Saturday, April 30, 2016

6 Photos of a Golden Buddha in a Cave

smiling, Buddha, statue, cave Pentax K1

Images Made with the New Pentax K1




The highways are insane with Golden Week travelers these days so, I avoided them.

It was a good day, to go down underground and visit Buddha, I figured.

Using nothing but, available light, I pushed the ISO's on the camera, to see what it would do.

The Pentax was handheld, using my knees or a concrete post to steady the shots.

This first photo was taken at ISO 3200 and, didn't come out too shabby.

Buddha, gold, statue, cave, close-up

 Here's another image taken at ISO 3200, giving you a closer look.

Someday, I'll have to ask the monk at Kin Temple if, it would be alright, to dust Buddha off.

It would be best, to get permission.  Don't wanna lose my passport into heaven, you know.

smiling golden Buddha, statue, sitting, cave

Next, I took a shot at ISO 1600, to see if there would be much difference.

Moving around, to a different position in the cave, gave me a new angle, to shoot from.

You can see from the tone of the gold, it was a little darker, where I was standing.

close-up, statue, Buddha, sitting, cavern

 The ISO's were pushed all the way up to 12800 when I made this shot.

Families, coming down into the cave, were real polite and, excused themselves, passing me.

Maybe, they thought I was some kind of cave-dweller.  Who knows ?

cave, Buddha, ISO 51200

The next thing I did, was push the ISO all the way up to 51200 and said, "Meah."

We'll save this image, in case someone wants to buy grainy photos.

People bought the Mona Lisa, didn't they ?

ISO 65535, grainy image, Buddha, cavern

If you're excited about grainy photos, here ya go.  How about ISO 65535 ?

Next time, I bring the camera to that cave, I think I'll try a tripod.

Imagine what that camera could do, at ISO 100 !

Friday, April 29, 2016

5 Carp Streamer Images at the Kickoff of Golden Week

fish, carp streamer, Golden Week, Pentax K1

Testing the Pentax K1



Not enough time in my hands for a full review, yet but, I like it already.

This photo was taken with a 300MM lens f/11  1/320   ISO 400.

Location:  Oku Village, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  APR 29 2016  11:12 AM

My mission today, was to try out the GPS function on the camera.

Latitude and Longitude, came out in more characters than my name and mailing address.

If you have an EXIF file reader, check it out.

Remaining Photos with the Old Pentax K3


3 tiled-roof cabins, carp streamers, mountain

 The skies wouldn't turn brilliant blue so, I cropped them out with a zoom lens.

There must be a few hundred of those colored streamers, flapping in the breeze.

bright-colored carp streamers, hills, sky

Doc Graff and I, moved around, trying to get the best compositions, we could.

river, streamers, hills, sky, Golden Week, Oku

This time, we wandered across the river and up a road we had never been on before.

mountains, streamers, carp, trees

Golden Week is just the beginning of Okinawa's eternal festival season.

Families will be out in the fresh air, enjoying nature and festivals every weekend.

And, I'll  be out with the cameras, every chance I get, trying to capture them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Flower Photos: Pontederia -- You Can Eat Some Parts

iris,pickerelweed, pickerel rush,water,plant

Growing Alongside Iris in a Flooded Field


When I first saw it, I called it a purple corn-dog because, that's what it looked like, to me.

I was spending a few bucks on iris flowers so, I asked what the name of this flower might be.

The gal, looked at the LCD screen on my camera and said, "Pontederia."

Then, I asked her if, she could write it down on paper, for me.  She was glad to help me.

She knows every time, I come there, I buy some flowers, to take home for my bride.

Before, writing it down, she checked with two other elderly women working there.

They, all agreed Pontederia (ポンテデリヤ) was the plant's name.

Pontederia, plant, flower,ポンテデリヤ

 With all the iris photos, I had to process, this purple corn dog, had to wait.

Heck, I even went back to the iris fields, the next day and, took more photos.

Yesterday, I decided it was time, to turn in a month overdue book to the library.

Armed with an overdue flower book and, a smartphone snap of this flower, off I went.

The gals at the Kin Library, all know me; I'm always turning in books late.

They have a drop-box, you can deposit books in if, you don't want to o inside.

But, I like to apologize for being late and, talk to the librarians.

This time, I gave the book back and, went off, on my own, to research the purple flower.

After about 20 minutes, not being able to locate a book with Pontederia, I asked for help.

A librarian at the front desk, researched it on her computer.

BINGO !  She found it and the Latin name: Pontederia cordata.

Thanking her, I left the library, knowing, I could find this flower online.

The common names for the plant are Pickerelweed and Pickerel rush.

Is Anybody Out There Hungry ?

The seeds of the plant can be eaten, just like some sort of wheat germ.

The young leaves can also, be used as greens in cooking your meals.  I just take pictures.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Does Blogger Android App Work?

Getting ready to do some outer island travel, I thought it would be a good idea to test this gadget out. After 3 attempts at doing a short blog post with one photo, it sure seems as if it won't happen. So let's try one with no image.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Culture Photo: Prayer at Abushibare

small boats, handcrafted, beach, Okinawans, praying

An Annual Ritual



This scene shows Okinawans praying at the shore before launching small boats into the sea.

More about this event can be seen on my blog post from APR 2015.

Camera:  Pentax K3

Lens:  Pentax 18-250 at 27MM

Exposure:  f/11   1/500   ISO 100

Location:  Igei Beach, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Latitude: 26.455   Longitude:  127.880

Date and Time:  APR 24 2016  11:04AM

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Travel Photo: Nanataki Waterfall

waterfall, Nanataki, Kijoka, Ogimi, Okinawa

Camera:  Pentax K5

Lens:  Sigma 10-20 at 13MM

Exposure:  f/16   1/4   ISO 100

Date and Time:  APR 22  2016   10:59 AM

Friday, April 22, 2016

Full Moon APR 21 2016

moon, astronomy, sky, image

The Smallest Full Moon of 2016



Camera: Pentax K3

Lens:  Sigma 50-500 1.4 converter + Focal Length 700MM

Exposure:  f/16   1/60   ISO 100

Location:  Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  APR 21 2016  7:51PM

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Flower Photos: Iris Fields in Kijoka District of Ogimi Okinawa

purple and yellow, iris, flower,オクラレルカ

Okurareruka (オクラレルカ) is What Locals Call Them



The fields were in full bloom last weekend and, there are still many purple flowers to see.

For me, going early or, late in the season is much more relaxing.

hills, fields, flowers, iris

Weekend crowds, tour buses and mobs of people, posing for pictures can be annoying.

It's more fun, even when the skies are grey, when few visitors come to the fields.

close-up, iris, flowers, field

The sky is easily eliminated, when close-up shots, fill the camera frame.

So, I just go around the fields, looking for which ever iris plants, I want to be subjects.

flower, purple and yellow, iris

The fields are flooded with water so, it isn't easy to get closeup shots.

The best thing to do, is stand on the dikes and use a zoom lens if, you want to stay dry.

flower, iris,single plant, green stems

Some folks, say these iris flowers, look like a dragon, sticking its tongue out.

So, I go looking for flowers that might fit that description and, shoot them.

hills, flowers, field, sky, house

When, I think the mission has been accomplished, I back-off and take one last photo.

Then, buy some flowers, to take home to the wife.

Tell her, it was a terrible day, up there, she won't feel like she missed out on something.

The flowers, I bring home, make her happy.  She'll look at this  image.

And, be glad I didn't drag her along with me.  Hah !

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

10 Photos from Henza Island 2016 Sanguacha

3 young men, blackened bodies, active pose

It began at the Community Center



These characters were having photos taken at 10:22AM, before ceremonies commenced.

Later in the day they were sharing some of their black oil with uniformed policemen.

orange body, young man, Kijimuna, grass skirt, fish, village office
The festivities wouldn't start until afternoon but, we arrived plenty early.

That way, it's possible to capture some pictures, without a crowd scene, moving around.

Kijimuna, gladly posed in front of the fish and, I got the village office in the background.

My camera, says it was 10:26AM so, I think the village clock is a minute slow. 

shrine, fish, seashells, teeth

 A closer look at the fish, reveals seashells were used in constructing its teeth.

The fish, is some sort of shrine, carried throughout the day in processions.

It was 10:35AM when this photo was taken and, I'd still have lots of time on my hands.

It's always better to arrive way too early than, way to late for these festivals.

4 ladies,costumes, hats, flowers

 At 12:31PM, I caught these beauties, posing under a white tent.

After they let me photograph them, I blew them a kiss.

And, all four of them, blew kisses back at me. What sweethearts !

taiko drum, 2 fish, wood platform, tatami mat

By 1:15PM the tent was surrounded with a crowd of a few hundred people.

The fish would, soon become targets for, a woman with a spear.

woman, spear, fish, crowd

It was 1:19PM when the first fish was stabbed and, the woman danced around with it.

The ceremonies in the tent are performed for a noro (priestess) present for the event.

After the second fish gets harpooned, they might get carved up and eaten.

Satisfied with the images, I had captured, it was time to move on down the road.

I was afraid, my religious appearance could cause them to offer me some of the fish.

Cows or pigs, taste much better to me so, I weaved my way back out of the crowd.

portable shrine, fish, costumes, parade

 Climbing to the top of a concrete wall, I got in position to capture the parade to the sea.

There weren't any hamburger joints along the way so, my stomach started growling.

By the time the procession showed up, it was 1:49PM and, I was ready to shoot them.

beach, shore, sea, parade, banners

The parade, passed me and, I had to hurry to catch them leaving the island. 

It was 2:09PM when they began to wade out to an rock outcropping in the sea.

top of rock,sake, prayers, octopus, seashells

Photo Credit: Rusty Robertson

Rusty, had wadded to the rock, in advance of the procession and, gotten in a good position.

Facing towards the east, prayers and offerings were made by the participants.

Octopus was served along with plenty of local spirits.

A bed of coral and seashells served as a table, to ensure no bottles, accidentally got tipped.

This photo was taken at 2:49PM and, people drank, danced and sang songs for awhile.

offshore, rock outcropping, Okinawa, procession, ocean

 Photo by: Rusty Robertson

From the rock, Rusty captured the scene as the parade wound their way back to Henza Island.

This scene took place at 3:27PM and festivities would continue where the event started.

More photos will be added to an album on the Ryukyu Life Facebook Page.  


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Travel Photo: A Ritual on Henza Island

woman, kimono,spear,fish,tent

She's Preparing to Spear One of the Fish


A few hundred people were standing around this tent, hoping to see the action.

Prayers and offerings were made, minutes before the woman made this bow.

An external flash, bounced off the ceiling of the white tent, captured this image.

Camera:  Pentax K3

Lens:  Pentax 18-250 at 25MM

Exposure:  f/7.1   1/160   ISO 200

Location:  Henza-jima, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  10 APR 2016  1:18PM 

More photos will be processed and details gathered, to explain the tradition.

Meanwhile, you can read one version of the story at Okinawa Clip.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Okinawan Folktale: Kouri Island -- The First Man and Woman

art, naked children,moon, ocean, stars

An Adam and Eve Sort of Legend



This photo of a mural comes from the front of a religious center on Kouri-Jima.

Inside the building are all sorts of mysterious things about the island.

There's a Japanese children's book with this story in it, you can purchase if, you like.

man and woman, monument, grass skirts

 Outside, facing the ocean is the adult version of the story and, some different artwork.

The first man and woman are wearing some clothes in this rendition.

When stuff, gets etched in stone, there might be some truth, to the myth.

So, lately, I've been Geo-tagging images and shooting any text, I find.

Japanese plaque,shrines, utaki,artwork, sketch

Behind the man and woman are some utaki (shrines) where people pray.

In the left side of this photo is a plaque inscribed with Japanese Kanji.

Using the Google Translate camera, a broken English version of the story was obtained.

Japanese, Kanji, characters, inscription, stone

Take this image and scan if for translation if, you like.

An easier (to understand) interpretation was found at Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai.

The First Humans of Kouri-Jima

They came down from above and, lived naked on this small island.

The only source of food was rice cakes, which came down from the skies on a daily basis.

They figured it would be a good idea, to store some food, in case the supply got cut off.

Once they started stashing rice cakes, the daily delivery suddenly stopped.

They began, begging the full moon, to start sending food again because they were starving.

Their prayers weren't answered and, they had to hunt for food for themselves.

One day, they noticed a pair of dugongs swimming near the shore.

That's when they realized male and females had different body parts.

Somebody must have gotten embarrassed and, they decided to start wearing clothes.

Clothing didn't stop them from being the best of friends and, they made lots of babies.

And, when the babies got older, they carried on the family tradition, making more babies.

Now, you know, where all these people on Okinawa came from!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Longest Living People in All of Japan

Stone Monument in Ogimi Village



This stone is located alongside HWY 58, in the village of Ogimi.

Directly behind it, there is a small trickle flowing from a waterfall in the hills above.

Lately, I have been carrying a Garmin along, to add Geo-tags to my photos.

And, I really wanted to shoot this rock because, I heard it was special.

But, after traveling all over the northern hills, the batteries in the Garmin, wore out.

Two things needed to be done before, I posted this photo.

1. Figure out a way to get Latitude and Longitude, to add to the image EXIF data.

2. Verify, that to inscription on the plaque, said something about longevity.

Travelers May Want to Visit


The location happens to be at the Michinoeki (Road Stand) in Ogimi, Okinawa.  

There's plenty of parking spaces and, the waterfall is just to the right of all the shops.

Over at Google Maps GPS Coordinates, I punched in the address.

Then, hit "Get GPS Coordinates" and, they gave them to me.

Latitude: 26.690 Longitude: 128.108

That should be good enough for the Geocache crowd to find the location.

Then, I manually added the Geo-tags to my photo file, for the rest of the world to see.

Translation of Inscription

This turned out to be quite a chore as, I used my smart phone as an interpreter.

The Google Translate folks, haven't quite hit 30% accuracy, would be my guess.

After, I stopped laughing, I figured, they gave me enough, to continue researching.

The rumor, I'd heard was, that this stone had a poem about longevity written on it.

An article in Japan Times gave me this:

“At 80, we remain children.”
If death visits us at 90, we should say, “Wait until we are 100, then we might consider it.”

The best translation, I could find, came from the Ogimi Village website:

"At 80 years old, I am still a child. When I come to see you at 90, send me away to wait till 100

Let us keep going strong as we get older, and not depend too much on our children in old age.

Come to our village in your old age, and we will provide the blessings of nature and teach you

 the secrets of longevity.

We the senior citizens of Ogimi proudly declare this the longest-lived village in Japan."

"April 23rd, 1993 Ogimi Federation of Senior Citizen Clubs"

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wordless Wednesday APR 6 2016

spider, spiderweb

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ryukyu Classical Dance

dance, yotsudake, bingata,hanagasa, hat, kimono

A Young Lady Performing Yotsudake



Probably one of the most colorful outfits worn in Okinawa is seen in this dance.

This photo was taken last year at a Kajimaya celebration.

 Camera:  Pentax K3

Lens:  Pentax 18-250MM at 55MM

Exposure:  f/4.5  1/50   ISO 200

Location:  Moon Beach Hotel, Onna-son, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  OCT 19 2015  7PM

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bird Image: Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago,bird, Snipe

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 300MM + 1.4 converter = Focal Length 420MM

Exposure: f/5.6   1/640    ISO 200

Location:  Namisato, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan 

Date and Time:  DEC 29 2015  2:24PM 

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Learn more about snipes at ARKive

Sunday, April 3, 2016

It's Almost Okurareruka (オクラレルカ) Time of the Year !

flowers, Iris,purple and yellow, fields

Friday in Kijoka



Just for the heck of it, we took a detour at Ogimi Village, to check the iris fields.

Just about every flower festival held this year, the flowers forgot to bloom on time.

It looks like the Okurareruka (Iris) flowers are getting ready to party, on schedule.

flower, iris, bud, fields

A few close-up shots were taken, to trick people in to visiting the iris fields.

But, if you really love viewing these flowers, it might be best to wait a bit longer.

iris flowers, field,buds,stems

Backing off a little bit with the lens, things look a little bit different, up there.

There's probably less than one percent of the plants blossoming.

flower, fields, iris, Okurareruka

The Missus in my house, goes crazy when, she hears the Okurareruka plants are blooming.

She'd be awful disappointed if, she went all the way up north, to see these fields.

hills, fields, flowers, iris

 Guys, know what happens, when you take a woman out and, there aren't any flowers to see.

Who would want to take their wife, to see something like this ?

Figure, you are an hour away from home (by car) and, a woman came along with you.

She'll get angry and say something like, "Lets go shopping."  Groan ! 

Give that place enough time, to turn into a sea of purple.  That's my plan.

Maybe, in another two weeks, I'll say something to the wife, about Okurareruka flowers.

Related Posts:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bird Images: Wood Sandpiper

birds,Wood sandpiper,Tringa glareola

Wading in a Rice Paddy



It sure would be nice to have a bird expert on hand, to identify these critters.

Hopefully, one of my bird-shooting buddies, will be coming back to Okinawa in the near future.

Having looked at a few hundred bird photos, I decided to call these Wood Sandpipers.

Tringa glareola would be the Latin name of the breed.

They are migratory, winter visitors to the island, according to Wildlife Okinawa

Takabu-shigi (タカブシギ) is their name in Japan.

The Ministry of the Environment in Japan says they are vulnerable on the Red List.

bird, Tringa glareola

Camera:  Pentax K3

Lens:  Pentax 300MM and 1.4 converter  Focal Length 420MM

Exposure: f/6.3   I/1600   ISO 100

Location:  Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: MAR 29 2016  12:10PM