Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flowers, Wildlife and Food at a Cherryblossom (桜) Festival: Photo Essay

The plan yesterday was to drive up Mt Yadake in northern Okinawa, Japan and shoot plenty of scenic photos. "Doc, I left my big lens home so I'll get plenty of wide angle shots of the scenery and what takes place at a Cherryblossom (桜) Festival. I'm always zooming-in on wildlife and doing close ups. I have to break that habit. Travel magazines want to see the festival tents, people doing festival stuff and they want photos of the festival foods so, that's what I'll shoot today". 

That's what I told Doc, anyway. I learned a few things yesterday and Doc did, too.

As soon as Doc parked the car, I shot this branch across the road. I had to zoom in a little and shoot quick because of all the people and cars going up and down the hill.

I just wanted a photo of the blossoms with the ferns in the background without any distractions.

Well, Doc started it all when he wandered up the road and shot a bird. He had a really decent shot.

Heck, I can do that, too!  So, I shot this Japanese White Eye (Mejiro) in the blossoms.

Then, while I was waiting for some more birds to land where I wanted them, along came this bee.

The Japanese White Eye got in the spot where the sun would hit his eye again so, I shot this one.

He had the nerve to look me right in the eyes so, I shot him again. Wildlife is lots more fun to shoot than people and food at festivals. Birds really don't care what you do with their photos.

When it clouded over a bit and there were no birds or bees around to shoot, I got bored and decided to shoot this girl. She was across the road snapping pictures with her cell phone.

Around noon we decided we should walk down the mountain and see what was cooking in the festival tents. Here's my first wide angle shot of the day. I even got some people and cars. Yay!

Then, I decided to snap a shot where I zoomed-in a bit so you can see what we call festival food.

And zoomed-in even more to show you Yakisoba. It's probably the healthiest festival food you can buy.

While Doc and I were eating some of the not-so-healthy-for-you festival foods like, french fries and sausage we noticed people snapping photos of these white flowers.

Neither of us could figure out what they were. They were blooming at a Cherryblossom Festival. But, Okinawa doesn't have white cherryblossoms.

At first we thought, maybe, they were imported from mainland Japan and were Japanese Cherryblossoms. That didn't make sense, though.

Okinawa's Cherryblossoms need a cold snap of weather to start blooming. Japanese Cherryblossoms wait for the spring thaw to bloom.

The Cherry blosom season is just starting, in fact, only about 25% of the trees are in bloom right now. So, I'll be busy the next few weeks chasing the action at several festivals on Okinawa.

Yesterday was a good experience for me and taught me three very important things for the upcoming season.

1. Wildlife photographers should not take a zoom lens to document Cherryblossom Festivals.
2. Yakisoba would have been a better festival food to eat because fries and sausage are greasy.
3. The flowers in the last photo aren't Cherryblossoms, they are Plum Blossoms.

Now, we have Orchid, Violet, Azalea, Iris, Lilly and Cherryblossom (桜) Festivals on the island of Okinawa, Japan and probably a few more Flower Festivals I never heard of, like, Plum Blossoms.

Are there Flower Festivals in your neck of the woods, too?




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