Saturday, November 30, 2013

Groan: That Snail Could Have Helped Me Become a Millionaire !

Another One for the Doozies




Doing an unsolicited photo documentary about a banana leaf is what started this.

Every day, I take photos of the banana tree behind my office.

snail on banana leaf in rain

You never know when someone might want things like this for a scientific study.

Only one leaf is growing back, since that typhoon demolished the tree.

And, I spotted this snail probably, trying to kill it.

snail on banana leaf

The little murderer didn't want to face my camera.

snail on banana leaf in rain

It must have been half an hour, I chased it around in the rain.

snail on banana leaf

That's the best shot my shivering, wet bones could catch for you.

The truth is, I really don't like those slimy critters.

banana leaf in rain

Not wanting to kill the thing, I chucked over the fence, into a neighbor's yard.

"Bon Voyage" was what I said and got the heck out of the rain.

Now, I'm hoping the little critter had a safe landing.

Only because I just learned something about snails, today.

The University of Iowa is getting a million dollars for a project.

What for ?

To Study the Sex Habits of Mud Snails

Now, I want my snail back. A government grant would be nice, too.

More in The Doozies

Friday, November 29, 2013

Food Photo of the Week: Toto La Bebe Special Burger

hamburger on bun

Location: Motobu, Okinawa, Japan

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 18mm

Exposure: ISO 100   F/11   1/4sec

Note:  Exposure took a quarter of a second but, consumption lasted about 20 minutes !

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just Shoot the Them in the Eye -- You Can Move the Body Later

photo clearly demonstrates focus on bird's eye

Don't Worry I Haven't Joined a Gang or Swat Team



This is a Photo Tip that will show you how to bring home the best bird photos.

Put the Camera on Center Focus



The exception to this rule would be, a whole flock of birds, filling the frame.

There, maybe, area focus would work best.

When you spot a single bird, perched or, in flight, go for the eyeball.

Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle with ocean view in background

This lone, Buzzard Eagle was in a tree overlooking the shores of Kouri Jima.

It appears, the bird is in the lower left of the frame.

 But, that isn't how the shot was composed.

image depicting crosshairs on bird's eye

If you can see the crosshairs of my unprocessed RAW file, the bird was at dead center.

Wild birds don't exactly pose for you so, you have to concentrate on their eyes.

bird, Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle preched on tree with ocean view in background

Sometimes, they look to the right.

bird in right side of frame, ocean view

Other times, it's to the left.

It doesn't matter to me.  All I wait for, is a chance for the shadows and light to be right.

Then, I shoot them in the eye.

Move the body later, to conform with the Rule of Thirds.

For More Tricks of the Trade See: Photo Tips

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kouri Island Ocean Tower: A new Attraction in Okinawa (Photos)

outside, wide angle view of Ocean Tower

Here's photographic teaser for those who want to sample this beauty.
view of lane leading to ocean tower

The tower stands 36 meters tall and it is 82 meters above sea level.

It's the only tower, I know of that tourists pay to get into, on Okinawa.

riding golf cart to ocean tower

But, a driver-less golf cart, takes you up the hill so, I wouldn't complain.

 I sat in the back seat, just in case it crashed.

museum below tower

Going through, to reach the upper levels of the observation tower, you find a museum.

large pink seashell

It's a seashell museum and, they have thousands of them, from around the world.

lighted seashell display

Some people say "Ooo and Ahh" when they get in there and see the shells.

seashells on display

Not me, I just pretend I'm having fun.  And wait for them to move on.

wide angle view of seashell museum

That way, I can take some pictures, with nobody in them.

cookies and pastries on sale in gift store

They do have a bakery in there and sell gifts along with munchies.

handmade glassware

Local products, like hand made glass are available for visitors.

But, I'm not visiting, I live here.  So, I don't need the stuff.

tree trunk supporting ceiling

This tree caught my eye. 

It's surrounded by a spiral staircase, leading to the second level of a restaurant.

tables and chairs outside ice cream shop

There was an ice cream stand outside the gift shop.

But, I didn't want to spoil my appetite.

So, back to the restaurant, I went and ate a 3000 yen pizza !

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wildlife Photo: Just a Couple of Grey Herons Reflecting

Grey Herons reflect on water

Location: Tomigusuku, Okinawa, Japan

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Sigma 50-500 at 230mm

Exposure: f/8   1/500   ISO 400

Plant Photo: Heck Let's Just Call Them Ghostberries !

white berries on green plant


A Little Rant About This Plant




For everyone's entertainment, I spend hours keeping myself gainfully unemployed.

Going on twelve hours, now, I've been busy getting tonight's blog post ready.

From page 155 of  ISBN978-4-408-32351-0, I have an identification.

They have a photo of the same plant, I shot outside the Wooden Toy Museum.

That's the Yambaru Field Guide, all in Japanese.

Not a problem, シラヌマカズラ, translates to Shiranumakazura, I can read that part.

Somebody Needs to Tell the Search Engines



No matter where you type the words, English or, Japanese, nothing shows up.

Even the Wikipedia folks USA and Japan, kept giving me nothing.

Then Along Came This Bright Idea


What do you call a white berry ?

Type that in the #1 search engine in the world, and BINGO !

Along came Wikipedia, which some folks don't like, and good old Britannica.

Now, I know we have some sort of Snowberry or, Ghostberry here.

They are also known as Waxberry, of the Symphoricarpos family.

The Research Will Continue


For now, we'll just call them Ghostberries.

It doesn't snow, in Okinawa but, we have a few ghosts. I just haven't captured one, yet.

Patience, we're working on it !


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ginoza Okinawa Announces --- The Number One Hamburger

Awards presented to 3 hamburger chefs

Just a quick blog post tonight to pass along this news.

In the Matsuda district of Ginoza Village, a Hamburger Festival took place today.

Here's a photo of the winners.

On the left, Captain Kangaroo Burgers, won third place.

To the right, Restaurant Tempusu, took second place with their hamburger.

Dead center in the photo, and winner by People's Choice....

drum roll, please...

Toto La Bebe 

Remember, last year, I said this was The Best Hamburger on the Island !

NOTE: By the time, I showed-up with my camera Toto La Bebe Burgers were sold out.

So, I didn't cast any votes.  But, I cussed a little.

Ginoza Village was a bit overwhelmed with crowds at this 1st annual event.

By my estimate, over 10,000 hamburgers were served in about five hours.

For sure, next year, there will be improvements in logistics surrounding the event.

Everybody loves hamburgers.

Don't they ?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Travel Photo: Sari the Singer and Sanshin Strummer

woman playing sanshin

Shooting photos of a live band, in a dimly lit bar, can be challenging.

Having, already gotten a signed model release, made this a bit easier.

But, I had to concentrate on the movement of the fingers, to prevent motion blur.

It wasn't until I downloaded my images, that I noticed those fingernails.

So, I googled and added a new word to my vocabulary.

Nail Art


Maybe, I spend too much time in the jungles.  I never knew about this stuff.

They have thousands of designs from Nails Magazine.

Look at the gallery, over on Pinterest

If you want to see more of Sari the singer, she's here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Surprised While Taking Fern Photos in Yambaru Forest

green ferns in forest

Who Would Have Guessed: Insect Repellant ?



It's November and Christmas is just around the corner.

When we went north in Okinawa, I offered Map It Dude some bug spray.

He was hiking, to the highest peak on this island.

Not me. Been there before, a few times and decided not to do the 2 hour climb.

I said, bug spray and insect repellant are in my pack.

"Nah, there won't be any mosquitoes; it's too cold for them."

ferns in jungle

There wasn't any wildlife, being active so, I decided to shoot plants and ferns.

I, left the bug spray and crèmes in the vehicle.

close up of fern leaf in forest

Shooting images of ferns from different angles can keep me busy for a few hours.

ferns and fallen tree in forest

It was so quiet, in the jungle, you could probably hear a snake slithering.

But, that wasn't the only thing that surprised me.

The weather warmed up and, it woke up the mosquitoes.

There were plenty of fern photos taken so, I headed back down the trail.

red and green ferns

That's when I met these red ferns, alongside the highway.

Confirmation, on their names is pending, along with lots of other things.

Remember that movie star, Robert Redford ?

Well, he gave me an idea.

For the time being, I'll just call these guys the Redfern Brothers.

Does anyone else have a better idea ?

NOTE: The weather in Okinawa, Japan can fool you sometimes.

So, it's a good idea to always be prepared for tropical sunshine.

Insects don't follow the calendar; they follow the thermometer.

And, the weather on the Ryukyu Islands doesn't necessarily follow any calendar, either.

In years past, I recall going to the beach, to swim, during winter months.

The sun doesn't burn me and bugs won't bite me, usually.

Most of the repellants and cremes, I carry, are for others to use.

Something tells me, the secret ingredient, that protects me is in Orion Beer.

Well, the past few days I was on some strong medicine, trying to kick a cold.

Doctors orders:  No Alcohol

Those pesky bugs feasted on me, yesterday because my Orion levels were depleted.

The cold is all gone.  No more drugs.

Downtown, I have some catching-up to do.

Have a great weekend !

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Travel Photos: One Minute of Sunset in Okinawa

sunsetting in Okinawa

After spending the day taking photos, in the northern mountains, we saw the sun going down.

The Map It Okinawa Dude pulled over, as quick as traffic would allow.

The photo above was taken at 5:36PM.

orange sky as sun sets over Okinawa

From the same location, I backed up and went wide angle.

It was 5:37PM.

We were somewhere on HWY 58, above Nago, Okinawa.

By the time I got back to Kin Town, it was dark.

It's a good thing I left the lights in my office burning.

Do you know what it feels like, stubbing your toes on concrete steps ?

Try it, in flip-flops, sometime. Hurts like a son of a beach !

That's why I leave the office lights on.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ten Photos of the 2013 Itoman Mayor's Cup Sabani Race + Video

man waving red flag to start sabani sailing race

It all starts with the wave of the red flag.

There is also a lot of noise made by a gong and a conch shell.

white sail and team paddling sabani boat

Pretty much immune to noise (hearing impaired) I ignore all the sounds and just shoot.

sabani sailing boat in race

The goal, for me, is to get good photos, of as many sabani boats as I can.

sailing sabani boat with crew of three paddlers

As a cameraman, covering an event, you have to be impartial.

sailing sabani boats in competition

Shoot all the boats, coming and going.

sailing sabani boat at sea

It doesn't matter if there's a favorite boat on the water.

wooden sailing sabani boat

At an event like the Mayor's Cup, getting photos of every boat is what counts.

two man sailing sabani boat

Why do I make sure I get a photo of every boat ?

sabani sailboat in Itoman Harbor

Well, just think about it for a minute.

Remember your high school yearbook.  Look at it if you can still find it.

sabani boat with brown sail

How would you feel if everybody else was in there and, they just left you out ?

Video from Okinawa, Japan: Itoman Mayor's Cup by Hiroyuki Nakagawasai


Monday, November 18, 2013

Fine Dining in Okinawa, Japan for Under Five Bucks


Unbeatable Viking Bento





Where this gourmet meal came from will remain a secret, awhile longer.

Half was consumed for lunch. Part II will be my evening meal.

tray of hot food served in takeout, bento

There's a chance, I'd be causing a stampede, if the location was suddenly revealed.

self service buffet

Working class people come here and, they know where to get the best meals.

trays of buffet servings

Bento, is Japanese for a takeout, sort of boxed lunch.

 In Japan, Viking Style dining, is what Westerners would call, a buffet.

Viking -- was borrowed from Western lingo.

 Probably, because Vikings just came in and grabbed whatever they wanted.

cooked vegetables in food warmers on display

So, that's what you do here. Only, you have to pay 400 yen.

wide angle view of food warming trays

The cost of the ingredients, alone, would be more than double, a few hundred yen.

And, it would cost you even more, to go home and cook them.

So, I got my office nearby and, hardly ever go home.

Somebody else, does the cooking.  And, it's delicious.

Looking at these photos made me hungry, again.

So, excuse me while I go for Round II.

NOTE: There is no "V" in the Japanese language.

If you are a foreigner trying to find a Viking Bento shop, near you, do this:

Say, "Biking Bento" and you may have some luck !

A TripAdvisor Review is forthcoming on this establishment, soon.

That way, someone else can cause the stampede.

Butterfly Photo: Marbeled Fritillary

orange butterfly with black spots

This insect has been hanging around in the bug files since June.

With all the conflicting information, available out there, I had to make a decision.

So, I held a referendum, of sorts.

And, unanimously agree, it's a (Brentis daphne) Marbled Fritillary.

If anyone wants to disagree, we can always do the referendum over again.

That way, two of us could be unanimous.