Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bird Animation: Japanese White Eye in Orange Blossoms

GIF, bird, flowers

The bright orange flowers may be Chinese Trumpets.

Heading back to the office after a full day of shooting, they caught my attention.

Just as I was composing an image for identification of the flowers, along came this bird.

Usually when I photograph the Zosterops japonicus, they are in cherry blossoms.

The flower identification can wait for another day.

The bird in blossoms was my final stop with the camera and GPS for Geo-tagging.

Several hours walking the backroads has worn me out.

So, it's best, I lock up the shop and go somewhere to get re-hydrated.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

3 Images of Terns in Flight

bird, tern, flying

Most of the day today was spent outdoors with the Pentax.

Using a Pentax 300mm prime lens, I tested a 1.4 rear converter and it's a learning experience.

black and white, tern

Many of today's photos were blurs, as these are some fast flying birds.

Auto focus was a bit of a problem as well, when the birds moved swiftly at a distance.

bird flying, water potato field, taro imo

The black background in these images, helped, while panning and using center focus.

Exposure:  f/6.3   1/2500  ISO 400

Focal Length:  420mm

Location: Namisato, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan 26.446,  127.934

Friday, May 29, 2015

Travel Photo: UNESCO World Heritage -- Shikina-en Royal Garden

Chinese style, gardens, pond, buildings

Located in Naha Okinawa



This is one World Heritage Site worth visiting again and, again.

A quick trip was made through there today because it started looking like it may rain.

Blue skies and an awesome reflection on that pond are things I'll be looking for.

And, I'm always trying to dig up little cultural secrets to share.

Like today, I discovered a good one, I had never heard about before.

A special location sits behind me, as I was shooting this photo. We have to go back and catch it.

The Ryukyu Royalty used to bring Chinese envoys there to impress them.

It's a spot where, no matter which way you turn, you can't see any ocean.

That's pretty clever for some people living on an island.

They got those Chinese dudes, thinking what a big country this place is. Hah !

Standby for some sunshine and blue skies.

Have to get some pictures to show you the view from this place.
I'll getterdun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Migratory Bird: Whiskered Tern -- Photos and Facts

Kuroharaazisashi (クロハラアジサシ) in Japan






These birds may be found throughout Asia, Australia, Africa, India and parts of Europe.

Winter migration may involve several thousand miles of a journey.

bird in flight, tern, red legs

They eat insects, small frogs, crustaceans and some fish.

Wetlands, marshes , mudflats and well irrigated farm fields are their natural habitats.

bird, flight, rice field,Whiskered Tern

Colonies of these terns are highly protective of the family.

Other species of birds may live among them to take advantage of this trait.

The birds will gang-up any any other creature threatening them and, attack  the intruder.

tern, diving, flight,taro field

Scientific Name: Chlidonias hybrida

The red bill and legs of this species make identification  a simple task.

The flight patterns and forked tail feathers make it similar to many other tern species.

bird, tern, flight, rice field

Moving at extremely high speeds makes them a tough subject to photograph, in flight.

Shutter speeds for these images was between 1000 and 4000th of a second.


ISBN4-916422-11-6 A Guide to the Wild Birds of Okinawa

Travel Photo: Scene from Namisato

buildings and fence, orange tiles

Most of the time my cameras are set to spot focus on the eyes of wildlife.

After shooting all morning it was time to head to town for lunch.

When this scene caught my eye, I had to stop and take one more photo.

The metering mode was switched to pattern, in order to have sharp focus on the entire area.

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax DAF4--300mm

Exposure:  f/11  1/100   ISO 100  

Date and Time:  MAY 21, 2015 at 11:16AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Traveling Around the Kin Dam -- Photos and Commentary

Flip-flop Friendly and Fun



Enough visits have been made to write a book about this attraction but, I won't. 

It's a great place to spend some time outdoors exercising or enjoying nature.

Okukubi Dam, Kin Town

This photo was taken from the center of the Kin Bridge.

For photography, it's best to travel around the east side of the dam, using morning light.

Late afternoons, HWY 104 and the western entrance would be best.

drink machine, water, tea, Coke

The red drink machine is the only place you can spend money at this site.

Grab some coffee, tea or juice to drink but, don't waste your cash buying water.

Dam sign, map, water fountain

 Just a few meters past the drink machine, you come to the Dam Park.

And, over there the dam water if free !

Off to the left of the Dam Map you will find toilets and, they are always clean.

water, bridge crossing dam, greenery

 This is one of my favorite spots for catching birds in flight.

There weren't any ospreys out, diving for fish today for some strange reason.

view of dam, scenery, bridge

Moving deeper into the dam, here is another great place for viewing nature.

The bridge is a great place to watch for birds, flying around the dam.

wetlands entrance, signpost

Kouchibaru Wetland is directly ahead.

Enter here slowly and quietly and, you will observe all kinds of wildlife.

Herons, egrets, kingfishers, ducks, ospreys and turtles are some of the critters, I've gotten here.

If you move too fast and frighten one bird, they all disappear.

western side of dam, roadway

This is a point on the west side of the dam where, you cross over water.

Around the bend, you lose sight of the water and come back out on a highway.

HWY 104, road sign

HWY 104 can be dangerous for bikers and hikers.

People like to speed along this road  and, some say it's haunted.

Let's just call them a bunch of dam fools.

If you are walking, it's best to use the sidewalk; it's only on one side of the highway.

dam view, west side

Afternoon light is always the best, over the west side of the dam.

The entrance from HWY 104 leads to the parking lot below.

Driving across the dam would take you to the park and toilet facilities.

Outside the dam, there are restrooms to the right and down the stairs below this viewpoint.

dam office, roadway

Walking towards the dam office, I stopped halfway across the dam spillway.

Kin Bridge, Okukubi River, ocean

From this point you can see the Kin Bridge, Okukubi River and a bit of the ocean.

The entire excursion lasted a few hours but, I don't rush things.

It's easy to spend half a day, taking photos and, inhaling nature for me, anyway.

The red X's on this Google Earth screenshot, show where, I Geo-tagged today's images.

More later.....

Monday, May 25, 2015

12 Photos from a GPS Waypoint Trek in Kin Town Okinawa

purple berries, Monkeygrass, Mondo grass

What the Heck is a Waypoint ?



This is something I have been experimenting with for the past week.

With a camera and a handheld GPS gadget, you can record where you have been traveling.

Each time you take a photo, take a reading with the GPS device and, save them.

stone, Kin Gusuku, castle

Today, I just used the Canon G12 and a Garmin Etrex 20.

The rock is a landmark in Kin Town; remains of a castle wall, maybe.

The purple berries caught my attention so, I shot them to see what flowers blossom, later.

Tomusuzu Utaki, Sacred Site

Up to this point, the trek was mostly along city sidewalks.

Now, it was time to go off-road for a little while.

trail, stairs, woods

It would be nice to know if the satellites, in the sky, can find me when I go in here.

Each time, I stopped for a photo, I entered a GPS waypoint on the handheld gadget.

stone steps, trail, woods, fallen leaves

Things were slightly wet and slippery in the woods because of recent rains.

The fresh air and smell of composting leaves in the forest felt good.

Cabin fever sets-in after a few days of being house bound during rainy season.

park bench,wooded area

This park bench gave me an idea.

Get out of the woods and buy some iced coffee and sandwiches, it made me think.

This little journey was through a sacred site called Tomusuzu Utaki.

Family Mart, HWY329, Kin

 A little ways down a hill from the Utaki, is this convenience store.

Once a few sandwiches and coffee were packed away, it was time to go back in the woods.

stone stairs, woods,utaki

There are some mysterious sights along these trails through the woods.

cave, cup, sake, offering

A Kin Town pamphlet says there are records of this site dating back to the 18th Century.

It says, before World War II people prayed here for prosperity.

Have a look at that cup in the center of the photo.

It has been placed at the entrance of a cave and, someone put it there recently.

bench, wooded trail

Another bench looked like a nice place to rest with my lunch.

But, I decided to carry it back to the office and, eat there, where nobody could sneak up on me.

Do you suppose, someone comes out of that cave and, drinks the sake from that cup ?

When the hairs on the back of your neck, stand up, it's a good idea to move along.

marker, special tree

This stone marker is in front of a special tree at Kin Temple.

With over 100 trees called cultural assets, I GPS marked it and took a photo.

One of these days, we will GPS them all.

Kin Temple, Buddhism

This is Kin Kannon-do, a Buddhist Temple in my neighborhood.

It doesn't matter what your religion may be. Everyone is welcome here.

Back at the office, I download the camera and the GPS device and, do some magic.

If everything worked, as planned, these images will have been Geo-tagged.

Look at Google Earth and, you can follow the trail, I took today, without getting wet !

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10 Photos from a Two Hour Flower Walk

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Animated Images of Shima ( シマ) -- Okinawan Sumo Wrestlers

Okinawan Sumo, wrestlers, outdoors

A little rain doesn't cancel an event like this for Ryukyu islanders.

An Okinawa wide Sumo Championship was held in Makishi Park of Naha City.

Three of us, armed with Pentax cameras, caught part of the action earlier today.

Okinawa style, sumo, シマ

Enough photos were taken to create GIF animations and, we left the big city.

There didn't seem to be any news crews or TV cameras at the scene.

But, we figured maybe, they wait for the final few matches before showing up on a rainy day.

Tonight's Sports News may show the champions of the day.

And, tomorrows local newspapers may have something about the event.

Learn more about Okinawa Sumo at:

Okinawan Traditional Martial Arts - Shima (Okinawan Sumo) on YouTube

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Eurasian Kingfisher -- Called Kawasemi (カワセミ) in Japan

Alcedo atthis, bird, common kingfisher, GIF

Another name for this bird is River Kingfisher.

Scientists call it an Alcedo atthis.

The birds shown here, were photographed in the Namisato district of Kin Town.

bird,Common Kingfisher, tree, GIF

Links for those interested in learning more about these colorful birds:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Meet the Flower Called Madam Fate

AKA Star of Bethlehem



It has the Latin name Hippobroma longiflora.

In Japan they call it Hoshiazami (ホシアザミ) hoshi, meaning star, which the flower resembles.

Azami, some would interpret as meaning thistle and, this plant has them, too.

flowers, thistle, Hippobroma longiflora

Someone gave me the Japanese name for these flowers when I was out with the camera.

This image has been geotagged in case anyone wants to find the location.

Researching the flowers for some common names and the Latin name was interesting.

Madam Fate is a plant, I wouldn't put in my garden.

At the National Tropical  Botanical Garden, they say, the sap of this beauty is poisonous.

Gardeners working around these plants should be wearing gloves.

At Wildlife of Hawaii, I learned, it's not a good idea to get sap from the leaves in your eyes.

These flowers could make you go blind.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5 Animated Photos of Kingfishers Perched in Trees

bird, tree over water

Learning how to add Geotags to photos is what started all this.

There are programs that can put latitude and longitude into an image's EXIF data file.

Alcedo atthis, bird

Smart phones do this for your photos automatically, from what I gather.

But for my DSLR, I had to figure out another method to geotag images before uploading.

common kingfisher, preening

Walking around with a Garmin GPS and camera is the method, I prefer.

Points marked along the route are recorded on the GPS.

As long as they are marked, close to the same time photos are taken, all goes well.

Even with the Garmin tied around my neck, I forget to use it sometimes.

bird, perched, kingfisher
Marking the location five minutes later than the photo was taken is a big No No.

If it doesn't match the time recorded on the photo, it won't get a geotag.

There is another method of manually adding the tags but, that's too much work for me.

Kingfisher, perched,branch
 The programs, I'm using do a fantastic job of geotagging.

Somehow, the images are even showing up on Google Earth for anyone to see.

That way, I don't have to bother telling folks where to find these birds.

If you don't mind a little jungle, you can find these birds and take photos, too.

Make sure you bring a sharp knife.  You'll need one.

Mine got busted today so, tomorrow I have to go shopping.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wildlife of Okinawa: Habu a Venomous Snake

Protobothrops flavoviridis, habu, snake, sign, Japanese

A sign was photographed to record the Latin name.

There are a few different types of these snakes but, they are all poisonous.

Generally speaking, those with triangular-shaped heads are dangerous.

Okinawa World has a Habu Museum where you can visit the snakes.

The ones in the GIF above, are outside the building in trees, surrounded by a fence.

In the wilderness these snakes normally, run from you.

If they come after you, they may be the Taiwan version of snake, which are highly aggressive.

If you are bitten by a habu, you probably won't die from the bite.

Do not try and imitate cowboys and, suck the poison out of the wound.

Clean it, keep the bitten part below the level of the heart and, get medical attention.