Monday, July 15, 2019

Today was Marine Day a Japanese Holiday

Marine Day, Okinawa, Umi no Hi, sunrise, ocean

Sunrise Began Looking Unimpressive

Taking a circuitous route to the beach, at first, I was disappointed.

Umi no Hi (Ocean Day) only comes once a year. It's the third Monday in July.

Before 5 AM the long hike to a remote beach began. I wanted to catch the sunrise.

Clouds blocked the sun along the horizon. I shrugged and headed west along the beach.

Ten minutes later, the sun started to burn through the cloudy horizon.

By 6 AM I had positioned the camera where this reflection would appear.

"Happy Umi no Hi," I posted on Facebook, a similar iPhone image.

One Camera One Lens

Traveling light, there was just a camera (no tripod) and I went without a backpack.

Pentax K1 and a Pentax 18-250MM were slung from my shoulder.

dragonfly, golden, Okinawa

When I'm out hunting wild things, 300-700MM of lenses may accompany me.

Today, I was limited to 250MM of glass, at the maximum.

Bird shots were difficult but, some dragonflies cooperated with the photography.

dragonfly, Okinawa, red

This Red Dragonfly happened to land on some vegetation with a white background.

Scientists claim the red ones are scarce in mainland Japan due to pesticides.

They're nowhere near extinct in Okinawa, Japan. I see them daily.

bird, Streaked Fantail Warbler, Cisticola juncidis, Okinawa

Bird of the Day: Streaked Fantail Warbler

Far from the ocean and headed home, this bird appeared and was a challenge for the camera.

Zitting Cisticola is another name for them but, I call them Scissors Birds.

That's because of the sounds they make when flitting around in fields.

They could be mistaken for a barber shop's squeaky scissors. Snip, snip, snip, snip, snip.

Heading Home

Normally, my view of the Kin Power Plant is from another direction.

This composition was made using local vegetation as the foreground.

Kin Power-plant, Okinawa

Ocean Day, in Japan, was established to express gratitude for the sea and its bounty.

For me, today was another day I'm happy about everything nature has provided.

That's blue skies, sunshine, bugs, birds and, an occasional cloud overhead.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Scenes from a Lighted Candle Festival Okinawa

Ogimi Candle Night

A few years ago this event was started in the Shirahama district of Ogimi.

It was a practical way to recycle candles left over from wedding ceremonies.

Eisa, dancers, festival, Shirahama, Ogimi, Okinawa

Before sunset Eisa dancing is performed by talented youngsters at the community center.

Shirahama is a small community so, a group of 5 kicks off the entertainment.

audience, Eisa, dancers, festival

Before long some bystanders decide to jump in and dance with the Eisa group.

There aren't tents set up selling refreshments. People bring their own booze and food.

Barbecues are set up by families and you can smell burning charcoal drifting through the air.

Get close enough to those in attendance and you may smell alcoholic spirits, too.

candles, festival, Okinawa, PET bottles

The annual Candle Night became so popular, all of Ogimi participates these days.

Along the west coast of Okinawa,  Shioa Bay becomes encircled with burning candles.

Five or six thousand candles are lighted in time for sundown. It's 7:02 in this photo.

bay, candles, festival, Shioya, Ogimi, Okinawa

As the sun was setting behind us the orange glow of candles started appearing on the bay.

The PET bottles contain about a pint of water in them to keep the wind from tipping things.

bay, candles, festival,Ogimi, Okinawa, reflections, mountains

Darkness Rules

When the sun dips below the horizon, the candles put on quite a show.

The road across the bay became my subject for reflection photography. It wasn't easy.

Using slow shutter speeds and the camera's timer proved challenging.

My friends heard me cuss (softly) every time a car's headlights ruined my compositions.

bay, bridge, candles, Ogimi, Okinawa, reflections

Facing west the moon was visible above the bridge and reflections in the water.

A few times clouds looked threatening but, miraculously rain never fell.

Sometimes, I swear the old Okinawan priestesses control the weather. Good gals!

bridge, candlelight, road, water, nightfall, reflections

Moving around the bay some interesting reflections would appear around bridges.

If only, the spiritual leaders could control automobile headlights and traffic.

For sure, I'd buy them some drinks.

bridge, bay, candles, decorations, festival, Okinawa, nightlife

Some very creative individuals added their artwork to the PET bottle windshields.

The plastic encased candles were placed in decorated wax paper cartons.

bay, candlelight, festival, night, Ogimi, Okinawa, seawall

Shortly after 9 PM, this photo was taken. It was time to start heading home.

At every festival on this island, friends are made and, I can hardly wait to return.

For what seems like a never-ending rainy season, this festival stayed dry.

After dropping my photo gear off at the office, I walked to the drinking part of town.

The skies opened up and rain poured down on me. It felt terrific.

But, one beer is the limit according to my doctor. So, that's what I did.

Before midnight I was snoring, at home.