Thursday, November 30, 2017
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.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
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
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
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
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
Location: Nagahama Dam, Yomitan, Okinawa
Date and Time: NOV 6 1017 11:26 AM
More Osprey Images
More Osprey Images
Saturday, November 4, 2017
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.
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
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.
Friday, November 3, 2017
Full Moon Tomorrow
On a tropical Paradise such as Okinawa, weather may be unpredictable.
That's a good enough reason, to shoot the moon, the night before and the night after.
With a three day window, chances are, some great photos may be taken.
Camera: Pentax K1
Lens: Sigma 50-500 + 1.4 converter for focal length of 700 MM
Exposure: f/16 1/100 ISO 100
Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan
Date and Time: NOV 3 2017 6:26 PM
Visit Time and Date for moon specifics in your location.