Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shuri Castle Day and Night at the Moon Viewing Festival

It was a busy day and night for me at Shuri Castle in Naha Okinawa, Japan today.  I got there early because I knew the place would get crowded and I wanted to make sure I could find a parking space.

Other people, like these tourists got there early so they could pose and jump in front of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, I guess.

When too many visitors started getting into the courtyard, I just started aiming my camera higher.

As the sun began setting, clouds rolled in.  That's not a good sign when you're having a full moon party.

The lighting crew did a fine job of illuminating the castle.  This was the first time I've ever been to Shuri Castle at night and got a chance to take photos out from under the blazing, hot sun.
The dragons on the roof look great lit up with spotlights while a dark sky serves as a background.
They had some sort of competition to select a King and Queen. All five of the girls were pretty.

The guys, ahem, ahum, I had to save my batteries and SD cards in case the moon came out.

You probably should ask a girl if she took any pictures of the guys. I had more important stuff to do.

Walking around to some of the other castle gates, I kept hoping the moon would peek through the clouds.
It showed up a few times but, it wasn't going to give me one of those see-the-craters type of shots.

This was one of my favorite photos of the night and shortly after I took this shot I decided to leave.

It's a good thing they lighted up the trail for me because it was a long walk back to where I parked.

Hah !  Right now it is 1:15 Monday morning.  My batteries are charged and I'm all set for tomorrow's Full Moon Festival.  I enjoyed Shuri Castle's Moon Viewing and got some photos of the place looking like I've never seen it before but, I'm beat. It was a two hour drive each way to Naha.

Tomorrow's Full Moon Festival is within walking distance of my home.  And I know they'll have beer !


Ryan said...

What actually happens at the festival? We have something similar over here although when the hairy guys started howling at the moon I left in a hurry.

RyukyuMike said...

Many people call it a concert. They have every performing art you could imagine and some unimagineable ones, too.
I spent so much time running around trying to catch the moon in a castle photo, I missed the show !

Muza-chan said...

Great photos, Mike :)

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you. Great lighting made the shooting a lot easier !

Mohd Huzaifah said...

Remind me of opera in china...

RyukyuMike said...

Mohd Huzaifah,
Much of the architecture and culture in Okinawa was influenced by the Ryukyu Kingdom's trade and associations with China.

AngelaCorrias said...

Beautiful pictures, Asian castles are so different from the European ones, it was the first thing I noticed when I visited the Forbidden City in Beijing.

RyukyuMike said...

Totally different, I agree but, castles anywhere make great subjects. It doesn't matter whether you're into architecture, history, photography or travel; they're all fun to visit !

Doc said...

What is it in Japan with the jumping in pictures thing lately? Awesome pictures of an awesome place.

Doc said...

Awesome pictures of an awesome place. I really like the night photos.

RyukyuMike said...

We oughta put on some ninja suits and see if we can pull off some more night photography there when the place is closed. Er, ya think that guy who arrested us last time works nights, too !?

Jim said...

Those night time shots are just great Mike.
I thought all Asians jump in front of things when you're trying to get a shot.

RyukyuMike said...

Looks like you get your shirts at the same store Doc goes to.
The jumping in scenes, I've noticed a lot lately. Must be something they saw on TV.

Thanks. Not sure it's an Asian thing, though. Could be something the camera companies cooked-up to wear out Auto Focus parts faster !

Sabrina said...

Nice pics! My favorite is the one where it's just starting to get dark.

debbie said...

These are great. I love all the wonderful colors in Asia!

Sherry said...

Eerie but beautiful. That moon photo against the clouds gave me chills. I love festivals of the night!

Unknown said...

Great shots Mike!

RyukyuMike said...

Sabrina, Debbie, Sherry and LadyE, thank you all.
I was happy with with the daylight and night shots.
The castle is too far away for me to visit regularly and I'm usually faced with horrible lighting when I do go.
The light was great this time; just a horrible crowd made shooting a challenge !

RyukyuMike said...

The following comment was submitted by Datewithabook:

"At first glance, the moon looked like a fish in one of the shots. Great shots. Glad you waited."

Thank you. Unfortunately, my Advertising Department does not permit posting of links or URLs in the blog comments.

cherrysberries said...

Looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing such cool photos.

Leigh said...

I haven't come close to getting night shots the way I would like to so I am mightily impressed with yours - also your dedication to finding the right spot for photos before the crowds roll in.
Lovely set of photos Mike.

Cathy Sweeney said...

Japan has so many wonderful festivals! Love the idea of a moon viewing festival. The shot of the moon and castle right before you left is my favorite, but they're all really well done.

RyukyuMike said...

Cherrysberries, Leigh and Cathy,
Thank you all. I'll have to sneak back in there sometime when there's another full moon but, no crowd viewing it !