Sunday, January 31, 2016

Flower Photo: Simple Sakura

branch, stem, flower,  bud, cherry blossom

Just a Cherry Blossom



Not to worry, about Teru Teru Bozu; the thing miraculously survived yesterday.

Even though it rained most of the day, a few minutes of sunshine, were spotted. 

Being the kind of creator I am, the wicked rascal got a pardon. And, the sun shined today.

About 100 cherry blossoms were taken, on a four hour camera walk today.

Standby for some sort of Sakura Report, on Kin Town, tomorrow.

Camera:  Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 300MM with 1.4 converter - Focal Length 420MM

Exposure:  f/5.6   1/125  ISO 200 W/Camera Flash

Location:  Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  JAN 31  2016  1:56PM
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Checklist: Sakura Photography Tomorrow

5 Things to Remember



Normally, you wouldn't catch me going back up north during cherry blossom season.

Some guests want to go and shoot photos so, I'll be getting ready.

Before leaving the office, I decided to make this checklist, to remind me of a few items.

1. Weekends are the most crowded days for people and traffic. Don't go unless you have to.

2. Weather forecast: 70% chance of rain. Bring an umbrella and waterproof jacket.

3. A stepladder puts you above the crowds.  Bring one.

4.  Japanese White Eyes (Mejiro) love sakura (cherry blossoms). Bring along a big, fast lens. 

5.  If it rains all day, take Teru Teru Bozu off the mailbox and, throw him away !

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Flowers and Girls Online: They Got Everything !

It All Started Trying to Identify a Plant



Things were sorta iffy in the sky this morning so, I figured, "Don't wander too far."

A block down from the office, I took a photo of this plant in front of a restaurant.

Along with me, were some books, overdue by a few months, to take back to the library.

tiny white flowers, vines, leguminous, plant,image

The Kin Town Library, treats me like royalty for some strange reason.

The books I checkout aren't in big demand so, they allow me, to keep being tardy.

When one gal, couldn't find an ID for this flower, the whole library staff , jumped in to help.

flowers, stems, plants, legume

After awhile, I told them, "Maybe this plant is from a foreign country. I'll check online."

Leaving the library, a gal chased me down to tell me something.

She said she'd write the name down if, they found an identification and have it sent to me.

Next, I walked to a flower shop, to see if they could ID the plant, viewed on my camera.

No luck there so, I would have to rely on the good old internet search.  Groan

On Facebook, I have a contact, who's usually the expert, at these sort of things.

He said, it was a tough one but, maybe if, I tried leguminous plants, I could find it.

Wiki Dude tells me Leguminosae or Fabaceae, covers thousands of plants.

And, I looked at 1,377 thumbnails of flowers, just on one website.  Ouch

How Did Hot Chicks Get in There ?


After I started throwing Latin names into my searches, things seemed easier.

Some Flickr-looking site had, much larger thumbnail photos, to look at.

This plant, for now will be called a Desmodium laxum or something like that.

It also, looks like some sort of Lotus australis or a hybrid of one.

At the bottom of every page containing flower photos, were the girls.

They were humongous ads, larger than the flower photos and, said stuff like:

The Most Dazzling Singles Are Waiting for You !

This Bombshell Wants a New Boyfriend

Russian Ladies Won't Let You Get Bored

We'll Help You Find the Girl You Saw in Your Dreams

Chat with Gorgeous Slavic Matches 24/7

 Are You Looking for a New Girlfriend ?

These Flirty Russians Are Looking for a Man Like You

Looking for an Easy Way to Meet a Gorgeous Lady ?

These Asian Girls Are Like Exotic Candies !

These Flirty Russians Will Seduce You in an Instant

flower, white, leguminous, stem, plant
 Well, I tell ya, it was crazy, trying to identify this flower, there were so many.

Before you know it, I'm on page 49 or 50 of that site.

And, I picked some names for this plant, way back on page 41 or something like that.

Now, I'm wondering if, all those gals could see me online.

It's been so long since I dated a gal like that, my hyphen's growing back !

If you have nothing better to do, visit THIS SITE and, see it all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Travel Photo: Nice Day in January

traditional, tiled-roof,shisa, lion-dog, Okinawa

Traditional Okinawan Architecture



For all the talk of snow in Okinawa, the weather sure turned out nice today.

Conditions are subject to change, every 10 minutes, on a tropical island.

So, when I saw the blue skies, I ran and grabbed a camera.

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 81MM

Exposure:  f/16   1/320   ISO 100

Location:  Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  JAN 27  2015  11:56AM

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January Gave Us a Full Wolf Moon

It Was at 98% Last Night



Some of the charts say the full moon for JAN 2015 went from the 23-26th.

The clouds blew by and, I got a few photos before leaving the office.

JAN 25 2016, Full Moon,image

When I got to the street, I saw this and, ran back in to grab a tripod and camera.

Everything was set up on a Gitzo tripod and, I zoomed in, all the way.

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Sigma 50-500 with 1.4 converter - focal length 700MM

Exposure: f/16   1/100   ISO 100

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: JAN 25 2016 at  9:01PM

Handy Full Moon Information


Back in America, they have names for the full moon each month.

The Full Wolf Moon comes from wolves howling at the January moon.

Nobody really knows why, they do it but, it could be because they're hungry, I imagine.

Over at Space (dot) com you can learn all about full moons and, watch a video.

They give you the names and dates of full moons throughout the year.

In the video, this guy, teaching, will make you laugh.

He says stuff like, the full moon doesn't make people or animals crazy.

If you're of those people, who will turn into a werewolf, the moon doesn't do it, to you.

It just means, you could morph into a critter at any time.  Hah !

He also says, the night of the full moon, is the worst time, to watch the moon.

That's because, he says, it's too bright.  Well, I disagree, there.

The worst time, for me to watch the moon, is when, the damn thing goes behind clouds.

When, it's too bright, is the best time for a cameraman, to shoot the sucker.

Other than that, you should watch the whole video.  It's entertaining and funny.

More Full Moon Links for 2016:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Full Moon JAN 25 2016 Over Okinawa

moon, JAN 2016

It Didn't Show Last Night



Severe weather hid the moon from us on the 24th but, here is is now.

Some people even said, they saw snow, sleet and hail, over the past 24 hours.

Now, folks in Alaska and along the east coast of the USA probably, know what snow looks like.

To me, it's this white stuff, that plies up and has to be shoveled off the streets.

That's one of the many reasons, I live in Okinawa and, not in snow country.

Y'all stay warm and safe.  I got the moon tonight and, it's time to go celebrate.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Travel Scene: Could it Snow in Paradise ?

Maybe If Hell Freezes Over !



Usually, I like to post images of sunshine filled locations on this island.

But, lately the wicked weathermen have been predicting cold and even, snow.

What's up with all the global warming, everybody screams about ?

island, ocean, rocks, waves, greenery, beach

It felt like it was freezing as I walked towards the office this morning.

Bundled up in a parka, I started wishing I had some gloves to wear; it was cold and windy.

Luckily, a daughter came along and drove me halfway in her heated van.

Looking at the dashboard, she pointed out the outside temperature to me.

It was 9 degrees Celsius.  That's cold, when you have a strong ocean breeze.

At the office, I had to search for a conversion chart, online, to see how cold it really was.

Over at Conversion Metric Org they tell me:

 9 °C = 48.2 °F

Here I am freezing, wearing an Alaskan parka and, socks with my flip-flops.

Weather dudes are saying the temperature tonight will drop down to 6 °C.

6 °C, and that's a blazing 42.8 °F  !

So, I figure there's not much sense investing money in snow shovels, around here.

The photo above was taken from the second floor restaurant Kaminuhama.

It is located on Okinawa's west coast in Onna-son.

Checkout the Nabee Beach Website for more. 

Can't read Japanese ?  Press the American flag on the right and, get English.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Plum Blossoms on Mt.Yaedake

Who Would Have Thought ?



A true flower fanatic could go crazy with the cameras, up on that hill.

There are cherry blossoms and plum flowers starting to bloom, at the same time.

plum tree, gaurdrail,country, road

It's a shame, I didn't bring along the Garmin GPS gadget yesterday.

Knowing, a bunch of folks will want to know where these plum blossoms are, bothers me.

I'm not that good, at giving highway directions; there's more important stuff on my mind.

white, flowers, plum blossoms, buds, stems

It's sort of rare, getting to see these plum flowers blooming, around here.

The season for viewing them probably, only lasts a week or, so.

That tree wasn't in full bloom, yet.  Look at all the unopened flower buds.

sign, cherry blossoms, trees, mountain
 Up on that mountain named Yaedake, you might find the plum blossoms.

Look for these cherry trees with the red and pink flowers, hanging on them.

And, position yourself, where you imagine, I was standing while taking this photo.

Then, turn around and, walk about a quarter mile down the country road.

The trees with white plum blossoms, are down there, on the left, somewhere.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flower Photo: Cherry Blossoms on a Rainy Day

buds, branches, cherry blossom, waterdrops

Mount Yaedake



A quick tour to check on the sakura (cherry blossoms) was made today.

Full bloom is probably a week or so away but, tourists are arriving, anyway.

The next, two weekends, it's guaranteed, traffic on the mountain will be heavy.

My estimate:  Maybe 20-25% of the trees are blossoming not, much more.

Tents are set up and the Sakura Matsuri, on Yaedake begins tomorrow.

And, some crazy weathermen are predicting snowfall on Okinawa next week !

Don't expect to find me, going up that road, until after the place thaws out !

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens:  Pentax 18-250 at 250MM

Exposure:  f/6.3   1/30   ISO 100

Location:  Mt. Yaedake, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  JAN 22  2016   1:47PM

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Best Denki (ベスト電器) Everybody Should Visit

What's It Got to Do with Travel ?



Tired of the fluorescent lights blinking in my office, I went to this store.

They have Best Denki all over Japan but, this one was just a few blocks away.

electrical appliance store

It was pouring down rain so, I had 3 of those blinking tubular lights banded together.

And, walked to the electrical store carrying an umbrella, looking like some sort of a nut.

White glass tubes, about 4 feet long and, some old man flying down the street with them.

It wasn't like I was the flying nun but, everybody stopped, to let me cross the street.

The rain was pouring down in sheets and , wind blowing me sideways.

Luckily, I had a brand new undersized, bright red jacket the wife bought me by mistake.

With brand new yellow flip-flops, for good traction, people driving, couldn't miss me.

appliances, electrical, washing machines, dryers

 A store like this has everything electrical you could imagine.

Just inside the entrance, I looked for a place to drop my soaking wet accessories.

A shopping cart nearby, held my dripping wet umbrella and jacket nicely.

DVD, CD, film, printer ink, electronic accessories
 Luckily, there was a salesman there, who knew something about illumination.

He looked at my useless glass tubes and, let me know there were two different types.

Some fluorescent lights require starters, others have the starter built in to them.

Since, half the dozen lights in my office were blinking, I made a decision.

Buy two of each type and, I should be back in business is what I figured.

vacuum cleaners, appliances, audio accessories

Months ago, when they first opened, I promised to come back with the cameras, someday.

So, I told the guy and gal working there, I might come back today if, it kept on raining.

Whoops My Starters Were Starting

Back at the shop, I ripped all the cardboard light tubes open and, went to work.

A two step ladder and some stretching, to replace lights, fixed everything, almost.

Before long, I realized, three fixtures, with starters, didn't need new lights.

All the lamps that were broken, needed no-starter tubes replaced.  Groan.

toaster ovens, convection ovens, waffle iron,electrical appliances

 Stuffing the brand new lights back into soggy wet, torn boxes, I came up with a plan.

This time, I'll bring my camera along and, do some photography.

Maybe, they'll treat me nice and, not be too upset, with my lousy wrapping job.

Hang-in There the Travel Part Comes Later

My second trip to the store, it was still raining hard.  It was cold and windy.  I hate January.

This time, I'm carrying an umbrella, tripod, two light tubes, spare lens and a wet red jacket.

They were glad to see me, drop off my umbrella and wet stuff at the front door.

Ordering four more fluorescent light tubes, made them happy, I bet.

Seeing the guy, wrangling with the cash register, calculator and refund, I excused myself.

That's when all these store photos were taken.  I went all over the joint.

rice cookers, appliances, electric

It is a fairly small store, with narrow isles so, I'm glad they weren't busy.

Two big people passing each other in this store, might have to do a little rubbing.

Here, you can see some of the sizes, shapes and colors, of rice cookers available.

refridgerators, vacuum cleaners, appliances

Way in the back of the store, I found all the refrigerators and vacuums.

It got me thinking. Nobody needs a refrigerator, when it's this cold outside.

Just, stick your bottles of beer, out on the back porch !

air-conditioners, shelves

 Here are some of the most popular appliances in Okinawa.

Many months of the year, air-conditioning, becomes a necessity, not January though.

The neat thing about these new, energy efficient models is, the have built-in heaters, too.

What's There for Travelers in an Appliance Store ?


By now, you're probably thinking, I went and killed too many brain cells.

Some research for travelers led me to an important discovery about Best Denki.

It was so interesting, I went back, in the pouring rain, a third time today.

beauyt, appliances, facial, hair, skin, electric shavers, women

With some notes, scribbled down and another camera, I slogged back to the store.

My list had the three most popular electric appliances in Japan on it.

So, I wanted to see if, this tiny Best Denki shop had any of them.

Number One: A Panasonic "Nano" Care Hair Dryer, got me started.

There's all kinds of Nano Care stuff, to make women more beautiful.  I was lost.

So, I walked over near the counter and, asked a gal to help me.

Panasonic, ionity, hair dryer, negative ion

Between my limited Japanese and, her English, we found this item.

Nano Care, is a gadget that drys hair differently than your run of the mill dryer.

The thing, shoots some kind of negative ions in the breeze that drys your fur.

This "ionity" by Panasonic, has the negative ion thingy mounted above the blower.

It probably, does the same thing but, the gal said, she'd order some Nano Cares, too.

Here's a quote from the source, I linked to above:

"If you have Japanese female friends, ask them what is the most recommended hair dyer in Japan. Many or all of them would reply to you that it’s “Nano care” from Panasonic."

 Now, I'm wondering if that would work on softening my beard !

Number Two:  Roomba - a robot vacuum, wasn't available.

They had one in stock but, Okinawa is different than the rest of Japan.

People on this island, don't mind doing physical stuff, like sweeping the house.

Some robot, running around, sucking the floor probably, wouldn't be a big seller.

The demand, for this sort of gadget in mainland probably, was greater and, off it went.

electric toothbrush, battery powered

 Number Three: Electric Toothbrushes

This one had everybody stumped for awhile because of the word Denki (electric).

But, the electric dude, heard me talking about it and, a light came on.

A battery operated toothbrush uses Denchi (batteries) not, electricity in Japan.

We found a few but, they aren't exactly popular in this neck of the woods.

When I told the gal, I use one everyday, she seemed surprised.

I said, they clean your teeth better than a dentist and, she might order some.

Explaining, that foreign visitors would probably buy the stuff, she agreed.

salesgirl, hair dryer, negative ion

Then I asked Sayano to stand by the negative ion hair dryer for a photo.

That way, English speaking customers, know who to look for in this store.

This Best Denki is in Kin Town on HWY 329.

It's open from 10AM-7PM seven days a week.

The stores are all over Japan and, they have them in Singapore, too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

hillside, outdoors, rusty door, lock

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

10 Bird Images: Cormorants in Flight

bird, Phalacrocorax carbo, flying

Not the Usual Subject for Photography



Yesterday, I was out with the camera and tripod, looking for ospreys.

The show, I was expecting, didn't materialize but, I had fun in the sun, anyway.

birds, flight, cormorants, pair

This pair of goofy looking birds, flew overhead in nice blue skies.

They are Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) in biological terms.

The Pentax K3 was set up in Continuous Shooting mode and, I was ready for anything.

cormorants in flight, blue skies, birds

A Sigma 50-500 lens with 1.4 converter was used at 378MM for most of these photos.

pair, birds, in flight, black, blue sky

Aperture setting was f/9 and, I panned the camera, following the motion of the birds.

Great Cormorants, flying, birds, pair

Camera shutter-speed was at 1/640 of a second.

birds, flying, cormorants, two

It was a little windy for the lens, to be stretched out that far on a tripod.

So, I used my left hand to support and steady the camera, as I panned it.

cormorant, birds, in flight

Not too wild, about using high ISO's, I was at ISO 200 for these photos.

birds, Great Cormorant

Location: Top of Kin Dam, Okinawa, Japan

Latitude:  26.464

Longitude:  127.931

Great Cormorants, in flight

 Date and Time: JAN 18 2016 2:46PM* with one exception.

*Photo #1 was taken as a parting shot at 3:27PM with the lens at 700MM. 

Previous Cormorant posts may be seen HERE

Learn more about these birds at ARKive

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) Blooming in Kin Town

Don't Get Your Underwear in an Uproar



Somebody heard my complaint about all the rain yesterday.

The weather took a turn for the best and, got me outdoors, where I belong.

Before leaving the house, I told the wife, I had two big articles, to work on.

So, I probably would be in the office, all day today.  And, she said, "No you won't.

If the sun shines all day, you'll be out with your cameras, walking." 

So, that's what I did.  The plan was, to shoot birds at the Kin Dam.

cherry blossoms, pink and white, flower, bud, stem

Along the way, I saw the first few cherry blossoms, just below the Kin Bridge.

The lens being used was a Sigma 50-500 with a 1.4 converter so, I could reach out 700MM.

That's how this photo was taken.

buds, blossoms, cherry tree, branches, bark

Here, I selected one blossom, with some cherry bark in the background.

It sort of, makes the sakura and flower buds, stand out for you.

green background, flowers, buds, cherry blossoms

Unlike many other cherry blossoms, ours face down towards the ground.

Up in the northern parts of Japan, the blossoms face up towards the sky.

bell-shaped flowers, cherry blossoms, pink

It would be difficult to estimate, what percent of the trees are in bloom.

There are more important things, for me to do than, count  trees and flowers.

For people sitting around, twisting their underwear, I can tell you this:

Along the way, I only stopped to take photos at three trees.

tree, branches, sky

 The other 100 or so, cherry trees look, something like this !

Sometime in the next few weeks, there will be a Sakura Matsuri at this location.

That's a Cherry Blossom Festival, for the English speaking audience.

Some of my friends, will be playing in a live band, at that event.

Not sure of the date and time, yet but, I will let everyone know, as soon as I can.

There will be plenty of liquid refreshments, entertainment and dancing, going on.

That's be a good time, to get your underwear in a uproar !

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Could Use a Little More Sunshine Around Here

Ryukyu Islands, Kerama, from ferry

Somebody Opened the Spigot Again !



It was almost like a summer day, yesterday and, I got a good six hours of sun. 

Well, I must have insulted, somebody up there because, the island is getting hosed today.

To cheer myself up, I dug up this photo from last June, taken from a boat.

It's better than, walking around, outside, with an umbrella but, it didn't quite do the trick.

So, I went over to YouTube and found a tune that might tickle everybody.

Hearing Johnny Cash and June Carter, sing that tune was alright.

But, watching them, get the audience going, was even better.

Someone needs to figure out a way to re-distribute rainfall and sunshine, around the globe.

Okinawa got a fair share of water.  Give the rain to somebody, who really needs it. 

Then, I promise, I'll sing this tune in the shower, everyday !

Saturday, January 16, 2016

How About Sunflowers in January ?

A Cure for Cabin Fever



It's a good thing the weather forecasters are wrong sometimes.

They predicted rain every day this week and blew it, a few times.  That made me happy.

sunflowers, flowers, plants

These photos were taken, yesterday morning in Kitanakagusuku Village.

The flowers were a brighter yellow than, a brand new pair of my flip-flops. That's bright ! 

field, flowers, sunflowers

After about a week of rainy, cold, windy days, this place cheered me up.

The sun was shining and the wind was gentle and warm.  No socks required.

bright yellow blossoms, sunflowers, field

Being here, made the winter blues, melt and, run outta my body !

bee, flowers, sunflower

 So, I thought sharing a few images might cheer other people up, too.

If, you're stuck in snow country maybe, you should visit Kitanakagusuku in Okinawa.

field, old home, sunflowers

The Okinawa Island Guide can tell you all about these sunflowers.

They list all the festivals, held on island and, give directions on how to get to them.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Today I Shot Somebody Else's Pictures

Shawn Miller's Nature Therapy Photo Exhibition



It's happening right now and, this is one you won't want to miss.

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, let me enter for free.

printed photos, exibition, Oiknawa OIST, wall

We call the place OIST for short and it's better than being in some UNESCO Castle, to me.

Once, I got handed a visitor's pass by the security guard, I could go anywhere.

All I really wanted to do, was find Shawn's photography, on display and do some shooting.

 They have little cards, below each image, showing scientific names.

It's not my job, give the nomenclature away, I was just taking photos today.

People should go there, themselves and, take notes if, they're curious about nature stuff.

beach, resort, crab, cup,ocean

Here's an image showing a crab, living in a home made from beach trash.

Shawn is a champion of nature and the environment and, wants to educate the public.

The crab, would have a seashell, for a home but, he's doing the best he can.

When, there's more garbage on the beach than, seashells, crabs have to improvise.

blue, coconut crab, cup, exibit, photo

Many of the species, Shawn photographs are, going extinct.

If people learned to appreciate nature, these critters can survive.

blue ocean, red coral

It would have been nice, to meet Shawn at this exhibit but, he wasn't available.

So, I just sneaked around and, shot some of the photos, I liked best.

clownfish, underwater, photo

If the photographer, was there, I would have bought him lunch.

Well, I ended up, saving money and, swiped some of his images, instead.

He, won't mind because, I'm trying to drum up some visitors for the exhibit.

Check This Deal Out



sign, contest, photo challenge, prize

Visit OIST and the Nature Therapy Exhibit and, you could win some of these photos.

Just go in there and, take a selfie, next to your favorite picture.

And, you have a chance to win some of Shawn Miller's prints !

Learn more about Shawn Miller on Facebook