Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Old House Could Use Some American Lovin'

In the never-ending pursuit of photos for my Then and Now Series I found this beauty.

It's one of the few houses that survived the Battle of Okinawa.

Over 100 years old, it is a wooden home built without a single nail.

The photo, I borrowed off this historical sign, posted in front of the house.

Next, I cropped the sign some more so you could read it without me having to type a lot.

 This old house was the first postwar museum on the island of Okinawa.

And, it's still standing today.

It would make a great Then and Now story.

There is one small problem with me doing it.

Whatever type of funding the place was getting from the government has been cut off.

That's according to emails I have been getting from some reliable sources.

The valuable artifacts that were in this museum are now in the Okinawa Prefectural Museum

The place should have been declared a World Heritage Site.

It may be demolished for lack of the few pennies a day it would take to keep it standing.

Then, you'll understand why I say this old house could use some American lovin'.


But, if you do, we can do something about this situation.

Get with me on Facebook if you'd like to help.

Some military unit, church, base commander, chaplain, wives club, scout troop, housing agency,

 franchise, philanthropist, or even, a decent motorcycle gang, can save this old house.

Don't you think so?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wildlife Photos: The Ryukyu Flying Fox

Here are a few photos of these critters in-flight.

Also known as a Fruit Bat (Pteropus dasymallus) they can be seen all over Okinawa.

They are some fast-flying bats that you don't usually catch on a bright, sunny day.

We were up in the mountains of Motobu waiting for the sun to set.

Not expecting to shoot any wildlife, I left my Sigma 50-500mm lens behind.

The mission we were on was to shoot some wide angle photos, just to prove a point.

THE POINT: From a certain-ear-pooping-elevation in the hills of Motobu Okinawa,


 Along comes these bats, putting on a show for me so, I shot them using an 18-250mm lens.

Don't worry.  We got photos of the Kin Power plant and fireworks from Kin Matsuri.

We have photographic evidence that you can view all the way from Motobu to Kin Village.

That's something you will have to wait to see.

Wildlife photography happens to be more important to me.

Plus, I forgot to ask a local, to teach me, what the name of that mountain might be !

Check out the Animal Diversity Web to learn more about the Ryukyu Flying Fox

It's a cool website run by the University of Michigan.

Visit my homepage for today's Feature Photo


Photos: Editor's Picks for the Month of July 2012

These are the Editor's Picks for July 2012.

Left Hanging Out to Dry
Lens: Sigma 50-500mm

A Waterfall Named Hira Taki
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm
Amasagi: The Cattle Egret of Okinawa
Lens: Sigma 50-500mm

The type of photography I do requires a sturdy, lightweight tripod.

Most of the shots I take are with a MANFROTTO.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Day at the Kin Village Matsuri. What a Way to Spend the Day !

It started with Okinawan Sumo Wrestling.

There must be over 800 more of these photos I haven't even looked at, yet.

 Then, around 4:30 this afternoon the Mayor cracked open the awamori jug.

Awamori is Okinawa's brand of sake.

As the sun started slipping down behind the mountains, Eisa was performed.

 Fireworks signaled, it was closing time just before 9PM.

It was a long day. The cameras are downloaded and recharging.

So, I should hurry home and rest up for tomorrow.

That will be the second day of Kin Village's matsuri and I have to shoot all of it.

Wouldn't you know it ?

Some pretty girl just knocked on my office door.

She says, "Mikesan, it's Saturday night.  Aren't you going drinking"?  

That does it.  I'm outta here.

Visit my website for today's Feature Photo


Friday, July 27, 2012

Spooky Stuff: Maybe We Have an Apparition at Tonuka

Back up on the Motobu Peninsula today we took some photos at a place named Tonuka.

My good friend, the Map It Okinawa Dude, is in the red shirt over there to the left.

He'd be the one to get GPS information from when he maps this place.

It's a pretty spooky looking area, to me.

The first time we went there exploring I made sure it was OK to take photos.

A local assured me that  there was nobody residing in the graves that line both sides of the river.

There's something in the right side of the picture frame.

Is that an apparition, or what ?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flower Photo: The Red Tower or Spiral Ginger

This is one of the things I really enjoy about getting lost on Okinawa.

While that Map It Okinawa guy is checking out every trail, or making his own,

I kinda pretend I'm resting in the shade.

And fool around with the settings on my camera.

Not having any clue as to what these red and yellow flowers were, I shot a few.

See, I know lots of folks come here to see flowers and ferns.

There are plenty of websites I have bookmarked to help identify Okinawa's flowers.

This one had me stumped, though.

It wasn't on any of the sites I checked, over the last three hours.  Groan.

So, I Googled "Red and Yellow Pine cone-shaped flower."


The University of Connecticut tells me they are Costus barbatus.

Common name, Red Tower or Spiral Tower.

Taking my search a little bit further, I found even more information for you.

Over at Some Magnetic Island Plants, I found out you can eat the yellow flowers.

Both sites will tell you these plants came from Costa Rica.

Now I feel a lot better.  People aren't the only things that get lost on Okinawa.

Visit my website for today's Feature Photo

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In the Mountains of Okinawa They Have Shiikuwasa !

Don't be alarmed.  There's nothing to worry about.  We're all safe.

 Zooming in so you can see them a little better.

 There ya go.  See, it's only some kind of fruit.

There's my thumbs up to let you know everything is OK and show how big they get.

They are pretty powerful little fruits.  I'd say a cross between a lime and lemon.

 Shiikuwasa is called Citrus depressa by the scientific dudes.

If you Google Search the Cirtus depressa you can find out all kinds of stuff.

Some scientists say it can help you lose weight.

Some people mix the juice in their drinks.

Other people put it on their stinking fish.

I don't know about you but, I won't eat a stinky fish and I don't need to lose weight.

So, I guess I'll try some in a drink !

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Then and Now (Photos) Okawa Spring in Kin Okinawa

This photo of Okawa Spring was taken around 1955.


The above photo was taken July 20, 2012.

See Mapitokinawa for more details.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Favorite Photo from the Weekend

Saturday night we went to a bar called the Doghouse.

It's a good idea, when you are supposed to be a cameraman, to not drink.

Well, I figured one beer wouldn't hurt and ordered a draft of Orion.

The girl tending bar wouldn't let me pay.

Probably the boss told her my drinks were on the house.

Free beer always tastes better.

So, I had a lot.

The problem I have now is, I don't know the band's name, or anybody's name in the band.

All I remember is they played this song real good.

It went something like this:





That's the guitar noises I heard.

 The words were something about Smoke on the Water.

That band was good and so was the beer.

The song stuck in my head, way after all the beer bubbles were gone.

But, I'm not all that good at remembering words.

I just go around making the guitar noises.





Next time the Doghouse is open, I'll go back and get the band's name for you.

Meanwhile, you could LISTEN TO THIS BAND, they ain't too shabby, either.

Visit my website for today's Feature Photo

Sunday, July 22, 2012

On Motobu Peninsula with the Sigma 50-500mm Lens

This photo of rice harvested and hanging out to dry was taken with the Sigma 50-500mm.

RyukyuRusty and I went to the Motobu Peninsula to get some information.

Normally I wouldn't use such a large lens for this type of photo.

It was cranked all the way down to 50mm for this shot.

A little farther out, at 138mm, I took this photo of a family doing the harvesting.

For some reason it looked like a husband and wife team hanging up the rice crop.

We see couples working the fields together all the time.

Rusty and I got going in different directions checking out the area.

When we met again he said, "See the bamboo poles fall when the wife put too much rice on the rack?"

"Nope, I missed it.  But, I bet she caught holy hell from the farmer," I said.

Lucky me, I found these scarecrows taking a break and shot a photo of them at 50mm.

While developing today's photos I discovered there wasn't any wife in the above pictures.

And it made me feel like a real dummy.

Do you suppose a person could make a decent living being hired as a scarecrow ? 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Photo Opportunities on the Trek to Hira Taki Waterfall

wide angle view,rocks and jungle,stream leading to waterfall

Lately, I've been going off the beaten path with a camera and tripod a lot.

water flowing through jungle stream

Hira Taki is one of those places Map It Okinawa located for his adventurous followers.

rocks in streambed,wide angle view,ferns

He estimates the trek up to the falls takes about twenty minutes.

stream in jungle,rocks,ferns,trees

That's probably correct for someone who is in a hurry to get there.

rocks,ferns,jungle vegetation

What I like to do (ahem-ahum) is pretend I'm a senior citizen and take my time.

wide angle view of jungle stream,rocks

There are some beautiful colors and textures nature provides along the way.

muddy water, stream,jungle,rocks

Rocks, ferns, trees, deadwood, moss, and even muddy water, are all fair game, to me.

stream leading to waterfall in jungle

What I do is wait for a passing cloud to block the glare from the sun.

jungle stream, flowing water,rocks

My camera and I consider those few seconds photo opportunities.

Hira Taki waterfall, rocks in foreground,jungle

If you go on a trek to Hira Taki with me, plan on spending an hour traveling, each way !

Learn more about hiking up Okinawa's Hira Taki Waterfall  here.

RELATED POST: Another Waterfall in Okinawa


Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Photo: Silhouettes at the Elephant's Nose

The Elephant's Nose at Manzamo in Okinawa, Japan is a popular tourist attraction.

This is a photo taken at sunset Friday July 20, 2012.

More about silhouettes in Photography Tips 

Related Posts:

 Sunset at the Elephant's Nose

The Twisted Umbrella at Manzamo

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some New Angles at the Ginoza Museum in Okinawa

The Map It Okinawa dude dragged me into Okinawa's Ginoza Museum today.

Since I had been there before, I told him I'd wait and not pay to go see the displays.

What the heck. The air conditioning at the entrance was working just fine.

This painting on the wall in the vestibule caught my eye.

So, I asked the museum staff if it would be alright to take a photo of it.

That little card taped to the wall below the frame caught my attention, too.

It says Unjami.  That's an Okinawan religious ceremony, of sorts.

More on that in another post or publication.  I'm always looking for these sort of things.

For ten years, or so, I lived in Ginoza Village but, never heard of an Unjami there.

So, I let RyukyuRu, the Map It Okinawa dude, pay for me to go in the museum.

It was time to try some new angles.

The lighting in these places can be fairly harsh for the cameraman.

But, moving left, right, up and down at different angles can improve the lighting.

Camera angles weren't the only new angles we tried today, though.

Chatting with the museum staff for a good while is an angle we should practice more often.

We left with tons of information that would have taken forever to find on our own.

A big thumbs up to the staff at the Ginoza Museum!