Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Travel Photo: Fall Foliage

Just Some Red and Green



There aren't really four seasons way down south in Japan if, you ask me.

Unless you look at it the way some people do.

There's Hot, Hotter, Rainy Season and, sometimes, It doesn't rain for a long time.

So, we have three seasons and, when it doesn't rain for a long time maybe, four.

 Walking town to the ocean, to shoot the full moon, I spotted these leaves.

It sort of reminded me of Autumn where I lived many moons ago.

So, I figured it would be a good idea to take this shot and, call it my Autumn Foliage Photo.

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 300mm and 1.4 converter for a focal length of 460mm

Exposure: f/5.5  1/20   ISO 400

Location: East Namisato, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lookin' Back at the SEP 2015 Supermoon

ocean, seawall, woman fishing, rocks

It Really Pays to Look Back



Shooting the full moon is something, I try to do every month.

It's always a good idea to get out there and scout out a good location to shoot from, early.

My walk, last night started shortly after 5PM and, things were looking grim.

At the mouth of the Okukubi River, I walked out on the seawall.

The elderly woman, fishing chuckled when, I told her I was going to shoot the supermoon.

The photos in this animated GIF were taken at 6:22PM.

The plan was, to catch the moon rising over the horizon and, it probably wouldn't happen.

moonrise, clouds, ocean

About 6:30, I decided it had been a wasted night and started heading back to town.

My tripod had been set up farther out on the seawall, past the old woman.

The wind was kicking up. I wished the woman good luck and headed for shore.

Before, I got off the seawall, the moon appeared and, I was glad I had looked back.

A quick shot was taken but, I knew it wouldn't be a keeper; things were too shaky.

Time: 6:37PM

blurry, full moon, image, clouds
Once, I hit land, I set up the tripod again and snapped another shaky image, in the wind.

Time: 6:40PM

It didn't seem like things would get any better and, I had a long walk home ahead of me.

Walking back up the river, the wind started to die down and, I kept looking back. 

supermoon, SEP 28 2015

 If you don't like stubborn people, you probably wouldn't want to meet me.

Following the road upstream, I kept stopping and, looking back at the moon, for a clear shot.

Time: 7:08PM

full moon

From one end of the river, to the other, I kept walking and, checking on the moon.

By the time, I reached the Kin Dam, it peeked through the black clouds again.

Time: 7:46PM

SEP 2015 supermoon

 Heavy black clouds kept blowing across the moon and blocking it out.

After taking this shot, I figured my photography, for the night, was done.

Time: 7:47

Now, I'm sitting here wondering if that old gal caught any fish for her supper.

She probably shouldn't have cackled at me !

Monday, September 28, 2015

Animation of Classical Ryukyu Dance at Harvest Moon Festival

dance, GIF, Okinawa, Festival

A series of six images was used to create this motion GIF.

Last night's event took place in an auditorium in Kin Town and, it was crowded.

The moon peeked through the clouds briefly, a few times during the evening.

It didn't appear 100% round, to me so, I'll be back outside tonight, looking for the Supermoon.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Full Moon Celebration Kin Town SEP 2015

Typhoon Dujan Blew Us Off



The ornery tropical storm went to ruin the weekend somewhere else, south of here.

It didn't make it easy to do moon photography but, we gotterdun.

full moon, Kin Town, Okinawa
Out with the big lens to catch the moon coming up over the horizon was disappointing.

A thick layer of clouds, wouldn't let the moon shine through so, I walked back to town.

Then, I changed lenses to do some festival photography and, headed out again.

The golden moon peeked through the clouds for just a few seconds. 

This photo was taken with an 18-250mm lens, stretched all the way out.

women in traditional clothing, Ryukyu dance

First time for everything, someone decided to hold the festival indoors.

The place was packed and, I had to find somewhere, to get my back against the wall.

These gals, waiting to do a dance onstage, agreed to let me take their photo.

music, traditional, classic, Ryukyuan
Off to the side of the stage, I captured this performance.

Traditional Ryukyuan music is being played on stringed instruments and drums.

stringed instruments, drums, stage
From the back of the auditorium, I was able to get everyone in the scene.

There were lots of children running around and, folks sipping spirits.

royalty, costumes, dance, classical

This is some sort of classical dance they used to do in the old days.

Back when this place was called the Ryukyu Kingdom, only royalty could perform the dance.

With lots of people offering me drinks and, kids bouncing around my tripod, um... started giving me some royal pains so, I decided it was time to get back outdoors.

full moon, zoom lens, 700mm

Back in the office, I changed lenses again and, managed to catch this silver moon.

The gold was gone and the moon was higher in the sky.

So, I put enough lens on the camera, to give me 700mm of glass to poke at the supermoon.

Several hundred images were downloaded from two cameras.

But, it's time for me to get out of here and do some celebrating in town !

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Travel Photo: An Unusual Fire Hydrant Spotted on Tsuken Island

fire hydrant, under ground

Not to Be Confused with a Manhole Cover



Fire hydrants in Japan are not the type dogs lift their legs up, to pee on.

They are placed underground and, usually a signpost, nearby indicates their presence.

This one was the first, I've come across, that was decorated with a fire engine.

Usually, they are not painted or decorated in any fashion.

Few of them are round, like manhole covers.  Usually, they are rectangular in shape.

Travelers should know, parking a vehicle on one of these, could result in a healthy fine.

 Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 25mm

Exposure: f/11   1/125   ISO 100

Location: Tsuken Jima, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  SEP 25  2015  12:40PM

Friday, September 25, 2015

Travel Photo: Characters on the Ferry to Tsuken Jima

mascots, carrots

A Day-trip to Okinawa's Carrot Island



If you ever spot a boat with these mascots on the side, it's the ferry for Tsuken Island.

Three of us got aboard at 11AM and, did some walking and photography.

It isn't a very large island but, you do notice how peaceful it can be.

There are no taxi cabs, dump trucks or construction sites making a racket.

There may be a bird or two making some noise or, a farm tractor plowing.

But, you can pretty much, spend the day, hearing yourself breath.

It seems like, carrots are never in season, when I visit this island.

It must be winter time when the crop gets harvested.  I don't hop on boats in the winter.

Maybe, if someone tells me when the Carrot Festival takes place, er....

...if they have something like a Miss Carrot beauty contest, I'd go visit in January !

The mission today, was to get some GPS coordinates done and, head on home.

It took some talking to locals to find a few locations and a bit of hiking.

By 3PM all the sites we went to see were located and the photography was done.

More about this trip will be posted at a later date but, I can give a hint, now.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

An Unexpected Discovery Down in the Mangroves

mangrove trees, reflection,river

Visiting this forest with the sun setting, gives you some terrific reflections.

Usually, I time my walk to be alongside the river during high tide.

mangrove tree, bark

 When there aren't any interesting wide angle scenes, I do some close-up photography.

That's just to show some of the textures the mangrove provides.

trees, mangroves forest, low tide

 When the tide goes out, the mangrove roots are exposed.

Once in awhile, I visit during low tide, to get deeper into the forest.

bark of mangrove, tree, moss

 This was a great time to capture moss, growing on the shady side of a tree.

There's a myth about the stuff growing on the north side of trees.

But, that depends on what part of the world you happen to get lost in.

Read Outdoor Life for more on the subject of survival. 

television, discarded, trash, mangrove forest

This little surprise has me concerned about survival of the critters in the mangroves.

It could impact the survival of travel and tourism in the mangrove forest, as well.

 It looks like someone couldn't afford the recycle fee for their busted television.

So, they decided to throw it away, in the mangroves.

Something needs to be done, to prevent things like this from happening.

If people continue to throw their trash in the forest it'll start looking like Tomigusuku

Who would pay for an Eco-tour, where you visit a landfill ?

Looking online for some solutions, I sort of like the Singapore solution.

Down that way, a person could get their fanny paddled, for doing stupid stuff like this.

Take a look at some of the punishments Singapore deals out to their criminals.

Then, tell me those kinds of laws wouldn't come in handy, around here !

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Flower Named Queen Sirikit -- Mussaenda

plants, flowers, mussaenda

Photographed Under Blue Sky



These flowers made a brief appearance in my office, last October.

A typhoon was approaching and a woman let me take a cutting before they all got blown away.

Taking a few shots with black background, I added them to my flower collection. 

Then, stuck the cuttings in some water and, offered to give them away.

Nobody claimed them so, they wound up in the mulch pile out back.

Something Had to Be Done Before the Next Typhoon



When I saw these blossoms, out there today, I hurried and grabbed the cameras.

Another unpredictable tropical storm is building out there, now.

And, I figured it would be best to capture the flowers in nature, before  they all blow away.

This particular plant stands about twice as tall as I do.

Research tells me they can become seven meters tall. That's over 21 feet.

To Learn More About These Plants Visit:

People Sometimes Ask Me Where to Buy Plants



Really, I don't run around shopping for plants; my wife swipes them from other gardens.

 Years ago, I did some gardening but, photography, keeps me too busy, these days.

But, as a public service, I decided to start helping people find seeds and flowers.

If the links above, don't lead curious gardeners to find the plants try this:

They tell you:  "This plant may be available to buy.  Click the banana to see."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More Animated GIFs from the Ishikawa Eisa Festival

children, ride, festival

It's Silver Week in Japan and this Eisa  Matsuri got the festivities off to a great start.

There are always plenty of activities for children, such as, flying airplanes.

crowd seated, child dancing Eisa with adults

Some of the younger generation, would rather dance Eisa with the adults.

youth, taiko drummers

These young taiko drummers put on an extraordinary show.

seniors, dance, classic Okinawan

Senior citizens danced in a circle to some classic Ryukyu music.

martial arts performance

The martial arts demonstration always gets plenty of attention.

Before the fireworks display in the evening, it started pouring down rain.

Heading back to Kin Town from Ishikawa, I saw fireworks, through a rear view window !

Monday, September 21, 2015

Girls Pickin' and Grinnin' at the Ishikawa Eisa Matsuri

Good Old Traditional Okinawan Music



It could be considered Okinawan folk music.  It's called Mineo, in the local language.

If you don't start stomping your feet and clapping hands, there's something wrong with you.

women singers, sanshin players,gif

 My recommendation, would be, go visit a doctor before you're totally lifeless.

The girls can't help smiling while singing and, they look over my way.

The camera is mounted on a tripod so, it doesn't bounce all around.

Then, I push the shutter button with the finger of one hand.

Meanwhile, my feet and the other hand are, dancing all over the place !

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Flower Photos: Possibly Plumeria

AKA Frangipani



These pink and red blossoms were spotted on a side street in Kin Town.

The photos were taken with a Canon G12 and, I was sort of in a hurry.

flowers, pink and red blossoms

It was lunchtime and the fishburgers would be cold by the time, I got back to the office.

It would have been less challenging photography if, I could have moved the plants.

Bright light and dark shadows, don't give you the best images.

Plumeria, frangipani

When you're an uninvited guest on private property, it's best to, not touch anything.

So, I moved around and shot, knowing, I'd be cropping the photos later.

plants, flowers, Plumeria, pink

 There are so many types of plumeria plants, I couldn't decide on a name for this one.

People, around the globe, raise these plants and, keep making new hybrids.

If anyone reading this, wants to take a stab at the scientific name, let me know.

Otherwise, I'll just keep calling it a Possibly Plumeria.

If you want to learn more about these types of plants visit:

Plumeria 101 

Some Breaking News



An alert reader, identified this plant and flower as Desert Rose and, I agree.

The botanical nomenclature would be Adenium obesum.

More about this flower is available at Wisconsin Master Gardener.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Okinawan Bar Way Down the Street from Here

alcohol, bottles, bar, shelf, knick-knacks

The Place Jogged a Few Memories



A few months ago, I started taking long walks to shoot the full moon.

Going to the northeast end of town and down to the beach, keep me out there pretty late.

bar, exterior, wood, round windows

This bar with a wooden front and round windows caught my attention.

It would be a good subject to shoot with some wide angle lenses.

For lunar photography, I'm usually carrying monster lenses to zoom in on the full moon. 

300-700mm of lens, wouldn't work too well in a small place like this.

One night, I stoped by to have a beer on the way home from a moon shoot.

The cameras just got stashed away on the counter.

barroom scene

Something about this place, told me, I had been here before.

It's not a very large establishment. Twenty people would make it crowded.

hibachi, cooking box

Just below a round, stained glass window is this room, with a hibachi in it.

That would be called a fire or, cooking box and, this one still looks operable.

booth, tables, sofas, barroom

Over in the far corner of the bar folks can get a little privacy at these tables.

For some reason, I couldn't shake the feeling, I had been here before.

If they held a contest for people who couldn't remember stuff, I could win, I bet.

 Girls don't want to become one of my ex-wives because, I'll probably forget their names.

Yoko, the gal who owns and operates this bar, does sort of like me.

She can't remember names but, never forgets faces.

She remembered me from visiting this place back in the 1970's.

So, I promised one day, to come back and create some images with a wide angle lens.

art, breastfeeding baby
 All of a sudden, I looked up at a back wall of the bar and spotted this picture.

Then, I remembered being in here a long, long time ago.

The artwork reminded me and, I'll never forget this bar or her name, again.

She's the girl with the baby and a flower in her hair ! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

6 Early Evening Photos from a Mangrove Forest

As the Sun Dips Down Below the Mountains



The Golden hour for photography happens just after sunrise and, an hour before the sun sets.

These photos were taken between 5-6PM while taking evening strolls over this past week.

mangroves, river, forest,wooden decking and railing, boardwalk

The sun, setting low in the western sky, gives the scenery a golden glow.

mangrove, trees, river, reflection

 As long as the wind, doesn't stir things up, reflection photography begs to be shot.

mangrove trees, low tide, exposed roots

 Twice a day the tide goes out, exposing the mangrove roots.

mangrove forest, trees

Deep in the forest, it's time to do some wide angle photography; everything is quiet and still.

close up, mangroe tree, texture

A close up shot, reveals the rough texture of the trees in these forests.

Backing off with the lens, a parting shot was taken as the light faded. 

The mangrove forest gets dark in a hurry, after the sun sets.

No telling, what you might bump into if, you get stuck walking around down there after dark !


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Gigantic Hibiscus Flower Blooming Down the Street

yellow and orange, hibiscus, flower

Gargantuan Best Describes It



This was discovered, while walking the back-roads of town yesterday.

To stay out of the blazing sun, I walk in the shadows of the side streets, sometimes.

This humongous flower, caught my attention so, I stopped and shot it with the camera.

It's too bad, nobody was around to assist me.

It would have been nice, if someone came along to hold one of my flip-flops next to it.

That would give you a sense of scale.  I swear, the thing was bigger than my face.

If the flower is still there, I may get another chance to photograph it for you.

yellow flip-flop, yellow shirt, bearded dude

Meanwhile, you get get see, just how big my flip-flops really are ! 

You May Also Like:

15 Hibiscus Photos from Ie Island in Okinawa

All You Need o Know About Hibiscus

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Travel Photo: Rustic Bars Have Personality

wooden exterior, portole windows

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 23mm

Exposure: f/16  1/15   ISO 200

Location: Namisato,  Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

GPS:  Latitude 26.27.2797  Longitude 127.55.4274

Date and Time:  SEP 16 2015  6:09PM 

Recently, I re-discovered this place on the other end of town.

Apparently, back in the 70's the establishment was one of my many hangouts.

The owner recognized me, even though it's been a few decades and, I got old.

There will be more photos and a story, posted about this place, at a later date.

Meanwhile, y'all can listen to this tune, the joint reminded me of, for some strange reason.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Today Some Telephone Poles and Power Lines Got Moved

Before and After



Here's an example of something you may come across in your travels with the camera.

It was impossible to photograph the weekend's events, without seeing lots of overhead wires.

Not someone who likes to spend hours photo editing, I had to find a simple solution.

Telephone poles, wires and satellite dishes can be big distractions in your photos.

With  something as simple as Adobe Elements, they can be removed.

wires, poles, before removal

Before:  Power lines and poles

poles, wires removed

After: Telephone poles and wires removed

 It Takes a Bit of Practice



Extreme makeovers are something, I wouldn't recommend for beginners.

There are many YouTube videos and tutorials available online and, they are free.

A few links to some sites, I visited today:
  How to Remove Objects from Photos with Photoshop Elements 

Photoshop Elements Clone Stamp Tool

Removing Antennas and Power Lines With the Spot Healing Brush 

Video from YouTube: Using the Healing Brush in Photoshop Elements

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend Highlight: Shinugu (シヌグ) Festival in the Village of Oku

gif, men, parade, riyual,drums, flags, barefoot

Two Years of Plotting and Planning



This is another one of those, not widely advertised rituals that I have been itching to see.

It only takes place in this northern location, once every other year.

Researching the event two years ago, we learned, it had just been held, weeks earlier.

The crowd, seen in the above photo, is heading to a sacred site.

The procession is moving along a secluded street, to the beat of drums.

They are carrying a wooden tub, containing an elderly man from the village.

A bit of the martial arts, keeps evildoers and bad spirits, at bay.

Plenty of good spirits have been consumed, leading up to this part of the event.

And, many more spirits will be utilized throughout the remainder of festivities.

 Depending on which source you believe, there are a few versions of what is being chanted.

"Ii kui kui, Been kui kui and, Hi kui kui" are some of the interpretations, I have gotten.

That's followed by "Ya-sa-sa or, Eiyaa-saa."

The rituals are held at the end of the harvest season.

Dances, prayers and chants are offered in the hope they will provide future prosperous times.

See and hear some of the Shinugu Matsuri of Oku Village in this Video:

Read more about the festival at the Ryukyu Shimpo

5 Animations from a Sports Day in Japan

Normally an October Event



A school sports day, is called an Undokai, in this part of the world.

There are so many schools, holding sports days, things start happening in September.

Have a peek at some of the activities, I witnessed today.

jumping rope at an Undokai, children

Kids were jumping rope in unison under blue skies with flags, flapping in the breeze.

relay race, ball

There was some sort of relay race using  bamboo poles and an exercise ball.

These children were either celebrating a win or, had just given up and,  having some some fun.

track, baton, relay

 Catching these runners, passing the baton is always a challenge for the cameraman.

children, couples, dancing

 It's funny, some of the music, you hear, for these dances.

One time, it might be something that sounds like the Prime Minister of Russia's music.

Then, the next thing you know, they start playing Turkey in the Straw stuff !

drummer, Eisa dancers

The best part of an Undokai, for me, is always the Eisa.

As soon as, I shot this scene, it was time to get out of the hot sun and download cameras.

Next Sunday, there will be Sports Days in two different villages, for me to attend.

It will be fun, shuffling from one school to the next without hurting anyone's feelings.

These Undokai things are huge family events and, grandpa is expected to attend them all.