Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dancing the Flamenco in Club Shangrila

This Craze Could Catch-on in Okinawa



It's a good thing I was wearing my flip-flops.  I was tempted to join them, anyway.

Have you ever been to a Flamenco show ?

Flamenco dancer in nightclub

These people really know how to get the audience going.

Flamenco dancers on stage

They hoot and holler and everybody claps, stomps their feet and wants to be one of them.

Flamenco dancers dancing on stage

Wiggling around and dancing so hard, they make the wooden floor sound like firecrackers.

four Flamenco dancers performing at nightclub

The only way to catch them still, for a split second, is wait till they get done.

Flamenco on stage

One second they're still and, next thing you know their clothes start flying all over the place.

four Flamenco performers on stage

It took awhile to figure out how to catch a still photo of them.

Wait 'til that gal in the red and white dress yells, "OLAY"  !

In case you can't make it to see the Flamenco Dancers in Okinawa try this:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Politically Incorrect Birds in the Mangroves

Fear Not:  Nobody's Getting Political Here


After sorting the day's wildlife photos it's fun to exercise the imagination.

So, that's what I do sometimes, while waiting for the bars to open.

birds, spoonbill and egret

The egret on the left saw a stranger in the wetland.

Egret close up

That bird on the right isn't from Okinawa.  So, why's he hanging around here ?

egret appears to be talking

Get outta my swamp !

close up of egret with bill open

No ospreys are allowed in here !

birds, spoonbill and egrets

So, the big bird on the right says, "I'm not an osprey.  I'm a penguin".

egret with mouth closed

Oh.  Excuse me for being so blond.  Penguins are OK.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Gotta Love This Schitzo Flower I Came Across

red, Japanese Lantern, flower

Flowers Named Japanese Lanterns Are Called Hibiscus Schitzopetalus



That's not me poking fun at the things, either.

Locally, they are called Chochinbana (チョチンバナ) meaning, Japanese Lantern.

Unlike, hundreds of other hibiscus flowers, facing the sun, these ones hang down.

They have frilly petals and, a funny looking tail, hangs out of them.

Learn more about these plants, uses and care at the links below.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wildlife: A Black-faced Spoonbill Returned to Tomigusuku

bird, Black-faced Spoonbill. Endangered Species

Migratory Birds Spend the Winter in Okinawa


A tip from nature photographer, Shawn Miller, led Doc Graff and I to check it out yesterday.

Down in the Tomigusuku wetlands, we spotted this Spoonbill, probably, the first one to migrate here.

Not much of a politician, I haven't had any luck, contacting the right people to help these birds.

Scientists, would call them Platalea minor.  I just think they're ugly.

And maybe, Tomigusuku folks feel the same way.

Keep throwing garbage in the wetlands.

That way, we can eliminate this endangered species a lot faster.

Once that job is done, what should we do next ?

Maybe, start throwing ugly women in there, too !

Related links:

Look! They're Windsurfing Under an Airplane !

plane landing over windsurfers

Location:  Senagajima, Okinawa, Japan

Date:  September 25, 2013

That's just minutes away from Naha International Airport.

The people were just learning.  And, you can, too.

So, what are you waiting for, an invitation ?

OK.  Consider yourself and family invited.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Flower Photos: Pretty But Deadly the Jatropha hastata

Toxic Plants Could Kill People and Animals


These photos were taken during my walk to the office this morning.

A tree, with bright red flowers, caught my attention so, I decided to get it for you.

flowers, plants, Jatropha, red flowers

The sun hadn't hit, yet because it was before 7AM and, it was looking like it would rain.

red flower buds, leaves of Jatropha plant

So, I snapped a few quick shots and moved along.

If you noticed, I haven't placed many images in Trees, Flowers and Ferns for September.

We're fixing that, now.

Jatropha tree in comparison to two story building

Here's a shot, to give an idea, how big this tree gets to be.

What Would Anybody Want These Plants For ?



 Research on these beauties will tell you:

Most of the 170 types of Jatropha originated in South America.

And, most of the parts of the plant are toxic so, you shouldn't eat them.

Especially the seeds; three of them, if consumed, can kill a human.

If you want to tan hides or, make diesel fuel, these plants might be good for you.

Or, if your neighbors keep stealing your flowers to eat.....


Sub-tropical Flowers in Okinawa  ISBN4-99091917-3-0


Monday, September 23, 2013

4th Annual Sabani Boat Race (Photos) Ou-Jima, Okinawa

It Will Become a Big Festival



Sabani sailing and racing, is starting to catch-on so, you should hurry and start building one.

The races took place, yesterday, down at the little island called, Ou-Jima.

Typhoons, in the area, caused some rough sea conditions but, that didn't stop the sabani people.

shoreside, gong for starting sailing sabani boat races

The races start with the ringing of a gong.

sabani boats paddle at start of race

Way out there, several hundred meters, was a marker.

They had to paddle the boats into the wind.

That's because, if they tried using sails, they'd probably go backwards.

sailing sabani boat hoisting sail

After turning at the marker, sails and paddles were the way to go.

a white sail on sabani boat in race

Maybe, it would be a good idea to take some sailing lessons, before you try this.

If you don't know how to steer the thing, you could end-up in China.

lowering the sabani sail

Dropping the sail seemed to work best, when it was time to turn around, again.

paddling a sailing sabani boat into wind

Just before the bridge, that connects Ou Island to Okinawa, they had another marker.

And, rowing into the wind again, was the only way to reach the finish point.

Ou-Jima is Famous for Tempura and Sun-dried Squid


Here's what will happen, someday.

Somebody will come along and put up some food tents and sell yakisoba and other stuff.

So, I don't have to run around the island, looking for hamburgers.

It will become a big event.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Looks Like Okinawa May Have Muscovy Ducks (Photos)

They Aren't Communists Though



There's still some confusion about these birds.

How they got a Russian name, beats me.  Their Latin nomenclature would be Cairina moschata.

In Japan they are called Nobariken (ノバリケン).

two differently colored ducks in water below a dam

This pair of ducks was found at a dam in Yomitan.

male and female Muscovy Ducks

The one with the bright colors would be the male.

Muscovy Ducks swimming

They are wild birds.  We couldn't get anywhere near them.

pair of Muscovy Ducks

Muscovites don't quack, like other ducks and, they're supposed to be good eating, too.

ducks in water below dam

If what I read about them is true, they have claws on the end of those webbed feet.

ducks, swimming

That's so they can fly up into trees and hangout.

That got me thinking.  Maybe, I should hide in a tree and have someone chase them to me.

The only way we can be sure these are Muscovy Ducks is inspect their feet.

Well, I got looking around and know where I can grab one, now.

They look just like the ducks I spotted at Shuri Castle Pond.

Have you ever seen a duck with claws on the end of his paws ?

Don't worry.  I won't kill the bird. I just want a picture of its feet !

Friday, September 20, 2013

Harvest Moon ( 中秋の名月) Festival Kin Town (Photos)

full moon

At the start, it was looking like the moon wouldn't make an appearance.

But, it peeked through the clouds at 7:39PM.

martial arts performance on stage at night

There were friendly stick fights.

traditional Okinawa dance

Beautiful ladies danced on the stage.

classic Okinawa dance, ladies in red kimonos

And, beautiful young girls danced, too.

Miruku, character

A dude with his belly hanging out, threw candy for the kids to eat.

dancing lion dog and handler

Then, along came this dancing, lion-dog.  He scared everybody and we all ran away.


2011 The Final Full Moon Festival

Full Moon Festival 2010

Shuri Castle Day and Night at the Moon Viewing Festival

Thursday, September 19, 2013

White Angel Trumpet Can Be a Real Killer (Flower Photos)

It's Nice to Know Which Pretty Ones are Deadly


These white flowers were spotted alongside the road in northern Okinawa.

Brugmansia suaveolens or, Angel Trumpets grow on a plant that could be called, a small tree.

Originally from South America, they can be seen blooming around here in September.

flower, White Angel Trumpet

Over at Dave's Garden, you can see who grows them and, where.

People talk about what success or, failures they experienced growing them.

Some folks will even  trade or, sell the seeds and plants.

My good friends at Floridata gave me this information:


"All parts of this and other angel trumpets are narcotic and poisonous. Some people have ingested or smoked angel trumpet for its narcotic effects, and some of those people are no longer with us. The use of angel trumpet as a landscape plant is banned in some municipalities."

flowers, White Angel Trumpets

 The Missouri Botanical Garden will tell you this:

The plants were "Tried and True Recommended by 2 professionals." 

But, I think they should have stipulated that they were professional gardeners.

Because, some crackpots over on the Drugs Forum are crazy enough to smoke the stuff ! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shuri Castle Pond Again and Again and Again (Photo)

bridge and building on Shuri Castle pond

This is a scene we've been working on for months, now.

There is a photo I'm trying to duplicate for the Then and Now Series.

 A Flickr Friend named, Okinawa Soba, gave me a black and white photo of this scene.

My goal, is to recreate the photographic shot, as it was originally made.

The photo, from his collection, was taken sometime, before World War II.

Shuri-jo Castle was leveled by bombs, during that war.

The reconstruction of castles, on this island was accomplished by looking at old photos and sketches.

It amazes me, how much the re-constructed buildings, look like the originals.

So, I try to do the best I can at duplicating the old photos.

The light, has to be right.

And, if there were people in the scene, I try to get someone to pose, in my photo.

Lighting was perfect, when I shot the image above.

Along came a couple, visiting the castle and, I got them to pose.

Then, the clouds, that were blocking the glaring sun, drifted away and ruined my shot.

The couple, were really nice, posing in the hot sun, for me.

They signed model releases and I emailed them the best photo of the day.

But, Shuri Castle Pond's Then and Now will have to wait.

As stubborn as a mule, I'll keep going back to that castle again and again and again.

When the light is right and I get the scene the way I want it you'll know.

That's because I'll post it here and yell, "Gotterdun" !

Monday, September 16, 2013

This Week the Harvest Moon Will Shine for You

Grab the Cameras and Telescopes

It's time to start dusting off and cleaning lenses.  Make a wish for clear skies, too.

If you're not a moon gazer, look for a festival, taking place, near your home.

Harvest Moon, Full Moon

In Okinawa, Japan, so many places celebrate the event, I have to decide where to go.

From my office, in Kin Town, I can walk to the Full Moon Matsuri.

There is also, I big Moon Viewing shindig at UNESCO Shurijo Castle, in Naha.

It's always a good idea to check the schedule for the full moonrise, in your area.

But, when they tell you it happens on Thursday, September 19, 2013, don't believe them.

Get out there and check the sky, a few nights before and after, like I do.

If it rains or clouds roll in, on the scheduled full moon,  you may have a better luck, seeing it.

Links with Moon Facts and Rising Times



Check these sites for more information on the Harvest Moon

Monday Should Be a Day for Rest (Image)

cat sleeping on wall

This cat, sleeping on a wall reminded me of that character Garfield.

Years ago, I agreed with him and hated Mondays.

Things are different, nowadays.  I can hardly wait for the weekends to be over.

Climbing hills, shooting festivals and trying to keep the bars in business can wear a dude out.

So, I like to take it easy on Mondays; do as little work as possible.

Tuesday, is the first real working day, of the week, for me !

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Testing Pentax DA50mmF1.8 Lens at Sports Photography

Passing the Baton in a Relay Race


Most cameramen wouldn't use this lens for sports or, wildlife shots.

But, before it get's a Mad Mike Review it will be put through some torture.

children passing baton in relay race
Three frames were photographed in continuous or, burst mode.

On a horribly sunny day, at an aperture of f/2.2 the shutter opened and closed in 1/5000 of a second.

children in relay race

The boy passes the baton to the girl.

passing baton in relay race

And, off she ran with it.

It looks like she's running so fast, both feet are off the ground at the same time ! 

Now, I have no idea, who that girl might be.

If the teachers at Kin Town Junior High, let me know, she gets a free print of that photo.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Within UNESCO Nakijin Castle: A Ritual Photo

offering, incense,prayer at a sacred site

This is an image of a man preparing one of the sacred sites for an annual ritual.

Today, I took the cameras and visited all of the locations of worship within Nakijin-jo.

Before taking any photos, I asked permission and went to each site with those attending.

Offerings and prayers were made at many places, I've visited before.

There were areas of the pilgrimage that took us outside the confines of the castle.

Totally exhausted and, with hundreds of photos to process, this is all I will posting tonight. 

Being allowed to take photos of cultural events, like this, is something I enjoy.

More important, to me though, is the friends I make along the way.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Travel Photo: Sunset from a Bridge I Like to Sleep Under

sunset over ocean

Every once in awhile, it's a good idea to pack up the cameras and, get outta town.

It's too late to catch the sun going down tonight.

The northern areas of Okinawa have some nice, secluded places where you can camp, for free.

If I time this right, I can park the car and walk to a karaoke bar.

Get a little beer drinking and song singing done.

And, be up before the sun, looking for wild critters, to shoot.

Have a great weekend.

I'm outta here !

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flower Photo: Clitoria ternatea (チョウマメ) or Blue Pea

How This Flower Got Named


Just taking a wild guess here, some gynecologist must have been involved.

Or, Dr. Ruth was drinking at some botanist's house when he asked for help naming this plant.

Anyway, somebody decided the flower looked like a female body part.

flower and vine, Blue Pea

More common names for this climbing vine are Butterfly Pea and Cordofan Pea.

It grows throughout Southeast Asia and you can eat the peas from its pods.

The flowers have been used in cooking and making drinks.

Years ago doctors figured if it looks like a body part, it must be medicine for what it resembles.

So, if you had a sexual problem, you should take Clitoria stuff to fix it.

Vaginal Research Online Causes Headaches



The never-ending pursuit of interesting things to give the audience lasted a few hours.

It would have been nice to post some chart, illustration or, video here.

But, nothing appropriate for all ages of readers turned-up.

Over on YouTube somebody posted a video with over 20 million views.

There's no sense in having stuff like that embedded here.

So, I found a link to a chart for those wanting to know what a clitoris might be

Also, from the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, this report:

Female Genital Appearance: "Normality Unfolds"

Choumame (チョウマメ) is what I prefer calling these beautiful flowers.

It just sounds better than talking about things a female has down where the sun doesn't shine !

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dolphin Photos: Not Fish Jumping Out of Water

dolphin jumping out of water


It May Look Like a Fish But, That's a Mammal Jumping


 Today, we visited the Motobu Wellness Village known locally as Genkimura.

People get to learn about sea animals by participating in the Dolphin Program.

dolphin jumps out of water

Visitors are always coming to my website looking for fish jumping out of water.

So, I figured this would be easy shooting, watching the dolphins.

pair of dolphins, jumping out of water

These characters move and jump so fast, it's good practice for photographers.

But, it isn't too easy.

dolphin jumping, trainer

Maybe, if you hang around long enough, you can break the code.

Hand signals, speech or, remote controls; I'm not sure how they get them jumping.

dolphin jumps over trainer's stick

The next time I want to look for fish jumping out of water, I'll go somewhere else.

If you want to know more about why dolphins are mammals instead of fish go here.

Other Exciting News from Today's Camera Travels

One of our tasks, was to find this purple flower and, we gotterdun.

There were lots of photos taken and, one of the plants is hanging out behind my office.

It's just going to take me awhile before presenting this gem.

The scientists named the plant Clitoria ternatea.  Groan.

How do they manage to come up with names, like that, for these things ?

More on this subject later.....