Sunday, April 3, 2011

Flowers and Birds: 10 Photos From A 20 Hour Day in Okinawa

There are probably not too many 20 hour photography days like this left in my body but, I'll share these 10 photos from last Saturday's trip to the north of Okinawa, Japan and hit the PUBLISH BUTTON so I can get back to work doing what I love to do.  Outdoors Photography; it makes me Happy.

The day started with an early wake-up for me.  I wanted to get up to Ogimi for the Iris Festival and do as much shooting as possible before 9AM.  So, I didn't have my usual Friday night massive quantities of beer, went home, walked the mutts and was snoring by 9:30PM. Saturday I was up at 3:30AM chugging cofffee.

My shooting partner didn't answer the 3:30, 4:30 or 5:30 instant messages I sent him so, I figured he must be doing stuff he thought was more important, like sleeping.

It's hard to find a reliable driver these days so, after downing my morning coffee and walking the dogs I figured I'd just load up a car and drive myself.  I hate driving.

Doc, the driver who didn't wake up early enough, started setting off the vibrator in my pocket (Cell Phone) just about the time I had driven halfway to Ogimi.  That's dangerous, vibrating while driving.  You know ?

I pulled over at a convenience store, got some iced coffee and sent a message back telling him I'd be waiting under the Ogimi Bridge.

The bird, in the photo above, is a Rockthrush.  I was going to shoot flowers but, when a bird comes on the scene nothing else matters to me.  I shot the bird, posing on the bridge, while waiting for Doc to show up.

The plan: Take photos of the purple flowers at the Iris Festival, a big event in Okinawa this time of year. 

It was kind of a bummer, though, because the Iris Fields don't always do things according to my plans.  There should have been thousands of purple flowers throughout the acres and acres of fields.

We wandered around the edges of the green fields and zoomed-in on the few flowers that looked interesting.  Japanese believe an Iris petal looks like a dragon's tongue.  So, when you throw one of your baby boys in the bathtub, you throw some Iris petals in the water with him and it'll make him strong, fearless, fierce and bring him good luck. Doesn't this Iris look like a dragon sticking his tongue out at you?

After about a half an hour of searching for an Iris that looked like a dragon, I had enough of the Iris Fields and told Doc, "Lets get outta here, I'm done."  We could go shoot birds somewhere.

That's when Doc said, "Look, Cosmos".  I had no idea what a Cosmos was and figured he was talking about some new car, Toyota, or somebody invented.  So, I followed him over to the Cosmos.  Turns out, they're just flowers but, I took some photos, anyway.

Here's a scene, for you, that shows the whole area.  There are patches of Cosmos in the foreground, a view of a disappointing (to me) Iris Field in the center and the hills and blue sky in the background.

There was another cameraman like me, only not so hairy, making the best of a bad situation.  He was taking pictures of the Cosmos, and kept showing up in my framed compositions so, I shot him, too. 

The Iris Fields will probably hold off for another week or two before they come into full bloom.

We went around and shot all kinds of photos of different breeds of flowers for about an hour and a half.

Then, spent the rest of the day getting lost in the mountains, taking pictures of other things you'll get to see, at a later date.

The day started with me snagging a photo of a bird and I ended my day shooting a bird.  This is a Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle.  They are migratory and usually only visit Okinawa from November until March. 

By the time the weekend rolls around again, I should have all my photos from the past week developed.  And, if the Iris Fields blossom by then, I'll go back out with the cameras and do another 20 hour day, shooting birds and flowers in Okinawa, Japan.  Cuz, that's what I do !



Cathy Sweeney said...

I'm a real soft touch for beautiful flower photos. Thanks for spending a 20 hour day so that we could all enjoy them. My husband's favorite flower is the purple iris -- he's going to love those pics.

RyukyuMike said...

Have to see if I can get back up there this weekend. When they're all blooming it's unbelieveable. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Warning in advance: This is going to be rather long. Sorry!

Firstly, I just love your photographs, especially of the flowers. I love taking photos of flowers as well and I guess I have quite a collection built up by now. I'm planning on starting a photo-blog and you've been a big inspiration in that. For that, I thank you.

Secondly, your photographs have such vibrant colors, may I know if you touch up the photographs using any editing software like CorelDraw or PS? Most of the times, my the colors in my photos seem rather dull than the colors of the real object. But it might be because I am still not used to my DSLR.

Thirdly, how are things in Japan now? These pictures here make me think as if nothing happened at all. I'm just hoping I might get my Japan dream fulfilled someday soon.

Lastly, is there any Shinto belief that for a weak boy to grow up strong he should be dressed as a girl when he's a kid? I apologize if this is offensive, it's just something I've heard and the iris flowers reminded me of that.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this. Thanks.

RyukyuMike said...

Wow, we need to get you in that Facebook Fan thing I set up for all the questions you're asking.

My photos, I shoot RAW and develop with SilkyPix RAW Developer. I'll be doing some reviews on editing software in future posts for everyone.

The Shinto thing about how to dress up a weak boy, that's news to me. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Haha, that's a good idea. And it's done done done. Facebook sure makes life easy.

I've been shooting them in RAW as well but they seem to turn out grainy and convert them using ViewNX2. Still, I guess there is a lot to learn. Your blog sure is helpful.

RyukyuMike said...

All set. I'll just have to check-in more often at Facebook.
Meanwhile, I hope you're using the lowest possible ISO settings and a tripod. That helps reduce grainy noise in your photos.