.

And they don't want anybody to get lost or hurt while on the tour.

That's my guide in the photo above.  He lights up a bunch of kerosene lanterns and passes them out just before we go into the darkest part of the Gangala Valley.

IF YOU HAVE A WEAK HEART, CHILDREN WATCHING YOUR COMPUTER, OR YOUR RELIGION HAS BANNED LOOKING AT STUFF MADE BY MOTHER NATURE STOP RIGHT HERE AND DON'T LOOK AT THE NEXT PHOTO !


My ears don't work very well these days so, I'm not sure what the guide told everybody.

He must have said something about this being a pet rock, I think.

Everybody walked over to it and was touching it.  Not me.

Why they call this place the Valley of Gangala beats me.

They should consider changing the name of the place.

Call it The Valley of KingKongala !
















Editor's Picks (Photos) for the Month of December 2011

Here are the Editor's Picks selected by the judges at Better Photo for December 2011. 


STAIRCASE MADE OF LOGS


SUEYOSHI WATERFALL NAHA OKINAWA, JAPAN



RED DRAGONFLY



AZAKA WATERFALL


Instead of the  Photo of the Day, today I'll just leave you with these Editor's Picks.

Let's go visit SANTA GIRL and listen to some of her tunes before she disappears, again !









Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Dozen Ways To Look At A Waterfall: A Photo Essay

There are more than a dozen ways to take photos of a waterfall.

Vertical shots, which magazine publishers love, I shoot some but, you won't see them here.

The first thing I like to do is take some shots of what it looks like approaching the falls.


If I'm going to bust my fanny taking pictures of waterfalls, I want you to feel like you came along  with me.


Getting down and dirty is all part of the fun.

There's no telling which way most people like to view the waterfalls so, I shoot photos from all kinds of positions.


Sometimes, I fill the foreground with rocks.


Other times, the frame gets filled with plenty of water.


The waterfall can be placed in the right third of the scene.


Or, I can put it in the center.


Some folks like their waterfalls camoflaged.


So, I hide them in the background.


The left third of the frame is where I like to position my waterfalls.  But, that's just me.
Where the light is coming from and what the terrain allows you to do are really the deciding factors.

Hopefully, these photos of a dozen ways to look at a waterfall give you an idea of how you'd like to compose your shots the next time you travel somewhere to take pictures of one.

Two of the photos above have people in them.  Did you notice that ?

It's alright.  I shot them on purpose.  They're not for sale.  Just practice.















Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday's Silly Sign (Photo) DEC 25, 2011 Don't Smack Birds Here

I'm late so I don't have time to translate this Sunday's Silly Sign.

Lucky for us, they took the time to make an infographic out of it.

Just look at the pictures in the photo and you won't need to worry about reading.

My favorite would be the one in the center.

People shouldn't be smacking birds with golf clubs.  I agree.














The 750,000 Views Contest Winners and Their Photo Choices

The results are in and it's time to announce the winners.

The photo above was selected by BETTLETHUMBS from Southern California.

Title:  Take Our Picture Mr ?

Lucky for me these folks are some kind of web artists and hollered at me because I had the photo uploader turned off on that Facebook Page thingy.

Beetlethumbs nailed the screenshot right at 750,000.


Before I could get from the barstool to the cold beer and start celebrating

MUZA-CHAN from Bucharest, Romania hollered at me on Facebook

"I caught it too...(^_^)" !

Muza-chan aka The Santa Girl, gets around a lot so, I'm not sure if she took the screenshot from home or somewhere in Japan.  But, wherever she was, I know she was watching that view meter.
She nailed it right on 750,000.

This photo of the Guinness World Record Naha Tug-O-War was Muza-chan's choice.


THEN THINGS STARTED GOIN' WILD


It took a few days for me to remember to check my email.

There was a third screenshot floating around and I wanted to giveaway three photos.

A sweetheart from Milwaukee, Wisconsin named Betty had taken one.

There was some sort of problem getting through to me.

Maybe, up north where she lives the internet pipes get frozen and everything gets stuck.

We communicated through the mail and I got her screenshot posted over on Facebook.

Betty's choice for a prize was this photo of Sueyoshi Waterfall in Naha Okinawa, Japan.


Congratulations Beetlethumbs, Muza-chan and Betty !

Last night I took a look back at where this blog was a year ago.


THIS OLD FOOL WAS GROANING AFTER CELEBRATING 750,000



That's an incredible amount of viewers for a small blog published on the tiny little island of Okinawa, Japan and I wish I could give a prize to every visitor.


For now, all I can do is say THANK YOU

and I wish everyone a

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY, PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR !




PHOTO OF THE DAY:  DOLL OR NO DOLL?











Saturday, December 24, 2011

What's Wrong With That Picture? (Photo) At The White Castle

This picture took some time.  We don't have many white castles for me to get photos of in Okinawa, Japan.

I really needed one for the sad story I'm about to tell you.

Yesterday I got lucky and found this white-looking castle in a park on a hill.

Here's the sad story.

There's this poor fat stockbroker guy named Martin Kessman who banged his knee on a table at a White Castle hamburger joint in New York State. They didn't make the tables to accomodate fat, clumsy people of his caliber.  So, the dude figures he should take the hamburger flippin' folks to court.

He wants to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to sue the fast food place because, um....

How do you say it ?

See, I don't like cuss words on my blog.  So, I don't know what to say.

Just, I know plenty of people with real disabilities.  And it got me wondering if that poor stockbroker was born that way.  Er, did someone stuff enough hamburgers down his throat to make him a 290 pound, American with Disabilities.  Poor fat guy.  Dang.  I almost cussed.

Remember, I don't want to know what's wrong with this picture.

Go over and see this high caliber, New York stockbroker squeezed into a cafeteria table.

It could be at a Dunkin Donouts, an ice cream parlor, pizza joint or another hamburger joint.

Who knows ?

THEN, COME ON BACK OVER HERE AND TELL ME


WITHOUT CUSSING, PLEASE







SEE MORE POSTS TITLED: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE?  IN THE DOOZIES













Friday, December 23, 2011

Buzzard Eagle Perched (Photos) Sunny Day vs Cloudy Day

This photo of a Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle was taken on a sunny day in December 2008.

Here's a pose of the Buzzard Eagle (Butastor indicus) perched in a tree on a cloudy day in December 2011. 

The second photo was fired with a handheld camera while sitting in the back seat of a car.

The first photo was one of about 150 shots taken using a tripod and moving around to positions where the sun would hit the bird's eyes and light them up.

These two photos got me thinking.  For future photography tips,  I'll start posting photos to demonstrate the right and wrong way to take a picture.

That should help people trying to improve their camera techniques.

And keep me in the office on cloudy vs sunny days, instead of chasing buzzard eagles.

Pray for sun.  OK ?















Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Travel Photo Thursday: Boat or Plane, What's Your Travel Style ?

It's Travel Photo Thursday today.

Just for the heck of it, using the minimum amount of words, I'd like to know what your favorite mode of transportation is, and why. 


There are lots more ways to travel besides boats and planes but, I want to narrow it down to just these two choices for now.

That's mostly because there must be 300 or more Happy Holidays (unread) emails waiting in my inbox.  And that was just the first email account I checked.  The other four accounts will have to wait until after the New Year because I'm unbelievably swamped at the moment

If you had to choose between the boat and the plane which would you take ?

Me.  I'd take the boat.

Why ?

I can swim.


NOW, IF YOU'LL EXCUSE ME,  I HAVE SOME IMPORTANT STUFF TO DO.



Stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox and visit TRAVEL PHOTO THURSDAY.

LadyE gets excellent travel photos from around the globe for you to enjoy and posted some Christmas scenes from Thailand that'll knock your socks off.











Photo Essay: The Eagle That Got Away on Hamahiga Island

This photo shows a hill on Hamahiga Island Okinawa, Japan and the blue skies we had today.

From the top of the hill a good portion of the village is visible in this photo.

Even though it was a warm, sunny day the top of that hill had a stiff ocean breeze blowing.

That gave me enough of a chill to order some hot noodles from the folks in the building in the lower left hand side of this photo.  Sitting on the veranda, where the sun would still hit me, I was sipping some hot tea.


My camera was packed away in the holster and I thought I was done shooting for the day when this juvenile-looking buzzard eagle landed on a fencepost just far enough away to make me forget about the lunch I ordered.  When it's showtime food can wait, get cold and rot.


The little eagle could hear me firing away.  People around me, when I'm shooting birds in the wild, probably think I'm crazy.  I talk and say things like, "Gimmie an eyeball in the sun.  C'mon baby.  Turn yer head just a little more towards the light".

Well, this juvenile eagle didn't want to cooperate.


He got tired of hearing me yapping and snapping.


And he headed for the hills.


The only way I'd catch the sun in this bird's eyes would be climb back up that hill.....


because that's where the sun was coming from.


He just kept going higher...


...and faster up into the hills.


And he was hiding his eyeballs from me...


...so I couldn't catch them being lit up by the sun.

The eagle got away.  I had cold noodles.  Then, I went home.


I got news for that buzzard eagle on Hamahiga Island.

Keep yer eyes open.  You made my things-to-do list, today.

I'm gonna light you up.