Monday, December 4, 2017

Supermoon 2017

The Super Moon of the Year

This was one I didn't want to miss because it's the only supermoon of the year.

The past three days, I've been, slogging through rainy day festivals.

The sky was one massive cloud last night and I wasn't sure the moon would appear.

Totally exhausted from the never-ending weekend, I took a camera and tripod home.

Somebody, up there was looking out for me. The supermoon appeared and, I got it.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 MM + 1.4 converter for Focal Lenght 420 MM

Exposure: f/16  1/200   ISO 100

Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  DEC 3  2017  10:02 PM

Friday, December 1, 2017

Last Night's Grilled Smoking Chicken

chicken, grill, smoke

Maybe I'll Be Late for My Own Funeral

The weekend is packed with festivals, rain in the forecast and, a full moon!

Yesterday, I walked through town, on the way home and made one stop.

Lousy weather has kept most people off the streets but, not me.

It seemed like a good idea (around sundown) to grab something to drink.

There weren't any customers in this tiny restaurant, other than me.

So, I ordered everybody a beer and we all said, "Kampai" that's "Cheers" in Japan.

Then, the chicken thing started happening and, some grilled steak, too.

Busy doing research and photo processing, I forgot all about the time, today.

Next thing you know, the sun's getting ready to go down, again.

A hundred projects are piled-up on my desk but, I have to run and shoot a festival.

review of Brasil Kitchen, Google Maps, screenshot

It's too late, to organize a blog post so, I took this screenshot of Google Maps.

Either you can squint and read my review of Kitchen Brasil or, GO HERE

It's time for me to grab a camera and head out to a Christmas Festival Thingy!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bird of the Day: Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle

Butastur indicus, Grey-faced Buzzard, eagle,birds,Okinawa

Called Sashiba (サシバ) in Japan

This is the first time this year I've gotten a halfway decent shot of the Grey-faced Buzzard.

They've been on the island since the beginning of  November but, rarely stop to pose for me.

Several shots were taken with the Pentax K1 and, I may create a GIF later this week.

It's been a busy day and, it's about to get a bit longer so, I'm departing the premises. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Flowers and Fruit - We've Got Some Poison Here

 Ornamental Tree Happens to Be a Killer

Yesterday three of us headed north with the cameras. Overcast weather is great for waterfalls.

Doc and I got with an old friend. I'll call him TC because Typhoon Condition is hard to spell.

We stopped at a bridge, crossing Haneji Dam to shoot a few photos and stretch our legs.

Lining the road, just before the bridge, were these trees with some sort of red fruits.

Cerbera mangas, red fruits, leaves, tree

There were samples which had fallen to the ground. Some were red, others brown.

TC and I had to pick them up for closer examination. They were sort of sticky.

It seemed like a good idea, to wash our hands and we did, using wet lens tissues.

Pink-eyed Pong-pong tree, flowers

It's always fun, trying to identify flowering trees so, I took a photo of these flowers.

With an image, containing flowers and the leaves and identification may be easy.

After an hour of internet searching, I gave up and decided to try the library.

They have an awesome crew at the Kin Town Library. You just have to speak Japanese.

It's been a long time since I've bothered them for information on plant identification.

Most of the staff know me. I saw a few new faces. Soon, the whole joint was helping me.

Before long, they had this one nailed down. And, I even got the Latin terminology.


English Name: Sea Pong Pong or Pink-eyed Cerbera

Scientific Name: Cerbera manghas

Japanese Name:  ミフクラギ (Mifukuragi)

WARNING: The fruits and leaves are poisonous if, you eat them.

Hunters have used the sap of this tree to kill animals.

People have been known, to do themselves in with the poison, too.

It's sometimes called "suicide apple" by folks in the Hawaiian Islands.

A bit of Madagascar Mythology: The seeds were used to poison kings and queens.

There's Good News Too

The roots and bark of the tree can be used to make a laxative.

Timber from this plant can be used for carving and furniture.

And the wood can be burned, to make high-quality charcoal.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mad Mike Review: Pizza Potato Chips

It's Been Awhile

Product reviews: Not my favorite thing to do. Once in a blue moon, something strikes my fancy.

First, let me explain how this all got started. I'll try to keep it short.

Halfway to the office, early this morning, I stopped at a machine to buy some iced coffee.

That's when I noticed there was no change in my pocket. My wallet was fine.

But, the machines won't handle large denomination bills and, that's all I had.

Another thing: My keys, I keep the small change with, were left at home, too.

Office keys are attached to my cell-phone case, I could get inside the place.

Just, wouldn't be able to open the camera locker. Keep on walking to work.

A cloudy, crappy day, I could get by without the big cameras. Do office stuff.

Japanese Pizza Potato Chips, bag

Suddenly, the Facebook thing went, "BING" and I read this post from a friend.

She asked: "Does potato pizza exist?"

My reply: "Sure. In Japan, they even have pineapple pizza."

The morning was grueling. There's an extra key in this office, for my camera locker.

Cleaning seven desk drawers, did nothing, to help find it. I needed a break.

So, I got back on Facebook and told the gal:

 "Let me see if, the store is open, down the street. They have delicious Pizza Potato Chips."

At the store, I grabbed chips, smokes and iced coffee and got the change in my pocket now.

Tupperware, chili beans, pizza potato chips

Back on Facebook

" Got 3 bags and, will take an iPhone photo to show you.

 Damn cameras are locked-up in my drying vault and, I left the keys at home!"

See, I was hungry and those chips are excellent for scooping beans out of Tupperware.

Now, I'm pretty sure, the Japanese language would be difficult for this gal in the USA.

So, I snapped one more photo, to show her the pictures on the potato chip bag.

potato chips, bag, Japanese, images, yummy

The images might help explain, what ingredients are used in making these chips.

There's cheese, red peppers, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes and maybe, pepperoni.

Even the dude, at the bottom, says, "YUMMY!"

Visit Calbee Company in Japan for more.

Back to the Review

Pizza Potato Chips from Calbee get a Five Star Rating from me.

They are a bit spicy, crispy, cheesy, crunchy, deliciously scrumptious, to me.

Ridged potato chips are strong enough to grab tuna out of a can or, use with bean dip.

The guy pictured on the back of the bag, ain't lying. They're yummy.

Back to Work

The first bag of chips has been consumed in its entirety.  But, the beans are only half gone.

The gal, in Arizona, who got me going on the Pizza Chips, deserves a big Thank You.

Not sure if I have her mailing address, I'll probably go back to searching for that spare key.

Half an hour or so should be enough time to waste on that project.

If I don't find the key, I could walk home and grab the original, to get to my cameras.

It's early in the day. Keep working and, eat more chips with beans, would be alright, too!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

This Will Be a Short Dam Report

End of November

The weather is quickly changing from autumn to winter on this island, dammit.

It was the first time since March, I had to put socks on, along with the flip-flops.

When it gets below 20 degrees Celsius, that's something like the high 60's Fahrenheit.

Socks, bluejeans, flannel shirts and wool-lined jackets, ain't really my style.

But, I had to bundle-up to go work in my freezing office. I don't want to turn the heat on, yet.

Osprey bird in flight at Kin Dam, Okinawa

All of a sudden, I stepped outside the office and the sun was shining. Whoa, baby!

A backpack got stuffed with cameras, lenses, lunch and a camping chair.

The jacket got chucked and, I hiked to see how the dam birds were doing.

bird, flight, Osprey, Kin Dam, Okinawa

The Ospreys were flying around Kin Dam, looking for fish. It must have been lunchtime.

The birds, don't exactly pose for the camera and, they move fairly quickly.

From the dam, also know an Okukubu, they search the Okukubi River, all the way to the ocean.

Osprey, flight, bird, Kin Dam, Okukubi River, Okinawa

It might take 150 snaps of the shutter button, to catch a bird's golden eye.

If, the eye isn't lit up by the sun, just right, I usually throw the photo away.

Things got so busy, for a while, I forgot about eating the lunch I had packed away.

Who wants cheese, crackers, and canned tuna fish, anyhow?  Yuck.

Osprey flying with a fish, Kin Dam, Okinawa

Here's a photo of an Osprey, bragging about the fish it caught.

It would have been much nicer if, the bird was flying in blue skies and looked towards the sun.

Five hours out there with a heavy backpack and, I came home sweaty and sore.

End of the Dam Report

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Camera Trekking Hedo's Sai On Conservation Park

Forest Therapy for the Soul

It was one of those "no-sunshine-expected" November Monday mornings, yesterday.

Doc was picking me up at 9 AM and, I started packing the camera bag.

The big lenses were ignored because it didn't look like a bird-shooting day.

Stone trail through forest, Hedo, Okinawa

A little know attraction named, Saion Pine Trees Conservation Park became our mission.

Sai On is a famous scholar in Ryukyuan history. He advised the king during the 1700's.

Land conservation, tree planting, irrigation, and agriculture were some of his specialties.

Stone walls, handrails, trail, steps, Saion Park, forest

It would take about an hour to photograph this portion of the trail, for viewers.

Families might want to pack a lunch, some drinks and, drag the children along.

So, my plan was to give them views from different angles, with a wide-angle lens.

Hollowed-out tree, bridge, stone, path, stream

This is a hollowed-out tree, lined with stones and utilized as a bridge, to cross a stream.

Way back when Sai On outlawed the making of dugout boats.

Large trees were being cut down, faster than they could be replaced.

This "tree" happens to be fabricated out of concrete, the same as all the handrails in the park.

trees, vines, ferns, vegetation

The scene below contains a trickle of a stream, shrouded by jungle vegetation.

During peak rains, it very well may be a raging river. Unimpressed, I didn't bother with it.

Deep Woods Insect Repellant was waiting somewhere in my office. Maybe, next time.

stairway, trail, stone, imitation logs, forest

It's a good little hike, to get your calf muscles burning and maybe, sweat a bit.

Athletic travelers might want to try jogging up and down those hills.

Autumn foliage in Okinawa is mostly brown and green, as you can see.

misspelled Route 58 sign

This photo wasn't taken for the "WOW" factor. It was unique.

The purpose was to show, the trail comes back to civilization and, crosses a country road.

Somewhere nearby must be Route 58. Call it Early Redneck English. I understand.

hillside, stairs, stone wall, trail

Look both ways for traffic, cross the street and go up the stone stairs.

If you were getting weary of civilization, you'll be back in the woods soon.

pine tree stump, forest, park

It was a disappointment coming across this tree stump. The tree was removed.

More than likely, it had become infested with pine beetles and, had to be destroyed.

Traffic cones and a roped-off area contain some other felled pines.

stone trail,bridge,handrails, forest

Cross the clearing and the trails continue through Saion Park.

This is another concrete, imitation, dugout tree, bridge, paved with stones.

Everywhere I went, was flip-flop safe but, I kept my eyes open for snakes, anyhow.

Autumn leaf-lined trail, woods, Saion Park

It wasn't too wet or dry so, walking on the fallen leaves, didn't make much noise.

The path was fairly level in this location so, my knees stopped creaking.

All good things must come to an end. I knew more huffing and puffing waited up ahead.

stone bridge, circular stairway, Sai On Conservation Park, Hedo

One of my favorite scenes was this circular stairway. It kind of fools you.

Doc headed up the right side and, I thought he reappear coming back to the left.

After composing this photo, I waited and, there was no more Doc.

The trail keeps on going until you come to another clearing.

shrine below mountains where prayers and rituals are held

It took a few seconds after arriving at this shrine, to realize I had been here before.

Rituals for the Sacred Water of the New Year, take place here.

One day, blue skies will appear above those mountains and, I'll get a better photo.

It'll give me an excuse, to show you the rest of Sai On Conservation Park in Hedo, Okinawa.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Travel Photo: Sueyoshi Park

Stone path through a wooded park after rainfall

A Bit of Country in the City

The few times I've visited this attraction, I have never run across many tourists.

Maybe the travel and tourism industry keeps it secret. Everything's free!

One of these days, I ought to make a travel guide, listing all the freebies on this island.

If enough people bought it, I could become a millionaire.

Back in 2011, when the photo was taken, a sudden rain squall hit the place.

That sort of ruined chances of getting any wildlife photos, with a zoom lens.

The storm didn't last more than a few minutes and the sun started shining.

The place got quiet like the critters knew another rain cloud would move in.

A forest is a special place, just after the rain falls. It becomes refreshing.

 I backed off and created this wide-angle image before, leaving the big city behind.

Camera: Pentax K5

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 22 MM

Exposure: f/16   1.6 sec   ISO 100

Location:  Sueyoshi Park, Naha, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  OCT 15 2011  3:45 PM

Friday, November 10, 2017

GIF of American Village Ferris Wheel

It Doesn't Really Bounce

Here's what happens when an unsteady iPhone is used to create an animation.

Last night I had the opportunity to visit American Village in Chatan.

Sometime, in the future, I'll have to go back with a real camera and a tripod.

The place is some kind of tourist trap if, you ask me.

You know how, back in the USA, they have Chinatowns, where Chinese hangout.

Well, over here, somebody got the idea to make an American place, for Chinese to visit.

It seems to be working quite well. Americans, Chinese and Japanese people go there.

Let's backtrack, to yesterday morning. I had an appointment at the hospital in Nago City.

After a whole month of taking pain-killing drugs, I told the doctor, I'm done with that crap.

I feel fine and was really getting tired of, not-being-able-to-drink-beer.

Immediately after taking the snaps of that amusing ride, I had another mission to accomplish.

That was: Get back into my hometown and drink some cold Orion Draft Beers.

The wife decided to stay at home and I promised, I'd be back early.  So, here's what I did.

Got a ride in a taxi, with a friend and was in the front door promptly, at 4 AM.

If, you like touristy stuff, visit the American Village Ferris Wheel.

It's time for me to run. I have some catching up to do!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Photo of Another Dam Osprey in Flight

bird, Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, Kin Dam, Okinawa, Japan

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 MM + 1.4 HD Rear Converter - Focal Length 420 MM

Exposure:  f/7.1   1/6400   ISO 800

Location: Kin Dam, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  NOV 7 2015  2:43 PM

Monday, November 6, 2017

Today's Bird of the Day - Osprey in Flight

bird, Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, Yomitan, Okinawa

Over Nagahama Dam

Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) leave Okinawa during the hottest part of the year.

They're back now and this is the first keeper of a shot, I've gotten this Autumn.

The rascal, wouldn't fly out in the blue skies, where I wanted it to be.

So, the image is a bit overexposed, giving a white background for my bird collection.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 MM + 1.4 HD Rear Converter for a Focal Lenght of 420 MM

Exposure:  f/5.6   1/1000    ISO 400

Date and Time:  NOV 6 1017   11:26 AM

More Osprey Images

Saturday, November 4, 2017

2 Images of NOV 2017 Full Moon

Moon Made an Appearance

Leaving home, it didn't seem as if, any moon shots would be made tonight.

The sky looked like one huge blanket of white and grey clouds.

The wife even said, "You won't see the moon. Don't drink too much tonight."

Shorts and a t-shirt was the uniform I decided to wear because it was warm outside.

By the time the sun went down I was freezing cold and put jeans and a jacket on.

Moonrise was shortly after six. I started checking the skies around 7 PM.

Full Moon, November 2017, Okinawa, Japan

A Northeast wind was blowing clouds and hiding the moon.

Instead of climbing up on the roof, I set a tripod on the sidewalk in front of the office.

The first decent image was captured at 7:23 PM.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Sigma 50-500 and 1.4 converter Focal Lenght 700 MM

Exposure:  f/22   1/40   ISO 100

Full Moon, astronomy, NOV 4 2017, Okinawa, Japan

It looked as if the clouds would give me time, to switch lenses so, I ran back into the office.

The weather was horrible and, I considered putting some socks on my feet.

After I made this shot, I checked the weather on the internet. It's 19 degrees Celsius.

No wonder I was shivering. That's in the mid 60's for Fahrenheit folks!

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 + 1.4 converter Focal Length 420 MM

Exposure:  f/16   1/80   ISO 100

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  NOV 4 2017  7:33 PM

To me, the second photo appears much sharper. And. the reason is explainable.

700 MM of the lens, sticking out in the wind, shakes more than, 420 MM does.

When the cameraman is cold, he tends to shake a bit, too.

So, the next thing I'll be doing, after closing down, is getting some anti-freeze in my system.